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”.
Continue reading Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 – Day 3 Tweaks and Tech Specs

Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport, Day 2

(This is the second article in the series.  The first one is here)

It rained most of the day today.  I took some pictures of the bike with the rain beads on it.  Previous journalist riders had ridden the bike much harder than me, and had overheated the rear tire.  This became more apparent as it tried to lock as I rode it around a bit during a let-up in the weather.  Didn’t last long, as I got stuck at my favorite Italian Deli (San Carlo in Chatsworth), sipping doppios and chatting with Giovanni, who owned a Guzzi Cardelino in Rome as a kid. Continue reading Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport, Day 2

Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport. A Bike for "The Most Interesting Man in the World"

Duende“The meaning of duende as in tener duende (having duende) is a rarely-explained concept in Spanish art, particularly flamenco, having to do with emotion, expression and authenticity. In fact, tener duende can be loosely translated as having soul.” — Wikipedia

I get a kick out of the Dos Equis Beer Commercial with “The Most Interesting Man in the World”.  OK, so maybe it’s tongue and cheek, but I thought I would elaborate on it a little.  What would this guy be all about on two wheels?

He’d be someone with nothing to prove to anyone — every ride is his own. The enjoyment of speed, implementation of technique, the sensations and mental stimulation.  This, in my mind, is howhis (or HER) two-wheeled passion is assembled. This Most Interesting Person would choose a bike with duende; the emotion, expression and authenticity to match their taste and soul.

Moto Guzzi USA was sincerely kind enough to loan me a Breva 1200 Sport for 10 days.  I will be logging my regular routine on the bike, 160 miles per day of riding from Northridge to Santa Barbara and Back, along with a few meet-ups with friends on weekends and some week nights.

The Breva 1200 Sport for 2008
The Breva 1200 Sport for 2008

Continue reading Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport. A Bike for "The Most Interesting Man in the World"

Back to Motorcycling Part 4 — 25,000 miles in 9 months

This is the final installment of the series of getting back into motorcycling.  For Part 3 can be found here. Part 2 can be found here, and Part 1 is here.

 

I’ve never done anything half-way.  When I started riding I really wanted to get proficient, safe and comfortable with it as soon as possible. As I began racking up miles under my bikes I found that it gave me pleasures and satisfaction that I had never received in any car.  The complete isolation from the outside world while being immediately in it presented a contrast that I never had driving a cage, where the radio was blaring, the air conditioning was on, the phone would ring, or my passengers would be talking to me.  

The bike gives me the sensations without insulation.  Riding through farmlands I can smell the onions ready for harvest.  The smell of brakes alert me to big trucks ahead on downhill grades.  The vibration of the engine and the road feedback tells me what my machine is doing at any given time.  Where a car is insulated, the forces of cornering, braking, etc., more violent, everything on the motorcycle is there, and movement is smooth and flows with the physics of your motions and body. Continue reading Back to Motorcycling Part 4 — 25,000 miles in 9 months

And the Winner Is…

2001 Ducati ST2

11000 mi — came with all the bags (back one not shown in picture), Corbin Seat, an extended warranty for the next year, and a 14-month service contract from Wilson’s Motorcycle in Fresno (Yes, I have to make the 200 mile trip to Fresno to get the service – but I have family there that I actually like!).

     I spent a great deal of time looking at everything else.  I had decided on the Scura that Encore Performance in Prescott had for sale, but the price quoted me actually went up $250, to $6750, and the ST2 was $4400, with the warranty, service contract and bags.  It just a new timing belt and valve adjust less than 100 mi before I picked it up, and it was a complete drive-away bike with no faults.

I’ve put 1000+ miles on it a week and a half later, and it is really something.  My Guzzi is like a P-47; lumbering, powerful, raw and upright.  The Duc is like an f-18 — just smooth and so performant — it does everything very well but still makes you feel like you’re really talented.  The brakes are marvelous, and I’ve finally gotten over the “rocks in a beer can” sound of the clutch at idle.  I do miss the torque and big flywheel of the Guzzi on it, because it really has nothing but angel-food cake below 3000 rpm.  I’ve stalled it on slow move-aways from a stop countless times.

