Living With the Moto Guzzi California Vintage vintage motorcycle


One week with Moto Guzzi California Vintage Street Cred without "wannabe" Moto Guzzi has more "cruiser street cred" than most give it credit for. They have been around continuously since 1921; beyond anyone else than Harley Davidson. But for Harley Davidson, Guzzi has built cruisers longer than anyone else – their first cruiser in the incarnation that you see above comes out in 1967 with the V700. Guzzi has always wanted to build "big" bikes, but we have to adjust the scale. Italy, which was Guzzi's largest market for most of its life, had the manufacture of street bikes with less than 100cc for decades – a cycle over 300cc was considered "great".

Guzzi was at the top of the pile early with the production of 500cc bikes that were reliable and sporty. The 50's Falcone in the 50's is an excellent example of this, a bike with incredible reliability, to the point where an American Guzzi Club member is an original owner of two, both of whom were driven close by for more than 50 years! Guzzi builds cruisers, and they have built them for a long time. This is not a late-coming, with me, bandwagon cruiser, built to exploit a niche that came from Harley-Davidson's Renaissance. Moto Guzzi knocked it out for several years when companies with better resources and larger dealer networks went everywhere.

The thing is, they never gave up, they never stopped building the platform, and they were true to their mission. The current "cruiser" platform is built around the laterally mounted V-twin engine (originally 700cc, now 1100), which runs through an in-line, car-type transmission straight through to a drive shaft and waste operation. After more than 40 years, it is a highly refined system. The engine can best be described as a "two-cylinder small block, American V-8". This is really not a stretch. The comb is in the way, there is a conventional swamp, it has a hemi-head with pushrods and rockers.It also makes gobs and gobs torque, is incredibly easy to work on, and is dead-nuts reliable. California Vintage is a celebration of this linage, from the first V-twins, through the Police Cycle era and up yesterday today. The first California appeared on the Eldorado platform, all white striped blacks with a white trimmed "buddy seat". So what did the Moto Guzzi do with this (argument begins here) most popular platform cross cycle ever from Europe? The second oldest ever built cruise platform? They continued to refine it continuously

The refinements are many. Brakes are sport-bike standard Double Brembos front and a single rear. The 1094cc engine has a smooth, random injection system. The exhaust gas meets the tough Euro-3 standards, and the standard bags are of the highest quality and perfectly integrated into the design. The seat is just plain sweet. The windscreen has been tested to ensure an even flow around the rider. The suspension is supplied with a Marzocchi hydraulic telescopic fork with reset and compression adjustability. The rear suspension is ubiquitous shock with pretension and compression adjustability. The Guzzi sound is still there. It sounds like no other v-twin engine, unlike their more "me-too" cruiser late-comers. It's kind of V-Twin, but more "small block". Brings the smiles of the bag, and you do not enter into the "Harley patented their sound" conversation. Unique is good. It looks like a real, honest, good-natured, Magnum Force police bike. Cal weighs in at about 560 lbs, and it really shows when the tours are shown in front of you. You have a choice of three switches at any "happy speed".

The engineers didn't give in to the drag-racing slick-back deck look. It's all Guzzi, and that means it's not a Harley, Harley clone, Harley-Wannabe; Harley something. It's anti-Harley on the cross market. It's the non-wannabe. It is the Cruiser Bike for anyone who rides many sports bikes. The combination of suspension, brakes, handling and balance makes it a cycle for a non-cruiser-cruiser-buyer. Guzzi didn't give in to fads, it stuck to their principles. No fat tires or large cubic meters just aren't needed. Goosen will definitely go "fast enough" (Jim Barron of Rose Farm Classics claims well over 135mph).

If you want to ride a lot, anywhere, anytime, in a comfortable riding position that doesn't require kidney belt and three bottles of Advil for your sore arms and buffered neck, this is your bike. I arrived at 5am on Friday morning and knew I was going to California Vintage for the job. I had just wrapped up a two-week test of the Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport; this was different – it would be three hundred miles of riding on a real, honest and good-natured sumbitchin ready-to-long-road cruiser. I picked up the bike and drove ginger off. I thought it would be a much heavier bike than I used to, but after a few miles I was surprised by the emotional feeling. It was not as close as light and "zippy" like Breva 1200, but it was moving nicely and the not-too-fat tires had outstanding swing. I knew I would have to tweak the suspension a little, but not as much as Breva. Funny, it has almost as many adjustments, more than my Ducati even. The steering support is also a good addition, because the windshield requires it. This is the first floor-equipped bike I've been in for about 16 years. I didn't know what to expect. My friends said that Cal's floorboards were small, that "it needed highway pins", and "there's no place to move your feet around". Well, I have a size 12 shoe, and I found a couple of things from the bat:

