Three years ago Venier experienced the resurgence of a passion from his youth (he used to modify mopeds as a boy) after receiving a 1987 Moto Guzzi V35c from a local mechanic near his hometown in Italy. The mechanic used to fix Venier’s bikes when he was a child and handed over the V35c for free, happy to be rid of the “junk.”
The untouched ’87 V35c is like an Italian version of a late-80s Honda Rebel and Venier saw in it an opportunity. The 90-degree V-Twin was still in good shape and he loves older, carbureted Guzzis, which he describes as “Italian Harleys.” So he set himself to the drawing board, designing a complete concept on paper before moving to fabrication.
He imagined the V35c as a café because they are “minimal and don’t look like the new insects you see in production now.” But even here Venier improvised slightly on the theme; stopping the straight line of the subframe short with the gently curved underside of the tank, and mounting Tomaselli handlebars instead of clip-ons.
The fender, seat and side-pieces are all hand-made items and the blacked-out scheme was restrained in a few select places, leaving “chrome enough to make the lines of the bike move.” The rear sets were repositioned and megaphone reverse cone silencers fitted to the exhaust, “similar to Megatons but featuring smoothed, shorter end cones with wider outlets,” according to Venier.
He named his creation Diabola. The moniker implies something sinister or evil and compared to the almost lackadaisical stance of the originally-designed V35c cruiser, Diabola is a menace. The worn patina of the unpolished V-Twin implies this quality was there all along, and this is where Venier shines. He’s able to find an essence during early design development and then execute it with precision and subtlety.
Since this first build Venier has completed four other machines and has at least seven in the works. There is a 1980 BMW R100 and Moto Guzzi V1000G5 now in progress as well as two new Guzzis Venier is completing in partnership with Evan Favaro of Speakeasy Motors. One of the new Guzzis is a 2013 California 1400 that the Italian is fabbing into a monstrous café racer, which we can’t wait to see.
If you have a cool custom, know a builder or are a builder yourself with great work to share, let us know. Send us a line at email@example.com.