I liked it so much I Bought my Own!

Limited resources are commonplace in today’s economy, and our new house in Oak Park, IL also has limited space to put bikes.  Since moving there, I’ve decided to add another bike to my stable, but in agreement with my wife who really didn’t want to look out the window at too many two-wheeled critters, I decided that one had to go.  I had “loved” the Ducati ST2 and ridden the heck out of it over the last 11 months, but I never “fell in love” with it.  I didn’t have a lot of remorse about parting with the bike — now it was time to choose what to replace it with.

The 86 LeMans that I’d looked at last year was still for sale, even cheaper.  My checkbook was out.  Too many subject matter experts said that it was in need of too much work.  Between that and the 2500 miles’ distance, I took a pass.  I looked at SPs, G5s, a couple of gorgeous T3s.  There was an incredibly low-mileage Quota in Joplin. There was a beautiful 1000s.  I was going to get a Guzzi.  Just didn’t know which one.

My spanking new 1200 Sport

My spanking new 1200 Sport

Jim Barron at Rose Farm Classics chimed in.  “Why don’t you buy a new one and start a relationship with something that nobody else has ridden first?” he thoughtfully pitched.  I know Jim wanted to sell me a bike, and he knew which one it was that I had spotted over the espresso machine in his showroom. I trust Jim, but, well, he’s there to sell bikes, too.

I started doing the math. A Guzzi has a two-year warranty.  My financial outlay on a new bike will be minimal.  I already have my “vintage” Guzzi, which isn’t a money-pit but does require a lot of maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape.  Guzzi’s don’t depreciate much, so, if I buy it right, I won’t be out much in three years or so if I want to sell it then.  So I’m already sold.  Jim knew it before I did.

My 2008 1200 Sport.  Note blacked-out chrome on tank

My 2008 1200 Sport. Note blacked-out chrome on tank

It was a drizzly day when I got there, and I wasn’t looking forward to the ride back into the city where I had a business meeting at 1pm.  My schedule was such that this was THE DAY that I had to make the deal and pick up the bike, so I knew that it wasn’t going to be the best ride that I ever had.  We drank a doppio together, yakked about bikes for a bit, and I was off when it cleared.  I’ve come to understand that this means absolutely nothing in Illinois.

About 5 miles south of Rose Farm, a torrential downpour ensued and didn’t stop for the rest of the day.  The 65 miles back to Roscoe and California were absurdly miserable.  I didn’t want to ride fast because of the green tires and fresh engine on a bike with only 6 miles on the ODO, so I took it easy at a relaxed 55, stopping at the Oases on the tollway for coffee to stave off the hypothermia.  Two and a half hours later, with 65 miles under the bike, I arrived, soaked to the bone and the red leather of my Joe Rocket jacket bleeding profusely into my white turtleneck.  I looked like I had been through a hurricane at a slaughterhouse.

Since then, I’ve enjoyed beautiful weather and 300 more miles last week.  The bike just gets better and better.  I knew that this was “my bike” back when I reviewed it for a week last October, and the grin just keeps getting wider.  I can feel the engine loosening up as the miles increase.  The gearbox, smooth from the first moment, just gets more buttery.  The tires are now scrubbed in and hold the bike like a scalpel. It rides beautifully.  I’ve made a good decision.

And now a long-term test ensues.  I like the bike so much I bought one of my own, and I could have had anything that I wanted barring some of the stupidly expensive exotics.  This was my choice and I’m thrilled.  I’ll report on my experiences throughout my ownership, but my first experience with the dealer, the deal that I made and the quality of the bike on delivery is highly positive.  No problems whatsoever barring mother nature.  I still heartily recommend the brand and the bike.

16 thoughts on “I liked it so much I Bought my Own!

