Featured Moto Guzzi Lodola Sport ‘Skylark’
Moto Guzzi Lodola
A model who found success in an unusual field
With Phil Aynsley
The Moto Guzzi Sport Lodola (Skylark) was introduced in 1957 as a 175cc OHC road bike – a somewhat disappointing response to the new Ducati, Morini and Mondial OHC singles which had made an immediate impression in long-distance road racing as the Moto Giro which were so important in Italy at the time.
It was Carlo Guzzi’s final design and the company’s first production OHC bike. However, not all tradition was lost, the flywheel was still externally mounted – but hidden behind a cast alloy cover for a more modern appearance.
However, the bike’s nine horsepower was no match for the Ducati’s 14 horsepower, for example, and the bike was never officially entered in the Giro. Although these races were banned after 1957 in any case. This first motorcycle is a Sport from 1958.
In 1959 an enlarged 235cc version was released and interestingly the engine was replaced with an OHV design. Despite the change in tappets, the increase in capacity meant that power was increased to 11 bhp. A 1961 235 GT is seen here.
It was in off-road competition, however, that the Ladola found unexpected success. Regularity events (such as the ISDT) were becoming increasingly popular and the company having abandoned road racing, the Ladola Regolaritá was born in 1959.
Both 175 and 235 cc versions were built and they reverted to OHC heads. The works bikes won numerous gold and silver trophies over the next few years. Some factory machines were engaged to 247cc and had five-speed gearboxes.
Private versions were made available from 1960 and this 235cc motorcycle is one of them, and still in original condition. Power was up to 14bhp at 7,500rpm at this point, with the bike weighing 110kg, while top speed was 130km/h.