Moto Guzzi Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Moto Guzzi Gambalunga 500 GP 1946-1951

Moteur monocylindre
498.5 cm3
Puissance: 37ch à 6.000 tr/min
Poids: 120 Kg
Vitesse: plus de 190 Km/H

La Gambalunga apparaît juste après la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Il s'agit d'une machine de course usine qui dérive du Condor et du Dondolino avec une nouvelle partie cycle.

En 1951, l'ultime version développe 37ch et dépasse les 190 Km/H !

Pour les années suivantes, Guzzi lancera une double offensive avec la 500 Bialbero et la 500 4 cylindres.

French text: Thomas Bersy

The Gambalunga was released just after the Second World War, in 1946, and development continued until 1951. This is a factory racing machine that is derived from the Condor and Dondolino with a substantially modified engine, which was now a longstroke version of 84mm bore and 90mm stroke. The pushrods are housed in a single narrow tube, giving the appearance of an overhead cam engine.

Only factory riders were issued with this machine, and it was a motorcycle which the hundred or so Dondolino privateers could only dream of. In addition to the new engine with electron crankcases, the frame and suspension were upgraded - it has leading link front forks and an aluminium fuel tank.

The long-stroke engine, which had been introduced to reduce stess on the lower half of the engine at high rpm did not prove advantageous and in 1948 the factory reverted to the Dondolino bore/stroke, with the addition of an extra crankshaft bearing. The Gambalunga no longer had long legs.
Tyres were changed to 20" from 21" in 1950 to lower the machine, and the frame was strengthened at the steering head to better cope with the leading link forks.

In 1951, the final version developed 37hp and was capable of over 190 km/h. In total a only a baker's dozen were built, although it is believed that at a later date some replicas were produced by a group of enthusiasts.

For the following years, Guzzi launched a dual offensive on the racing world with the 500 Bialbero and the 500 four.

Gambalunga Specification (1951)
Single cylinder OHV 498.5cc engine
Power: 37hp at 6,000 rpm
Weight: 120 Kg
Max. Speed: over 190 km/h

The name Gambalunga translates as "long legs", a term reflected in the slogan for the UK distributor's racy advertising campaign of the late 70s - Long Legged and Easy to Live With.

Sources: Phil Aynsley, Ian Falloon, Thomas Bersy, et al.

Informative page on Dondolino Gambalunga evolution with engine diagrams, graphs etc:

If you have a query or information about Moto Guzzi motorcycles please contact us