Legal alien in Denmark
Jesper Højer Larsen came to us via the ‘Classic Riders Network’. A valued member of the ‘Århus’ community we spotted him and his vintage Guzzi a little while ago during the 2019 ‘Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride’.
We started talking and found out that the bike has an intriguing biography worth reporting on.
Once upon a time this bike was (obviously) born in the Moto Guzzi factory in Mandello Italy. It was immediately drafted to serve in a local police force somewhere in this country in the Mediterranean.
After the policeman who rode it for his daily work retired, he bought the machine off the force. A few years later his beloved Guzzi took over the Alps and made it to Germany, where it settled with a fan who used it for touring purposes in the summer. One of his trips landed him near the Arctic Circle in Norway.
That’s where our Great Dane came into the picture. While riding back to Germany the two met by accident and Jesper showed interest in buying the Moto Guzzi. Reluctantly the German said goodbye to the Italian and handed it over to our Danish friend.
Jesper had to promise to take good care of the bike and send pictures of the end result after the build. According to the builder the previous owner is happy with what he saw and gave the Guzzi his blessing in a new configuration as a warm blooded café racer.
We love it when guys have an idea in their head and head off to the shed to materialize their vision. Working with a Lilliputian budget there were interesting restrictions to what could be done and over which period of time.
Jesper explains: “ Budget? Did not really have one. I don´t have a lot of money to put into a build, so I took my time and saved up for the big stuff, paint, powder coat and the seat. I also traded favours with people.” Now that’s what we call long term commitment and love for the build!
“So what did you have in mind to start with?” we asked him.
“I always wanted to build a café racer. The idea that you only put things on a bike, to make it go faster and handle better appealed to me. The rest of the stuff that comes with a factory bike is often irrelevant. I always loved the v-twin and I wanted a base bike that not everybody was using for these builds. I also love vintage bikes. So I choose a Moto Guzzi 850 T3 from 1977” he beams.
With the Italian safely tucked away in his garage in Them, central Denmark, Jesper took the long winter evenings to draw up his game plan, lit the torch and set to work on the puzzle.
He knew exactly what transformations were required to turn the ’77 baby into his dreamchild. He set course to make a “long, low and bad ass bike. With muted colours, decals and other nice little details”. The end result was meant to pay tribute to the early café racer style.
The Dane’s fantasy was sparked by looking online at old pictures taken during the heydays of the ‘Ace Café’ in London. The rest came from his own imagination. He had a sufficient storage of ideas in his head which prompted a steady flow of great and leas great ideas to flow to his hands.
Some landed on the Guzzi, while others had an inglorious ending on the hard concrete of his barn.
What happens in the shed…
It was in his own private mancave where Jesper was upping his grinding skills. Once he made the first cut, there was no turning back.
Most of the work was done by himself, while friends chipped in here and there to solve issues he himself did not have the answer to. Valuable lessons were learned. One of the being that cutting stainless steel can be a real bitch if you do not have the right disc for your angled grinder.
The Moto Guzzi was lowered no less than 40 millimetres in order to give it a longer an lower look. Jesper: “I really love those long straight lines in the bike and I think that the lower stance really highlight that particular feature.”
Famous last words
Jesper says: “It´s an ongoing project, that keeps me smiling. My motto is Build, Ride, Repeat and ‘The Lady in Red’ gives me plenty of opportunity for that” (editor’s note: the builder talking about his bike her, not his wife).
“I love the engine! The v-twin delivers the power smooth and manageable and combined with the precise handling, it´s an absolute joy to ride. With only 70.000 original kilometres on the odometer, I am so looking forward to spending many years in her presence!”
The rest Jesper left pretty much stock.