Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 – Day 3 Tweaks and Tech Specs

This is the third installment in the series.  The previous installment is here.

After two weeks of solid riding every day, one rain storm and a possible job offer that would require a move to Chicago, I capitulated to my wife, Sheila, and stormed our house, cleaning out all the junk and stuff that I would not want to take on a move.  Benefits include a garage with enough room to park the bikes, a happy wife, and some time at the end of the day to tweak the bike’s suspension settings, go through the technical specifications, and jot down some thoughts with respect to what I would want in another bike (and who doesn’t want more bikes!) if it were to be my “go-to daily rider”.

Let’s look at the Breva 1200 Sport’s Specifications.  The stuff that mattered to me is in bold:

Type 90° V-Twin, 4 stroke
Cooling system air cooling
Displacement 1,151 cc
Bore and stroke 95 x 81.2 mm
Compression ratio 9,8 : 1
Maximum power over 70 kW (95 HP) at 7,800 rpm
Maximum torque over 100 Nm at 6,000 rpm
Fuel injection system / Ignition Magneti Marelli IAW5A, α-n type; 2 Ø 45 mm throttle bodies, Weber IWP 162 injectors, Lambda control, twin spark ignition
Exhaust system stainless steel, 2 into 1 type with catalytic converter, height-adjustable muffler 



Gear 6 speed
Internal ratios 1^ 17/38 = 1 : 2.235      

2^ 20/34 = 1 : 1.700 

3^ 23/31 = 1 : 1.347

4^ 26/29 = 1 : 1.115

5^ 31/30 = 1 : 0.967

6^ 29/25 = 1 : 0.862

Lubrication splash
Primary drive helical teeth, ratio 24/35 = 1 : 1.458
Secondary drive Compact Reactive Shaft Drive CA.R.C.; double universal joint with floating bevel gear, ratio 12/44 = 1 : 3.666
Clutch double disk, dry


Frame tubular cradle, high tensile steel
Wheelbase 1.485 mm
Trail 120 mm
Rake 25°
Steering angle 32°
Front suspension telescopic hydraulic fork with Ø 45 mm and TIN surface treatment, preload adjustable
Front wheel travel 120 mm
Rear suspension single arm suspension with progressive linkage, rear shock absorber adjustable in rebound and pre-load (hydraulic)
Rear wheel travel 140 mm
Front brake twin stainless steel floating disc, wave type, Ø 320 mm, 4 opposed pistons
Rear brake single steel fixed disc, Ø 282 mm, floating caliper with 2 parallel pistons
Wheels three spokes, light alloy wheels, gravity die-casting
Front wheel/Rear wheel 3.50” x 17”/5.50” x 17”
Front tyre/Rear tyre 120/70 ZR17” — 180/55 ZR17”


Length 2.195 mm
Width 840 mm
Height 1.160 mm
Seat height 800 mm
Ground clearance 185 mm
Dry weight 229 kg
Fuel tank capacity 23 litres
Reserve 4 litres
Colors Black, Red
MSRP $13,590
Two-year factory warranty and 24-hour Roadside Assistance come standard.


Discussing the specs:

This bike has more than enough power to get the job done. The torque, at 74 ft.lbs, is absolutely stump-pulling for a bike weighing in at 504.  Combine this with an engine that red-lines at 6500 rpm and only a slight over-bore, and you can expect quite a bit of grunt where you want it — low and mid-range, where, if you ride daily, ride far and in all kinds of conditions — is where you want it.

Why I don’t care about “track-ready” bikes:

It’s just bitchin’ to have max torque and horsepower come in at some kind of mind-numbing 14,000 RPM.  But really, isn’t this just wasted for every day?  I’m sure that the Cycle magazines would argue this point as they rely on advertising and every ad in most are pointed directly at Rossi wannabees that think that having a no-compromises bike for the street is just perfect.

Well, I guess I got old and practical, but I probably ride more and farther than most squiddies.  I’ll bet that their skills are honed more tightly than mine. I ride happily within my limits, discover new ones at a conservative pace, and realize that riding a race-ready bike for the street is uncomfortable and downright dangerous.  Yes, dangerous.  Because you’re going to ride the bike hard simply because there’s so much of everything available — and eventually the weasels will find you.  

