Guzzi Cal Vintage

The Moto Guzzi California Vintage -- quintessential.

The Moto Guzzi California Vintage -- quintessential.

During the month of October 2008 I had the opportunity to spend 7 days with the Moto Guzzi California Vintage.  I Had never spent time with a “big bagger” like the Cal Vintage Before, and I was shocked that I was such a great handling bike.

I found it to be an excellent value for it’s equipment level, arguably close to the 40% less in price than a comparably-equipped Harley Davidson Heritage Softail.  Below are the links to all of the reviews in order:

  1. Moto Guzzi California Vintage Review – Day 1 – Can’t get off the bike! — First Impressions, an initial long ride, my introduction to floorboards.
  2. Moto Guzzi California Vintage – Commuting and First Impressions — Going on my 160 mile commute in the big bagger.
  3. Moto Guzzi California Vintage Day 3 — Cool vs. “Checkbook Cool” — What makes the Moto Guzzi California Vintage “Cool”.
  4. Moto Guzzi California Vintage – Day 4 – Vintage vs Harley Heritage Softail — A BARGAIN! — Comparing the Moto Guzzi California Vintage to a Harley Davidson Heritage Softail.
  5. Moto Guzzi California Vintage – Day 5 – The Mental Health Day. — Taking a day off from work and riding down the PCH until life sets in.
  6. Moto Guzzi California Vintage – Day 6 – Time to take ‘er home. — The last day.  Heavy traffic commute and final thoughts.
Below you can find the pictures that I took of the bike.  There were no bad angles. As an extra bonus, There’s a picture of the 2009 California Vintage in WHITE!
Moto Guzzi California Vintage, Point Dume Beach, 11/22/08, 10am.
Moto Guzzi California Vintage, Point Dume Beach, 11/22/08, 10am.
Unmistakeable California Vintage Seat

Unmistakeable California Vintage Seat

The 2008 Moto Guzzi California Vintage

The 2008 Moto Guzzi California Vintage

California Vintage Instruments

California Vintage Instruments

17" Mac Laptop sitting in Guzzi's bag, like an olive at the bottom of a martini glass.  These are BIG.

17 inch Mac Laptop fits inside!

Moto Guzzi California Vintage under the Hollywood sign.

Moto Guzzi California Vintage under the Hollywood sign.

California Vintage in White

California Vintage in White

73 thoughts on “Guzzi Cal Vintage

  1. Nice work Dan. With your writings serving as a portion of my inspiration I purchased a new Cal Vintage. At 49 this is the first new vehicle I have purchased. I picked it up on Jan. 3 and thanks to Chicago weather haven’t put a single mile on it untill today. (3-14) Yes….that was the thought as I saw it for the first time and it was the last thought today as I was putting it away….simply yes. My first Guzzi was a 1972 Police Eldorado purchased in 1986, a great machine. A Vintage is the natural progression. When fired this morning it hesitated and spit, hmmmm…this isn’t good I thought. After several restarts I took the fuel cap off and a good deal of pressure that had built up released. After restarting ……silk. It’s quiet but has a little throat. The seat and I are gonna be good friends. The brakes are incredible. I’m 5′-10″ with a 32″ inseam, the floorboards and leg room suit me. I will be putting a few more miles on it prior to airing it out but there is more than adequate power to maintain your dignity in any group you wish to hang with. No knee dragging yet either but it inspires confidence and it’s as solid as a Fleetwood Brougham. You can scarcely do a proper restoration of an Eldorado for the price and if you take the same money to Harley…….can you say Sportster? It may be hard to tell, but I like it. The Eldorado will remain as royalty in my stable but I’m dreaming of urban nights and twisty Parkways on the Vintage. Mick Mayersky

  2. Hey Danilo,

    With all the talk about how light the bike is, maybe I sat on an odd one today. Mind you, it didn’t have the bags on it, and I had just gotten off of a Sportster. I’m 5’7″ with a 30″ inseam, and am worried more about whether or not the bike has a higher centre of gravity than, say, the Road King Custom I was thinking of buying. Do you know of a way in the adjustability of the suspension to lower the bike, or if anyone makes a lowering kit that doesn’t negatively affect the handling? I work at one of the top Harley-Davidson dealers in the country – I’d love to show up at work on the Guzzi!

  3. I’d talk further to Jim at Rose Farm Classics (, as he sets bikes up for the factory and has as much knowledge as anyone I know. Craig Field is another guy, up in Seattle at Moto International.

    First, I’ve never seen a Cal Vintage with the bags off of it, so you have my suspicions up a little there, so it might be an “odd” one. The Cal Vintage will have a higher seat height than a sporty for sure, but l have a 32″ inseam and easily flat-foot the bike. The suspension should be adjustable downward like you’re saying, but I can’t verify that for sure. One of the reasons it sits higher is that it gets the cornering clearance it needs for the twisties. Harley publishes their “lean angles” for different bikes, and I remember the Heritage was 29°. You can bring a Vintage a LOT farther down than that.