  • I had never heard of full floating floorboards before and I like them.
  • I could move my feet in different positions while driving a long way.
  • The big jars at Vintage do not prevent the highways, although I found a place where I could hang my heels very comfortably without them.
  • The small stick used as a pivot for your brake lever is a very smart idea.

General Riding Unpleasant.

The affected backbones take a little getting used to, especially after Breva's motard-y rack. Once again, the big 1100 pulls like a rhinoceros, even below 2000 rpm. Gearchange is "guzzi simple", which means you "push and hold" each gear until you release the clutch. If you want something a little faster, get the 6-speed at Breva Sport / Griso / Norway, as it is much more refined. The five-speed Guzzi, slow as it is, is wonderfully separated to go on the street. The first gear is quite useful, and I found myself cruising in the streets of Santa Barbara first in the light, just shifting when I had some yardage between me and the next stop. The first combination enables easy maneuvering and fine "zippy" movements on the streets. If you expect the slouched-over, the riding position "lone, unloved and apathetic biker" that many cruisers offer, you will be disappointed. The best position on this bike is a standard straight up and down, almost cop-like. It's convenient, gives you lots of visibility – you're eye-to-eye with drivers in all but the highest SUVs. Friends who see me on the road say that I look better on this bike than the others I have ridden – time to talk to the lady and see if she likes white or black.

The controls have a nice "retro" look, but they are definitely modern. Italian bike owners will know this layout. The coupling is lubricious, allows a lot of suspension and never gives a hint of wood or binary grip. The instrument all has a little retro character, and this is also attractive, down to the speedometer that reads about 10% optimistic.

It seems that Guzzi had some leftovers from my old one, as they read almost identically. The brakes took a little getting used to. I am more of a "front brake" person, so I usually apply the fronts and then light the brake brake for a sedimenting effect. It appears that Guzzi Linked brakes work well for this, although I slightly adjusted my technique to just use the front brake lever to slow down the speed and rear lever to get down to business. For those who do not know you, the coupled brakes on the Moto Guzzi bicycles use the left front panel in conjunction with the rear disc. The front brake lever only operates the front right Brembo.

The combination is both effective and safe. Hard to high side a bicycle with linked brakes when used correctly, as you can modulate the speed of both wheels with the rear lever. Cal is narrower than current vogue tires making the bike turn beautifully. I had to adjust the steering support for quick turns, as it tends to have an uncomfortable wobble frequency around a specified 80-90 in the large sweepers without it. Once called in, everything disappears. The adjustment of the suspension is also welcome, which gives me a very comfortable ride with dynamic handling capacity. Brightness, if such a word can be used with a cruiser, is obvious. The bike weighs in at just 560-ish pounds, which means that the "Guyzys" flick ability is compared to its rivals, and also accentuates the already high standard Brembos abilities. The 1100cc engine is nicely matched with this bike – no other engine is needed as you travel smart and lightweight, not loaded with unnecessary accessories, googues and an extra 700cc or more to pull it around. Riding in traffic The first few miles north of 405 from picking up the bike showed a nice light cruise in moderate traffic.

As I approached LAX, the traffic stopped and the commuter train stopped, giving me the choice to share lanes or sit. Like most California riders, I chose the former, but be careful when adapting to the great Guzzi systems and controls. I have to thank Clint Eastwood and others for giving the Guzzi the look of human mind. My black jacket, white Shoei helmet and windshield / light combination separated traffic like Charlton Heston in a red bathrobe. My urban camouflage was very successful. Still, the bags on Guzzi do not stand out as they are past the bars or floorboards (I think this is part of their engineers' philosophy as exhibited by Norway's similar layout) and the sincere attitude gives you so much control over the cycle as the sounding of lane is not the excitement I had expected. Puppies and kittens to it.

