This is the sixth in a series of posts about life with the Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport. The previous post is here.
On Day 1 I wrote about my ride up from the Moto Guzzi Press Bike Parking area to my work in Santa Barbara and back home. The posting covered the characteristics of the bike and my first encounters with heavy traffic. What I didn’t write about was the BMW 5-series that changed lanes in front of me, causing a low-speed high-side onto the pavement.
There I was, on Los Angeles Avenue in Moorpark, inching between lanes at a red light. I saw a BMW jerk like he was going to change lanes or cut me off, so I grabbed a handful of brake and began to slow to a crawl, taking advantage of the Guzzi’s incredible low-speed characteristics. At that very moment a half-space opened up for the Beemer and he just jerked into it, causing me to panic stop. I was over on the paint stripe with less-than optimal tires — I stopped the bike — the rear wheel skidded and I went high-side over to the right. A guy in a pickup stopped to help me get up. The BMW was gone by the time I had my wits about me. I don’t know if he had done it on purpose or not, and nobody got a license number.
Just in case anyone is curious, a cager purposely turning into someone on a bike that is splitting lanes in California wil be charged with Attempted Murder/Assault with a Deadly Weapon. If you do this and get caught, you can probably plead it down, but you’re going to be out thousands of dollars in the process.
I walked over to the bike, expecting my journalistic career to be over 8 hours after it started. It was still running, so I hit the kill switch and tried to pick it up. On the third try I easily picked it up once I found the right leverage. Straddling the bike, I walked it over to the shoulder to let the traffic move on and look over what I expected to be an ugly right side on the Breva.
Well, not bad!
- The composite engine guard was rubbed up pretty bad
- Rear brake lever knob was broken off
- Scratched-up front turn signal
- Scratch on the handlebar end on top of an older one.
Further inspection showed a scrape on the front fender and a dime-sized spot on the fairing. Nothing bent! Nothing smashed up. The Breva was completely rideable. The bike is built like a tank. No other damage to the bike, not the engine fins, nothing to the Gas Tank, controls, nothing. Well thought out and built solid.
This is the first time I’ve been off a bike in 30 years. I was 18 the last time and it was on a YZ-125 with a barbed-wire fence involved. Couple of sprains and that’s about it. I had landed on my head and right shoulder this time — my Shoei RF-1000 taking a good hit but absolutely nothing on my innards, and my Joe Rocket leather jacket absorbed all the hit in the armor plating, so I only felt a little stiff in the shoulder the next morning (and the entire week).
There, on the side of the road, I took a deep breath, swung a leg over and rode the 20 miles that I had left to get home. I took it easy at first, then relied on my skills to ride the route that I normally take, in the traffic that I normally encounter, and stay smooth. I got home, took off my gear and, although a little shaken, I knew that I would get up in the morning and ride again.
What journalists do when they prang a factory bike.
Two words. You’re buying. I signed forms and gave my insurance information to the company that stores these bikes, and I promised to bring them back all nice and pretty and not torn up. So the first thing I did was get over to the Moto Guzzi Dealer in Thousand Oaks the very next morning to buy the parts needed to fix the bike. I needed a complete brake lever, a composite engine guard and their screws just to be sure, and a new turn signal lens. I decided to touch up the black paint in the two spots and just own up to them when I dropped the bike off. If they stuck me for paint, well, then I’d just cut them a check and act like an adult.
The dealer had just won a brand new guzzi-logoed pickup for being #3 in the US after only 3 years in business. A family-run operation, I had only been out once before and expected things to be a bit of an ordeal. I arrived with my daughter after they had opened, and the mechanics were in the midst of assembling a couple of Vespas for customers and I waited patiently for one of them to look up the parts that I needed. My 8-year-old daughter tried on scooters and negotiated with me. I looked over the new Stelvio and a beautiful White Griso.
The company doesn’t stock a lot of parts, but I found out that I could get the ones I wanted within two business days for an extra $25, which I pounced on. I figured that I’d blog this story once I knew what working with a dealer was like, getting the parts I needed back on the bike, and having the end of the story in sight.
I ordered the parts on a Saturday, and they arrived on Wednesday morning (Closed on Monday). That night I put the parts on the bike, and good as new, the Breva is complete. My “dealings with the dealer” were nothing short of perfection — I’ve had more trouble getting parts for my Volvo. After taking a dump off the bike, I was able to get it completely fixed in just a few days, and except for a few cosmetics, it was absolutely safe and functional to ride while I waited (the brake lever is situated so I could easily use it without the knob).
I also talked with the mechanics and the dealer a little about my Breva, and gathered their thoughts and experiences with it and the 1100/750 models, which I’ll write about tomorrow.
I’m more endeared to this bike than ever. All the comments from Journalists stating that the lack of dealers, scarcity of parts and other gaps in the service chain all seem to be red herrings. As I talked with the Dealer, he said that Moto Guzzi had made a solid commitment to parts supply and quality; I’ll bear witness to this, since this unforeseen circumstance allowed me the unique opportunity to interact with the dealer and factory in a manner that a short-term-journalist-ride would never reveal.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about what I did to tune the suspension.