    I’d love for you to show up at work on your Guzzi. The community of Moto Guzzi Riders is a real riders’ repository of joy and camaraderie. We ride, then we ride some more, then we talk about our bikes, then we clean them. Not the other way around. Please let me know how it goes.

    I think it’s time you rode the bike a little.

  4. The bike that I saw was still being set up out of the crate. If none of the suspension settings had been dialled in, I imagine that could explain the seemingly high seat. I’ve often said (much to the chagrins of my work colleagues) that the Harley-Davidson is a motorcycle of average competence, let down by the pretentiousness of their owners. Perhaps it’s the seven years I spent living and riding in Europe, but I just “feel” something with the Guzzi that I don’t with the other bikes. Incidentally, when I got in to work today, the Road King that I was considering got sold on my day off, and the wife prefers the looks of the Cali anyhow. Is this a sign I wonder? 😉

  5. Indeed. My wife loves the Cal Vintage as well. I also think that the shocks and suspension will “settle” quickly. The bike that I rode had a couple of thousand miles on it, which probably explained quite a bit. You’re going to ride higher, more “cop-like” in the seat, and you might not have expected this. After about 500 miles you’ll wonder why you rode any other way. Plus, the linked brakes are a treat on it — exploring how they work just blew my mind.

    Jim over at Rose Farm has taken a lot of Cal Vins back when the riders were chided by their choice. They all went off and spent the extra thousands of dollars to “get into the club”. I just don’t buy this personally. What you ride shouldn’t dictate who you ride with.

    The Cal Vin is the sweetest bike. A bunch of us Guzzi riders hanging out a few weeks back pretty much agreed if they could only have ONE Guzzi, the Vintage is the go-to.

  6. 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.

  7. Dan, great review of the Cal Vintage. I’ve only test ridden the bike but enjoyed it immensely. Struck me, in fact, as a two-wheeled equivalent of a 55 Chevy.

    I’d have only one quibble: your comparison of the Vintage and the HD Heritage Softtail. Though it’s an understandable comparison, I’d have to say that a more appropriate one is with the Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe, another little appreciated great touring bagger.

    Doesn’t have that elusive “character” of the Guzzi, but its 1294 cc V4 is a marvel of smoothness and power for its size. Easily removable windshield and sissy bar, very good luggage, and automotive quality cruise control.

    Personally, I can’t bring myself to give up either my Valkyrie or my 1100 Breva for either the RSTD or the Cal Vintage, but if I were looking for a great handling touring cruiser I’d be hard pressed to decide between the two.

  8. Excellent comment. I think I chose the Harley for the comparison because of it’s ‘character’. The Guzzi thrives on ‘character’ in the same vein, although probably pointed at a slightly different audience. The point I was trying to make is that the Guzzi is “better” than the Harley “on paper” and should be considered as an alternate to it. The Japanese Cruisers are a much harder comparison in my opinion, because they are so well-built. One note is that they came along later than Guzzi into the “cruiser” business — Guzzi was deep into the cruiser by the end of the 60’s.

    The Japanese Cruisers are going to be “perfect” with most of their attributes, but at a cost. They seem to be aimed directly at Harley. Guzzi seems to have it’s own idea about what a cruiser should be and they aren’t trying to clone Harley.

  9. You can usually lose some seat height with some smaller shocks
    and some seat surgery. Call Curtis at Harper Moto Guzzi for the right answer. Also the dealer in Westmoreland, Pa has lowered Grisos and Brevas. Maybe he has some advice.

  10. Thanks for the review. I have been coveting a Cal Vintage for a couple years now and am about a year away from getting one. I hear such good things about it and the ones I’ve looked at nearly bring me to my knees, they are so beautiful…choirs sing…heavenly lights… I’ve read some pretty horrible reviews howevever, including being in the shop three times in the first eight months, running lousy, bad behaviour in cold weather, not good in tight turns, unreliable and slow to accellerate. These are clearly not the majority opinion but claims like this are one of the major reasons I won’t buy a HD. My bike is my sole transporation and is subject to long trips. I ride a Honda now…the pinnacle of reliability. Am I making a mistake in considering the Cal Vintage?

  11. Buy from a reputable dealer and you’ll never have a problem. Dealer prep on Guzzis is VERY important. Guzzi builds as many bikes in a year as Honda builds on a good day, so the dealer is the last leg in the Quality Assurance chain. This should solve any running issues.

    As far as not good in tight turns, I’m amazed that anyone would say that. For a cruiser especially, it is amazing in turns. You can literally lock the handlebars and swing it around. It weighs as much as a sportster and has oodles of “leanability”. For acceleration, it is highly competent. Will it out-drag a 2600cc Triumph? Well, no. I weigh in at about 250, and the bike gets up and moves for me.

