The Raven. A Brand New Motorcycle Combining Norton, Moto Guzzi, Honda And American Ingenuity.

Yes, the Raven is a new motorcycle built from the ground up. Built the way motorcycles used to be manufactured, simple, light, fast and easy to handle. No hung decorative piece on this one. True visual pleasure of mechanical parts ready to work…Jeff Gundlach, the man behind this classic and functional creation loves choppers, most of his life rode Nortons and Guzzis, loves the coolness of choppers, bobbers and sport bikes , but didn’t want to build from an existing engine/trans/frame package. His dream bike project started about 15 years ago when he began to contemplate the idea of building a bike using the MG engine and the Norton tranny. Sketches were made but the project never concretized. Until 2 years ago when he felt he owned enough skills (and tools) to actually proceed with his design.

Confronted with mechanical realities, original design had to be modified. Before starting metal fabrication, Gunlach began the Raven project by cutting most of the parts out of wood, easier to adapt and modify than steel. All body work you see is one-off, hand made. Geometry is 25-degree rake for a total wheel base base of 58″. Motor is a ’71 750 stock Ambo with a very light flywheel (3 lbs) As you can see engine is used as stress member and mounted high from the ground for easy cornering. Wheels, swingarm, brakes, forks and steering stem come from a ’68 Honda 350, all parts looking good and quite easy to find for a very reasonable price. Sprocket on the left accepts a 530 chain. Electric system uses a Lucas alternator and digital regulator.

Many of you will wonder about the business aspect of this project. Jeff, living in North carolina, seems to be legally able to build up to such 5 units per year without necessity for him to acquire the manufacturer status. So, the first one you see featured here went to the test of fast spins on the Robling Road racetrack with very satisfying results. Now, the model is waiting for its final pedigree, its official VIN numbers to be stamped on the frame.

Jeff intends to sell the kit to be assembled by owner version, and is also working on a single cylinder version, whose engine has been already tested, demonstrating great potential. To follow… Raven MotoCycles (Photography Frank J. Bot, courtesy to Cyril Huze)

27 Responses to “The Raven. A Brand New Motorcycle Combining Norton, Moto Guzzi, Honda And American Ingenuity.”

  1. 1 Dinky Dot Feb 6th, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Just cause you can, Dont mena you should ..eeek thats a heap of Ugly

  2. 2 Johny Feb 6th, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Weird style, but I like it.

  3. 3 Luis Rommey Feb 6th, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Hard work. Like the wood patterns.

  4. 4 Oldude Feb 6th, 2012 at 8:35 am


  5. 5 ian Feb 6th, 2012 at 8:58 am

    i kind of like the look, but then I like lots of looks – good luck to him, but cant see him making a living out of it.

  6. 6 The Vintagent Feb 6th, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Does the timing side deserve no photo? Looks like he’s used a Norton Commando clutch and gearbox. The Guzzi engine is a v-twin, so turning it sideways makes a kind of sense; as its a 90deg v-angle, the engine is extremely smooth…

  7. 7 BlueStrada Feb 6th, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Well… I must “be stupid… but what the hell is an “Ambo ” engine? As to the bike…. it’s an interesting piece of work… but this is the answer to what question?

  8. 8 mid-north-kustomz Feb 6th, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    to build a bike as this, taking a bit from that , a bit from this,,,, ten times over,,, and you have a fully operational unit, takes skill, and knowhow ! and, it looks the part as well ! old fashioned things will never date. good 4 u . i like it !!

  9. 9 Alan K Feb 6th, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Well done! Hard to fit a 90 degree v twin into a compact endo-frame.

  10. 10 barney Feb 6th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I like it. The kit sounds very interesting too. Prefer my Guzzi engines mounted OEM style though. Nice to see projects offering H-D engines, etc. Good luck with it.

  11. 11 barney Feb 6th, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    EDIT: Sorry
    The above should read “nice to see projects offering engines other than H-D engines.”

  12. 12 B Feb 6th, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    WOW, Ive been riden guzzi fer 40yrs an hav always started a project like this but never got past the prints. luv it, its nice ta see thers still a few of us left. many thanx B.

  13. 13 peejay Feb 6th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Hats off to anyone making a bike, but if you are making one that looks like a classic it really should look as good or better, buy a copy of photoshop and save yourself a lot of trouble,

  14. 14 Bleeding Ears Feb 6th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Jeff don’t quit your day job just yet.

    I like Loud pipes!

  15. 15 CallMeRabbit Feb 6th, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Why? Because he can. The same reason men stand up to pee, Hugh Hefner sleeps with playboy bunnies and Meagan Fox is rude to strangers.

    How many opportunities did this guy have to take an easier way to get to the bike he wanted to build but didn’t?

    He set a goal and achieved it. That’s worth something.

  16. 16 Woody Feb 6th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Very cool! Always great to see someone pursue an idea and succeed, even if they only please themselves in the end they still win. Nicely done.

  17. 17 Spike Feb 6th, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Awesome, I want one!

  18. 18 Nobody Feb 6th, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I like it. I wouldn’t mind one shod with knobby tyres for winter riding.

    ..though I would feel obligated to mount a Edgar Allen Poe bobble-head on the handle bars..

  19. 19 Jim Gianatsis / Feb 6th, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Where to start…. The rear shocks are mounted upside down.

    The front cylinder’s carbutetor airfilter iintake is pressurized, the rear cylinder’s airfilter iintake is in a low pressure air behind the front’s. Jetting and power / balance between the 2 cylinders will be way off at speed.

    Interesting. Definitly back woods engineering.

    I’d probably spike the tires and take it ice racing since it has the cornering clearance…. 🙂

  20. 20 Jeff Gundlach Feb 6th, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Hey Jim,

    No problems with the carbs. It is very crisp and athletic.


  21. 21 Dave Blevins Feb 7th, 2012 at 2:15 am

    You gotta appreciate that much work and problem solving, even if it isn’t exactly your own style or preference, good job dude.
    For you old timers out there, doesn’t this look a lot like an old SuperVee setup, or is it just me?

  22. 22 mid-north-kustomz Feb 7th, 2012 at 3:10 am

    hey davo !! super vee vis a dirty word these days , aint it brother !!! those were the days allright !

  23. 23 10377586 Feb 7th, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Like it or not it took some doing to get it all together, I tip my had to the builder and wish him well.

  24. 24 Mad dog Feb 7th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Oldude, +1 on the Why?

  25. 25 Iron Horse Feb 7th, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Good to see someone building something outside of the box…even if it’s not ‘your’ style. If everyone always built the same old thing, this would be a pretty boring place. That and all the nay-sayers wouldn’t have anything to gripe about except how everything had already been done before. Well done Jeff.

  26. 26 nuno maroco Feb 11th, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Nice bike lots of work, not easy task build a bike like that, congrats to the builder, nice story.

  27. 27 nicker Feb 14th, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Dude, that is Way Cool….!!!!

    Those who ask “Why”…. just don’t get it.
    (and probably never will)


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Cyril Huze