Guzzi Special Spada-based and seriously modified by Siderock Cycles’

Guzzi Special Spada-based and seriously modified by Siderock Cycles’

Rockin’ The Rock This sword-inspired special from Siderock Cycles has incisive style and a keen edge – although you’ll have to travel to its home in Gibraltar to catch sight of it… Photography Gary Margerum.


This bike is sharp in many ways. Dubbed ‘Schiavona’, the word for an old Italian fighting sword, the Guzzi special is based on a 1983 SP1000 – SP (by luck or by judgement) standing for Spada, which is also Italian for sword…


It’s owned by a customer of Bournemouth’s Siderock Cycles, who shipped the bike to the UK in an articulated truck from his home in Gibraltar. His brief for Pete Hodgson, the owner of Siderock, was to hone it into a classy, high-spec, comfy roadster. “It was a low-mileage (13,000km) Spanish bike in really good condition with no corrosion,” says Pete. “So there was little we had to do to ‘restore’ the bike prior to the custom work.”

Pete started in the belly of the beast, with serious attention being given to the SP’s 948cc engine. After all ports and the like were sealed, the motor and transmission were dry-media blasted, then stripped for inspection. Pete is known for his meticulous rebuilds, and on this Guzzi he refreshed the cylinder heads with new valve guides, polishing the ports, lapping the valves and leak-testing the heads. Different inlet manifolds were fitted to take the new Dell’Orto PHF carbs with alloy bellmouths, while the carbs were jetted to suit.

He also fitted new piston rings, seals and gaskets. The transmission got a brand new clutch, complete with hydraulic conversion. New neutral and oil pressure switches were fitted, too. The gearbox was in good condition, so Pete left it alone.

“I removed the original distributor and blanked off the housing, then fitted a Sachse programmable digital ignition and gave the bike new Dyna coils,” he explains. A new regulator/ rectifier came from Electrix World, while the lithium ion battery has been relocated in a custom stainless box under the transmission. A oneoff wiring loom was made for the bike by Bob Presslie.

To say the electrics have been upgraded would be an understatement. The bike now sports a suite of Motogadget parts, including an M-lock keyless ignition switch. Motone push-button handlebar switches include a starter button located in a new stainless top yoke nut, while the yoke itself – made by Rob Smith Engineering – incorporates new Renthal Fat Bar mounts and clamps, Motogadget Motosign LED warning lights and instrument mounts. The bars themselves are ABM satin silver Fat Bars. You want more electrickery?

Bar-end LED indicators from Speed of Cheese Racing USA, plus rear LED indicators by High Sider, Germany are mounted in the ends of shortened rear frame tubes. The tail light is a billet alloy LED unit from Lane Splitter Garage, Australia. The headlamp was milled from billet alloy by Komptech, with machined holes for the speedo and tacho cables to pass through, while the original clocks were refurbished and are now housed in a new pair of billet alloy surrounds. The headlamp brackets are made from bespoke alloy plates and tubes, again by Rob Smith.

At the owner’s right hand is a quick-action twin-pull Tarozzi throttle. Radial Magura 190 levers have integral alloy reservoirs by Alloy Art, USA, while the hydraulic clutch guarantees quicker launches.

The frame and forks have not escaped Pete’s attention. In addition to the shortened rear rails, the top frame tubes have been modified to take a later-style engine breather, while the frame has been de-tabbed of unwanted brackets. For the bike to accept a slightly wider rear Avon Roadrider tyre, the shaft tube has been modified. Feet rest on alloy rearsets from Route Fiere in Italy, while a satin stainless exhaust from the UK’s OS Exhausts bellows.

In case you were thinking this old Guzzi’s handling might be rusty, Pete has sharpened this, too, with forks from a Guzzi Breva 1100. The 45mm legs are shortened by 10cm and house modified cartridges. The shocks are by The Shock Factory in France – fully adjustable and slightly longer than stock. The original cast wheels have also been replaced with a set of refurbished, stainless-spoked 18in Borranis.

So, it goes, it handles… but does it stop? Well, the brake discs are custom-made, stainless 320mm floating rotors, mounted on billet alloy carriers made by Davide Carforio of Route Fiere, while the calipers are later four-pot Brembos, refurbished and fitted with sintered pads. We’ll take that as a ‘yes’ then.

To top the whole build off, The Tank Shop fabricated a gorgeous alloy fuel tank with a Monza filler cap, and Wicked Coatings of Poole did the paintjob. “It’s finished in Kia Celeste Blue Pearl over brushed alloy and topped off with a subtle fade-out fish scaling on the back of the tank,” says Pete. “A light dusting of metal flake was applied in the top coat of lacquer.”

The glassfibre through-frame storage box incorporates some of the electrics and a removable side panel with a secret magnetic catch. Each side features a solid bronze hand-engraved plaque made by Gibraltarian artist Christian Lima.

Pete is well known for his BMW boxer specials, but Guzzis are gaining prominence in his repertoire. “There are lots of similarities between Guzzis and BMWs,” he says. “Shaft drive, car-style clutch, air-cooled twin, even electrics. Both have really torquey engines and are easy to work on. More people want comfort, style and quality parts for their specials. Bikes just like this Guzzi.”

ABOVE: 37 years after it rolled out of the factory, this SP1000 now packs comfort, good looks and performance to match RIGHT: Bronze plaques on each side are hand-engraved

FAR RIGHT: LED rear light housed in billet surround from Australia’s Lane Splitter Garage.

FAR LEFT: Original clocks sit in billet casings above beefed-up bars LEFT: New inlets accept Dell’Orto PHF carbs and alloy bellmouths RIGHT: Striking fish-scale effect incorporates paint from a Kia Celeste


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