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Moto Guzzi Targa 750

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Make Model

 Moto Guzzi Targa 750

Year

1991 -

Engine

Four stroke, V twin, longitudinally mounted, OHV, 4 valves per cylinder.

Capacity

744 cc / 45.3 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 80  x 74 mm
Cooling System Air cooled
Compression Ratio 9.7:1
Lubrication Pressure pump

Induction

2x 36mm PHBH Dell'Orto carburetors

Ignition 

Electronic motoplat double pick-up
Starting Electric
Max Pawer 48 hp / 35 kW @ 6600 rpm

Max Torque

59.4 Nm / 6.06 kgf-m @ 5600 rpm
Clutch Single plate, dry type

Transmission 

5 Speed 
Final Drive Shaft
Frame Steel tubular duplex cradle, disassemblable

Front Suspension

Telescopic air assisted

Rear Suspension

Marzocchi 5-way preload adjustment

Front Brakes

2x 270mm disc

Rear Brakes

Single 235mm disc

Front Tyre

110/90 V18

Rear Tyre

120/80 V18

Dry Weight

180 kg / 397 lbs
Wet Weight 195 kg / 430 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

16.5 Lutes / 4.3 US gal

Consumption Average

17.2 km/lit

Braking 60 - 0 / 100 - 0

13.2 m / 39.6 m

Standing ľ Mile  

13.8 sec / 152.9 km/h

Top Speed

183.8 km/h

Everyone knows that Italian bikes are not merely designed, theyíre composed. Conceived and fashioned in bursts of inspiration by some dark-haired young dynamo with flashing eyes and vivid imagination; or painstakingly sculpted by a veteran genius.

Moto Guzziís 750 Targa is not like that at all. The Targa is basically a mix-and-match special; a sort of Ďhits-of- the-Ď80sí compilation consisting of the traditional aircooled V-twin engine from the NTX750 trail bike (not sold here because of its plastic tank), an equally ancient twin-shock chassis based heavily on that of the 650 Lario, and a body-shape and paint scheme filched straight from the current 1000cc Le Mans.

Thatís not a particularly Latin modus operandi, but itís practical. In the case of Moto Guzzi - where new model development has of late been something to be reminisced about rather than invested in - combining existing parts to form a new 750cc roadster is totally logical. The Targa could almost have been drawn-up not by the Mandello firmís designers but by its accountants.

The end product is a motorcycle that looks almost identical to that old bruiser the Le Mans, whose slightly rotund shape and effective top-half fairing it shares, merely making do without the plastic mid-section. But in reality the twins are so different that they feel only distantly related. Where the Le Mans is big, butch and still capable of stoking-up a 130mph-plus head of steam (at least if your wrist is up to holding the stiff throttle open for long enough), the Targa, for all its similarly streamlined lines and scarlet paint, is petite, sweet-tempered and not very fast at all.

The smaller cycleís pushrod-operated two-valve 744cc motor squirts out just 46bhp. To put things in perspective, that is two horses more than Hondaís XBR500 single could manage, but one horsepower down on what Triumphís 650 Bonneville produced almost 30 years ago. The factory claim a top-whack of 116mph for the Targa but the bike I rode needed a run-up even to persuade its speedo needle past the 110mph mark.

If thatís the bad news, then the flip-side is that riding the Targa is a blast out of all proportion with its outright performance. Even the midrange power is nothing to shout about: you have to make use of most of the 7700rpm-worth of space on the big white-faced tacho to travel anything like quickly.

But the way in which the Vee delivers what poke it has largely makes up for that. Guzzi mills have always had a distinctive charm, and the Targaís relatively small-scale powerplant is just the same - even down to the way the whole bike rocks gently from side to side at tickover while the red oil-pressure light in the horribly huge bar-mounted instrument console flickers on and off in sympathy.

There are a couple of slightly rough patches at lowish speeds, though even then the bike shudders rather than vibrates. And as the revs rise the motor just gets smoother and smoother. At 70mph in top it feels as though itís ticking-over; at six grand and an indicated ton, although itís already starting to run out of breath, the Targa wafts along as serenely as an Olympic marathon runner on a gentle jog round the park.

