There are a staggering number of motorcycles in Paris. Sit at any café for half an hour, and you’ll probably see more bikes pass by than anywhere else in the western world: from 1980s roadsters to Piaggio three-wheelers to rumbling Harleys.
As you might expect, there are a lot of drop-dead gorgeous customs. And quite a few ‘oddball’ bikes: machines that don’t fit conventional notions of beauty, but have an arresting style of their own. This is one such machine, ‘Midnight Phoenix’—a Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mark III owned by one of the founders of the French custom site 4h10.com.
John is a long-time fan of the Mandello marque. “Riding an old Italian bike on the streets of Paris has to be done with class—and a big engine, a lot of noise and the smell of gas,” he smiles. The Le Mans fits the bill.
He’s upgraded the engine from 850 to 1000cc, shortened the frame and fitted an original Rickman tank. The fairing is from a Le Mans Mark I and the truncated seat unit is hand-fabricated. Up front, the forks have been shortened a little, and out back, the swingarm from a Moto Guzzi California has been grafted on.
Other mods include a new, simplified wiring harness (“Important on a Italian bike,” John notes, with the voice of experience) and neat details like custom-made aluminum air filters for the carbs. The unusual tank graphics were designed by local fresco artists Alex et Marine, and set the bike apart from the crowd. Intéressant, non?
For more despatches from the cutting edge of the French scene, head over to the 4h10 Facebook page.
Images by Daniel Beres.