Moto Guzi on Cycle World Radio

Cycle World Radio interviewed one of our favorite guzzisti, Steve Rossi, as well as the Brand Manager for the US, Rick Panettieri.  He discusses the factory shutdown last December as well as the new model line in wonderful detail.  I have new respect for Rick, he seems to really “get it” with the Guzzi brand.  Here’s the link to the broadcast:

http://feeds.radioamerica.org/CycleWorld/SHOWS/CycleWorld_Hr1.mp3

Steve Natt, the host, spent some time on a new Griso before going to air, and he talks about his experiences with it. I get a kick out of the amount of time they talk about the heads banging knees.  Just hasn’t happened to me on any of the Guzzis I’ve ridden, and they spend time talking about the torque impulses in turns.  Hmm…  I never notice the torque moving me around in the turns.  They do a very admirable job of explaining who the Guzzi Rider is, and what they are about.

There is also a nice quick blurb about the V7 Classic.  It’s now the best-selling Guzzi this year, with all Guzzi sales up 11%.  Nice news that.

Backup Bike Continued

Well, I have the ST2 on Craigslist.  The drama in my mind with respect to my “backup bike” continues.  I’ve been looking at the usual Guzzi suspects, the 1000s, SP, Brevas — even a V7 Sport or a Lodola.  The fact is, how and where I ride has changed dramatically since I moved to Chicago — gone are the 1000 mi weeks, week after week.  My commute is only about 15 miles round trip, and even with things closer here, there’s just no way that I’m going to rack up the miles that I had previously, which I don’t know if it is good or bad, it just is what it is.

One of the things that has been tickling me of late is the maxi-scoot.  The Eldo is just a great bike.  I love riding it, love everything about it.  Sheer joy on my face while I’m on it, so I’m imagining what another bike looks like parked next to it, and trying to play forward what the use for the second bike would be as the “new to me” wears off and I get up in the morning and decide what to ride that day.

I love the Piaggio Maxi-Scoots.  They’ve made me a better overall rider.  They are a serious blast to run around in, and are just as relaxing and utilitarian as anything I have ever been on, and just plain fun.

So I’m still ruminating and want to seek comments and opinions from anyone that cares.   Here’s my poll:

Feel free to chime in with a comment, too!  Thanks!

The Backup Bike.

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!

How Old is the Average Guzzi Rider?

 

There’s been a lot of activity on the Wild Goose Chase forums about riders and their respective ages.  I thought I’d put a poll out and see what my readers are doing.  I’m going first — 47.

The poll is closed, but here are the results of a total pool of 124 participants:

here

  age group votes %  
41-55 53 42.74%
55+ 42 33.87%
31 – 40 24 19.35%
21 – 30 5 4.03%
< 21 0 0%
  total:  124    

A Trip to Rose Farm Classics

Jim Barron of Rose Farm Classics
Jim Barron of Rose Farm Classics

Just a few weeks after my arrival in Chicago, I received an email invitation from Jim Barron, owner of Rose Farm Classics, one of the Moto Guzzi Dealers in the Chicago area.

Man, I needed some conversation. Being away from “home”, and my family two time zones away there is practically nothing really to break the monotony when I’m not working.  Any activity that didn’t involve watching TV, eating, drinking or dealing with real estate agents was more than welcome.  Dudes with Moto Guzzis, wrenches, compressors and associated “man-bling” and the accompanying manspeak is definitely needed.

I decided that as soon I got a break in the action and needed a Guzzi fix, I’d make the trek out to Woodstock, and see what his operation was all about.  After surfing his website, I got the true Guzzisti vibe– a real show room with a wide selection of new bikes, a full service department and a real clean operation.  Now, I just knew I was going to like him.

Continue reading A Trip to Rose Farm Classics

Could the new Moto Guzzi V7 Classic be one of the Best Motorcycle Picks for Women?

I’m going to preface this by saying that my wife, Sheila, believes the old adage stating, “If a man gives advice to a tree in a forest, he’s still an idiot”.  She’s probably right, so I’m basically going to line up my assumptions from a few women that I’ve shown pictures of Moto Guzzi’s new V7 Classic to and discussed it’s features with.  I also OWN this bike so it’s the coolest thing on the planet as far as I’m concerned.

2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic
2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic (prototype - they made a few small cosmetic changes...)

The Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

Moto Guzzi introduces the V7 Classic this year to its line-up.  It’s a standard motorcycle in the 750cc class that has tapped into the “retro” look that has become increasingly popular.  It’s also a nice “standard” bike that is, according to Moto Guzzi, “A stunning mixture of modern tech and retro styling, based upon the 1967 original (see my Eldorado).

Although, I’m feeling like it has a lot of the V7 Sport in it, which Continue reading Could the new Moto Guzzi V7 Classic be one of the Best Motorcycle Picks for Women?

Moto Guzzi California Vintage – Day 6 – Time to take 'er home.

This is the sixth in a series of articles about living with and riding a California Vintage from Moto Guzzi.  The previous one is here.

I knew this day would come…

Ok.  It’s not my bike.  I’ve shared that.  I had less time with it than the Breva 1200 Sport.  I took the Breva back, loving the bike, but I knew that it had to go on, eventually, to a happy owner.  This time it’s different.  The 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 take the bike from Northridge down to Newport Beach in Friday Morning Rush Hour to have lunch with a college buddy.  I hadn’t really experienced the center of Los Angeles in very heavy traffic, and I figured that I-5 at 9am would be a perfect crucible.

