At the time of its introduction, competition for this new “flash bike” came from machines such as BMW’s R90S, tower-shaft 900cc Ducatis, and in-line twins and triples from Laverda. Of these machines, the Guzzi most resembled the BMW in terms of its specifications—a large-bore, air-cooled twin with shaft drive. The sporty Beemer was the definition of a machine that could tour as well as thrive in a sporting environment. The R90S was generally well-finished and slick with a supple ride, while the Guzzi was a brute with a stronger frame and stiffer suspension components, able to bully its German brother in any sort of acceleration contest. With 71 bhp at 7300 rpm and a top speed of more than 125 mph, it was the most obvious street racer Guzzi had ever built. The original Le Mans impressed the motorcycling press with its confident, sure-footed handling, excellent braking and aggressive styling. British racer Roy Armstrong won the prestigious Avon Production Series in 1977 on a basically stock 850 MkI, and even rode the machine for transportation between races.