Sven Wedemeyer is one of Bike EXIF’s best-kept secrets. The Berlin-based photographer is deadly behind a lens, and he’s got impeccable taste too.
He’s shot some killer bikes for us over the years, and tipped us off many times. But today we’re putting Sven himself in the spotlight, with one of his own projects—this irresistible ‘oldtimer’ Moto Guzzi V7.
Sven grew up around engines, thanks to his rally driving, repair-shop owning father. These days he splits his time between photography, journalism and media consulting, all under his Wheels of Stil brand. But he also keeps some tools on a farm near Berlin—where his ‘workshop meditation’ takes place.
“I never learned any craftsmanship professionally,” he tells us. “But I love the excitement of trial and error, and those great moments of finding working solutions for a problem.”
“This is why all my work is done on an ambitious, self-trained DIY level. But I consult pros for certain services, such as engine internals or electrics, which I hate.”
A few years ago, Sven sold a Le Mans Mark III that he’d customized. Looking to fill the void left behind, he sourced this 1972 V7 to restore.
“I bought it intentionally to slow me down,” he says. “I was very often tempted by fast bikes on the open road before, and wanted to minimize speed and risk while maximizing the dialogue between bike and rider.”
“The V7 perfectly matches my expectations of a daily driver. She unites reliability and classic, prototypical looks—and a great legacy. There’s just enough power, great sound and relatively nimble handling.”
Sven adds that the drum brakes aren’t the greatest stoppers, but the bike’s idiosyncrasies are second nature to him already. He put 15,000 kilometers into this oldtimer before the final drive started falling apart, kicking off the restoration.
“My goal was to keep the historical appearance of a V7,” he tells us, “while adding some non-standard parts and a few custom bits here and there.”
His first port of call was the fenders: “The small, unnecessary holes in the fenders—reflector mounts for the American market—were a thorn in my side, ruining the overall line!” So he TIG welded the holes closed while figuring out his next step.
With the engine and gearbox ticking over nicely, there was no need to open them up. Instead, Sven stripped everything else down to begin rebuilding.
Local BMW whizz-kids Urban Motor helped install a new final drive, and re-laced the Borrani rims with new stainless steel spokes. The rims themselves were cleaned up and polished.
Sven kitted the front forks with new internals, with the help of special tools he either got from friends in the UK, or built himself.
He got stuck into the wiring too, updating various components to bring the old Guzzi up to muster—it now starts via a car-style ignition. Then a rare set of 29mm carbs was thoroughly cleaned, treated to new seals and installed.
Out back, Sven reshaped the taillight bracket for a more elegant effect, but kept the original ‘Aprilia’ glass. At the opposite end, he’s added a curved Fehling handlebar with some trimmed Biltwell Inc grips.
“It’s the most relaxing driving position you can imagine,” he says. “Just upright in the wind, like sitting on a comfy chair that does the ton.”
Sven’s touch runs deep: he’s replaced as many fasteners as possible with stainless items, as well as a host of seals, bearings and bits and pieces. There are new Bowden cables too, and a set of Bridgestone Battlax BT45 tires. The stainless steel, cigar-shaped mufflers are from Armour Motor Products.
But perhaps his biggest challenge was picking the paint. “It generally takes ages for me to decide on a certain color,” he says. “I always make notes on cars and bikes I see in the streets to research their color code, adding this information to my archive for inspiration.”
A Ford Focus convertible color—Vignale Blue Metallic—caught his eye. “I saw the car in front of a bakery, just before giving up my color search. The Vignale tone blends between light and dark blue with a small addition of turquoise, offering different levels of saturation in sunlight or shadow.” Yes, you can tell he’s a photographer …
After a few Photoshop renders to test the potential, Sven van den Brandt applied the paint. Uwe Graf added the pin stripes, and those classy red Moto Guzzi logos are hand-painted.
To finish the bike off, alloy parts like the cylinder head covers, hubs and foot controls were polished. Sven, however, decided to leave the frame in its original state. “It comes with 44 years of patina,” he says, “I love that!”
Some Guzzistas have already criticized Sven for ‘hacking’ an old classic, but he’s not fazed.
Besides, he’s got too much riding to do—with Sweden, Denmark and Sicily all on the agenda. “It should prove the endurance talents of the Guzzi,” he says. “And add a layer of history to the Vignale blue.”