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Old 03-17-2013, 10:47 PM   #1
elementalg20 OP
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Tell me about moto guzzi's

I can't and won't be buying another bike for some time, but just the same it seems I think about one of these things every day at least twice. I can't say I've ever seen any make or model of one other than a passing glance at one going the opposite direction down a 4 lane....


What year(s) would a guy be smart to consider, I'm not interested in the really old ones, perhaps late 90's on up, EFI huge plus. Not really into the small black bikes either, sorta ruled out a quota or a norge(too much like what I have...sorta).

I've never owned a cruiser, so those interest me, especially if I'm ever able to have one along with my trophy. No idea what differences there are between them. I don't know how comfortable they are but the V11's are sexy, a breva 11/12 would be neat, the sport breva's are for my .02 cents one of the best looking bikes out there. Griso's look great too, but look like they'd have wonky ergo's. If I do get one some day, it'd likely be one that would lend it's self to being not overly sporty and comfy(basically probably not a V11, maybe a breva sport?)

In reality, even down that road I'm probably looking at ones that could be snapped up for 6k or so but hell who knows.

Also have a friend who is considering a newer bike, he's not into big bikes thus far, spotted an 04' Breva 750 that I think would make him a sweet ride as well. It's got some add-ons, 32k miles or so for $3100 seems like a steal to me. Opinions very welcome on that as well.

I'm the type to do all of my own work I possibly can if it's not crazy difficult/technical. I have an irrational fear of carb's, at least when there are more than 1ish involved.

Are guzzi's reliable, what are the known issues to look for? Do they leak oil and soak clutch plates, final drive issues....yeah I've sworn off bmw and these are striking me as a sexy Italian alternative that I hope to one day attain only without a stiletto to the groin....
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:09 AM   #2
Scott of the Sahara
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I have the 08 Norge 1200. It is like the Breva 1100 but with fairing and 100cc's more power. I bought mine as a new bike in 010. In two and a half years and 16,500 miles I have not had many problems. After the first service, I have done everything myself. I will take it in to get the fuel filter changed, but the valves are a snap to adjust and the oil/ filter is easy to do.
I was looking for a bike that had enough power to ride 2 up but still be fun solo. I had tried a few cruiser types but I could not get past the feet forward riding position. I wanted a twin with good low end power. I needed a bike with a decent seat height. Especially when riding 2 up you have to control the bike at a stop sign.
When I rode my friend's Breva 1100 I was hooked. The only thing I needed was more wind protection.
In Seattle we have one of the best Moto Guzzi dealers in the country. Parts and service are no problem at all.
Here I am getting ready for a 1200 mile ride
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:52 AM   #3
davevv
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Scott, the fuel filter change is not a big deal. The hardest part was getting the quick disconnect fuel lines apart as it's a bit fiddly, but comes apart nicely once you figure out the technique.

I"ve owned three Guzzis. A '98 V11EV, the '03 Cali Titanium, and an '08 Norge just like Scott's. My only real complaint with the EV was the seat. The ECM on this version of the Cali is located directly under the seat and as a consequence, the seat pan has a bit of a "crown" in the center. It's not very comfortable after an hour or so. There is a way to relocate the ECM and use a different seat. These bikes also have wire wheels which accept tubeless tires.
'98 V11EV


The '03 Cali uses a different ECM in a different location, so it doesn't have the seat problem. It also has hydraulic lifters, so no more valve adjustments. But if you buy one of the "hydros" ('03-'05), make sure they have had the recalls done. They originally had cam problems and the lower triple tree is likely to crack. There are recalls for both and Guzzi will still honor them. These wheels do use tubes.
'03 California Titanium (BTW, it's for sale.)


The Californias are terrific cruisers. Lots of torque down low, but the engine also likes to rev. They run great and are one of the best handling cruisers ever built. Their frame is the same as used on their GP bikes years ago when Guzzi was still racing. And they were winning too. One thing that's unusual is they do have a linked brake system. Since I got used to it, I like it, but it is different. It can be de-linked pretty easily. Instruments are a weak spot.

The Norge was a great sport tourer. My age has gotten me to the point that I couldn't take the ergos for 500 miles/day several days in a row any more, or I'd still own mine. I put about 17k miles on mine in a couple of years with no problems. It was a sweet handling, mile eating, joy to ride. The big Breva is basically a stripped version of the same bike. Again, the instrument cluster can be a weak spot on these bikes and is expensive to replace. But I never had a problem with mine, and most people don't.


Overall, Guzzis are strong, reliable, good handling motorcycles. They can have their share of quirks, but once sorted out they are outstanding motorcycles.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:56 AM   #4
M3-SRT8
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One of my good buddies is trying to talk me into one of these:



I gotta say I'm tempted. As far as Cruisers go, it's pretty damn sexy.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:11 AM   #5
elementalg20 OP
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Indeed that cali 1400 custom is a good looking bike. If I was dreaming of that kind of a budget it'd be on the list I'd suspect. Then again at 15k or so a lot of bikes would be on my list lol.