    Reliability compared to a Honda is interesting. I have a 37 year old Guzzi that I can ride every day. I don’t know how many Hondas, Harleys or whatever that can match that. Guzzis are just great bikes. I don’t know where you’re located, but by your IP stating Jacksonville, there are some good dealers in Florida. I’d get on the wildguzzi forum and look for recommendations.

  12. I was real close to getting a Cal but something put the brakes on big time, I found out for some odd ball reason Guzzi put the oil filter in the pan. If Im doing a cross country trip and want to change the oil and filter enroute the last thing I want to do is take a bunch of oil pan bolts out, drop the pan and change a filter. Not only would that be a major pain to do on the road it seems to me the more times you drop a pan the more of a chance in the future of developing a persitant oil leak. I think the new 1200 engine has the filter as an external spin on but I could be mistaken. So for now Im holding off on the Cal. vintage until I can think it over more or if Guzzi decides to put the new engine and shaft system in it. Its a beautiful bike and part of me says buy, but the filter thing is hanging me up.

  13. I spoke with my favorite dealer about this issue. 6000 miles between oil changes is a loooong trip. If you factor in most bikes that require moving exhausts, oil coolers and equipment, you’re in for a penny, in for a pound. It’s a few bolts and new gasket.

    He also said that he has no issues surrounding persistent oil leaks with oil pan removal. He actually said that having the pan off, cleaning the gook out, etc is kind of nice. If the bike has everything else that you want, it seems to be a small compromise.

  14. Yes, it seems to have everything I want, its a work of rolling art. I used to own two Honda CX500 customs, a guzzi type cloan. I put about 100k in the saddle between the both of them, Ive always been attracted to the Guzzis One other complaint someone who owns one on another board made was the alternator system seems a little weak since he said when he runs the auxilary lights with the main light for an extended period it tends to run the battery down, also I was going to mount a GPS and run maybe a heated vest, etc off it since I ride year round no matter the temp. I found a manual online and perhaps you can clear up something, if I read the manual right it said not to use the built in power port while running the bike, that would rule out using a GPS etc on the go. That didnt make sense to me so maybe it was a bad translation on the manual. I can get a great deal on a left over 2007 and 2008. Or on a Triumph 2007 Rocket 3 classic new. Im torn between them.

  15. If you run the aux lights on all the time with the motor idling, you might have issues, but not running at speed. Don’t use the power cord while running? That seems just plain silly.

    GPS just doesn’t draw enough power to even think about this. We’re talking cell-phone power. Not a blip on the radar, I mean like 9 volts at 1 amp if that? Check the manual for the draw, it’s nothin. That motor supports heated handgrips, and they draw power like the Las Vegas Strip in comparison.

    The difference between a Rocket III and a Guzzi in my opinion is this. The Rocket III is a battleship. Friggin gigantic. Sure it’s got the 2600 motor and it’s a great bike, but I want to see someone backing it uphill on a steep parking lot. It’s Gold Wing big, bragging rights big. It’s a battleship — big guns, but it’s not going to move out of a straight line nearly as fast.

    Guzzi motors are less than half that size, because you’re running a LOT less weight. Different bikes. Not a lot of inertia to move around in comparison. It’s a destroyer — fast, armed well enough and highly maneuverable.

    You’re going to notice this in the twisties and the fun stuff. If you’re just going to get on I-10 and go to LA, it doesn’t matter. If you are going to be cruising with your friends and want to walk away from them on every highway on-ramp, the Guzzi’s your bike. The frame on it is nearly identical to the early hot-rod Le Mans and a very worthy bike. The fact that it’s a cruiser just makes it cool.

    You’re going to notice a different riding position on both. The Guzzi isn’t the typical arm-chair cruiser. You don’t sit “down in” the bike. You sit in a more standard position — much more “cop-like”. I find it very relaxing over long distances since you’re very neutral with your weight on the bike.

    It also “looks” like every person’s idea of a cop bike. Don’t discount this. Splitting lanes in LA, I found them to part like the Red Sea for Moses when I was on the CalVin.

    I too think they are a bargain. You won’t get the equipment combination at a base price on any other brand like the Guzzi, and that is amazing. Once you dial in the Marzocchis and enjoy the stability of those amazing brakes, you’re going to be sold. Plus those hard bags can pack a lot of gear and look great.

    If you look at the Motorcyclist Magazine from last year, I don’t remember which issue, they compared cruisers. The Guzzi was second place, beating out everyone but the Rocket I believe, and that was only because they were worried about the dealer network.

    I for one have absolutely no desire to be the “biggest kid on the block”. I like being different, maybe crave it. I won’t sacrifice quality for it though, and the CalVin spoke to me from that standpoint. I guess it needs to fit your bill. Like I’ve said, I don’t tell everyone to buy a Guzzi, just make sure it’s in the mix when you’re considering a bike. They will challenge your decision in a very good way.

