Guzzi Le Mans buying advice

Apologies if this has already been posted but I couldn’t see anything obvious so here goes!
Having recently moved house I now find myself with some money in the bank (and the permission to spend it!) and room for another bike in my garage. My daily hack is a trusty GS1200 but I’ve always wanted to own the object of my hearts desire since I was a kid - a Le Mans 850.
I know there are a number of options from buying a totally renovated bike which i don’t think my £6,000 budget will stretch to or a doer upper which I don’t think my spanner wielding skills are up to. So I would appreciate any advice from current or previous owners about which model to get - 1,2,or 3 or maybe a number I haven’t thought of!
Also what should I look for when buying, what are the known faults or issues and how hard are they to rectify. For instance I’ve heard lots about dodgy electrics and switch gear so should I look for one with electronic ignition etc? Also what are they like to ride and own? Will I need forearms like Popeye for heavy clutches etc.
Any advice would be very welcome. Thanks for reading and I look forward to any replies. Thanks in anticipation.

My first advice is to try one first to make sure you aren’t disapointed.

I had always wanted a Mk1 and when I saw one for sale at the right price (a good few years ago now) I bought it but after the initial excitement had gone I realised that this gorgeous looking thing was just too small for my frame. I kept it for 18-months (trying to make it work for me) but eventually I admitted defeat and (reluctantly) it had to go.
I replaced it with a 180 Jota (well, two in actual fact) which was much more my size and lasted for many years.

Fast forward and my daily ride is now a Stelvio NTX which couldn’t be further away from the Mk1 but it works for me and doesn’t feel like I am sitting on a micro bike.

I have a Mk 1 which is brill…mine is twin plugged and contrary to popular opinion doesn’t have a heavy clutch or throttle…but then I am diligent about cables…and I cut and pull the springs…
Litch is right…physically a quite small bike, ok for me, I am 5 foot 3. It is fitted with Dyna electronic ignition and their dual output coils for the twin plugs…
1s and 3s share narrower front forks…3s have square barrels which are not as pretty in my view…the 3 is a taller bike so possibly better for a taller rider…
The 850s are sweeter and less vibey than the 4s, 5s and 1000s’s…but not as quick…
I also have a Mk2…near concourse…which has flat handlebars fitted…the fairing on the Mk 2 is very good but not as pretty as the flyscreen…many are retro fitted…the forks are wider spaced and the whole bike feels heavier…
Generally the motors are good, spots on the ground usually indicate a main seal and a pulsing vibration in the right footrest a possible uj failing…
4’s,5’s and the 1000s are more powerful and lumpier…the 4 came with a 16 inch front wheel which generally was not well regarded…they all had longer headstocks to try and make them bigger and so roomier for taller riders…
Le Mans in general are capable old bikes…still relevant today…and are deceptively fast…
Smashin things really…Guy and me have 5 between us…one Mk2 I am considering selling…pm for details…or anything else you want to ask…good luck in your quest…

I always fancied an LM5.

The Mk1 is THE classic LM, but as has been said they are small and carry high prices. One of the mags carried an article “is the last lemon the sweetest?” and concluded it was the most developed. The ‘square’ styling isn’t to everyone’s taste but I think they look OK in red. Unfortunately all the ones I went to see had ‘issues’, and the lovely red had faded to near pink.

They look even better in white, but I’ve never seen a white one for sale.

To scratch my Guzzi itch, I bought a low mileage Griso 1200 in the end! A white one! Love it!GZK6NK2014-10-09 13:31:06

Deffo the most developed, quick and capable…as for the sweetest…in my view not…but Guy likes his…

Thanks for the advice so far. Very much appreciated. Any other thoughts, suggestions and guzzi tales welcome!

Beware of other models pretending to be LM’s ~ this is easy because so many models use the same frame ~ frame number should always start with ‘VE’ for LM1 & 2, ‘VF’ for LM 3. The actual frame numbers range for Mk 1: VE 11111 - VE 17311; Mk 2: VE 17312 - VE 24086; Mk 3: VF 11111 - VF 20700. There’s also several Mk 2’s that have been ‘reverted’ to Mk 1’s (Mk 2 fairing removed). Make sure that whatever you’re contemplating is mechanically sound, else could be a money pit. Unfortunately genuinely good ones ready to go are stupid money.

And… Do what I did. Get yourself a copy of the Moto Guzzi Sport & Le Mans Bible, by Ian Faloon. About £25 on Amazon and very informative on what’s what with all the Le Mans models.

I’ve just been offered a 2004 LM with 12000 miles on it, looks absolutely mint, almost showroom condition, price £5k. does this sound any good?
What faults do I look for?

That will be a V11 Le Mans then, it’s top money for a standard version unless it’s a Rosso or Nero Corsa

Aah…thats a spine frame guzzi…a totally different riding experience from a tonti framed bike…

I’ll leave it alone then, but it does look sooh good and my 6’ 1" fit’s on it!
Find something else to drool over.

Even if you don’t do rallies spend a day at the V Twin in August bank holiday.
You will get to see the bikes, sit on them and talk to the owners.
Day visitors get in for free.

Hah, I always thought that if you didn’t book you didn’t get in which included day visits…all these years (from the 80s)…and now too late…stoopid me.

A slightly different name, maybe a different place but day visitors would still be welcome at any Guzzi Rally AFAIK.
OP the reason I suggested doing a day visit is that electronic ignition, Venhill Cables, whether to de link the brakes, flat top carb conversions etc, all of these will come up and you will get a much fuller picture talking to people who may be into their 4th decade of ownership. Bring a strong aftershave as some of us are getting a bit whiffy.