Boys will be boys
When it comes to his background Tim Woolener shares a common ground with many of us I guess. Starting off at the age of 12 riding a Rayleigh runabout moped on some wasteland near his childhood home. Sounds familiar?
He has come a long way since then though. When it comes to more serious licensed riding, he hit the tarmac on a Yamaha Dragstar 650. Nice first bike, soon to be traded in for some truly heavy stuff; The Triumph Rocket III. Must have been challenging for a youngster riding such a beast.
Trip down memory lane
We love asking our interviewees about their past. It adds color to the picture of a builder. Questioned about fond memories on bikes, the Brit immediately recalls the times on his Harley Davidson Softtail deluxe Bobber. Fighting for the top spot are the trip to Germany and the time he rode into his daughters’ school on this bike. Not because he had a problem with the teachers, but just making sure she made an ‘entrance’ riding pillion celebrating her End of School Prom.
On the saner side, Tim burned some fuel while visiting nine countries in Europe in just nine days, circling through France, Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg, Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and back to the UK. And all that on a KTM 1190 Adventure. Nice!
Life in the shed
For some reason our wrencher takes real pride in the ‘magic’ he performed on a 1959 Lambretta LD150. This was his first endeavor into customizing. His main tools? A hammer and a chisel which he used to hack off the leg shields and pillion seat to turn it into a dirt bike. OUCH! He now regrets not having the bike anymore, but no word about the mistreatment. Fortunately for Tim #MeToo was still light years away.
Coming of age as a builder
This Englishman clearly has a broad taste in bikes and styles, or does he just have a problem making up his mind? Currently, his garage harbors a 2015 BMW R9T, a 2016 Triumph Bonneville, a Honda XL 600R and, last but not least, a magnificent Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk3.
It’s the latter that caught our attention. We love Italian bred bikes, especially when they are treated with excessive love like the one Tim worked on. After the success with his Triumph Bonneville Scrambler as a runner-up in the 2017 Bike Shed Show in London, he felt he could do even better.
“…and they called it Guzzi love”
Inspired by the Donny Osmond song with nearly the same opening line, Tim sketched the outlines of the Guzzi Le Mans cafe racer he had been dreaming of. He loves the stuff our friends from ‘Kafeemaschine’ in Germany put out. However, the ultimate hook was put in much closer to home. London based ‘Auto Fabrica’ have the Guzzi ‘Type 9’. This was exactly in line with Tim’s vision, although with a slightly more steampunk look.
As soon as the drawing board phase was done, he set out to find the perfect donor vehicle for his plans. He finally found a Moto Guzzi Le Mans III via eBay in the Netherlands. In spite of the Guzzi reputation, this specimen would hardly classify as sexy. It looked more like another means of transportation its adventures described in the Beatles song ‘Yellow Submarine’. But still, the Italian formed the perfect base for what our friend had in mind; a British built drive’ cafe racer with a Mediterranean heart.
“Gentlemen, light your torches”
Taking apart a project is one thing, but then shaping it into your dream is quite another. Most of the work he could do himself, but some of the more specialist details had to be outsourced. ‘So-low-choppers’ from Stanton in Suffolk worked on the frame hoop, the seat and were responsible for the pipes, bent from solid tubes of stainless steel, which Tim describes as “awesome”. And we agree. But their involvement did not stop there. The electronic ignition was completely rewired to give the machine reliability and to top it off, the engine and gearbox were powder coated and subsequently, vapour blasted. An excellent choice which gives the Guzzi just that little extra.
Other parts replaced were the battery, which had t make room for a smaller lithium pack. Easier to conceal underneath the gearbox. No Italian breed should be without it, so yes, a leather seat was added to the list of new additions. The tank is made of hand-shaped aluminum by ‘Tab II Classics’ in Wales.
Although the Wrencher from Albion will be tinkering with this already gorgeous piece of work in his shed this winter, we are sure that this mirage is prize bound in many competitions.
Guzzi Le Mans Cafe Racer Mods:
- Rear part frame cut off and hooped
- Frame and wheels powder coated satin black.
- New Firestone tires
- Engine and gearbox soda blasted
- Refit engine and installed electronic ignition with lithium battery
- Tarozzi clip ons and rear sets
- Tomaselli throttle
- New Brembo brake master cylinders + clutch and brake levers
- Bespoke stainless exhaust pipes (So-low-choppers)
- Tab classics handmade aluminum fuel tank with aero filler (Tab II Classics)
- Seat pan and seat upholstered and hand stitched diamond pattern oxblood colored leather
- Carbs Sonic cleaned, re-jetted with new bell mouths
- New high ratio starter
- Total rewire with micro switches, led taillight, new cafe racer headlight and brackets hidden ignition
- relocation of lithium battery beneath gearbox
- Brembo brakes refurbished
- Final polish up of alloy parts