All of which, in conjunction with the refreshingly light throttle and gearchange, means that keeping the motor spinning fast can be as satisfying as the normal big-Guzzi technique of short-shifting and letting V-twin grunt do the rest. The Targa might be closer in capacity to the 949cc Le Mans than it is to the old 490cc Monza that was introduced almost ten years ago, but itís the little bikeís engine characteristics that the 744cc millís delivery more closely resembles.

What really makes the Targa spirited rather than merely annoyingly sluggish is its chassis, which thankfully is almost as light, by current 750cc standards, as it is old- fashioned. Having to contain less than half the power of even a typical Japanese 600 helps, of course, but the Guzziís simple steel twin-shock trellis does a good job nonetheless.

The bikeís dry weight is a claimed 396lb, same as an FZR600, and the Targa - whose riding position is leant- forward and sporty until compared with the Yamís head-down crouch - feels more relaxed yet almost as manoeuvrable despite the anachronism of its 18in front wheel. The pilot certainly doesnít need to muscle the 750 around in the manner demanded by a Le Mans, for example, with its longer wheelbase and 80lb of extra weight. A gentle nudge of the foam-gripped bars has the Targa changing line in obedient response.

Naturally, some aspects of the twinís antiquated rolling chassis work against any attempt to make up in the bends the ground youíve inevitably just lost on the straight. Those 18in rims at either end are skinny by modern standards, as are the Pirelli Phantoms keeping them off the road. Even so, on dry roads the tyres give more than enough grip to get the pipes and centrestand scraping with potentially disastrous consequences at relatively modest angles of lean.

But within those limits the Targa handles well enough, and easily enough, to make it great fun as well as respectably quick. The forks gave a firm yet fairly compliant ride that didnít tempt me to stiffen things up with the linked air- assistance. And there were no wobbles or weaves from the blunt end, either, with the Marzocchi shocks set to their softest preload position. Even the drive-shaft caused no real problems provided care was taken to match revs with speed when changing down.

If the need to tread carefully on downshifts is one long- standing Guzzi trait, then the necessity to use the opposite foot much more than normal when braking is another. In Mandello tradition the Targa comes with a linked brake set- up that connects one 270mm front disc to the single rear rotor; an arrangement long favoured for the balance it brings to two-wheeled braking, which can usefully be accomplished without the rear-wheel skidding produced by club-footed use of most bikesí conventional foot-pedals.
The Targaís linked discs were arguably an asset, although Iím becoming increasingly doubtful that the system now has much to offer on all but the biggest motorcycles (which would be far better-off with ABS instead). In recent years, increasingly powerful front anchors, grippier front tyres, and shorter and lighter bikes have all combined to increase weight-transfer under hard braking, reducing the importance of the rear wheel in slowing down.

This isnít so true of the relatively long, narrow-tyred Targa, which despite a spongy hand lever could be stopped impressively hard with a combination of stamp and squeeze. I still wouldnít have cared to try outbraking an FZR600, for all that. And it is surely no coincidence that Guzziís long-awaited Dr Johnís Replica sportster the Daytona 1000, delayed but now apparently due for release in late spring, has conventional unlinked brakes. The Guzzi systemís years, if not its days, could be numbered.

Or there again, maybe not. Rumour has it that Dr John Wittner has moved up from his former base at Modena to Guzziís headquarters on Lake Como. There, itís said, he is busily transforming the staid old factory into a hotbed of ideas, plans and actions. But Moto Guzziís nature is not to hurry things, and itís likely that they will still be building simple, old-fashioned motorbikes like the Targa in the year 2000, whatever excitement Wittner has conjured-up in the meantime
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It is not the forthcoming Daytona but the old 500 Monza, that pretty little sportster with the red fairing, that is most relevant to the tale of the Targa. In Bikeís test in August 1981 the Monza was rated at 48bhp and was labelled Slow with a capital S after being speed-tested at 107mph. Almost ten years later, the bigger-engined but detuned and bunged-up 750 Targa is two horses less powerful and is quite possibly slower still.
But far from panning the Monza, Bikeís 1981 tester praised the bike for being light, relaxed, economical and Ďa hell of a lot of fun to rideí. The competition has not exactly stood still since then, but the attraction of Moto Guzziís most recent middleweight is much the same. Provided youíre not looking for arm-stretching acceleration, every word is equally true of the Targa.

Source insidebikes.com