Sunday, 7 July 2019
So, here’s my considered thoughts on the new bike, [the last guzzi I rode was a mark one le mans that I borrowed from a mate and although I ended up with massive bruising to my arm when a car towing a caravan decided to go for a gap that wasn’t there and ended up whacking me with one of those extended rear view mirrors!]
After the dual purpose debacle in the previous post I decided I wanted another air-cooled twin cylinder bike, I looked at the bmw boxer twins, hunting around for a project bike to build another special and was amazed at how the prices have gone skywards, big money for something that needs twice as much again spending on it to kick it into shape. I suppose it’s the ‘built/bikeshed’ effect? I started looking at sportsters and ‘inckley bonny’s but couldn’t really get any enthusiasm back to start hacking one up again, a bit of ‘been there, done that’ creeping in I suppose so that left the guzzi. I did some research and thought the v7 model may be the one, prices are reasonable but the lack of horsepower was a little concerning, a good one is sub 50bhp and they aren’t the lightest things.
I looked at the older carby models with a view to sticking a set of keihin fcr’s and some decent pipes on to up the rather meagre output but soon discovered that there’s not much difference in price with a fuel-infected model that’s around five - six years younger!
A hunt on a ‘well known internet auction site’ soon found a few potential ‘victims’ sorry I mean suitable candidates, I kept coming back to this one though, I didn’t realise at first but after more digging realised that this was a very interesting little bike. although listed as the base model ‘stone’ version, [the matt black entry level bike] the more comparing and contrasting revealed that moto guzzi don’t actually sell this bike in this form instead the previous owner had gone to a lot of trouble and expense to upgrade the machine and may I say sir, you have made a damn fine job in doing so!
the bike has the upswept ‘cafe racer’ exhausts, now, although to my knowledge there is no performance increase, it is a stroke of genius because it allows the removal of the rear wheel for tyre changes and bevel box maintenance without the need to remove the silencers as you cannot withdraw the rear wheel spindle as it fouls the standard pipes. it also looks a lot sportier, especially combined with the ‘cafe racer’ humped seat and the rear exhaust hanger brackets. the bike also has the lovely ‘speciale’ black, silver and orange fuel tank that offers a massive 21 litres of fuel which equates to a staggering 240 miles between fill-ups! [hello bmw adventure bike owners!’ the wheels have been powder coated in silver to mimic the aforementioned le mans which is a great touch which I wish I had thought of and the addition of a tachometer which, to be honest isn’t really necessary but a nice touch nevertheless.
the standard mirrors are toss. they vibrate and offer you an unparalleled view of your elbows, so poor that I returned home and took them off the first time I rode it. I replaced them with ‘bar-end’ oberon items, 75mm streetfighter mirrors. i’ve used these on loads of bikes and can’t recommend them highly enough, once fitted and set up they stay exactly where you want them and offer a clear view without the shaking and blurred vision normally associated with a tory mp in a self asphyxiation role play situation.
I initially tried to ride the guzzi like the 790 duke. dancing on the gear lever and trying to keep it in the sweet spot, whoa tiger, that’s not happening! the 790 packs 105 bhp and weighs nothing, almost ‘stroker-like, no engine braking to speak of, just a totally different animal. I quickly realised that I needed a little more decorum riding the guzzi, stick in sixth and just use the throttle, no need for brakes although the brembo four -pot, single disc set-up is more than adequate, strangely the bike comes with traction control which seems a bit over the top for a bike packing 48.9 bhp but you can turn it off which you have to do rather annoyingly every time you ride. this thing really is charming, the further you ride it the better it gets, no sign of fatigue for impressive mileage, no discernible vibration, in fact, the faster you go the less intrusive any frequencies through the bars, the seat is firmly padded but no sign of the dreaded ‘dead-arse syndrome’ occurred. handling is brilliant, the bike has the same rake as a chopper baby and is the same length as the torrey canyon and so, has no right on paper to corner like it does, just set yourself up for the bends, tip in using the wide bars for leverage, no hanging off or any of that old bollocks and it tracks through the bends with impressive stability and loads of feedback that will leave you grinning the further you push it. ground clearance is somewhat limited and even gentle cornering results in exhaust or side stand making contact with mother-earth in a very satisfying ‘screeethhhhh’ and impressive sparks scaring following motorists.
I like it, I like it a lot............