Cavernous bags are a commuter joy. I could pack all my goodies in the side bags, and the real show stopper was the opportunity to put my 17? Mac laptop without having to start running. I could easily have fit five one side! We talk food box here. The bags come with an inner case, they open very wide and have of course locks. I was urged to keep them locked at any time to prevent accidental opening, not trying to find out what would happen if I didn't. The only note about the bags would be to expect to paint the lid once at a time because you will beat them from time to time when mounting the bike. I don't think this is a big thing if you run it a lot, as things happen and it's just part of riding.

Guzzi is so fun to ride I don't think any of them will be bought as hangar queens anyway. This is a real, heyman, ride-me-everyday bike. I like how I feel and look at it. I like to be seen on it, but I wouldn't ride it just to be seen on it. Is it meaningful? Cool vs. Checkbook Cool. Looking for a Cool Cruiser or Big Bagger? California Vintage is "Serious Cool" Cool is Fonzi before Shark Tank. Cool is James Bond before Roger Lazenby. Ford before Pinto. Blues brothers before Belushi died. While it is certainly certain that some people who drive motorcycles from "The Motorcycle Company" are cool, it is not because they own Harleys. They are cool and they chose to ride Harleys.

But there are people who are cool and they choose to run Vespas. The issue here is the large number of people who buy Harleys and other "lifestyle" motorcycles because it will make them cool. This is "checkbook cool". No work is needed, just add money and you're cool. To whom?

Well, definitely to others who did the same and wrote a check. After all, you tie in the armor and the whole card house can crash! If suddenly protesting against everyone spending all their money on being good looking, it is not cool anymore, then the now known "bubble" in the special "market for cool" would break, and you "D have a lot of equipment and associated pieces like Flooding the market, and everyone would try to get something else that is cool.A classic example of this is the Ferrari market shortly after Enzo died.It went through the roof and then blasted as speculators who paid unreasonable prices could not find anyone to buy, The dumping started that almost 20 years later, only about 50-75% of the values ​​were at that time, I am not saying the Harley market will crash, I do not realize that people will stop buying cruisers, my point is to buy something based on facts , whatever you want, and consider all options, too often I talk to people who want to get a cruiser, maybe their first, and they are fixed on Harley, and only Harley.

Sometimes you have Yamaha, Suzuki, Victory or others in the mix, but I don't hear anyone saying, "How about the great Guzzi" or "I thought Guzzi but want Roadliner" etc. California Vintage is not on its radar. Why? Lack of logo underwear? No lifestyle? What!?? Guzzi is a good bagger for the serious rider. Guzzi gets in the papers, but the European editor for one of them really likes nothing but 150 horsepower or a nameplate in Munich and only continuously "bags" on Guzzi to the American public. Shame on him. Guzzi is well suited for the American buyer and the market. Large, long roads, many friends with bicycles, a loyal following and a requirement for reliability. California Vintage is a generous affair. If you were to upload another cruiser with big bags, custom seats, windshields, sports bike-level front fork and adjustable rear impact, you would be lucky to get under $ 20-22,000. Still, here's your California Vintage, with an incredible seat, best residency, mongo bags, and stylish integral base platform display, standard for $ 15K. Some editors clump it against the sports star because of its weight and engine size, but the real comparison is the big baggers. If your cool idea is:

  • Easy and manoeuvrable
  • Reliable
  • Experience and style without too much bling
  • Comfortable two-seater, but not barcalounger
  • 43mpg
  • Something different
  • An incredibly open and friendly owner group
  • You want a good commuter cruiser.
  • Oh, and you don't buy a hangar queen. You are found on the road!

If you think the above list defines "Your Cool" – You should consider Guzzi. You should go to California Vintage and see if it's for you. Find out when the dealer will have to go and get on the bike. Fill the bags. Bring the white helmet and sunglasses, and you are the CHP – 1972. Retro with some serious riding chops, it's California Vintage. California Vintage jumps into the modern world of 1972 as Bob Beaman's long jump. It can't be your bike, but it's worth your consideration. You will be pleasantly surprised. Your first "Big" Cruiser I'll go out on a limb here and recommend California Vintage if you've never had a bagger before. The reason for this is that it is easy. Some of the really big bikes are incredibly difficult to get in and out of parking lots, let alone get around parking spaces. They are not easy to hang on, and can be quite dangerous for someone who does not have much experience, or does not ride much. Guzzi is well suited for being a conservative geometry and low center of gravity allows a less experienced rider to easily get around a parking lot and build serious confidence on the open road. Sweepers and bumpy twists do not get much in no time, and the linked brakes and spring weight controls allow the rider to stay on a newspaper. It is a very easy bike to ride, and if you drive a lot, it is very rewarding, because you can only dry some of the big cruisers through the twisties.

