I’m an avid reader and sometimes responder to the “Wild Guzzi” forums — one of the truly fun forums for Guzzi enthusiasts. Thank God for my MacIntosh Mail client — I just add the RSS feed from the forums and can sift through them at my leisure.
A post came up recently asking people to name their “backup bikes” — it turned out that the average was three bikes total. My response was:
“Ducati ST2. It gets ridden about as much as the Eldorado, but I’m thinking about selling it and getting a 1200 Sport or Griso or maybe even a Paul Smart 1000 or??? Dunno. The ST2 is as reliable as a sewing machine, fast, comfortable, big bags and a blast to drive. I’m just not that ‘into’ it.”
I received a message back from one of the other members —
” Gosh Dan, I thought you’d have a Cal Vintage instead of a Griso or Stelvio…….After reading your report on the Cal Vin, I was ready to take a test ride and trade my Quota in. I must of took you wrong, huh? — The Kid”
It’s actually killing me. I think the Cal Vintage is the best bike that Guzzi Makes, but I have an Eldorado now. I sat and thought long and hard about parting with the Eldo, but I just can’t do it. The Vintage and the Eldo serve similar functionality, so I can’t justify to my wife to have two bikes that do “roughly” the same thing. I also loved the 1200 Sport — another insanely wonderful bike, so my problems increase dramatically in deciding which way to move.
I’m not a dual-sport guy. I’m actually having trouble getting “into” the looks of the Stelvio — I think the current range of dual-sports, led by KTM are the most butt-ugly bikes I’ve ever seen — the Stelvio isn’t really ugly, kind of like the Ducati Multistrada isn’t ugly, they both “challenge” my sense of what a bike is supposed to look like. Still, I’ve talked to so many people that say the Stelvio is a truly great bike (like my Duc buddies rave about Multistradas) that it’s on my list to Review.
I ruminated for months before picking out a Guzzi to return to biking with, and I spent probably as much time picking out the “right” Eldo. I’ll spend at least a few more months picking something else out — Since I’m new to Chicago, I’m really trying to understand how my riding habits, style and distances will change and pursue the bike to fit that role. Guzzi’s got a ton of great bikes for different missions — I just need to get my arms around that. And yes, my ST2 is a tremendous bike, but it’s just a “friend with benefits” and not “someone I want to marry”.
If I had to pick only one bike from Guzzi — getting rid of the Eldo, and even throwing in some of the “great” older rides — I’d still pick the Cal Vintage. It’s the best bike Guzzi’s [i]ever[/i] produced for the mission it’s intended to fulfill — an all around big bore bike that can handle city and highway, cruise with the hogs and then dust them in the twisties. It’s safe, reliable and in surprisingly nimble in all conditions.
Oh hell, now I’m thinking about getting one again. Damn you Guzzikid!