1957 350 Bialbero DOHC
With Phil Aynsley
The 1957 350 Bialbero (DOHC) was the pinnacle of Giulio Carcarno’s minimalist design ethic and the bike on which Moto Guzzi’s final World Championship was won.
While Guzzi had been racing 250 and 500 cc horizontal singles since the 1930s it was only in 1950 that a 350 cc single fronted the starting line. The 116 kg, 31 hp (at 7,000 rpm) machine showed potential but teething problems meant finishes were hard to come by.
It wasn’t until 1953 that a 350 returned to the works line up and this was a 317 cc adaption of the 250cc Gambalunghino motor fitted into a 250 Bialbero chassis and using its “bird beak” bodywork.
Fergus Anderson won on the bike’s debut at a non-championship race at Hockenheim and then finished third at the IOM. These results encouraged Carcarno to enlarge the capacity to 345cc and contest the rest of the season. It was a good move as Anderson took the title with three wins and team mate Lorenzetti took the runner up spot with two victories. Bikes with both capacities were used.
A lot of development work was done on the 350 over the winter as the motor had displayed reliability problems due to it being taken to the limits of its 250 origins. Anderson repaid the work with a second title (four wins) with Aussie Ken Kavanagh fourth (one win), Lorenzetti fifth and Duilio Agostini seventh.
1955 saw Bill Lomas (four wins) take the championship followed by Dickie Dale (one win) in second. Another four Guzzi riders finished in the top ten! 1956 saw a repeat of the Lomas/Dale one/two. Then in the company’s final year of GP competition Aussies Keith Campbell and Keith Bryen finished first and fourth.
The 350 saw constant development over these years and by 1957 was certainly the best racing single on the track. Much work had been done in reducing the bike’s weight, even to the extent of changing the double leading shoe front brake to a single shoe.
Magnesium and aluminium were used extensively, and the result was a fully wet weight of only 98 kg. The motor was used in two capacities – 345 and 349 cc and a 45 mm Dell’Orto fitted, with output was 38 hp at 8,000 rpm.