Moto Guzzi California Vintage long term review : Moto Guzzi California…

13 Июн 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Moto Guzzi California Vintage long term review : Moto Guzzi California… отключены
Moto Guzzi California Vintage

California Vintage long review

This long review of the Moto Guzzi Vintage is written after 8900 miles on it over the two and a half years.  Q: How has the Guzzi up so far?  Would I buy the same again if I could start

  A: Very well, and yes!

I became hooked by the California months prior to my buying I’ve got the ’07 and there is no difference model years, at least noticeable.   I personally prefer and older-style, lower-tech, mechanical

This motorcycle has all that and it with Italian style.

If you close at the photo of me on the bike, notice my tail light is slightly downward because the light bracket had failed the day before the photo was taken,  as I was finishing up this article.  I had to secure mine with zip and a rag stuffed between it and the rest of the Luckily, I’ve carried a of zip ties in my panniers since I was a marshal last year, and helped me get home from that day.

The picture was when I rode to my Guzzi to have him see what happened, but he’s not a Guzzi dealer any I’m left to fixing it myself, is fine by me. A downside to being a California Vintage owner in the USA is dealerships are few and very far between.  is a concern, but the bike is not difficult to on if you’re mechanically inclined.

  The Guzzi California models have very well the test of time regarding reliability and ability to accumulate mileage. with few exceptions.

and simplicity:

Electronics on the bike are compared to other types of new Fuel injection is by Magneti-Marelli and is fed via two throttle bodies, two fine in motoring and motorsports.  Guzzi models have been injected for many years, of several other brands.

  If you do to plug in electronic gadgets, is a 12 volt accessory outlet, but it is on the left side of the bike and the manual recommends against with things plugged in

The 350 Watt charging system is powerful than most touring bikes and it takes a bit of rpm to achieve that.  In fact, keeping the stock 55 Watt lights on while riding at rpm will indeed drain the Makes me want to ask why Guzzi 55 Watt bulbs as standard, but why

  A simple an inexpensive swap to 35 bulbs cured that many miles ago for me, and has for many California Vintage owners

Gauges are analog with background and bright red needles.  I them and they continue to well for me, including the analog odometer.  I like having to the reset knob to reset it than push some screen for a digital display – just me.

One feature I have not used is the flash-to-pass headlight I usually flash my auxiliary when I need to.  so always seems to get driver’s and in fact, I had someone pull immediately after I did that, but certainly was not my intention.  Speaking of getting, the 4-way flasher that I installed still is great.  Of course, I rarely use it, but I much better knowing I them.

  This should be a feature on all new motorcycles in my opinion.


I’ve had to spend little to keep it going, just for the normal oil and filter I use the term “normal” loosely the required 10w60 full racing engine oil is certainly not I consider as normal oil.   have trouble finding it for the Vintage, and it costs more $12 per liter, but that’s life you ride an exotic (ok, just slightly exotic)

You can read and see more about how to the engine oil and filter in an earlier I wrote. I also wrote how to change the gear oil in the transmission and drive.  At least the required of gear oil is fairly inexpensive and to find.

  I’d say it is a good bike for a that likes doing maintenance themselves, but doing oil on the California Vintage does more time and effort you might expect.

Slightly complicated to do, but still a good job, is changing the air filter .  I mine with a standard UFI equipment filter for about but K N Filters makes one for it too, and I to try theirs next.

The Guzzi riding experience:

Riding the Vintage on rural roads is I have had the most fun on it.  It well and predictably, with of brakes to keep things in The character of a Moto Guzzi is one that likes higher than a Harley or some v-twins.

  It’s not a good to lug this Italian machine in a lopey sort of American way.  If you do, you’ll feel it just isn’t meant for

It can satisfy sport-riding urges if you the need.  The Tonti frame was for that when it was designed so years ago, and it still is the job today.  The exhaust song of the v-twin at 4000 rpm and above is satisfying to say the least, and that is the factory exhaust system.

  I see no to modify this bike’s LaFranconi and Guzzi did a great job on this in my opinion.

Riding on the freeways at 70 or 75 mph is fine, but the experience is more dull for the senses.  is buffeting at that speed. If you to ride the California Vintage on most of the time, you’ll to swap the stock windshield to one that is an inch or two taller, if you are around 6 feet tall me.