All told, the mileage is wonderful, seating position is good enough for now, and the storage is amazing.  A little wider than the Goose, it is a little dicier as I split lanes.  The seating position is also in the stratosphere compared to the Eldorado, and I feel like I’m sitting on a couple of phone books in comparison.

Should be a fun bike, and I’m positive that I’ll be able to get my money out of it if/when it comes time to sell.  The build quality is super, and I have a feeling that it isn’t my last Ducati.

Getting another Bike… Guzzi, or?

I’m looking at my second bike — wanted a Norge but wife said don’t spend so much money (limit’s around 6500ish).

So I don’t wear the eldo out, this bike would be ridden about 6-800 miles per week for the next 9 months or so, then this would drop by 75% to about 200mi when I move close to my work. It’s gotta be dead-nuts reliable (at least by some warped standard that says my Eldo is close to that), and I’d like to be able to have a great bike to get through traffic in.

for those of you that went to the AZ rally and others, Jim at EPS has an ’02 Scura with LeMans full fairing, risers on the bars and Bags that look like two moving vans bolted to the bike ( but beautifully integrated). It has 10K miles.

02 Scura

Then, there’s BJ’s LeMans. I just love the look of this bike, but unfortunately I just don’t know enough to say that I could put big miles on it for nine months. Ed Milich says I’d be like one of Jerry’s kids if I rode it everyday, and cringed at the thought of “geezering it up” by putting on risers, bars and bags. It has 41K miles and Beej says it is solid. Gotta believe him. Here it is:

1986 Moto Guzzi Le Mans IV

It’s for sale to anyone — come with a check made out to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital for $4K and you ride it off AND “write it off”. (There. Now you know, and if you want to buy it before I get off my brain and make a decision, all power to you, no hard feelings whatsoever.)

Then there’s an ST2 with low miles and adult owned for $6500.

I did consider many of the Oriental bikes and BMWs, but I’m just not going to want them after 9 months, and I hate selling stuff. Plus, I already have knowledge about Guzzi Maintenance, and Ducs don’t scare me, because I have a support network if I really, really need it. Prefer the Goose, though.

Oh yeah.  Another acquaintance has a very nice SPIII in Montana.  Price is great but I need to find a way to get it to here.  Ride sounds good, but my new job really doesn’t give me the time off I need, and the plane tickets to middle-of-nowhere Montana can be dear.  Still — Here’s a pic:

1000 SPIII in Montana

So I’ve been ruminatin’ and ruminatin’. I’m soliciting opinions because I need more input and I just don’t have the domain knowledge yet to really make a great decision.

There’s also a nice, nice 1984 850 T5:

850 t5 (1984)

Lotsa choices.

 

Here’s a poll:

Maxine Gurovich

The last bastion of unconditional love is your mother, if she’s a good one, and mine was most definitely a good one. Once she’s gone, there is nobody that will ever again give you unconditional love. The only thing left to do is Pay it Forward, to your wife, child and the people that you love.

Maxine Gurovich, my mother.  Oct 1, 1920 – March 11, 2008.

Bye Mom, you were the finest, and I’m honored to be your son.

Back to Motorcycling Part 3 — Gear and Gear Shifting: Protection and Education

This is the third in a series of articles about getting back into riding after a long hiatus. Part 1 of the series can be found here. The second installment of the series can be found here.

Since I’ve got a wife and wonderful seven-year-old daughter, and since riding a motorcycle isn’t deemed by the people I know as the safest pastime I can indulge in, I decided early on to do everything that I can possibly do to prevent the separation of me from my motorcycle in an unwanted fashion. Even if this is to occur, I also want to make sure that I have more-than-adequate protection. Lastly and most importantly, I’ve committed myself to getting the best education and training I can, and to continue this training in an ongoing manner as long as I continue to ride.