They can pass you on the lines (but I force it). If you're like me, it doesn't matter because I don't run a lot with someone trying to die or attract too much attention from John Q. Law. Cal is your friendly neighborhood, happy speed bike that is the cruiser that sports bikes and sports tournament types should buy. It is the cruiser of the rider who will roll in some big miles next year. A side-by-side comparison of California Vintage and Harley Davidson Heritage Softail … After driving California Vintage around, I thought it would be nice to compare it to the group's "standard" – Harley Davidson Heritage Softail. I chose the sofa bed because it has a similar look and purpose. It is a luxury bike with a clear windshield, bags, etc. It is the purpose of "retro"; cop-like, long miles, touch retro and, as the name suggests, "Heritage". I think this is probably a correct description of the great Guzzi as well. The price was a little hard to count. Moto Guzzi has a single price, $ 14,999. There are no "ups" involved. You can only buy three accessories, and they are all luggage, a luggage bag, tail bag and a lid. That's all. If you want to add 40 kg of leather and logos, you are pretty unlucky here. Bonus in my opinion, because you will not sell a whole lot of things you do not just need, the dealer can upload your price outside your door. Guzzi is unique enough as it stands. Harley's base is $ 17,999. There is a shipping cost of $ 330, wire wheels are an additional $ 500, California emissions are another $ 200 and a security system is $ 345. So now you're at $ 19,199. Oh yes. Guzzi has the killer Marzocchi fork. Harley has it too, but it's another $ 1400. Hard bags similar to Guzzi will be an additional $ 800. So now we are up to about 21,399. It's an extra $ 6400 to pack it as the Moto Guzzi California Vintage.

So what do you get for the money? You get the Harley nameplate, so all your friends will immediately know that you are part of the audience and "stayed in the box". You get the same warranty (2 years), but I did not see road assistance, which is what is offered by Guzzi. How about power? Do you get more power for your money? Well, Guzzi's 1094cc engine lists its horsepower as 72hp. Harley does not list the horsepower figures anywhere on their website, but after a Google Search, I found the highest production set at 82hp for their 96c. (1570cc) lump. When you gain weight, I get 9 pounds per horsepower for Harley and 8 pounds per horsepower for Guzzi. So $ 6400 gives you another pound per horsepower for Harley, because the highest numbers I could find are accurate (I also found lower). Harley also delivers an extra 11 ft / lbs of torque, which is really nothing to sneeze at. So, dollar-wise, it costs $ 640 per additional horsepower, and $ 582 for each additional foot-pound torque. Of course, Harley will be most happy to put more ponies under your butt at an additional cost.

You can also just live with soft bags in stock in Harley and save more money … I fell in love with the Marzocchi forks. You can take them out of Harley if you want, but the management will definitely suffer and Guzzi will just leave you in the twist. Maybe it's not you, but probably I think if you are thinking of a Guzzi you are probably very interested in how the bike should handle and move. Guzzi does not publish his lean angles, but from my experience they are extremely sporty. Harley notes that the tilting angles are 29 ° or more, and I am sure that Guzzi gently tights this. The big, bad brembos are something else that Guzzi has like Harley not; I couldn't find this available from Harley – I'm sure they are available aftermarket, just pony up money. I guess it depends on what you want. Many think it is extremely important to belong, and I appreciate it very much. Harley's society is very strong and definitely has a long and large lifestyle.

You will never have much of a "bad boy" picture of a California Guzzi, besides the bad cops from the Magnum Force. Guzzi points directly to riders who want a good handling, comfortable and reliable luggage to enjoy long distances. After all, rides, comfort, handling and braking become very important. Harley will definitely hit the road, enjoy the mile, and you will belong to the "club" – and pay the extra $ 6400 in "fees". I have never been much of a "carpenter". I am a Guzzi enthusiast and I will easily admit that I am happy that Guzzi compares so favorably. The Moto Guzzi National Owner's Club is a good organization that I just haven't come around to join, and yet my friends in the club still invite me to their rides and treat me as a member when I show up. I think the debt drives membership there. The club is very family oriented and friendly as all-out. The meetings definitely have no "racy" about them, in fact, they are more anarchic than anything else.