  16. Here’s a copy and paste from the Vintage manual that gave me concern about using the outlet while running. The Warning one is the silly statement in the manual. If Im on the highway I have to have my garmin plugged in because its battery goes dead in 3 to 4 hours. Also it looks that if I run the garmin off the outlet I cant also run the fog lights. Thats silly also. I do a lot of real early morning riding and I need all the light I can get to keep an eye out for the deer in my area. It sounds if I choose to use the fog lights then the power outlet is not powered. Id gladly pay more for a heavy duty alternator that would function in the real world. The Norge can do the extra power so I dont understand why the Vintage cant also, they are both about the same MSRP. I did think about the Norge also. Ive heard good things about that bike, though the riding position is not as laid back as the Vintage.

    12V power outlet («A» in fig. 14)
    It is at the centre, on the left-hand side, it is useful for
    small 12 Volt electric items with max. power of 180W.
    Use the power outlet when bike is stopped
    Do not leave any electric item connected
    and ON for too long or the battery will run flat.
    Using key «1» fig. 3 in « » position and
    additional fog lights on, 12V power outlet
    «A» is not powered.

  17. Heh! I figured it out. The LAWYERS wrote that!

    First, 180W of power is a lot of stuff. Second, the warning to use the outlet when the bike is stopped is to protect goofy people from plugging stuff in and using it while the bike is running (what do you mean I can’t use my hair dryer while I ride?). Do not leave the item connected and ON refers to the above scenario — bike stopped, Power on.

    If you’re just worried about the Garmin and the outlet, Just do this. Walk into your quality Moto Guzzi Dealer of choice and say “I’ll buy a bike from you today if you’ll hard wire up a Garmin outlet for me.” I also don’t know where position “1” is. Is that the accessory position? Makes sense then that the fogs would cancel the power socket in that case.

    You think anyone’s going to turn you down? The fogs take a lot of juice, but not when you’re running. They suck power when you’re sitting at stop lights. I think you have some valid questions — talk to your dealer about them. The Norge is a fantastic bike, but it seems like you like the cruiser models and I can’t say that I blame you. They sure as heck aren’t the same, and they are both fantastic for different reasons.

  18. I got my motorcycle license this January in Cali (what can I say). I went to a BMW dealership in Marin and ended up buying a Guzzi V7 classic. My company sent me to Switzerland in July, about 2 hours from the Moto Guzzi factory !! The local dealer showed me his little project : a Guzzi engine with a propeller on it, to mount in his airplane (!). I am returning to the US in Feb, and I am flying out this week to buy a Vintage in New Jersey. The only concern I have is that I want the rack with the back support, since my wife’s main concern is to drop off the bike… Would the rack from previous models fit on the 09 you think ?

    BTW – great review, read it a couple of times !


  19. I know they have a tail bag kit for the bike. Make sure you buy from a solid dealer and get the bike fully set up. There’s a few “tricks of the trade” that need to be done to the CalVin to make it perfect. Ask the dealer!

  20. Thanks Danillo and all for the input. I do have a dealer here in Jax that I feel is very trustworthy – The Scooter Superstore…turns out the salesman/parts guy even went to my high school 700 miles away. Small, military school…strong connection. I’ve spent a lot of time over there and they are always very straight forward and friendly…even though they know they won’t get a sale out of me for some time to come. They have also mentioned dealer prep as being a major issue with Guzzi’s. Anyway, they are checking into that 12 volt question as well and suspect that it is translation related…perhaps making sure you don’t actually connect something while running or similar. Danillo is probably right…that it means not while the bike is stopped and power on. They also said that some people have been upgrading to a more powerful stator which solves the alternator issue. I think that is an aftermarket thing. Not extremely mechanically inclined so no comments from me on that.

    Frankly, I am so infatuated with this bike that I think if the owners manual stated that it would explode after 500 miles and burn me to death, I’d still consider buying. I’ll let you know when the day finally comes.

  21. All i can say is I am one of the lucky few who own a moto guzzi caliafornia vintage.
    Heres a few things ive had happen on my calvin , the driving lights do drain the battery after a period even when cruising the calvin has a smaller battery than prevoius models. A larger capacity battery can be fitted no problems.
    Yes it is true you cant use the accessory power outlet when moving?
    I suspect the alternator possibly doesnt have a large enough output to keep up when the driving lights are in use.

    The brake light bracket which is too thin for the big light broke at 24000kmf .Has anyone had this problem and what solution was used to fix it?

    I removed the leg wind protectors for summer as we regularly ride in 40degree celcius heat ,I was concerned they were restricting air flow around the heads.
    .Great in winter though .

    I fitted a larger screen of an earlier model cali found the standard screen a little low for my height.

    Have had my calvin for 4 months bought it second hand at 10000 kms have done 14000kms since, the few small problems i have had are nothing in comparison to the pleasure ive had riding a bike with such a good mix of qualities.

    With a calvin you get to wear out youre whole tyre not just the strip in the middle .