You’ve got to be 100% right all the time, surrounded by cops that want to arrest you, road surfaces that would make racers walk away from a track, and enough cagers in every mile that have the capability of writing your epitaph between cell phone calls.

I enjoy riding but don’t have the courage of a drunk bear.  I want a bike for realistic street conditions, and the Breva 1200 Sport has proven itself an outstanding contender in this category.  The only problem I’ve encountered was the rough ride that I wasn’t sure I could address — turns out that the suspension is VERY adjustable, at least as much or more than my ST2, and enough to cure my problem.  A previous rider had cranked up the rear suspension to teeth rattling levels, which, after softening up by two cranks, should make the 180 miles I ride tomorrow as pleasant as I’ve ever had.

So, What do I want in a daily, long-distance-commuter bike?

  • Big, grunty torque
  • Comfortable seat
  • Comfortable, upright riding position
  • Smart protection from wind blast
  • Reliability
  • “Sense” of “narrowness” for lane splitting
  • Excellent low-speed manners
  • Smooth ride
  • Nice growl, but unobtrusive
  • Clear instruments
  • Visibility
  • A “presence” when next to, or behind, vehicles.
  • Stopping power that is predictable and progressive
  • A place to move my feet around a little
  • Adjustability of controls
  • Reverse-shift capability ( Hey, these are MINE — I LIKE reverse-shift! )

Evaluating the Breva 1200 Sport with these criteria, I can’t give it a 10-out-of-10.  The wide bars, as much as I love them, are a little daunting for splitting lanes over the first couple of days.  I haven’t had much room to move my size 12 feet around much.  I’m still getting used to the brakes.  So far I don’t think you can reverse the shift pattern (PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS IF YOU CAN!!!)

For the first 250 miles I’ve put on the bike, I’m giving it an 8.75, or “not quite a nine”.  I think this might go up over the next 7 days as this is one fine bike.  I’m already testing stories on my wife to get my own.

For those of you reading this article and considering a First Guzzi, please understand.  Once you get one, you’re always going to have one.  Guzzis are the “Saabs of Motorcycles”.  Always respected for conservative yet stout engineering, comfortable and quirky. Some kind of club exists between owners that have them — as if they know something that non-Guzzi people don’t.  Once you buy a Guzzi, you become a Guzzi-person, which is something that can be said for few other brands, especially ones without all the logo-licensed paraphernalia that exists for the more famous of the bunch.

5 thoughts on “Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 – Day 3 Tweaks and Tech Specs”

  1. Well I own two Saabs and A 77 Guzzi LeMans and hve owned a lot of Guzzis and you are right once you own one yiu have to laways have one. My latest bike is a Buell Ulysses very Saab and Guzzi like!

  2. Thank you for writing this awesome review. After reading it I have made up my mind with buying the Breva 1200. I have many many bikes over the years. I have a Harley 1200 custom presently. I have a buyer for it now. Sorry to see it go as it is a great bike but I have missed the sport touring style. I am not one for the norm and the Yamaha FJ1200 or Honda VFR is just not my taste. I want something different.

    I have taking the Breva out for a long test ride and after only an hour out on it I knew it was a bike I had to HAVE. The only thing I am going to be changing out are the bars and going with a slightly higher rise (1″) I found the stock bars to be a little flat for my height as I am just over 6′.

    Thanks again for the review. I will be riding my new Breva next weekend.

    I am looking forward to being “One of the Most Interesting People in the World”!!

  3. My wife owns an ’08 1200 sport. I gotta tell ya man, this review is dead on. I own a cruiser (non harley), put as much stuff on it as the bike was originally worth and am extremely happy with it, but when the wife is at work or out of town, I always find myself riding hers. A good Guzzi is an addiction, the more you ride it, the more you want. You can never get enough. You were correct in your previous statement of this bike is for the most interesting person in the world. Not that I am the most interesting person, but you don’t see that many, and when I see someone else on one they have this mysterious quintessential demeanor about them. We buy a Guzzi not because it is a fast bike we saw our next door neighbors buddy riding, but because it is a beautiful and masterful piece of engineering that in a strange and powerful way, completes our lives in one way or another. We appreciate what it is as much as what it isn’t. I say this as a 6’4″ country grown firefighter living in Oklahoma, not some overpaid, snobbish yuppie living in the burbs with nothing but money to burn. The 1200 Breva Sport is a piece of art and I doubt much could be done to make it a better bike for what it is.

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