  1. A little disappointed, it seems Guzzi dealers in my area of N. Virginia into Maryland are scarce of Guzzi bikes, they seem not to be able to get them in. Found one dealer up near Baltimore that had one California Vintage new and a Brevia sport, the Cal was a new left over 2007 model year, he may only special order them now since Guzzi is erratic on supply, Its now almost in the 2010 model year and I wonder if it would be worth it to get the 2007 or wait. Seems if they equip the Vintage with the new 4valve motor and new shaft drive system they would hit a home run with this bike. Do you think that maybe in the works and should I wait? My other Guzzi dealer is way over in Winchester Virginia and he only has one Guzzi and it too is a left over 2007 model, a pre 4valve Griso. I want to go Guzzi but the fear of Guzzi disppearing in the night and leaving me with a new bike without support is a real concern to me. Additionaly if I take the risk, out of the three Guzzis I found in my area(though not real close to me) all being 2007 new models-The Griso, the brevia sport, and the California Vintage which do you think the better bike if you had to choose. Or as I stated early would it be wise to wait if you think the vintage will come out with the more powerful motor and modern driveshaft. Maybe your source at Rose could peer into his Guzzi crystal ball for an answer;) Im looking for any excuse to go with the Guzzi even though Im nervous about their survival as a company.

  2. Hi Danilo,

    Congratulations on the Guzzi 🙂 Love the blog.

    I’ve got a 2001 Triumph RS 955 with 74,000km lovingly twisted on from new. But she is getting a bit long in the tooth and has had some niggles.

    I made the mistake of taking her to the local Ducati dealer for a repair. No spark, and I though it was computer related and my Trumpie mechanic is old school, does not have a computer to connect to the ECU. Ducati looked at the trumpie 2 yrs ago for me.

    Turns out it was the crank sensor and Nev, my Triumph mechanic could have fixed her, took Ducati months (yes!) to fix and they had to talk to him for hints anyhow. I did say I wasn’t in a hurry (low on $$) so have been riding my partners ancient gs500. I don’t own a car.

    Then a week later, 10 min after dropping the trumpie back to Ducati to take out the extra oil they had filled her with that was blowing out the airbox, she stopped on the way home 😦

    Fixed again, $10 relay, 3 hours of labor stuffing about over a few days + the wiring diagrams from Nev my Triumph mechanic 😦

    (My fault really I should have took her to Nev)

    So, I’ve lost a bit of faith in the Trumpie and I’ve ALWAYS wanted a Monster (first road bike at uni in the 90’s was a Honda VTR 250 because I wanted a 900 monster)

    I made the mistake of loaning a hypermotard for the afternoon while they took out the oil and that new 1100 Ducati engine is like nothing I have ever ridden. I’m in love with an Italian mistress.

    But (yes I do have a point if you are still reading) There is a 1200 Sport in town too. That dealer (honda) no longer sells Guzzi so it’s a “new” demonstrator, 9,000km that they are desperate to sell. The local Ducati dealer is not interested in a reasonable deal on the monster. They own the only 2 shops in 400 km so I’m probably going to have to fly 1,000km to ride home a new monster for a reasonable price. (What 3 other local Duke owners have done) Plus I’m not 100% keen on the Ducati mechanic after the Triumph debacle. But the Honda mechanics where the Guzzi is is not the best either. Will talk to Nev, he may service her for me.

    So, can you talk me into the Guzzi 🙂
    The 1200 sport is super cool looking (the one here is black too although I have always owned yellow bikes)
    I need a reliable everyday commute (although only a 20 min ride)
    I’m also too old now to enjoy going super fast up the local hills (been there, done that, picked up too many friends)
    I haven’t really toured in the last 2 years (why I’m thinking Monster) but there are good roads around (I’m in Townsville, Nth Queensland, Australia)
    I’ve always wanted a rotary engined car (done – Mazda RX4) 3 cylinder bike (done Trumpie) Desmo valves, Guzzi’s weird V twin, BMW boxer (when I’m older lol )

    The 2 negatives 9,000 km on the Guzzi. I know it’s nothing on a Guzzi but demo’s get flogged and I have always brought new bikes.
    Ducatis are a bit of a girl magnetic, my partner loves the 696 monster, but she also like the standerd breva (For her, she is not a “fun” pillion, my ribs get sore from her hitting me, Fortunatly I can’t her her yelling at me through my Shoei helm 🙂

    Errr thanks for reading!