The stock windshield is very suited for 55 mph range in my opinion.

related to long distance cruising, the position of the California engine guard bars are not suited for attaching “highway for those that like feet up and legs stretched out You certainly can mount them, but the may get in the way of their bar clamps. Once this is not a problem for me since I do many freeway rides I would need those but I do occasionally wish to straighten my a bit.

  When I do, I just my leg up on top of the engine guard bar for a few minutes.

with an … passenger feel a little cramped if you are larger people.  I normally single.  When I do have a it is my 10 year old son, and of course he is and fun to ride along with.

  We a great time together on bike just buzzing the country roads without

I liked the California Vintage I was looking for a new bike because it had I felt was a “good” passenger area.  With guards in of the hard bags, and a large for the passenger with wrap-around to grab onto there if Also, the foot pegs some shielding from the wheel and are not near any hot pipes, is no chain or belt to get caught in.

The trunk, which mounts incredible ease on the Cal Vin’s rack, also provides a something to rest back It is a perfect place to store a or an overnight bag.   My son is happy and with his space on the California and that is exactly what I

  I’ve been considering the rear pegs to foot but the pegs have good damping on them while all the passenger foot boards I that might fit don’t any real vibration damping.

light mounting bracket at 8866 miles:

I ride to about 20 miles each I had already finished most of article when after I at work one day and noticed my tail was hanging from the electrical I had been keeping an eye on it since I the bike in ’08 because I had read other owners that had with their tail bracket, but saw no indication of cracks to this.

When the tail housing was apparently bouncing without my knowledge, it caused the red to crack at both of the screw I discovered the red CEV lens comes a series of Aprilia Scarabeo The license plate holder on my Vintage actually says on it in small print too, is fine with me, but a little odd I in terms of brand management.

  I’ll order a new lens a local Aprilia scooter since my dealer and Moto have apparently separated.  is a bummer for me since the next dealer is 3 hours away.

A research on Google will you this has happened to several of us thru 2008 California owners.  Apparently the bracket has reinforced starting on the 2009 Vintage.

I was considering to swap it the “coffee can” tail which looks a bit comical to to a standard dual tail housing from a California or a Jackal or EV.  I kind of that look for some However, when I examined a one of these lamp housings up I quickly saw it is very prone to and turn signal mounting due to the flimsy plastic base it has attaches to the rear fender.

  I that idea, and eventually a much nicer looking steel tail light originally intended for a 1930′s pick-up truck!

Air cooled and ethanol in gasoline:

During the it does get pretty hot here in the and so does the Guzzi California air-cooled 1064cc v-twin when I’m stuck at traffic The only reason I realize it is a little too hot is that I will it start to ping or rattle a bit as I pull away from a idle. That goes almost immediately once I get air again.

I’ve always the highest octane gasoline, it really needs it or not; all the gasoline in my region has 10% ethanol in it.

the ethanol in gasoline, I’ve read, and witnessed people Guzzis that have had bike suddenly stop due to the fuel hose in the tank and becoming disconnected. The apparent is that the original equipment hose material is not compatible ethanol, or so I have been Thankfully, my Guzzi dealer was aware of this issue and mine before I rode it brand new.

I had no clue at the and it wasn’t until several later that I found out it had been taken care Carl treated me well.

tubes and air pressure:

The original Metzeler Lasertec tires tubeless due to the Route Borrani Italian spoked wheels ) are holding up well at 8900 By the way, when a Moto won the Tourist Trophy 1937, it was on wheels.  Motorcycle tires last less than miles, so I feel fortunate I still have sufficient on these, but I do take it easy I ride.

  I imagine getting one more year out of them.  are ok as far as tires go, I can’t complain.

This Guzzi California tells me when the front pressure starts to get even a few psi low. There is no warning or anything, but I start to feel a steering wobble show up deceleration, and also I detect a difference in corner handling.  As as I top-off the tire pressure to the spec, that wobble goes right away time.

If I let the rear tire get a little low, I generally notice it, but I do check them With the California Vintage wheels, the spokes and brake can make using a tire difficult to do.  I bought a psi air pressure gauge that has a angled fitting on it continues to the reading after you remove it the valve stem.

If I hold it right, I can hold it on the valve to get the reading, but it takes some

Note: I eventually got a set of Bridgestone tires installed to replace the Metzeler Lasertec tires.

How the linked brakes?

The factory disc Brembo brakes been excellent. Riding a with linked brakes has been extremely easy to to.  In fact, now that had this luxury, and I do consider it as a I would not want to be without type of braking system.

