Telaio Rosso Gearbox
Click here for new pics and info on an original Telaio Rosso.
/i/Hidden/Telia_Rosa_Maybe.jpg The V7 Sport was truly a special motorcyle. So many new parts came and went on this model, never to be seen again. That's what makes the Telaio Rosso probably the most unique motorcycle available to the public in the last 40 years. As special as the Sport was, the TR had that many more unique parts made for it (many hand made in Moto Guzzi's Race Shop) and all that for approxiamately 150 bikes.
While many basic facts are now known about the TR model, there seems to be very little specific documentation of the many unique parts and differences between the V7 Sport and TR. To my knowledge there are two TRs in the US that have had four owners in the last couple decades. Three of those TR owners are friends of mine and the fourth, I have met.
I recently had the opportunity to do a comprehensive rebuild on one of these TR's gearbox and was able to take many pictures which illustrate the evolution of Moto Guzzi's four speed, to the TR five speed and then to the standard five speed.
On the right is a standard four speed housing. In the middle, a TR and on the left, a standard five speed with an Eldorado rear cover. At first glance, it appears that the TR housing is nothing more than a four speed housing with a five speed rear cover. In a sense, that is correct, but....anyone who has built a TR replica and Ambassador or V700 owners who wanted to put five speed internals into a four speed housing so that they could keep the neat old look of the unribbed, four speed, sand cast housing, knows that the five speed end cover, which would be needed, does not fit that four speed housing. End of trick four speed/five speed hybrid gearbox project.
So how did Moto Guzzi do this? More importantly,why? My guess, we have Ducati to thank for the Telaio Rosso
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It is clear that by 1970/71 the V7 Sport was on it's way. So were the new V7 850 variants. This first model of the new Tonti generation of bikes was going to share very few parts with the bikes that came before it. There were just too many changes from the V700 and Ambassador for this machine to be produced quickly. The production dates for the standard V7 Sport were 1972-73 and that was probably the original target date for the model release. But the Telaio Rosso came out in 1971 with many differences from the regular production Sport.
Whether it was corporate espionage that alerted MG in March of 1970 when Ducati completed initial drawings of their big displacement 750cc V twin or in July of that year when the first running motor was successfully tested, by September of 1970 the eyebrows at MG were definitely raised. Ducati held their press launch of their new 750 GT and were starting to grab headlines in the Motorcycle Press. If the GT was not enough of a threat to cause MG to built 150 expensive pre-production Sports in their race department, the release in mid 1971 of the 750 Sport was. While it was no Super Sport (not released until 1973) it was a sleek, beautiful cafe racer with a half fairing, solo seat, clip-ons and rearsets.It was fast and light and it handled well and it was stealing the headlines.
The first V7 850s came out in 1971, but the early 850s were still four speeds. Clearly all of the components needed for the standard production Sports were not available, but enough were ready to rush out a batch of bikes if some special parts could be made quickly.
Why were so many other special parts like lightweight (chrome moly?) frames, polished cranks and rods and different gearing also made for these TRs? A couple reasons. Some were destined to be production racers, but primarily, these were the bikes that would be riden by the motorcylce press and glowing reviews were needed for this new generation of Tonti framed Guzzis. One of the two bikes in the US was given to Mike Berliner(the US importer), by the factory. I'm sure that was the case in many countries. A bike was given to the importer, used in bike shows, press launches and then given or sold to a favored racer.
If you bought a new Sport in the early 70s and it didn't quite seem to perform like the early reviews would have led you to believe....well guess what....you weren't riding the same bike.

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