  3. Started reading your blog in April as I’m thinking a Moto Guzzi is in my future – either a Breva or Grisso. Just read your most recent post and saw you moved to my neck of the woods. If I see a Breva Sport tooling around Oak Park, I’ll know it’s you.

    Great blog BTW

  4. Drop by some weekend and I’ll give you a tour of the Breva and explain just why it’s the best damned bike….

  5. The monster is a completely different bike from the Guzzi. The Sport is a serious torque-monster. Happy-speed zone runs from 40-90 are just the cat’s pants for fun. Every time I twist the throttle it just feels like I’m being pushed down the road by a locomotive. It’s a bike for people with nothing to prove — You ride, then you talk about motorcycles, not the other way around. Guzzi is a rider’s bike for someone that wants performance in the envelop of actual reality, and something that is dead-nuts reliable. I believe that you might have a problem with your Guzzi at some point, but it will always get you home.

    About flogged bikes. My dealer at one point got an ’07 Breva 1100 from Guzzi that had been in a flood and couldn’t be sold. It was headed to the crusher and he was just holding the bike ’til Guzzi USA sent a truck to pick it up and take it to the crusher. He spent a couple of hours getting all the water out of the bike and changed all the fluids. Started right up. He knew that it was going to the crusher, so he spent a week trying to completely kill it. He drove it for more than a hundred miles speed-shifting it and just slamming from gear to gear without clutching. He ran the engine to 10K rpm on every shift. He ran it wide open on it’s center stand for more than an hour.

    The bike went to the crusher running like brand new. He tried everything short of throwing rocks in the crankcase. This was a bike that had been under water for more than a week before he got it, too! Don’t give the 9000kms a second thought.

  6. Guzzi is not erratic on supply. He just didn’t buy any bikes and is fibbing. If you can get a smokin’ deal on the ’07 I’d get it. I think that Guzzi will keep their powder dry and not launch an up-motored California Vintage until after ’10 when they are talking about a completely different platform for a next-gen cruiser (Terblanche?). The CalVin is just amazing, and I don’t think it lacks performance in its current form and will out-handle anything in its class. The 1200 sport was only an ’08 model. If I had to only have a single Guzzi, I’d probably get the CalVin. The reason that I went for the Sport was because I had an Eldorado and two cruisers didn’t make sense to me. I wanted a naked tourer to compliment the Eldo.

    Guzzi’s going nowhere. See my responses elsewhere. They’ve been going out of business since 1921 and they are probably in better shape than ever. I’ve been able to get parts shipped to me in less than three days — Piaggio has really stepped up there.

  7. I hope your right though all the guzzi dealers in my area appear to be backing away from guzzi. the one dealer near Baltimore supposedly has a cracker jack guzzi tech, that was told to me by the local prez of the MGOG. The owner up in Baltimore says he now sells mostly Ducs and once the last two Guzzi’s are gone, both 07’s, he wont carry on the showroom floor and will only special order. I still think if Guzzi updated the Cal with the new motor and drive it would out perform every cruiser out there and not even break a sweat, but after my visits to different Guzzi dealers I get the gut feeling Piaggio may drop them, especially in this economic climate.

  8. It’s different in Europe. The Italians have peculiar attachments to their marques. Maserati should have been dead long ago, but it still keeps pumping out cars under Ferraris’ ownership. Why? Got me, it’s a very small difference in segments yet they are still being built.

    MGUSA is finally putting pressure on dealers to put Guzzis in their showrooms instead of just “represent” the brand, since many of the dealers that pony up and actually put bikes in their showrooms are rightfully complaining.

    MG in a “down” year is actually INCREASING sales over last year,with the V7 leading the way. I don’t think they are going anywhere but up at this point; the big Guzzis fill a segment that is “the same but different” from BMW. The small Guzzis are all “retro”.

