This is the third installment in the series. The previous installment is here.
After two weeks of solid riding every day, one rain storm and a possible job offer that would require a move to Chicago, I capitulated to my wife, Sheila, and stormed our house, cleaning out all the junk and stuff that I would not want to take on a move. Benefits include a garage with enough room to park the bikes, a happy wife, and some time at the end of the day to tweak the bike’s suspension settings, go through the technical specifications, and jot down some thoughts with respect to what I would want in another bike (and who doesn’t want more bikes!) if it were to be my “go-to daily rider”.
Let’s look at the Breva 1200 Sport’s Specifications. The stuff that mattered to me is in bold:
|Type||90° V-Twin, 4 stroke|
|Cooling system||air cooling|
|Bore and stroke||95 x 81.2 mm|
|Compression ratio||9,8 : 1|
|Maximum power||over 70 kW (95 HP) at 7,800 rpm|
|Maximum torque||over 100 Nm at 6,000 rpm|
|Fuel injection system / Ignition||Magneti Marelli IAW5A, α-n type; 2 Ø 45 mm throttle bodies, Weber IWP 162 injectors, Lambda control, twin spark ignition|
|Exhaust system||stainless steel, 2 into 1 type with catalytic converter, height-adjustable muffler|
|Internal ratios||1^ 17/38 = 1 : 2.235
2^ 20/34 = 1 : 1.700
3^ 23/31 = 1 : 1.347
4^ 26/29 = 1 : 1.115
5^ 31/30 = 1 : 0.967
6^ 29/25 = 1 : 0.862
|Primary drive||helical teeth, ratio 24/35 = 1 : 1.458|
|Secondary drive||Compact Reactive Shaft Drive CA.R.C.; double universal joint with floating bevel gear, ratio 12/44 = 1 : 3.666|
|Clutch||double disk, dry|
|Frame||tubular cradle, high tensile steel|
|Front suspension||telescopic hydraulic fork with Ø 45 mm and TIN surface treatment, preload adjustable|
|Front wheel travel||120 mm|
|Rear suspension||single arm suspension with progressive linkage, rear shock absorber adjustable in rebound and pre-load (hydraulic)|
|Rear wheel travel||140 mm|
|Front brake||twin stainless steel floating disc, wave type, Ø 320 mm, 4 opposed pistons|
|Rear brake||single steel fixed disc, Ø 282 mm, floating caliper with 2 parallel pistons|
|Wheels||three spokes, light alloy wheels, gravity die-casting|
|Front wheel/Rear wheel||3.50” x 17”/5.50” x 17”|
|Front tyre/Rear tyre||120/70 ZR17” — 180/55 ZR17”|
|Seat height||800 mm|
|Ground clearance||185 mm|
|Dry weight||229 kg|
|Fuel tank capacity||23 litres|
|Two-year factory warranty and 24-hour Roadside Assistance come standard.|
Discussing the specs:
This bike has more than enough power to get the job done. The torque, at 74 ft.lbs, is absolutely stump-pulling for a bike weighing in at 504. Combine this with an engine that red-lines at 6500 rpm and only a slight over-bore, and you can expect quite a bit of grunt where you want it — low and mid-range, where, if you ride daily, ride far and in all kinds of conditions — is where you want it.
Why I don’t care about “track-ready” bikes:
It’s just bitchin’ to have max torque and horsepower come in at some kind of mind-numbing 14,000 RPM. But really, isn’t this just wasted for every day? I’m sure that the Cycle magazines would argue this point as they rely on advertising and every ad in most are pointed directly at Rossi wannabees that think that having a no-compromises bike for the street is just perfect.
Well, I guess I got old and practical, but I probably ride more and farther than most squiddies. I’ll bet that their skills are honed more tightly than mine. I ride happily within my limits, discover new ones at a conservative pace, and realize that riding a race-ready bike for the street is uncomfortable and downright dangerous. Yes, dangerous. Because you’re going to ride the bike hard simply because there’s so much of everything available — and eventually the weasels will find you.
You’ve got to be 100% right all the time, surrounded by cops that want to arrest you, road surfaces that would make racers walk away from a track, and enough cagers in every mile that have the capability of writing your epitaph between cell phone calls.
I enjoy riding but don’t have the courage of a drunk bear. I want a bike for realistic street conditions, and the Breva 1200 Sport has proven itself an outstanding contender in this category. The only problem I’ve encountered was the rough ride that I wasn’t sure I could address — turns out that the suspension is VERY adjustable, at least as much or more than my ST2, and enough to cure my problem. A previous rider had cranked up the rear suspension to teeth rattling levels, which, after softening up by two cranks, should make the 180 miles I ride tomorrow as pleasant as I’ve ever had.
So, What do I want in a daily, long-distance-commuter bike?
- Big, grunty torque
- Comfortable seat
- Comfortable, upright riding position
- Smart protection from wind blast
- “Sense” of “narrowness” for lane splitting
- Excellent low-speed manners
- Smooth ride
- Nice growl, but unobtrusive
- Clear instruments
- A “presence” when next to, or behind, vehicles.
- Stopping power that is predictable and progressive
- A place to move my feet around a little
- Adjustability of controls
- Reverse-shift capability ( Hey, these are MINE — I LIKE reverse-shift! )
Evaluating the Breva 1200 Sport with these criteria, I can’t give it a 10-out-of-10. The wide bars, as much as I love them, are a little daunting for splitting lanes over the first couple of days. I haven’t had much room to move my size 12 feet around much. I’m still getting used to the brakes. So far I don’t think you can reverse the shift pattern (PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS IF YOU CAN!!!)
For the first 250 miles I’ve put on the bike, I’m giving it an 8.75, or “not quite a nine”. I think this might go up over the next 7 days as this is one fine bike. I’m already testing stories on my wife to get my own.
For those of you reading this article and considering a First Guzzi, please understand. Once you get one, you’re always going to have one. Guzzis are the “Saabs of Motorcycles”. Always respected for conservative yet stout engineering, comfortable and quirky. Some kind of club exists between owners that have them — as if they know something that non-Guzzi people don’t. Once you buy a Guzzi, you become a Guzzi-person, which is something that can be said for few other brands, especially ones without all the logo-licensed paraphernalia that exists for the more famous of the bunch.