Time to get some gear and get educated.

I looked into training schools sponsored by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, and most said that they would provide helmets, but I would need to have gloves, a suitable jacket, pants and boots. I figured that with minimal effort I could cobble together an outfit that would “pass”, but that path didn’t feel right to me. I decided to purchase the equipment that I would begin riding with immediately. I would have plenty to do and think about during my first few thousand miles, and I wanted to have the equipment that I would be using initially. I felt the need for commitment to the process from the time I first threw a leg back over a seat.

Read the book

The first thing I did was purchase a bunch of Motorcycle magazines, and then after perusing the racks at the local Border’s Books, I bought The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Motorcycles — Third Edition – by Darwin Holmstrom and Charles Everitt. Both of these writers are contributors to Motorcyclist Magazine (which I now subscribe to). I cannot say enough about this book. I have referred to it again and again for advice on gear, schools, riding technique and bike purchasing, and rarely ventured anywhere near the outside limits of their advice.

Continue reading Back to Motorcycling Part 3 — Gear and Gear Shifting: Protection and Education

Back to Motorcycling Part 2 – The Nicest People Ride a Honda, but the Most Eclectic People Ride a Moto Guzzi!

This is the second in a series of articles about getting back into riding after a long hiatus. Part 1 of the series can be found here.

Moto Guzzi

There are a couple of reasons that I will positively own a Moto Guzzi, some practical, some whimsical, and a final emotional reason – Officer Floyd “Skip” Fink of the Arizona Department of 72 Moto Guzzi EldoradoPublic Safety. Skip Fink patrolled in the Globe-Miami area when I was a kid. He and his partner, Russ Fifer, used to ride their big Guzzi Eldorados all over town, and visited my Father’s Restaurant/Hotel almost every day for lunch or dinner.

I made sure I was there when they pulled up. Floyd would wrestle with me, tell me about his job and treat me like a little brother (I had bruises to prove it). I always had the utmost respect for him, and it influenced my opinion of law enforcement for my entire life. Big Guzzis were exotic anywhere, even though a quite a few law enforcement organizations used them. The general public at that time was enamored of the Honda 750 and later the even larger-displacement Kawasakis. I don’t think that anyone in my small town even knew that Italians made motorcycles, yet here they were; big, fast and tank-like. All style and a stamp of approval from Law Enforcement officials that were practically family. Continue reading Back to Motorcycling Part 2 – The Nicest People Ride a Honda, but the Most Eclectic People Ride a Moto Guzzi!

Getting back into Motorcycling: Embracing your Mid-Life Crisis — Part 1

So I’m 46 years old. I’ve been on hiatus from my “mechanical hobby”; restoring cars, for nearly three years. I’ve been doing this since I was 18, and sold off my last Citroen DS21, on January 18, 2005. On a self-enforced hiatus for two years, it’s been another year because the Ideal Ride that lurked in my head just never materialized.

Modern Triumph Bonneville

Enter “Test Pilot Bill” in Phoenix. I’ve known him for years through my wife, Sheila. He is possibly one of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet.

Last year by happenstance he showed me his newly acquired 2004 Triumph Bonneville that is absolutely perfect, low miles, and an H.G.-Welles-Time-Machine moment (I orginially attributed it to Orwell – forgive me!) with all the wonderful things about British bikes and none of their vices.

As I threw my leg over the Bonnie, something funny hit me. Kind of a “yeah… nice”. It fit not only my butt – it fit into my thoughts. Something deep inside me began eating away two of the four wheels that my Ideal Ride had always possessed. From that moment, I began to think of a motorcycle as The Thing to replace the Car Habit I had nurtured for more than 30 years.

I didn’t know if my search would result in a Triumph like Bill’s, but I knew that I would start on a journey of self-discovery and, as I write this, I couldn’t be more excited about anything I have ever undertaken.

Continue reading Getting back into Motorcycling: Embracing your Mid-Life Crisis — Part 1