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.
Pictures of the 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic. Enjoy.
It’s here on the ground in the US. I’ve sat on it and can’t wait to ride it. It looks like a great “return to cycling” bike, a phenomenal city bike and definitely a beautiful retro treatment.
My only worry is there are quite a few left-over Brevas — the 750’s in an earlier year will be less expensive but not as cool looking, but the 1100/1200s will only be a few thousand more and you get a whole lotta ponies for only 3-4K more.
Still, I’ve got faith in the V7C. It is such a nice package, competitively priced to the Bonnie and Sportster, and a very nice alternative to the Ducati 1000GT, which will definitely out-perform it on paper, but I’d like to compare it with respect to living with it for some time.
I think that part of my orientation with my new position at WMS is weather-related. The day that I arrived it was in the 20’s, and the day after was a “balmy” 50 degree day. Next day was snow, followed by a cold, windy day that showed the thermometer at 6° with a -20 wind chill. Next day was a good foot of snow, demonstrating how traffic can get insanely snarled up. It repeats until today, where it’s -5° and the wind is howling so much that I don’t really care what the wind chill factor is. My moustache froze 15 seconds after I left my front door.
I had a great drive from Los Angeles to Chicago last week. Took 3 1/2 days and I ended up at a friend’s house overnight, moving into my apartment in Roger’s Park the next day. Up until that point I was extremely disappointed that I didn’t ride my Ducati ST2 out. Sure, I would have had less stuff, but I would have taken only what I needed and just lived with a smaller footprint until I went back home for Christmas on the evening of the 23rd. I could pack a suitcase and bring more stuff out on the return trip, and I would have the bike when the streets were clear. Continue reading First Week in Chicago — Looks Like Riding Season is Over
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.
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).
This is the fourth in a series of posts dedicated to living with the Vespa GTV 250 i.e. The third article is here.
Takin’ the long way on the GTV250.
I made two trips to Santa Barbara on my daily commute to my (now former) job there. I decided that the 160 mile round trip daily ride would put the scooter to many tests. Top speed, endurance, mileage, handling over different pavements and conditions, scootering in Santa Barbara, and finally the attitudes of the people that I have coffee with in Ventura, lunch with in Santa Barbara, and a cup of tea with in either place on the way home.
Top speed and freeway driving.
Those 14 inch tires just disappear underneath the Vespa. I didn’t know what to think about them. Even standing at idle on the bike, there is no way, without contortion, that you can see the rear wheel. I didn’t expect much with respect to riding on the freeway, but I’ve seen lesser rides on the road with me, and the 250cc engine is freeway legal.
As I accelerated down the onramp from Reseda Blvd to the 118 freeway west, I was shocked how fast the GTV got from zero to “I’m not going to be killed doing this” speed. By the time I hit the end of the relatively short onramp, I was speeding past 60 and on my way. Signals and visibility are without question awesome, and I safely maneuvered into traffic, still accelerating even though I was going slightly uphill. I topped out at an indicated 84mph, which, translated through an Italian Speedo, is either about 75mph, or, if you’re used to them like I am, that would be “fast”.
The first obstacle in the path between Northridge and Ventura’s salt breezes is the Susanna Pass road, which is quite steep uphill. The Piaggio 250 that I had tested previously made it up this hill with very little drop in top speed, so I wanted to see what the Vespa, with slightly smaller tires, much more frontal area and a little more weight would do.
Not bad, about what I had expected actually. By the time I got to the top of the hill, I was running about 71 indicated, 62 or so actual (italian translation: medium fast). As soon as it flattened out, there was no doubt that the scoot would go back to top speed. The engine, even with 5000 miles on it, just ran like it was new. A rev-limiter is attached to the engine that limits top speed to an indicated 87 or so. I was able to bump up against this limiter on the flats, so the bike is geared just about perfectly, the CVT works as advertised, and if you are skeptical, spend a week with one and you’ll be hooked.
The trip to work and back, taken twice, took about 15 minutes longer than it would have on my bigger motorcycles. Two things stick out though. I found myself taking side roads more often, enjoying the view, smells and textures of my surroundings, and generally relaxing along my ride. I had come to accept the lower speed potential of the scoot, and found some very nice ways to entertain myself and enjoy my ride, especially on the way home. Continue reading Vespa GTV250 i.e. – Day 4 – Testing the Limits