How Paul Milbourn Painstakingly Customized A Titanium Moto Guzzi
Paul Milbourn’s original plan was to build the ultimate lightweight Moto Guzzi that can hold its own in custom motorbike design shows. He wanted a motorbike that could handle properly in hard riding even if it is not a polished show pony. His plan was to use titanium but it wasn’t long before the material’s contempt for craftspeople and engineers became too obvious.
For those are not too familiar with titanium, it is a particularly awkward material because at above 400 degrees it will react with nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere making welding a rather impossible feat without a perfect argon shield. However, Paul was committed and his dedication soon won the battle.
Starting from scratch, the backbone of the frame was made from grade 5 titanium with 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium. The engine hangers, sub-frame and swing-arm were made from CP3 grade 2 that is slightly easier to cold-form into bends and curves. The geometry was different from the stock bike with the 20mm reduction in the wheelbase and steeper 25-degree head angle. Under the bodywork is a rather complicated structure of bracing tubes to control the chassis flex. Internally, the backbone meets the headstock with internal fins to achieve additional strength.
Paul did not want the finish to be too glossy that is why he simply rubbed it with Scotchbrite pads and buffed with ordinary metal polish. Machining the parts was extremely difficult because titanium is similar to 316 stainless steel. Paul had to invest a lot of time in sharpening cutting heads and replacing tips. Take note that Paul’s workplace is not a multimillion structure but a humble garage.
There was a myriad of other components that Paul had to make for the custom bike but his extreme engineering experience produced the Paul Milbourn Custom Moto Guzzi Titanium. The custom titanium motorbike was put on display at Bike Shed London 2017.
It is very unlikely that you will be able to buy a customized aluminum Moto Guzzi but there are new and quality used Moto Guzzi for sale through motorcycle dealers in Peterborough and East Anglia. You are invited to the dealership to gain more information about special deals and discounts.