That 03' Cali Titanium is imo a great looking cruiser as well. Dave, as I'd said there is no practical way for me to be buying for quite some time, but I'd be interested to know more about it and the asking price just to give me an idea on the market on those. There are basically none of them to be found in my area(hardly any guzzi's period let alone specific ones).

Hyd valves is nice, but not a huge deal especially on one of these. Tube tires kinda sucks but for me not a deal breaker. Lower triple recall is kinda scary, good info to have and be aware of.

Thanks for the info so far guys, glad to have it!
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:27 AM   #6
doggrell3000
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2014 moto guzzi california 1400 custom

in my humble opinion the new mg cal custom at $15000 is a great deal . and it is a beautiful cruiser .


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Old 03-18-2013, 03:00 PM   #7
Street Hawk
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I'm on my second Guzzi now and since buying my first just 3 years ago I can say my garage will never be without one. I like a variety of bikes for different reasons, but my Guzzi's are the only ones that i really seem to enjoy more everytime i ride em. And I don't know why that is, so I call it 'character'.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:46 PM   #8
rocker59
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Three Guzzis in my garage. Have owned a total of six over the years.



Every model and year will have different issues and idiosyncracies. Not usually that big a deal, but it's hard to make blanket statements about Guzzi.

If you're looking for a cruiser/standard type bike, then you have one choice on the big block side of things: California.

Californias have evolved over the past twenty years, but the basic bike is the same. If you're looking for EFI, then start with the California EV of 1998.

There are several variants of the California since 1998, all with detail differences.

California EV. 1998-2002. Revamped California 1100i.
California Bassa. 1999-2000. Cosmetic makeover of the EV.
California Jackal. 2000-2001. Stipped down basic version of the EV.
California Special. 2001. Same as Bassa.
California Stone. 2002-2003. Same as Jackal, but with hydraulic lifters.
California Special Sport. 2002-2003. Same as Special, but with hydraulic lifters in 2003.
California EV Touring. 2003-2005. Hydraulic lifters and touring screen. H+B luggage.
California Aluminum. 2003-2004. Cosmetic variant of the Bassa/Special. Hydraulic lifters.
California Titanium. 2003-2004. Cosmetic variant of the Bassa/Special. Hydraulic lifters.
California Vintage. 2006-2011. Retro styling. Based on EV, but engine internals from the Breva 1100.
California 90. 2012. Cosmetic variant of the Cal Vintage.

Then, you have the small block bikes. The Nevada 750, Breva 750, and V7 Classic.

Do some looking. Narrow your choices, and I'm sure we can chime in with more detail.

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Old 03-18-2013, 05:01 PM   #9
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I think that is the most complete logical and clear summary of all the myriad California variants. I'm printing it and stashing it...just in case!
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
rocker59
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If you like the V11's look, I can tell you that it's a very competent motorcycle. My 2004 Nero Corsa has over 40,000 miles on it. Great bike!



The V11s are all EFI bikes. 1064 cc and 6-speed. The biggest difference between the Sport and Lemans is the 1/2 fairing of the Lemans. Lots of detail changes through the model run, but here's the basic list:

V11 Sport. 1999-2004. The basic V11. Short frame/swingarm from '99-'02. Long LeMans frame/swingarm '03/'04.
V11 Rosso Mandello. 2002. Numbered, limited Edition red paint.
V11 Scura. 2002. Flat black paint. Ohlins suspension.
V11 Sport TT. 2003. Basic V11 Sport with mix and match bodywork color. Creation of the USA importer. Only a few exist. Green or Maroon tanks with silver bodywork.
V11 Sport Carbon. 2003. Creation of the USA importer. Silver tanks with carbon accessories.
V11 Ballabio. 2003-2004. Pro-Taper handlebars and bikini fairing on basic V11 Sport.
V11 Cafe Sport. 2003-2004. Pro-Taper handlebars. Ohlins suspension. Champange paint.
V11 Coppa Italia. Pro-Taper handlebars. Ohlins Suspension. Tricolore paint.

V11 LeMans. 2002-2004.
V11 LeMans Tenni. 2002. Numbered, limited edition. Green paint. TiN coated Marzocchi forks.
V11 LeMans Rosso Corsa. 2003. Special Paint. Ohlins suspension.
V11 LeMans Nero Corsa. 2004. Special Paint. Ohlins suspension.

