Moto Guzzi Motorcycles

Moto Guzzi Nuovo Falcone 1970-1976

Paul Friday writes:

This was a total redesign of the much-loved and famous Falcone. While looking very similar in appearance, the engine and cycle parts were upgraded greatly from the original. The original Falcone had a non-unit looking engine and gearbox with magneto ignition and a dry sump. The Nuovo Falcone has unit construction, coil and battery ignition and wet sump. The final chain drive was also moved to the left. The huge external flywheel was retained, but hidden under an alloy cover (except for the bottom edge, that can still be seen whirling beneath the left footrest). The cycle parts were also upgraded. The original Falcone had a frame bolted-up from various plates and tubes. It worked, after a fashion, but wasn't too rigid. The Nuovo Falcone has a conventional tubular frame, built out of bridge sections. It would probably take the power from the QE2, but only has to deal with a soft 500 single. Think low-stress. The Falcone's rear suspension of under-engine springs and friction dampers between the swinging arm and seat rails was replaced by a conventional twin-damper set-up. It was built between 1969 and 1974. Very few (if any) were ever imported to the UK. While it was popular with police forces and the army, in the civilian world it was competing with sporty Brits and the first of the Japanese bikes. The civilan version of the Nuovo Falcone was also ugly, with a wierd dual-megaphone exhaust.

The Italians do not consider the Nuovo Falcone to be a classic - that accolade is reserved for the Falcone. Mick Walker's book on buying Moto Guzzis gives the bike a bad write-up. There are very few in the UK, and no-one has ever heard of them. The Nuovo Falcone is the ugly duckling of the bike world.

Why would anyone want one?

Well, the Nuovo Falcone is that very rare thing, a practical classic. It is a big soft single with a loping pace and impeccable manners. They do not wear out or break. The basic design is very sound, the engineering excellent, and the whole plot was built to take the abuse of coppers and squaddies. The consumable parts are cheap - the bike has just one chain, plus a V belt for the (car) dynamo. It has a sidestand that works, and a main stand that you can lift the bike onto without needing a truss or a friend. The brakes work well, the lights work and it goes round corners. The heavy flywheel and low compression also make starting simple.

Oh, and they're addictive, too.

Failings? The heavy flywheel makes gearchanges slow, and the box has lots of false neutrals. The odd piggyback silencer rusts easily. Er, that's it.

Paul devoted a great deal of energy to a website about the Nuovo Falcone. The original site is long gone, but an archive of it may be found here:

There is also a PDF which brings most of it together into one long read, two versions of which are available from!/paul's-site-download/