(non-Guzzi) riders look at me I’m from outer space I answer their questions it.  Maybe its because I’m not a rider, or maybe just they never experienced brakes.  It works so naturally it isn’t anything you notice or think about.

  That’s the of it.  This of it as a sort of ABS.

I stop with and never have to have to what proportion of front rear I am applying. I’ve had the brakes lock on me during braking, although I imagine the would if you got too carried away it.

Ergonomics of the California Vintage :

on the Moto Guzzi California continue to work fairly for me as a 6 foot tall 165 lb rider 33 inseam.  I sometimes wish the was about an inch taller, but when I’m riding above 60 The seating position is like a standard motorcycle with a big seat that is comfortable

  Seat height is a bit tall, so legs are helpful.

I would to stretch my legs forward a on longer rides, but the engine and lower fairing panels are in the way of that. I’ll get a set of positionable pegs to mount someday so I have to alter the lower

With the v-twin sitting the left cylinder sits a closer to the rider than the one. The little black  on the left cylinder head against my upper shin.  become used to feeling it and it really doesn’t bother me.

  It is on with a couple of the valve screws, so it could be removed in a minute if you wanted to.

Handlebar width, angle and height is perfect for me.  If I could one thing about the handlebar, I’d the grips at less of an angle I notice slight pressure the lower outside edge of my than I do across the entire

  I’m really getting nit-picky it is not really an issue for me.   As you can see (or I struggle to find faults this bike!

Having a is great.  I love having the to put it up on the center-stand, and I do it a lot.   In fact, I use it night because the bike up less space in the garage way.  The shiny chrome stand is among the longest, and I coolest, ones you will find on a stock motorcycle.  The leans over onto it a amount, so when parking is the center-stand is the better option.

  Once you learn how to do it, it actually is to get it up onto the center-stand in one smooth without too much effort at

Getting it down off the center-stand is fairly easy.  On flat a quick forward body while simultaneously pushing using both feet it right down quick and Not easy if you parked facing If you have short legs, I suppose the center-stand and the side could both give you trouble.

  The pivot for the California side stand is forward of the foot board, and with the stand being so long, it some effort to reach and it with your left to pull it up.  It can be a little but sometimes it takes me a couple if I go about it too lazily.

Italian and good vibration:

Starting the fuel injected v-twin cold involves using a lever located on the left bar above the clutch lever.  lever works like a even though the bike has injection.  If the engine is cold and you use the lever, it will take cranking to before it fires, and it may a couple tries.  Using the it fires right up from

  When the engine is warm, I need to use the “choke” lever.  one of those things that you to remember to turn off all the way before you off.  When it is not all the way on, the engine the same as when it is off.

  The does not have any real return, so at least on on mine, I to manually push it back off all the way to sure it is off.

Over the couple of years, I’ve had small issues with Vibration overall is good on bike.  Good in the way of feeling you are riding a v-twin.  The long cover on the lower left near the foot board, is on a few mounts.  It was touching part of the or frame, and after several of a small, but irritating vibration I finally figured out that was the

  I gently tweaked it so it would everything and problem solved.  I had it off for cleaning some time so maybe I didn’t get it positioned when I re-installed it, who knows.

slight vibration nuisance was by the left mud guard (for of a better description). This is the panel that is fastened to the engine guard bar.  is a sort of extension, like a diving board, at the very that can just tickle the of the bike with the vibration of the running.

  The right side is shaped differently along the so it does not have the same Anyway, I removed the screws hold it to the bar, slipped in steel washers between the and the chrome bar, and re-fastened That provided just forward spacing that the can no longer touch anything to against.

  Another easy

I had the heel-and-toe shift mechanism nut up on me, almost all the way off!  Since I it, it has never come loose I didn’t do anything special, tightened it back down, no

  I keep an occasional eye on it, but no further to report regarding vibration for that darn tail bracket that I mentioned in the article.

Luggage space:

The space in the hard bags on the Vintage is fairly generous and to live with. The opening is a narrow, but is plenty deep.  The hinge forward and have a latch at the rear.

  Some caution is needed opening the lid since there is to prevent it from swinging and bouncing against the chrome located just in front of it. done that a few times but was lucky not to cause any damage to the top of the All it needs it a cable or strap to the open distance just top center.