    At some point in time, you’re probably going to see a unification of engines, but you’re seeing that with BMW now, and where it all ends up with the Italians is anyone’s guess. Guzzi’s twin? The Benelli Triple? The Aprilia motors? More Rotax? It’s anyone’s guess. Guzzi made a name for itself for more than 50 years with big honkin’ thumpers before the V-engine. It’s anyone’s guess.

  9. Thanks Danilo.

    I picked up my Guzzi at lunchtime today. 2008 1200 sport, just like yours. Turns out it I had heard the wrong km’s and she has only done 1004 km 🙂 The 15 min ride through the traffic back to work was magical. She does all the Guzzi things rumbles and shakes while idling the dry clutch sound is really cool too. But as soon as she roles forward it’s just so smooth and easy to ride through the traffic.
    It’s weird, she is just fun to ride. Full stop. Everything else I have ridden was fun to ride fast. This is fun at any speed. I guess that is why people go for cruisers, if you like that sort of style, but you can tell the sport would go if you wanted her to. But like you said it’s fun at real world speeds. Planing on getting panniers and off on a nice roadtrip in the next few moths to catch up with friends.
    Anyhow my 20 min ride home took 3 hours and 170 km! I rode to my mechanics, he has a Cal he looks after so no worries with servicing the Sport.
    I was going to ride home on a newish road/overpass, but I had not gone that way before and ended up missing it and riding out of town. “I’ll stop and turn around next chance” turned into “Well it’s only 80 km on the highway and I can ride up Paluma” (17km of low to mid speed twisties up a small mountain)
    On the way the police had a big roadblock stoping and checking cars. What an opportunity. They were everywhere so I left her idling, to see if anyone thought she was loud. The stock pipe looks and sounds great and shouldn’t annoy my neighbours. When the policeman got to me for my licence I said “I’ve got her for the weekend, interested in your opinions” Just like at work she drew a crowd. And the looks grow on you, at first a very basic understated bike. “I like a bit sportier bike” (Police lady said to him “It’s not like yours at all”) “It’s different” “VERY black” hehehe :)Then the crowd got the chat from a senior officer(we have police recruit training in town and they were all rather young) as cars were backing up. Hope they didn’t get in trouble because they didn’t breathalyse me which was the “reason” for stoping everyone.
    Rode to the bottom of the Paluma twisties, changing gears and speed on the highway so it wasn’t all just the same rpm. She passes cars easy even in the very tall 6th gear. I tooled up in 2nd, really relaxed and fun, taking in the scenery and feeling safe and solid. Was just after sunset and I wanted to get down before it was dark in case the headlight was not adjusted correctly (It was and it’s great, high beam is wonderful, so is lowbeam thanks to that weird reflector) So I stoped ½ way at a creek to turn around… and get off and look at her, listening to her ticking as she cooled. Unfortunately no mobile reception so I couldn’t tell my partner where I was. I should have been getting groceries on the way home and home 15 min ago. So back down the hill. Dark enough to enjoy the lightshow and she does her prestart, cool! With the long downhills the burble she makes slowing on closed throttle is just joyfull. Then through the cane fields at dusk. It’s been years since I’ve done more than 100km on a bike but no discomfort, except my neck and I think that was because I had been riding into the sun and was ducking my helmet. But I had forgotten about the insects. Not my nice new clean bike! Still eventually to the highway and back home she goes. Found that overpass and stoped at the shops for those groceries 170km….and 2 missed calls on my mobile. Oops, yes I’m alive sorry :/

    I got let off when I got home because the Guzzi looks so nice. Not a Ducati but D loves the 700’s, she said the sport is much more my sort of bike. We spent some time looking at all the cool stuff, like the eagles everywhere and the bit that stops you melting your boot on the exhaust. Attention to detail. She went upstairs to look at them again on the net while I sprayed her down with the no wash cleaner I brought at the shops to remove the bugs. I used a clean cotton singlet and I HOPE I didn’t swirl the paint. Then it was 8:15 pm and I still had to do my kung fu practice that I should have started at 5 or at least 6 🙂

    Was going to write this at 11:30…. butI went for a ride up Mt Stewart so it’s now 2am. Fun at any speed. Different bike to my Triumph RS or the Ducati hypermotard I borrowed for a few hours. Not as fast, although she could be if you wanted, but it’s just not necessary. The last ¼ of the tank had disappeared and she was on the light so I filled up on the way home, 19L. Was ¾ on the gage but then showed full after a bit.

