Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport – Day 8 – Why should I buy a Guzzi?

This is the eighth in a series of posts about the Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport.  The previous posting is here

1000 Miles, 8 days riding:  Do I still like the Breva 1200?

The Breva 1200 Sport, just north of Ventura off the 101, Sunset.
The Breva 1200 Sport, just north of Ventura off the 101, Sunset.

Yes.  Yes I do.  I lost a full day of riding when it rained, and two more when my wife told me to paint the house.  Still managed to get a few miles in though.  The average day of riding put me at about 200 miles each, and I felt like I really got a good idea about what it would be like to live with a Breva over the long-term.

So often one sees a bike advertised or reviewed by a magazine, then goes to their nearest dealer for a trip around the block.  The papers are out on the salesman’s desk at that point, and if you liked what you felt and the deal is right, then you buy.  But what influences really get you to “pull the trigger”?

Continue reading Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport – Day 8 – Why should I buy a Guzzi?

Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport – Day 7 – Time with the Suspension.

This is the seventh in a series of posts about life with the Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport.  The previous post is here.

Rattle, Rattle, Rattle…

When I received the Breva, it was obvious that a previous rider had really clamped down the suspension and then proceeded to wring it out.  The bike takes a big lean and really digs into turns much deeper than you think possible.  Just keep on pushing on the bars, and the bike comes down — add throttle, lean, and you can really go deep and fast, much further than my limits.

Rear Shock adjustment
Rear Shock adjustment

I do a lot of riding on Los Angeles’ freeways, and as such, the concrete slabs and joints had my teeth rattling to a point that I finally started to dig in and see what I could do about softening up the ride, and making the big, irregular surfaced sweepers much more manageable.

 The first thing I went after was the rear suspension; it has a big dial that says SOFTER/HARDER and shows a direction to turn for such.  I turned it one click softer and rode, but it didn’t help much.  Finally dialed in two clicks and it became much more manageable.   Continue reading Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport – Day 7 – Time with the Suspension.

Moto Guzzi Breva – Day 6 – I Get Knocked down, but I get up Again…

This is the sixth in a series of posts about life with the Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport.  The previous post is here.

On Day 1 I wrote about my ride up from the Moto Guzzi Press Bike Parking area to my work in Santa Barbara and back home.  The posting covered the characteristics of the bike and my first encounters with heavy traffic.  What I didn’t write about was the BMW 5-series that changed lanes in front of me, causing a low-speed high-side onto the pavement.

There I was, on Los Angeles Avenue in Moorpark, inching between lanes at a red light.  I saw a BMW jerk like he was going to change lanes or cut me off, so I grabbed a handful of brake and began to slow to a crawl, taking advantage of the Guzzi’s incredible low-speed characteristics.  At that very moment a half-space opened up for the Beemer and he just jerked into it, causing me to panic stop. I was over on the paint stripe with less-than optimal tires — I stopped the bike — the rear wheel skidded and I went high-side over to the right.  A guy in a pickup stopped to help me get up.  The BMW was gone by the time I had my wits about me. I don’t know if he had done it on purpose or not, and nobody got a license number.

Just in case anyone is curious, a cager purposely turning into someone on a bike that is splitting lanes in California wil be charged with Attempted Murder/Assault with a Deadly Weapon. If you do this and get caught, you can probably plead it down, but you’re going to be out thousands of dollars in the process.  

I walked over to the bike, Continue reading Moto Guzzi Breva – Day 6 – I Get Knocked down, but I get up Again…

Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 – Day 5 – Notes, Details and Nits to Pick

This is the fifth in a series of posts about life with the Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport.  The previous post is here.

A buncha miles down.  What details of the Breva Sport do you like or hate?


Rincon Beach Sunset
Rincon Beach Sunset




Having lived with a 36-year-old Eldorado Transmission for nearly a year and enough miles to really say that I know it, I had high expectations for the 6 speed on the Breva.  I’m not disappointed. It is very smooth.  It shifts like it’s supposed to.  I don’t miss-shift except when I forget it’s a UJM pattern and not the reverse, GP-style shift that my personal bikes have.  Neutral is accurate and easy to find, and I haven’t felt any false neutrals between gears.  

The only “nit” that I would pick would be what seems to be some of lash in the transmission and drive train.  When I’m moving from acceleration to deceleration and back, there’s a little “take up” as the throttle is applied that takes a little getting used to; i.e. if you’re decelerating into an apex and then just dump the throttle, you’ll get a little “wobble” when the motor catches up with the rear wheel.  I adjusted my technique and this became less apparent.

Not having to deal with chain maintenance just makes me happy. Continue reading Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 – Day 5 – Notes, Details and Nits to Pick

Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 – Day 4 – Monday Morning Commute

This is the fourth installment in the series.  The previous article is here.

I woke up late Monday Morning, nursing the remnants of a chest cold.  After drowning it with a couple of cups of coffee, I showered and threw my gear on for the 90-mile ride to work.  Bopping out the door and into the garage, the Breva 1200 waited, and I was ready to put my regular commute to the test, comparing this ride to my Ducati ST2, and other days when I take the ’72 Eldorado.  

The cavernous tank of the Breva had served me well, but after 200 miles of weekend jaunts it was on fumes. I hopped over to the Mobile station across the street and stuck some gas in it, cursing that I had forgotten the mileage so I wasn’t able to get an exact MPG value — I’ll do this later I promise.

Off to do battle with the cagers on my Northridge-to-Santa Barbara-run.  First leg of the journey is up Reseda Boulevard to the 118 freeway.  The traffic is backed up and I split lanes between the parked cars for a ways, but the wide stance of the bar/mirrors combined with not-quite-completely-caffienated drivers not paying attention got me thinking that taking it easy might be wise until I’m more at home with this bike.  After a few weeks with it, I estimate that the width of the Breva would be in lockstep with my “space”, and this would no longer be an issue.  Funny how the pulled back bars of my Duc give me a sense of “narrowness” even though I’ve got a full set of Nonfangos on the back. Continue reading Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 – Day 4 – Monday Morning Commute

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.