I think I've met the club president, but no one ever discusses club policy, so I think he was elected by missing a meeting. I guess it depends on what you want, but I think a side-by-side comparison of Heritage and California Vintage is a worthy one. The great Guzzi really packs a huge value for money, and it is a real pleasure to own and go. I knew this day would come … Ok. It's not my bike. I've shared it. I had less time with the Breva 1200 Sport than GuzziUSA was kind enough to let me go. I took back Breva and loved the bike, but I knew it had to continue to a happy owner. This time it is different. Guzzi got under my skin. This bike is the "girl you take home to mom". I wasn't ready to let go. I woke up early and decided to cycle from Northridge down to Newport Beach in the Friday Morning Rush Hour to have lunch with a college buddy. I had not really experienced the Los Angeles center in very heavy traffic, and I thought I-5 at 9am would be a perfect melting hook. This is not a short journey. Over 70 miles on LA's inner-city road in the heart of Orange County. I would travel across areas that are some of the busiest in the United States.

Names like East LA Exchange, where 110, 10, 5 and 60 all meet in a pasta bowl with roads, and further south waved "Orange Crush" near Disneyland. I would definitely do a little lane split today. I was hoping that the great police bike-inspired Guzzi was up to her legacy. For a Cruiser, Guzzi is not exceptionally wide. As far as I can tell, the mirrors extend slightly longer, but not so much.Ride height is perfect for heavy traffic.You sit high and can see all but the biggest SUV drivers in the eye.When you are in the canyons between them, this is and A good set of headlamps definitely a plus, the day began to warm and continued to warm up to the typical Santa Ana Ana Indian summer day known in the region, a great test for the bike, stifling hot, heavy traffic and a great cruiser. as canyon carving, but if you live in LA or any big city, considering the purchase of this wonderful, great Guzzi, then you are sure you want to know that it can live in traffic under difficult conditions. Once on the 5th south, I cruise in comfort until I reach the north of downtown LA. The traffic is backup. I started weaving between the well-equipped cars as they moved at 45-55 mph. Absolutely no problems.

If anything, the front windshield was too effective because it moved the air around me instead of through the openings in my jacket. I continued as the traffic deepened and the myriad ramps in the East LA exchange approached, indicating that stopped traffic and real speed with slow speed were in my future. When I worked my way through the traffic I noticed that I was breaking through cars like butter – only the narrowest passages had slowed me down or stopped, and this had a lot to do with Cal being "someone else's bike". Lane splitting is a black art that involves profiling vehicles / driver combinations around you, spotting goof balls on cell phones, putting on makeup (sharp objects near your eyes in speed? Dumb!), Or even reading the paper. It also means that people look back and forth in their rear-view mirrors that make eye contact with you. These are the really scary, because you don't know if they will move out of the way or commit assault with a deadly weapon. So I take it easy. Hello! I'm on a cruiser.

There are some squids that I released, happy to risk a little more. I'm 47, take my Friday, and headed for lunch on a bike that is given to me for a week. I'm sure you won't screw this up, "Guzzis will come out and I want my butt on them as soon as I can arrange it! Roads are widening and releasing in Orange County. Great HOV courses, smooth roads and I am in business all the way to Newport Beach. Arriving from 55, I realize that my friend, Dean, has moved his office. I'm calling, and he's in a meeting. I still need gas, because I want to fill the tank before I return the bike. It's time to take up one thing to remember about living with California. The idea is kind of on the small side. I know it says that it holds 5 gallons, but I have ridden it 25 miles with the backlight and still put only 3.8 in it. Jeeeeezzzussss! Can the Guzzi engineers give us our 6 gallon thoughts back from the 60s? With these wonderful bikes turning 43 mpg, we would have some RANGE! The seats and riding position are comfortable enough for two plus steps, let's do some tanks that extend the ride. Ok. Run over.

Had a nice lunch, a few laughs and realized that Mall Food in Newport Beach is very different from Post-Nuclear-Battlefield food served in the shopping centers of the Eastern San Fernando Valley. Time for the last ride up 405 in rush hours to California's last stop. More lane splitting, lots of bumps (405 is incredibly rough) and final arrival. I come here a week after picking it up, just 10 miles short of 1000 miles in total. I rode really hard, thoroughly enjoyed it and left with a sweet taste in my mouth. The time to go home and negotiate with the lady …