1000 Le Mans DMB – Assembled in Germany
I have no idea why DMB made the decision to build its 1000cc Le Mans special, and no longer source from Italy. I won’t venture a guess. Fearing a difficult search, information on the German-tuned DMB 1000 III came together easier thanks to introductions made on my behalf by Alis Agostini to her German clients. One magical contact turned into another, but also presenting an abundance of information were the period road tests, where editors took turns explaining Guzzi’s allure among German enthusiasts. Some credited a recent Guzzi win at Nürburgring by Alfred Bajohr for the popularity, others insisted it was the wishes of Motobecane CEO Fritz Schaper, who longed to take Ducati’s crown. Perhaps Schaper was motivated to better the performance of the already potent Agostini machine, which in a published comparison against Japan’s fastest tied a modified Desmo 900SS for top speed bragging rights. This is the machine I mentioned early in part 1; the 1000 Le Mans that peaked my curiosity all those years ago. I remain impressed.
Most certainly planned before Agostini’s flow of machines ended, by 1983 Motobecane GmbH in Bielefeld had finalized details to build its own V1000 Le Mans. In Germany, Agostini owner Carsten Tegeler, Friedrich Holtkämper and Bielefeld Guzzi dealer Jochen Hökenschnieder all provided key details. Passed along for study were official DMB specification sheets that list bores opened to 90mm, domed Mahle pistons, and an extremely aggressive ‘360’ camshaft from Schrick. Rigged for top end superiority, the transmission was fit with the long first gear, close-ratio shafts and a 8/33 pinion. Impressively rated at 95-HP, 145-mph plus was possible. Now fully an import special, ownership was made easier by certification through TUV exemptions for racing motorcycles. Seventy copies were reportedly built by DMB and more from kits, but as with any special production build, details can vary. Not surprising, given the fact DMB’s (1985) catalog shows three different fairings alone. Dedicated to providing Germany’s need for Moto Guzzi speed, Holtkämper relayed Motobecane GmbH remained in Bielefeld until its closing in 1998.
Motobecane ’s full color 1985 catalog shows plenty of Agostini bits with German descriptions, but there’s no mistaking DMB’s V1000 for anything else. Taking into account kit-built machines and other variables wearing Motoplast fiberglass, the first DMB-prepped V1000 fit a slightly truncated twin-light fairing, a long, angular bottom enclosure and DMB rear-sets. Retaining the factory seat and spoiler, more changes show Schajor headers, seamless Lafranconi exhausts and Koni 7610 shocks. With reports of blistering performance, the DMB V1000 Le Mans III was again among the top sporting motorcycles available in 1984, and approached the exclusive lure of lofty exotics from Fritz Egli and Arturo Magni.
DMB V1000 Le Mans III
Engine: 90 x 78mm 992cc.
Mahle 10.5 pistons
2 x 40mm Dell’Orto PHM
Chassis: Double downtube cradle w/detachable rails
35mm Moto Guzzi air forks, Koni shocks
Features: DMB bodywork, rear-sets
Top speed: 145-mph – plus
Price: 15.500 German Marks
World market and/or Mandello factory 949cc
1000 Le Mans – CX-100 Commissioned by US importer Berliner, the CX100 was built to satisfy demand for a liter-size Le Mans in place of the 850cc sold elsewhere. This was accomplished by substituting the 949cc engine from the touring Convert into the Le Mans 850II and giving it a new name. Still meeting 1980’s new emission standards, the engine was fit with 30mm Dell’Orto pumpers, double wall headers, an airbox/crankcase breather and quiet dual mufflers.
Viewing Guzzi’s timeline, the CX-100 was clearly the first 1000cc Le Mans, delivered to US buyers well before Agostini shipped its tuned V1000 to Germany. Not ironically, both were built for the same exact reasons, and like Agostini’s twin the CX-100 if often omitted from history. Despite some old bias, Berliner’s 1000cc special nearly equaled the speed of the original 850, and smartly outgunned its more popular brother if tuned with larger carbs and open exhausts.
Le Mans 1000 (IV) Introduced in November 1984, the 949cc Le Mans emerged as a factory model nearly five-years after Agostini’s V1000 made its debut. Restyled as a tribute to Guzzi’s Bol d’Or race heritage, the Le Mans boasted a taller, reinforced headstock, 180mm trees, 40mm forks and a 16” front wheel. Taking some criticism, the model has proven a willing powerhouse, earning a AMA endurance championship courtesy of US dentist John Wittner. Not surprisingly, the engine’s technical specs mirror that which Duilio and his team developed, using 47/40mm intake/exhaust valves and 40mm Dell’Orto carbs. Domed 10.1 pistons and a performance ignition advance worked in conjunction with the factory racing B10 performance cam to develop a claimed 81-hp @ 7000 rpm. “Eventually, some of our development work was shared with the factory, but not all of it,” says Alis Agostini. Properly run in, the 515-lb Le Mans 1000 is capable of clearing 140-mph.
To commemorate 20-years of big twin production Moto Guzzi released the 1000 Le Mans SE in 1987. Identified with slash graphics, black driveline and a close-ratio gearbox, this factory Le Mans moves very close to the liter-specials preceding it. In Germany, DMB continued its tuning program using the factory 1000. Details are few, but the DMB badges hint at more.
Compiling this material over the last thirty-plus years has offered plenty of time to reflect. It’s important to remember that both the Agostini and DMB V1000s were sophisticated motorcycles; built by successful, well-funded tuners in the prime of their careers. With many of the important players no longer with us, a sense of responsibility was assumed by Joe, Bill, Alex and myself to record accurately. Credit most Alis Agostini, and all with our heartfelt thanks and appreciation. There’s even more in the files to share, so expect Part III to close out this V1000 series overview, featuring Le Mans V1000 models assembled in France (Charles Krajka, SUDEM) South Africia (Gary Danielz) and Austraila. In all, the total number of over-the-counter V1000 sports bikes nearly dwarfs Guzzi’s post-1985 offerings, and the popularity of these motorcycles shows there’s plenty of Guzzi history left to learn. Nolan Woodbury