  I have not done modification yet, but have it done very cleverly on a Vintage owned by Guzzi Jim in

Because the side bags can not hold a full-face helmet, I a Givi top case model the day I purchased the bike.  The luggage standard on the California Vintage, was a fit for mounting the Givi plate.  It me to quickly and easily unlock and the trunk anytime, and it locks on as easily too.

I’ve had two issues with the side bag (They are standard Southco and Southco has a good reputation for machinery latches and handles.)  One has tended to pop open by itself riding.  When that the lid stays shut, but not firmly to keep if from vibrating.  The caused a tiny chip in the

  Since then, I keep side locked when I

Just a few weeks ago, the latch (the left which I use the most) almost off when I went to open it I arrived to work.   It had always easier to open than the one since new.  The four head screws that it to the bag had all loosened, but didn’t fall So, I simply tightened them down firmly and all was fine

  Now, when you open and this latch, it has the exact feel as the other side

Loctite would have but these take a 2 mm hex wrench and likely strip the hex if I ever to remove them after Loctite.  I’ll check occasionally now that I am aware of

A dry clutch and shifting the Guzzi:

continues to be a breeze.  If I’m on the highway, I find myself searching for a sixth gear, but it really is not She hums right along at 3200 or 3300 rpm at around 70 The gears are easy and smooth The heel and toe shifter works well for me.

  This is my first with a heel and to  shifter and I to like it.  It is one of those that you use without thinking.  I first was getting used to it in the week I had it, I found that if I to actually think about I need to use my heel or toe, I shift it the wrong way.

The on the Guzzi is a dry clutch .  That it is not in an oil bath.  That also it can get hot if abused.  I don’t abuse my and have had no problems with The biggest workouts I ever the clutch was when I took the MSF Rider Course when I got the bike, and more recently I volunteered as a Motorcycle Marshal for a bicycling event for charity.

  It up just fine through of those events and I’m sure it is of many, many more.  It rattle anything like a dry clutch does.  It actually is quiet.

  If you listen very you just might be able to it when you have it squeezed.

How that Skunk seat?

I removing the California Vintage I don’t like the way the seat The mechanism is fairly simple, but improvement in my opinion.

  The underside of the is plastic and there is a metal rod to it that has to align with a operated spring-loaded latch on the frame of the bike.  The seat unlocks using the ignition key at a located below the left cover.  The key just barely when unlocking it, and I suppose could break their key the lock mechanism is stuck (I not).

  Well, the unlocked seat off easy enough, but getting it on and latched properly has always incredibly difficult and frustrating to do on

I remember the day I picked it up new at the dealer it took 3 of those guys to get the to latch back on after showed me how easy it was to take it After witnessing that, I removed the seat when it was necessary (another good to install a Battery Tender on the bike).  A long time I discovered that the latch was cocked at a slight angle, a little misalignment with the rod that is built into the bottom.

  After I adjusted the of the latch mechanism on the frame, I was to greatly improve the alignment and now it is easier to re-install the seat.

it was never right, and it could been made worse so many tries to get the seat on in the Anyway, I avoid removing the and that is why I don’t store the Guzzi tool kit (comes the bike) on the intended tray the seat.  I hope the new California has a better method of latching the

Well, for a long term I don’t blame you if you think was pretty boring to read.  about that folks, it is a bike and has been very to live with.  What can I say?

  As you saw, the few issues I to muster up are incredibly minor.  The Vintage is not a GoldWing, and it is not a Beemer.  It is than it looks, has more than a lot of others, and does not to be something that it is not.  I’d say it is it needs to be and has nothing more it needs.  No fat tires, no gigantic no extra bits to make it bigger.

  It is an enthusiast’s motorcycle, as World once described it in “Battle of the Baggers” article.

to expect for the first service:

As many bikes these expect to pay a significant bill for the first service performed at the Expect to pay about $450-$500 A short number of miles the first service was performed, I a significant oil leak from the valve cover.

  It remains a how the valve cover gasket was not installed, which I then had obviously caused leak, but it was a and inexpensive fix which I chose to do

How to summarize the California Vintage?

motorcycle continues to be pure joy for me any exaggeration whatsoever.  Moto hit a home run with the California in my book (except for the tail bracket).  I feel as if I did too since I am so to be the owner of one.

  I fully to keep this motorcycle as as I am able to ride, and I imagine that I will still it as my own piece of fine Italian art!

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