Buy Your Moto Guzzi Locally

Dealer sets up bikes right before he sells them so problems are reduced. If there are problems, dealer deals with them promptly. Customer gets bike that runs great and he is happy, so happy that he tells all his friends how great his bike is. People that ride with him see how many trouble free miles he puts on his bike and how well it goes in the real world. Very easy to imagine that over all these years of a dealer doing business that way, there would be a lot of Guzzi’s in the area.

— an excellent quote from the Wild Goose Chase Moto Guzzi forum about Moto International Moto Guzzi

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

And that’s why you should buy locally if you have the dealer that is of this quality — and Moto International does have some peers across the country.  If you get a good deal on your Guzzi from someone out of town that’s set up quick and dirty, what do you expect the local dealer to tell you when you bring it in?  Are you telling your friends to buy from him?  Are you buying from him?  If you come in with an emergency and he’s got 3 bikes on his lifts from local customers, what can you rightfully expect?
Don’t go cheap up front.  I know very dedicated dealers in Thousand Oaks, Woodstock IL and Phoenix AZ.  I have talked on the phone to dozens of others, notably Mr Field in helping me diagnose some Eldorado problems.  Spend some time doing your research and talk to your local dealer about his services and policies.  Chances are you live in a city, so you might have a choice of vendors.  Take your time, build some trust.

I probably paid more for my 1200 Sport than I would have if I had purchased one from the internet, but I solidified a friendship with a guy that “deserved” to sell me the bike.  It has already paid dividends in the ongoing service and the absolutely flawless set-up of the bike.  I’d rather give my friends money — I know its staying in the community, educating their kids and making my life incrementally richer.

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

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

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