Moto Guzzi Lodola 175 roadtest

PRODUCT of an Italian factory with a great racing tradition, the 175 cc ohc Guzzi "Lodola" is a sporting lightweight of generally conventional design. The "Lodola'' is a machine which gives its best in response to decidedly brisk but intelligent driving, First impressions are deceptive. The over-square engine gives no immediate indication of its ohc layout; it seems like a slow-revving, heavily flywheeled touring single when the left-hand kickstarter is used to produce a steady, cold tick-over. The maintenance of this slow idling when hot lends further colour to the illusion.

It needs a big handful of throttle and a resolute clutch engagement to convey the idea that there is more to the "Lodola'' than meets the ear. With 30 mph up in 4 1/2 sec, second gear home and the revs rising for the 40-mph change into third, there comes a feeling that such a determined take-off has paid dividends. Intelligence now plays a part, for second must not be held to its all-out 47 mph nor third to its limit of 54; maximum acceleration results from top gear engagement at a true 50 mph, equivalent to an indicated 55.

Given these tactics, the test machine would cover the standing quarter-mile in 22 seconds. Maximum speed, with the rider crouched, was 61 mph. The "Autostrada'' fourth cog was perhaps a shade too high for the undulating British countryside; to reach peak speed took 36 seconds. On anything in the nature of an upward gradient, third was the best gear and full bore was usable, apparently for ever, without either over-heating or other signs of distress.

Value of flywheel mass

All gears, up and down, would go in quickly if determined and continued pressure was brought to bear on the toe-and-heel cocking pedal; stamping was not necessary. A downward change from, say, top to third at 55 mph, was best achieved by leaving the throttle fully open, despatching and letting the gear go home as the revs rose to match the falling road speed - a leisurely change well suited to the engine's flywheel characteristics.

Clutch drag caused three minor difficulties, A rapid change up gave a surge amounting to 3 mph on engaging third at 40 mph; there was a distinct "pull" on the stationary machine, although not so much as to make neutral selection difficult, and the drag completely pre- vented a run-and-bump start with a flat battery. It could not be cured by adjustment.

  The impressive righthand side of the overhead camshaft Guzzi (say it: gutzee) with its rocking-pedal gearchange, standard practice for the Lake Como factory


In top gear, the minimum non-snatch speed, at 17 mph, was low, and acceleration was possible from about 20 mph, Carburating was clean throughout. Heavy primary-transmission whine set in, under load only, at quite low rpm and increased in pitch and intensity until it suddenly faded at 15, 20, 32 and 40 mph in the respective gears. A half-engine-speed clatter from the motor, partially drowned by the typically "sports'' exhaust note under power, was conspicuous on the over-run. 

  (Above) A sediment trap is incorporated in the DeII' Orto floatchamber, (Left) The punitive dualseat, so typical of Italian machines. tilted upwards to show the dipstick of the dry sump oiltank. Note the cantilever rear subframe with the overhung top abutments to the shockers.  

With "everyday'' bend-swinging the machine gave a good account of itself. Even better results could be obtained if one cranked it over really hard. With the silencer rubbing the deck, wheel-grip was retained and no wavering, pitching or snaking set in, on bends either smooth or bumpy. The suspension also gave quite reasonable comfort.

The brakes, too, showed to greatest advantage under "sporting'' conditions. Ultra-rapid, high-speed arrestations could be made with 100 per cent control. At lower speeds, the front unit had so much bite that it caused over-dipping of the "teles", making it advisable to ease off and to kill the last few mph with the back brake alone. Stopping distances from 30 mph on freshly tarred flints were: front brake, 50 ft, back, 72ft. both, 40ft - all good lightweight values. A feature of the Lodola was easy starting. Overall fuel consumption was 82 mpg for the zestful type of riding which undoubtedly produced the most enjoyable performance from this interesting Italian lightweight.


Moto Guzzi 175cc ohc inclined single cylinder four stroke. Bore 62mm stroke 57.8mm, light alloy cylinder and head. CR 7.5 to 1, bhp 9/6000rpm, carb Dell 'Orto UB22BS2, chain driven ohc.

Four speed box in unit with engine, positive stop foot change, ratios 6.7, 8.5, 12.0, amd 19.2: 1. Primary drive by helical gears, secondary by chain, multi plate clutch with individual spring adjustment.

Cradle type with twin down tubes and semi cantilever rear sub-frame.

2 1/4in section light alloy rims carrying 2.50in x 18in ribbed front and 3.00in x 17in studded rear Ceat tyres, offset drums, ribbed at front.

Dry sump with oil tank under seat, gear pumps, detacthable filter element.

6v x 30w belt driven Marelli DN19GA dyno, coil ignition, 10a/h battery, 25/25w headlight, 5w piolet light, 3w tail light, speedo light, ignition warning light, horn.

Moto Guzzi front forks with hydraulic damping, rear swing arm controlled by hydraulically damped two position spring units, spindle adjustment by draw bolts.

Wheelbase, 52in, ground clearance 5in, seat height 29in, dry weight 240lb.

Bright red enamel with white panelling to tank and other cycle parts.