    Happy riding people

  22. Ok, I have a couple more questions from some of the research I’ve been doing. First of all, what type of gas are you guys using. I’ve hear the Cal Vin requires higher octane (medium grade at least) but it has all been hearsay. Also two sources, including the latest Motorcycle Cruiser 2010 buyers guide lists the mpg at 35, which sounds awfully low for an 1100. That’s on par with the heavy weight cruisers. It’s lower than a Goldwing and only 1mpg better than a Triumph Rocket III…a 2300cc bike. What has your experience been here?

    Guzzi down under – I’ve been told that a larger wind screen is available for the CalVin.

    Thanks everyone.

  23. You can look through my reviews. If the bike is returning 35mpg, I would say that it is grossly out of tune. I was returning mid 40s when I rode it.

    The tank is the issue here for some people and I think that might be what people are griping about. It’s actual usable size is a little over 3.6 gal, which is a little small in my opinion. Maybe some of the reviewers computed their mileage based on the published tank size.

    As far as premium gas, well, we’re talking about no more than a couple of bux difference in tank cost — I just sling premium in all my bikes.

  24. 3.6 gallons? That is quite different from the 5 gallons I see listed everywhere.

  25. That would be “usable” before reserve, based on a lot of people’s experiences. The fuel light will come on at about that point consistently. I never “pressed the issue” to see what completely “out of gas” measures at.

  26. Got it. Thanks.

    Still seems odd that it would be listed as such when compared to so many other bikes. You’d think the editors of Motorcycle Cruiser would make an effort to get the right info. But then, I frequently see my own bike (VTX 1300) listed as getting 38MPG when I know I am getting at least low 40’s.

  27. Yeah, Motorcycle Cruiser. They’re the same ones that called the Guzzi’s engine a 45 degree V-Twin, and struggled to get the V7 above 60mph because they can’t shift a bike above 4000 RPM. I’d probably get a review from a better magazine — They bag on Guzzis to the point that I don’t even think they ride them for the reviews.

  28. They didn’t seem to care for the V7, though I’ve seen other reviews raving about it. Anyway, most of the other mags ignore MG completely.

  29. Based on their review, I don’t even think they rode it, and I would be amazed if they even saw the bike. They sure didn’t look at the spec sheet.

    I don’t know what they were looking for anyway. The V7 is as much of a cruiser as a Sportster is a sportbike.

  30. Reference the V7 I have to agree with the review. Even my Guzzi dealer advised me that a guy my size 6ft. 2 and 230 would not be happy with this bike. If however your a smaller,shorter thin male or a female the bike would be great. It lacks the power and torque of even a Sportster to lug a big guy around with any oomph, it’s not to say it’s a bad bike as long as you don’t expect it to do things it’s not meant for. Its all about sizing the bike to your needs. He recommended the bigger displacement Guzzi. I tried the riding position of the California Vintage and was disappointed in it, I am long of inseam and it felt awkard for someone with long legs. If you notice the promo pics from Guzzi on the bike it shows a lightweight guy riding it. The only use for it I could see for a big guy would be in lieu of a scooter if you have a beach house somewhere and you didn’t have to ride long distances or on an interstate. Now if Guzzi made this style in a larger frame with the big engine then you’d be talkin.

  31. The larger frame and bigger engine would apply to the V7 and a taller seat with more leg room would apply for the Vintage.

  32. Kerry — Sounds like your dealer has a typical case of “liter-itis”. If it’s not over a liter it has to be a “little person’s” bike…

    Your Guzzi Dealer would be absolutely wrong about the V7C. I’m 6’1 250lbs. I’ve seen triple digits on the bike and have had 500 mile days and 1000 mile weekends. Fits me just fine. It’s my first and foremost Go-To bike. You can ride it like a scooter in the city, but on the highway it’s a real machine.

    The bike is NOT SMALL, in fact it’s about the size of my Eldorado, perhaps a touch higher.

    I don’t have a long inseam — I’m built like a typical Mediterranean — long body, shorter legs and arms that just drag on the ground. Can the V7 do 130? Do I care? Can I out-drag a sportster? Do I care, really, as I ride 3 feet inside of him on the first tight turn?

  33. I am just under 6′ but have long legs so the V7 is a bit small for me. All Guzzi standard and cruiser models seem to be built with shorter legs in mind. I wouldn’t want a taller seat, as they are already much taller than I am usually used to. Still want to be able to flat foot it. On the Cal Vintage, I’d like to be able to lower the floorboards a bit to stretch out some. It would still have loads of road clearance. I don’t think it’s doable but my dealer says they can install a set of standard highway pegs at purchase and place them wherever is comfortable. That should do for longer rides. I hate to see that they have cut the Nevada Classic this year. My girlfriend had planned to buy one. She is about 105 lbs and looks great on it. I think that is a really pretty bike. If they made one with just a slightly larger frame, I’d buy one myself. As it is, I kind of look like a giant on it.

