This is the eighth in a series of posts about the Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport. The previous posting is here
1000 Miles, 8 days riding: Do I still like the Breva 1200?
Yes. Yes I do. I lost a full day of riding when it rained, and two more when my wife told me to paint the house. Still managed to get a few miles in though. The average day of riding put me at about 200 miles each, and I felt like I really got a good idea about what it would be like to live with a Breva over the long-term.
So often one sees a bike advertised or reviewed by a magazine, then goes to their nearest dealer for a trip around the block. The papers are out on the salesman’s desk at that point, and if you liked what you felt and the deal is right, then you buy. But what influences really get you to “pull the trigger”?
I think it’s a little more visceral and subjective, since often one doesn’t have enough data to actually make a decision based on facts. Purchasing decisions are based on:
- Previous relationship with the brand/type of bike.
- Group pressure to consider only certain bikes
- Family influence
- “Cool” factor
- Brand heritage/history
- Right place/right time – impulse
- Aspirations or personality, i.e. “people that I want to be like ride this bike”.
I don’t think the Breva 1200 Sport sold well and became a one-year-only model because it didn’t hit these factors closely, and it’s too bad. Any Moto Guzzi owner will tell you that the marque is awesome, and the bikes are top notch. I would venture that Guzzi owners’ loyalties are at or near the top of the industry. I would also postulate that the average bike buyer on the average day looking at a type of bike wouldn’t consider Guzzis because they don’t know about them. If they did, people in their circle of riding relationships would probably raise eyebrows and possibly chuckle if you rode up on one. You’d end up giving the “iPod explanation”:
“While working at a large internet company, I was approached by a Product Manager that wanted to make a deal with a company to supply on-line music. I asked them if it worked with iPods. He said no, but it worked with all these other devices, and many of them were just as cool, feature-rich and useful as an iPod…
I told him that I thought it was a bad idea. My explanation is this. Every other MP3 player on the market is not an iPod, so every time someone comes up and asks about it, they have to get out their stump speech and explain how it’s just as good as an iPod because — yada, yada, yada. But anyone with an iPod has no explaining to do.”
And so it goes. Unless you ride with Guzzisti, you have to explain to them why your bike is so goddamned cool, and it really is. The Breva is just a masterpiece of handling, aggression and reliability, yet, you’re going to have to explain it to everyone. That’s why I’m writing this. I have a different approach.
Just smile and ride.
Don’t buy a bike for anyone but yourself. I’ve attempted to give anyone reading this an introduction to the Breva Sport. You can extrapolate this over the other bikes in Guzzi’s line up. Moto Guzzi makes an honest bike. They do what is advertised to someone that wants a bike for their souls, not their friends faint praise. In most groups, your bike will only be the “cool new one” until the next guy shows up with theirs. Just blow that whole thing off, get your Guzzi, and when everyone of these poseurs have all moved onto other bikes, you’ll be riding yours with an ear-to-ear grin.
Of course, there are Guzzisti to ride with. I love these people as they are all the most unpretentious group of people that I’ve ever met. Further, there’s always a gentle introduction to maintaining your ride if you’re so inclined, fixing it when you’re stuck, and some really great shared experiences when you join up with them at rallies, especially the annual one in Prescott, AZ (springtime). Many of these guys have set up comprehensive sites to help owners out with their particular models (such as Greg Bender’s), and there are Yahoo Groups for nearly all models as well.
I hope that these posts have given you an idea of what it’s like to live with the Breva after you purchase it. What a horror story to drop 12 large on a bike and hate it after 1000 miles! It’s so easy to know that if you buy a Kawasaki, Honda, BMW, or even a Ducati that you’ll probably not have any buyer’s remorse, yet smaller, more boutique brands carry with them the risk that you’re getting a bike that, if you hate, you’re going to be stuck with.
I’m saying here and now that if you are looking for a bike to help you define your ride and not define what your peer group’s ride is, then you’ll be happy with the Breva, if your ride involves commuting, riding through canyons and enjoying a big, naked, individual motorcycle. Sure, Ducati’s Monster, KTM’s Duke and other brands are all fielding big nakeds, but I think the combination that the Breva and also the continuing-to-be-manufactured Griso (oh, the white is so beautiful) offer is unlike the others, and worthy of consideration.