Moto Guzzi California Special – review and opinion – Squiggles Has The…

19 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Moto Guzzi California Special – review and opinion – Squiggles Has The…
Moto Guzzi California Special
Moto Guzzi California Special

Squiggles Has The Ride Of her Life.

You grope your way blindly into a dark alleyway, feeling for the two lumps of unyielding hot material; she stands there, smoking slightly, still hot from your last meeting, expectant and ready for you. Nonchalantly, you nod at her, but she ignores you, standing with her back to the wall.

You want to get your leg over, to feel the throbbing lump between your legs as you ride and ride, but first you want to look at her. because she is simply gorgeous. later you will sit on her and listen to her soft growl, but for now, she waits for you to insert your. ignition key!

Hey, this isn’t a page from the Kama Sutra, but this Moto Guzzi is a machine that encapsulates passion.

You look her over, and see Italian craftsmanship in her making; two glorious cylinders, sticking out across the frame, a shapely ‘V’ formation that can only be from the country that gave us Ferrari, Cappuccino, Mussolini. erm, well, it’s Italian, this 850 California, and all things Italian speak of red red red. the California is black.

So, over to an uninterested bystander, getting ready for her first ride on pillion. What do you think, Squiggles? Nice bodywork? Easy going? Sporty? Yes, but what about the bike? First impressions?

Louise says: Well Freddles, it’s important that when a girl gets her first sight of a big and throbbing, erm, machine, that she gets to run her fingers delicately over the smoothness of that impressive bodywork. She needs to be sure that everything is in full working order before she embarks on the ride of her life! And the California 850 sure has a body that any girl would die for!

Lean, but curvy, with a long and comfortable leather saddle which has to be chunky enough for you to grip on with knuckles clenched as you feel the wind in your hair, the throb of the engine and the sheer speed and exhilaration as you realise you’ve never ever ridden anything this black and huge before!

You close your eyes tightly to enhance every moment (and to stop being blinded by flies) and feel the power of 850 ccs throbbing beneath you. You’ve taken every precaution, you don’t want accidents after all, so your helmet is as hard as it can be and you’re wearing all the right leather gear as recommended. But Freddles, I’m not a girl who likes to take many risks, and I’ve always thought that history is important, so can you reassure me how safe this ride will be?

Gimme some stats man!

Thanks Louise, hope you didn’t mind me showing my flies to you? Silly creatures just zoom straight into your face!

Anyway, first thing we need is stringent precautions; we don’t want any small accidents, do we? The patter of tiny feet is not something we can handle right now, but that’s enough about the insects that accost our bodies.

Luckily, we have stretched pliable material over our most exposed areas, thus making a secure liquid-tight enclosure, without hopefully any spillage. The kit includes gloves, a warm coat, waterproof of course, and maybe boots or whatever. If you come off (it does happen in the heat of the moment) leather will protect you from any scrapes or bruises as you lay spread-eagled in the gravel.

Okay, the Cali is 844cc, with a twin cylinder V engine that produces bags of torque (no Louise, not YOUR talk; with the Guzzi at least I can shut it off at the end of the day). This practical engine configuration is strong enough to drive a tank. funny that, because the motor was originally designed to power an armoured vehicle of sorts in the Italian Army, many decades ago. The real proof of this engine is in its original design, hardly changed from those first blueprints; strong, unburstable, and easy to maintain.

And maintain you must; this isn’t your everyday Kawasuziyam, your erstwhile Japanese reliable machine with electronic this and that. No, Louise, this machine breaks down unless maintained, and as you lie beneath the engine, your legs sticking out, your underwear showing, i can tell you exactly how to wield the feelers. erm, feeler gauges that is, because this machine has settings to be kept in fettle, so routine maintenance is required: contacts, electrics, oil etc.

Moto Guzzi California Special

In truth, this machine is very much like you, Louise: it’s easy to work on, 5 minutes to adjust the contact gap, and everything else is a doddle. The engine will never burst and Guzzis aren’t necessarily run-in until they’ve done 70000 miles or so; agricultural they may be, but the slow-revving capability gives you a bike that is capable of going round the clock (and often does). Over to you Louise….

Louise says: LOL, you’ve made it sound more like a war tank than a lean and fast racing machine! But OK, you’ve convinced me that this ride could be exciting but at the same time, very safe. But what will it cost me?

And are these models hard to come across?

Ok Louise, we are almost at a climax; let me give it a squirt. on the throttle. The sideways rocking you see as you squirt the throttle is called ‘torque reaction’. It’s not scary, but fairly unique to Guzzis.

It will catch you out if you try to do silly things in corners, but generally the Guzzi is solid and feels like it’s on rails. Handling is precise, and you can rack up many miles without feeling uncomfy. These bikes are long-distance tourers, in the BMW mould. but cheaper.

Cost? You can get one new for about Ј6k, this will be a bigger engine (they stopped making the 850 years ago), or you can pick up a decent used one (say, 15 years old) for around a grand. Don’t worry about mileage or age, these things really do last.

Running costs are frugal, about 50mpg, top speed about 100, but the engine never feels stressed. Lazy and docile, this beast is about mile-eating on a shoestring.

There Louise, you may get off now.

Lou clambers off, dusts herself down and says: Thanks for the ride Freddles. O)


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