This isn’t a short trip.  Over 70 miles on LA’s inner city freeway into the heart of Orange County.  I would be traveling across areas that are some of the busiest in the US.  Names like East LA interchange, where the 110, 10, 5 and 60 all meet in a pasta bowl of roads, and further south, the “Orange Crush” near Disneyland beckoned.  I would definitely be doing some lane splittin’ today.  I hoped that the big, police-bike-inspired Guzzi was up to its heritage.

For a Cruiser, the Guzzi isn’t exceptionally wide.  The seat is pretty mellow, really, and the bags don’t stick out further than the handlebars, as far as I could tell.  The mirrors protrude slightly further, but not so much.  Ride height is perfect for heavy traffic.  You sit up high and can look all but the largest SUV drivers right in the eye.  When you’re in the canyons between them, this and a good set of headlights is definitely a plus.

The day started out warm and proceeded to heat up to the typical, Santa-Ana winded Indian Summer day that is famous in the region.  I can’t believe I moved from Phoenix for the cooler temperatures of Southern California only to find this.  If you’re off the beach, you’re in the desert.  Don’t let anyone fool you. A great test for the bike.  Stifling hot, heavy traffic and a big cruiser.  Not as much fun as canyon carving, but if you live in LA or any big city, considering the purchase of this wonderful, big Guzzi, you sure as heck want to know that it can live in traffic in tough conditions.

Off I go.  Once onto the 5 South, I cruise in comfort until I reach the northern reaches of downtown LA.  Traffic is backing up.  I began to weave between the well-spaced cars as they moved along at 45-55 mph.  Absolutely no problem.  If anything the front windscreen was too efficient in that it moved the air around me instead of through the vents in my jacket.  I continued as the traffic deepened and the myriad ramps of the East LA interchange approached, signaling that stopped traffic and real, slow-speed splitting was in my future. Continue reading Moto Guzzi California Vintage – Day 6 – Time to take 'er home.

Moto Guzzi California Vintage – Day 5 – The Mental Health Day.

This is the fifth in a series of articles about living with and riding a California Vintage from Moto Guzzi.  The previous one is here.

Beautiful day, well-worn leather jacket, full tank of gas.  Buddy, let's ride.
Beautiful day, well-worn leather jacket, full tank of gas.

Some work days are better than others…

I found myself halfway to Santa Barbara from my Northridge home, off Seaward Avenue at the Starbucks where I normally stopped and had a cup of coffee before continuing up the coast.  Some friends that I met in the morning were talking about their day, and I was sitting there thinking that I really didn’t want to go to work, but I knew if I went home, I would be painting, sawing or otherwise saddled with the responsibilities involved in fatherhood, matrimony or the restoration of a mid-century modern home that had already worn out my favorite table saw.

I’m sitting here smelling the ocean breeze, thinking about the ride up north to Santa Barbara and cranky about the fact that I had to turn the California Vintage back to the company in the next day.  This sucks.  I really have come to enjoy this bike and I wanted to take a couple more rides on a favorite stretch…

DUH.  Time for a Mental Health Day.

I said goodbye to my friends and decided to head south and get down to the PCH, and ride until I felt the need to be responsible again.  Would that get me to Ventura?  Who knows, maybe San Diego!  So the journey starts, on the perfect bike for this occasion, the Moto Guzzi California Vintage, with me at home on this wonderful machine and riding down the 101, taking Rice Road South with a full tank of gas, headed to the beach. Continue reading Moto Guzzi California Vintage – Day 5 – The Mental Health Day.

Moto Guzzi California Vintage – Day 4 – Vintage vs Harley Heritage Softail — A BARGAIN!

This is the fourth in a series of articles about living with and riding a California Vintage from Moto Guzzi.  The previous one is here.

Taking a mental health day and cruising the PCH -- Malibu.
Taking a mental health day and cruising the PCH -- Malibu.

 

 

A side-by-side comparison…

After riding the California Vintage around, I thought it would be nice to compare it to the “standard” of the group — The Harley Davidson Heritage Softail. I chose the softail because it has similar look and purpose.  It is a luxury touring bike with a clear windscreen, bags, etc.  It’s purpose is “retro”; cop-like, long miles, touch of retro and, as the name suggests, “Heritage”.  I think this is probably an accurate description of the big Guzzi as well. Continue reading Moto Guzzi California Vintage – Day 4 – Vintage vs Harley Heritage Softail — A BARGAIN!

Moto Guzzi California Vintage Day 3 — Cool vs. "Checkbook Cool"

This is the third in a series of articles about living with and riding a California Vintage from Moto Guzzi.  The previous one is here.

Looking for a Cool Cruiser or Big Bagger?  The California Vintage is “Seriously Cool”

Moto Guzzi California Vintage under the Hollywood sign.
Moto Guzzi California Vintage under the Hollywood sign.

Cool is Fonzi before the Shark Tank.  Cool is James Bond before Roger Lazenby.  Ford before the Pinto.  The Blues Brothers before Belushi died.

While it is most definitely true that some people that ride motorcycles from “The Motorcycle Company” are cool, it’s not because they own Harleys.  They are cool AND they chose to ride Harleys.  But there are people that are cool and they choose to ride Vespas.  The issue here is the great number of people that buy Harleys and other “lifestyle” motorcycles because it will make them cool.  This is “checkbook cool”. No work needed, just add money and you’re cool. Continue reading Moto Guzzi California Vintage Day 3 — Cool vs. "Checkbook Cool"