    So she had 954 km when they did the 1,000km service in November 2008. 1004km when I got her this afternoon. 1208km now. The only thing the dealer said was don’t put on too many kilometres as we still have to sell it if you don’t buy it. She is the last Guzzi they have, no longer have the dealership for them and a month ago they said AU$25,000 retail ride away but we want to move it so AU$20,000. Nev said not to expect much for my Triumph, perhaps $1,600 as there are a few around seeling for $3,000 $4,000. Hardly worth selling. I wonder what price they will give her to me at without a trade. Perhaps they will give a discount if I don’t trade the Trumpie. I think I’m the only person who has been interested in the last month. I want an awesome deal, but I don’t think I can give her back regardless of what price they say.
    Is it evil to put on a stack of km’s over the weekend? I’m looking at 400~500 without trying really want to do more, it’s only a 700km round trip IIRC to the gillies and GOOD twisties.

    I’ve got no manuel and the trip meters and clock are defeating me, I’m sure I have tried all the buttons.

    How do you check the oil? side stand/ vertical, cold/hot?

    Engine sounds a bit more rattly / pushrod sound now. Hope that’s o.k.

    I just hope they were streaks on the paint not scratches. Err really needs a tank protector too 😦 old leather jacket.

  10. Danilo
    You have an interesting blog. You may want to check this http://www.corsaitaliana.com/
    Nice version of the V7 here in the UK. There are rumours of a similar bike to the V7 with a Bellagio engine


  11. Hey Danilo,
    Very late to the party on this thread, buuuuut….I love this bike and they can be gotten for a, relative, song. Question: Do you have any intel about the possibility of Guzzi importing the 8 valve (they call it 4 valve on the 1200) engine. Seems to have some very useful upgrades; handlebars, etc. Any info on this? Thanks!

  12. Danilo,
    I’ve been looking at the Breva 1200 Sport for a few eeks and found your blog on it a few days ago. Excellent reading and after taking all of it in I feel like MG is the way I want to go. Thanks for your observations–really great stuff.
    Question: I seem to be seeing a lot of these for sale lately. I realize it’s a discontinued model but are you aware of any reason that folks would be parting with them after only 2000 miles or so? That’s the mileage on most of the ones I see. They’re usually on warranty too. Am I missing some little bit of well-known information that would explain this? My sense is that these folks feel like it’s too big a bike for them and get scared off of it but perhaps there are inherent problems with the bike?
    Your posts make me think not. Perhaps folks with these tend to be frequent buyers/trade-uppers. Any insights on this?

  13. Howdy Dan,

    I have been following your blog for nearly a year – ever since I determined I needed a roadster to supplement my GS. While the V-7 is perfect, my inseam @ 34″ is not. But on a final all-is-lost trip to my semi-local Guzzi dealer, lo and behold, a brand new 2008 Breva Sport (black) sat inviting to be purchased for $7999. (Or should I say $7900!!!) First thing I did was to access your blog to see what words you may have written about it. Thanks for them.

    I am hoping to arrange a test ride for this coming Friday. In the meantime, I am blogging about this purchase-or-not-purchase experience. I am hoping you will allow me to use a photo from Google images that is attributed to you. I am referencing your site in my post and providing the link. I’m sure some of my Church of the Open Road readers will be interested in your insights.

    Thanks for your good work and entertaining comments.

  14. Danilo,
    As I send this I’m on a bus bound for OklHoma to buy a 2008 MG1200 sport. After reading hundreds of articles and your special Oct 08 10 day test, I can’t wait for the 1300 ride home! We have so many great backroads there. Do you still have yours?
    Jeff Shultz. Lancaster, PA

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