2021 marks Moto Guzzi’s 100th anniversary, and it’s no surprise that lots of people want to celebrate. Over at Deus ex Machina’s Tokyo shop, custom bike builder Tomoyuki Soeda decided to work some magic on a 1980 Moto Guzzi V50. Did he succeed? See for yourself with his resulting custom build, the Deus Beretta.
Moto Guzzi introduced the V50 in the mid-1970s, after Alessandro de Tomaso bought the company. Reasoning that Guzzi needed some smaller-displacement bikes to accompany its 850-to-1000cc twin cylinder range, de Tomaso got lead engineer Lino Tonti to use his shrink ray on the 850 and see what developed. Lo and behold, the V50 was born.
While the formerly chunky 850 Le Mans went from a dry weight of 475 pounds down to a much leaner 336 pounds, most other things shrank as well—including power. The 850 Le Mans made a claimed 71 horsepower at 7,300 rpm, while the V50 topped out at about 45 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. That alone wasn’t a dealbreaker, though.
The real problem came with pricing, which was still pretty expensive by the time the V50 and its ensuing variants arrived in showrooms. The 490cc machine had its charms, and of course still has fans to this day. Still, if you could buy Japanese machines of comparable and even larger displacements (and power) for less money, why wouldn’t you?
Back to 2021, and the Deus Beretta. Soeda’s 1980 V50 build retains the original engine, frame, swingarm, and front fork. He let his imagination run wild with everything else, from tank to tail. The smaller, beautifully shaped fuel tank helps to better accentuate that 490cc twin, which is particularly evident if you look at it from the front. The lines are elegant, slim, classic, and also timeless.
It’s an infinitely refined composition, allowing the V50 to speak for itself rather than sticking a whole bunch of extra attention-grabbing elements in places where they don’t belong. The stitching on the cream leather saddle is subtle, simple, and clean.
There’s a single gold pinstripe that accentuates the dark green paint on the tank, as well as echoes the gold paint used in the Deus ex Machina logo painted on the tank. Gold screws hold the tiny smoked flyscreen in place, and also show up on the seat cowl and tail section like pieces of carefully selected jewelry. The frame is also powder-coated a matching dark green, so there’s a clean delineation between the engine and everything else. As such, you’re left with no choice but to appreciate every individual cooling fin on both cylinder heads.