  34. The V7 reminds me of the Ducati GT1000, a very fine bike but when I tried that one out it felt too small for me also. When I tried the Vintage out the way my knees were raised high was to say. “different”. In that riding position I would be concerned about developing DVT over a long trip. I like the looks of the V7 but like one of my other favorites the Triumph Bonneville it looks to small and my Guzzi dealer is a stand up guy so I have no reason to discount his advice to me. I guess with your shorter inseam its a perfect fit for you and does the job you expect of it. I’m sure you understand that I don’t want to end up with a case of buyers remorse and be stuck with a machine I end up loathing. I tend to keep my motorcycles for the long haul and wouldn’t want a bike that just ends up collecting dust in my garage if I avoid riding it. He told me for a around town short hop bike it would be ok for me. Or as a bike to leave at the beach house for local use. Because of the awkard seating position of the Vintage thats out for me. I may take a Norge on a test ride. I tried a Griso and the leg position was too uncomfortable for me. I guess long legs can have their disadvantages.

  35. See above comment. Ask anyone that owns a V7C and they’ll just shrug their shoulders. The bike is fine the way it is. I had plenty of legroom, but I’ve heard this particular complaint before, it seems to have a lot to do with riding position as well as leg length (I run 32 – 34″ inseam).

  36. The only bike Ive found so far that has a great feel for the long of leg is the Yamaha Star Stratoliner. Its was shangra-La. The leg room and riding position was outstanding. Its floorboards were the most roomiest Ive experienced. And at about 1800cc’s it wasnt a slouch. It handled almost like a sportbike it was so nimble. Star really hit a home run with the lightweight alloy frame. Im leaning towards that bike. If your at a star dealer hop on it and bring it up from its center stand, its so light feeling, like the new Harley Road glide but handles much better.

  37. The Norge/Breva is a much bigger bike — Definitely for the longer-inseamed and with the power that you like. As for comfort, I don’t even think that they make an aftermarket seat for it. The stock one is “butter”.

  38. I used to ride with some Star owners in LA. I agree that it is a very comfortable bike. The Vintage, in their opinion, will out-handle it, but if you don’t feel like you fit on the bike, well, the Star may be better. It’s built extremely well.

  39. Im going to check with my Guzzi dealer and see what he can get a left over Norge or Breva for. The last time I checked a couple months ago he couldn’t get the Norge at a discount yet, maybe he can get one now. Since the sixties Ive always wanted either a BSA or a Guzzi. The BSA if I get one will be one to restore and the Guzzi will be my every day rider.

  40. Great article. I bought a V7 last year but wanted sth bigger for longer rides, so I bought the California Classic this year – guess I’ve become addicted. I got a showroom model for 13K which I think is a bargain. Unfortunately I moved from Cali to NY (what was I thinking ??) so still waiting for the weather to improve but I am sure it will be a great ride.

  41. I’ve recently heard more rumors of the CalVin possibly getting the eight cylinder Stelvio motor. Anyone else hear this? No matter to me…I’ll get mine eventually either way. My dealer tells me that 2010 will be a short model year and 2011’s will be out early. That’s probably about when I’ll be ready to buy hopefully. As much as I do not want a Harley, I’ve become somewhat disenchanted with Japanese cruisers. Even though I feel they are mechanically superior to Harley’s they are still Harley knock-offs and I have been looking for something that is unique…stands on its own. I’ve wanted the CalVin from the moment I saw a picture of it. My Honda is a great bike and will run forever but as soon as I can sell it for what I still owe on it, I’m getting my Guzzi. Hopefully that day will come before the dealership files a restraining order…

  42. I think you’re thinking about the 8 VALVE – two cylinder motor. I haven’t heard that particular one yet, but I’ve heard a bunch of different things that are all unsubstantiated — my guess is that the vintage will change for 2011 – the 90th birthday of Moto Guzzi – but I can’t get anyone to tell me what yet.

  43. Sorry…yes, that is what I meant. As long as they do not change the look.

  44. All the people with long legs should have a talk with Jim at Ned’s Cycle in Riverside, Iowa. He can rebuild your seat so that it takes into account both your height, inseam, and weight and will not leave you with the scrunched leg seating position on a Guzzi. Good work at a reasonable price.