There was a 2005 V11 Sport Scura R available in limited numbers in Europe.
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:48 PM   #11
JerryH
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I have considered the V7 Stone, as well as the Triumph Bonneville. I don't really consider either one of them cruisers, more like standards. Triumph quality is a given, but I keep hearing all sorts of things about Moto Guzzi. Their reliable, their not reliable, they used to be reliable but aren't any more, you can't get parts, I don't know what to think. I have no firsthand experience with the brand, but love the looks of a couple of them, especially the engine, and I like the shaft drive (unless it explodes, like I keep hearing about BMW final drives)
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:55 PM   #12
rocker59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
I have considered the V7 Stone, as well as the Triumph Bonneville. I don't really consider either one of them cruisers, more like standards. Triumph quality is a given, but I keep hearing all sorts of things about Moto Guzzi. Their reliable, their not reliable, they used to be reliable but aren't any more, you can't get parts, I don't know what to think. I have no firsthand experience with the brand, but love the looks of a couple of them, especially the engine, and I like the shaft drive (unless it explodes, like I keep hearing about BMW final drives)
The V7 line has a 35-year lineage. The platform is proven and reliable.

A great standard motorcycle. I put several thousand miles on this one last summer:

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Old 03-18-2013, 08:10 PM   #13
IKIGAI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocker59 View Post
The V11s are all EFI bikes. 1064 cc and 6-speed. The biggest difference between the Sport and Lemans is the 1/2 fairing of the Lemans. Lots of detail changes through the model run, but here's the basic list:

V11 Sport. 1999-2004. The basic V11. Short swingarm from '99-'02. Long LeMans swingarm '03/'04.
V11 Rosso Mandello. 2002. Numbered, limited Edition red paint.
V11 Scura. 2002. Flat black paint. Ohlins suspension.
V11 Sport TT. 2003. Basic V11 Sport with mix and match bodywork color. Creation of the USA importer. Only a few exist. Green or Maroon tanks with silver bodywork.
V11 Sport Carbon. 2003. Creation of the USA importer. Silver tanks with carbon accessories.
V11 Ballabio. 2003-2004. Pro-Taper handlebars and bikini fairing on basic V11 Sport.
V11 Cafe Sport. 2003-2004. Pro-Taper handlebars. Ohlins suspension. Champange paint.
V11 Coppa Italia. Pro-Taper handlebars. Ohlins Suspension. Tricolore paint.

V11 LeMans. 2002-2004.
V11 LeMans Tenni. 2002. Numbered, limited edition. Green paint. TiN coated Marzocchi forks.
V11 LeMans Rosso Corsa. 2003. Special Paint. Ohlins suspension.
V11 LeMans Nero Corsa. 2004. Special Paint. Ohlins suspension.

There was a 2005 V11 Sport Scura R available in limited numbers in Europe.
Ok I've chopped out stuff to keep small-ish, but,...I've highlighted stuff I want to clarify;

Are you saying the V11 series -- Le Mans especially-- had two different lengths of swingarms?
What kind of difference are we talking about here - how many mm's?

And the Pro-taper bar is a one-piece tube or were they all just clip-on's with different heights?

I always thought the LSL conversions were the only way to fit a one-piece tube bar to the V11 series, no?

Thanks for your response.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:09 PM   #14
rocker59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IKIGAI View Post
Are you saying the V11 series -- Le Mans especially-- had two different lengths of swingarms? What kind of difference are we talking about here - how many mm's?
Yes. There is a difference. I don't recall the dimension difference off the top of my head.

Sport 99-02 introduced a shorter frame (length difference at the steering head) from the preceeding Sport 1100/Daytona RS.

Some people didn't like it, so a longer frame and wider swingarm were introduced on the 02 Lemans, followed with the 03 Sports, which returned the bikes to the same geometry of the Sport 1100/Daytona.

99-02 Sports run a 4.25 rear wheel. The 02 LeMans and 03 Sports run a 5.50 rear wheel.


Quote:
Originally Posted by IKIGAI View Post
And the Pro-taper bar is a one-piece tube or were they all just clip-on's with different heights?

I always thought the LSL conversions were the only way to fit a one-piece tube bar to the V11 series, no?

Thanks for your response.
Pro Taper is known for thier dirtbike handlebars. They're tubular handlebars that are fat at the clamp and taper to 7/8 at the controls.

Ballabio, Cafe Sport, and Coppa Italia had the tubular Pro Taper bars. You can buy the top triple clamp from Guzzi already drilled, and use the bar clamp of your choice, or you can drill your own top clamp. The top clamp on most, if not all, V11s has the bosses for this molded into the bottom of the top clamp.

Early V11 Sports had clipons mounted below the top triple clamp. Starting in '02 with the LeMans, the clipons were moved to the top of the triple clamp. Sports got them at this time, too.

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Old 03-19-2013, 07:31 AM   #15
wannaklr
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Coppa Italia's have been going up in price. I've been watching the few that pop up on ebay.

I may have to look for a Cafe Sport and some Krylon.
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