Scoot vs Guzzi as a First Bike?

I’m a fan of your blog, from north of the border in cheesehead country. We’re about the same age, though I obviously started the family a little earlier, as my daughters are now 17 and 20.

And, given that, I’m now thinking about getting a 2-wheel vehicle for which I’m not the motor. I’ve be riding bicycles thousands of miles a year for 30 years. I’ve had the itch to get a motorcycle since I was, oh, 12 or so, when my brother had a Yamaha 60. Put it on hold while I either didn’t have the money or had young kids to think of. Now that I have money and pretty-much-grown kids, the motorized 2-wheeler itch is like a bad case of poison ivy.

My tastes run very classical – air cooled twins, round headlights. I’m very small – 5’6, 120 pounds. My riding will mostly be my 10-mile commute to downtown Milwaukee from the north shore, along Lake Drive, but I also plan to get out into the Wisconsin countryside to explore a little farther than I can typically get in a morning of cycling. Ever been to Holy Hill? The roads around it are to die for. I also have in mind riding out to Minnesota, where my older daughter is at college, once in a while.

So, I’m thinking the Vespa gts 250 (or new 300) would be great for commuting, the Breva 750 ideal for fun rides and travel, and maybe the Piaggio BV250 is the compromise.

The x-factor here is that my wife is adamantly opposed to the whole notion. She has a pretty deep, emotional, irrational association with motorcycles, and has stated flat-out she’ll never go near one. On our honeymoon we had a very good time ripping around Nice, France, on a scooter, so I’m not quite sure what happened over the last 23 years. Anyway, it’s possible that a scooter will be less traumatic, and on the motorcycle side, a V7 Classic will prompt less of a visceral response from its classic styling.

I’ve ridden the V7 Classic, Breva 750, and GTS250, and like them all. I like the Breva a little better than the V7, but obviously there’s little to distinguish between them. It’s obvious the scooter is the better commuter. But there’s also the image factor of pulling into the garage at work. The motorcycle has a huge advantage there, I won’t lie.

So, I’m looking for your thoughts on whether you think I’m on the right track, or am I missing something crucial?

Well Ted! Let’s look at the factors involved:

  • You live in Wisconsin and will store the bike in winter.
  • You haven’t really ridden a motorcycle before.  Fooled around, but haven’t gotten a license, etc.
  • You like the classic, retro look.
  • You’re not a huge guy
  • You have a 10 mile commute.
  • You want to ride in the country, possibly make a Minnesota trip, etc.
  • Your wife is not really into the whole thing whatsoever.
  • You’ve ridden Guzzis and Vespas
  • Your friends are gonna put a mark on you whether you ride a scoot or a bike.

I actually have some suggestions that will help you discover which one you might want to go with.  I’ve got my favorites here, but I’m going to go “pro-con” and let you decide. Continue reading Scoot vs Guzzi as a First Bike?

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.

2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

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 look forward to some time with a V7C soon!