  45. G’day from Australia, (May 10th ’11) I’m 58yrs young and been riding 43 yrs.
    I’m 5’8” with 28” in seam. I have soft tissue arthritis but I’ve done just over 56,500 kms on my 2007 Cali Vintage without a single hickup.
    At 15,00kms I replaced the standard air filter element with a K& N to fit the standard air box. I do my oil changes on time and I’ve replaced the inner spark plugs once and the outer ones twice.
    In 2008, if you look at an Aussie map, I rode from Hobart the capital of the island state of Tasmania, northand by ship 300kms over Bass Straight to Melbourne, then rode through Sth Aust and north to Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. Next I headed east into Queensland, south down the coast through New Sth Wales and Victoria back to Melb., then ship back to Tas and home. 10,000kms (6,250 miles) in 32 days of easy riding.
    The Vintage is still running strong and I’m looking at another long ride all over Western Aust and back up to the Northern Territory. It has got to be excellent value, and always does everything just right no matter whether its tarmac highway or dirt (gravel, mud & sand…) roads, good weather, snow, hail or gales it is unruffled and after waiting 38 yrs to get a Guzzi I have no regrets at all. Hooroo JR

  46. John,
    Considering these bikes are $6000 cheaper than a Heritage Softail in Australia, I’m surprised we don’t see more of them on the road. My brother in law has a Vintage, and it is one of the classiest bikes I’ve ever seen. Ride safe!!

  47. Hey g’day everyone, Sorry I’ve been super busy getting our house ready for sale and moving north to Queensland. It’s a hellishly cold Tassy winter this year and I’ve found I’ve needed just the slightest twist of the throttle to fire the Vin up on frosty mornings. Apart from that tiny detail it’s running as sweet as ever. I checked the tappets just before 60,000 kms and only the right hand exhaust was out and that was only about .05 mm. I’m really proud of my bike and find it handles any and every thing I throw at it. If I had the time to re-type the article about my bike that was done in the John Sample National Moto Guzzi / Aprilla booklet in 2007. The factory actually built this one for me, because in Sep the last one in Australia that I had put money on, got sold. It left the factory floor on Oct 15th ’07, air freighted to Sydney and I took delivery of it in Tas Nov 15th! So I got to uncrate it (give birth to it as the local dealer said) myself. Tell me how many manufacturers would do that for a customer! Well hooroo for now. John

  48. What’s up Dudes! Here is some good and bad. The bad first, my seat is not very conforming as other bikes I have had. It accentuates some lower back pain. That’s all. The good is it looks awesome, it has been extremely reliable and those oil changes that scared me are just a wrenching oppurtunity now. No big deal. Don’t let that scare you off of this bike. Fixing to plan a bun burner 1000 IBA ride on this beautiful machine. It can do it, but can I? Will know soon. Ride about 80-100 miles every day. Current milage 9700 plus or minus .2 miles! Still rolls great but only had it for 5 plus months…Let you know more later.

    2008 Cal Vintage

  49. John,
    I bet you regret moving to FNQ now, bloody hell it’s hot and only November! Hows the bike going?


  50. G’day Robert, well unfortunately we’re still trying to sell our place here so we can move north. The up side is that I’ve done another 2,000 kms on our great winding twisty roads down here lol. I recently took a “detour” and ended up on a logging road and 22 kms of freshly laid 100 mm deep gravel. I could not stop and do a u turn.I tried a couple of times but the gravel was just too deep and things didn’t feel friendly once I got down below 20kph, so I kept going (my 5’2″ wife was on her 790 America and had no choice but to follow me, uhmmm I’ve promised I won’t do it again…) with all the adjustable dampening and rebound settings for the front forks and the the rebound and suspension settings on the back shockies, the Vintage is just sooo stable and predictable it’s just plain fun to ride. Let’s see H-D or any metric cruiser match that necessary luxury!!! I dial in what ever I need for the road surfaces I encounter. It’s 4 yrs on now and still no regrets. Another 2011 model has just been bought by a Hobart bloke, so there’ll still be a Vintage down here after we move. Moto Guzzi is sponsoring the Tas Historical Racing at Symmons Plains Nov 18, 19, 20 so I might see him there. So that’s my update for now and I’m happy to answer anyone who wants to know more about the Vintage. hooroo. John Robbo

  51. Hi all, love my Vintage but my wife really wants me to fit a backrest/sissy bar for her. My dealer tells me that there is not one available from Guzzi !

    Has anyone found an aftermarket model that fits or do the earlier cali models fit a 2008 vintage ?

    Help guys please !!!

  52. Tailbag. That’s available. You should be able to have a nice cushion mounted to it. Problem solved.

  53. Really looking for a sissy bar dont really like the look of the bike with a tailbag.

  54. G’day from way down under Down-Under in Tasmania. I had to custom make a padded sissy bar for my Vintage. I bent up some wire for a pattern first, then used 10mm dia stainless steel bar. I had the foam pad covered in black and white synthetic leather. All up it cost AUD$400.00 and took a “few” hours to get it right. I could take a photo of it if you want. The only other way i know is to take off the Vintage’s rear carrier and grab rail and then fit a standard Cali carrier and back rest BUT… it’s a VINTAGE and would it look right without the rear grab rail????!! I only put my carrier on when I do big mullti day rides, but I could never take off the grab rail. Hope this helps. Hooroo. John

  55. Thanks John I think that would be my best way to solve the problem.
    Anything to keep the Mrs happy as far as I am concerned !


