The Convert

The Guzzi certainly provided all of those things, notably its wide handlebars and a huge, squashy dual seat that felt more like a waterbed than a typical bike seat.
But the Convert was like no classic bike that I’ve ridden before, and really I should not have been surprised about that. The reason for this Guzzi’s unique feel was its big, agricultural 949cc V-twin engine; or more precisely its automatic transmission system, which meant that my left hand had nothing to do apart from an occasional flick of the indicator switch, while my left boot never had to leave the broad footboard on which it was resting.
Rumbling down some sleepy country roads on this extraordinary bike was a pleasant way to spend a hot summer afternoon, even if the Guzzi’s age, weight and idiosyncrasies meant that riding it wasn’t always as relaxing as the bike’s flat torque curve and zero-effort transmission system might suggest. The Guzzi certainly impressed enough to make me understand why it was well received by most who rode it back in the late Seventies, even if it didn’t convince many motorcyclists of the benefit of automatic boxes.