  56. Hello everybody,
    I love this bike. Can anyone tell me if I can fit on it? I am 6’4” with inseam 36” and I am worried about the floorboards. Does any taller saddle help? Will it fit the Vintage?
    Regards to you all,
    George, Greece

  57. Hi George,

    I am only 5ft 8 in and I find the bike very comfortable but a taller guy like you could find a problem I guess with the footboards making the angle of your legs uncomfortable when riding.
    Guess best is to sit on one in a dealers.

    Good Luck


  58. I’m 6’1″. 32 inch inseam. Built like an Italian. Fine by me. Taller riders I’ve known put a little more padding in the seat. Works for them.

    I also ride a Parilla so I have high tolerance…

  59. I’m 6’0 and I AM an Italian (thanks Mum and Dad). I sat on my brother in law’s Cali and I’ll say it’s different. Not uncomfortable, but different! I ride a 2005 Softail Deluxe so I’m upright with feet facing forwards. On the Cali my shins were pressed against the rubber on the cylinders, but that would not stop me buying one. It is a brilliant bike. I still believe it is one of the best looking bikes around (except for my Deluxe of course)…

  60. My wait will soon be over… My dealer is doing a dealer search now for my CalVin and I hope to have one in the next few weeks.
    Danilo – I trust my dealership, as they’ve been good to me for the past several years but they are new to Guzzis. I want to make sure all dealer prep is done well. What do I need to look for other than making sure the fuel line has been changed out for one that doesn’t dissolve in contact with ethanol. Probably need the shifter adjusted as well if memory serves. Any other suggestions?

  61. Adjust the shifter to your wants. I would also ensure that the charging system is completely up to par, as if you run the fog lights a lot the system is right at its limit. Fluids are vital, and valve adjustment. If the dealer is new to Guzzis, some of the more veteran dealers will give advice, and the usual BB sites, especially GuzziTech, will give you sound information.

  62. Mamma Mia!! Danilo, have you seen the new California 1400? There are some reviews on You Tube. Looks stunning with that beefy 1400cc engine.

  63. Unfortunately, my dealer is having a difficult time finding one. I’ve located a few on the net and submitted requests for more info but often those are outdated adds. Figures, after waiting this long to get one that I may not find it. If anyone has a line on a still new CalVin or a used on in great condition, let me know.

  64. Managed to find a nice used 2007 with only 5,000 miles on it. Already put down a deposit and will hopefully pick it up in the next couple of weeks. I’ve wanted a California Vintage for a few years now and its finally going to happen.

  65. I’ve owned my California Vintage for only five days now and I can’t say enough great things about it. I’ve been dreaming about this particular model for the last four years and now I finally have one. Life is good.

  66. Steve, can you give us an update on your new bike? I’d love to hear what you think after eight months.

  67. I have a 2001 California Special which is way better than any Harley I’ve ever had. (Have had Yamahas and Hondas and many English bikes and a Laverda too.) Very reliable and smooth and powerful -130 mph with a windshield and only 10 lb air in front tire and none in rear (my bad) .Superb bike except for the slow clunky shifting (I got used to it) and top heavy at low speed turns (I mean U turns at a fast walking speed- even dumped it recently doing that. A Jackal owner complained of the same thing.). No road bike needs 8.5″ of ground clearance. 1970’s Guzzis had way less and you never hear of the oil pan getting smashed by a rock. Look at the bike from the side and the engine really begins at same height as front axle. I am only 5’8″ and want it lowered. i could install shorter rear shocks but hardly worth spending $250 for a slight seat lowering, NB the seat height (already low) is not the issue; it’s the c of g of the engine. If I move the forks up or shorten them it will increase the rake which is already at its limit for a tourer. Any ideas or parts available? I do not want to cut and reweld the steering head higher. PS how come the Vintage is listed at 7.5″, is it really an inch lower? PPS wish the fuel tank was bigger, not much range (at least before the reserve light comes on) for a long distance tourer. Could be couple inches wider. Randy M (Niagara region)

  68. I thought you sold you Moto Guzzi? So you bought a California Vintage? Thanks for keeping us informed LOL!!

  69. After 34 years without a motor bike, encouraged by a friend I recently decided to get back on again. My shortlist consisted of 4 naked bikes: Triumph Bonneville and Moto Guzzi V7, after finally ditching the Kawasaki W800 because of being Japanese and Royal Enfield Bullet because of too little ump. Already in 2001 I checked out the then newly introduced Triumph Bonneville, but somehow it did not connect with me. This year however I stumbled on a Triumph Bonneville T100 in beautiful green/cream color combination that struck the right chord and since it had only done 1350 km (!) since 2008, I bought it on the spot. It rides like a dream and I quickly got so excited about biking again, that I thought that this was the time to buy a Guzzi as well, which was the favorite bike when I was young and had to potter around on a Honda CB350. To make a difference with the Bonnie it preferably should have a windshield and side cases. So I started checking out articles on the internet and found your wonderful account on the Cali Vintage, which I read three times. Needless to say your enthusiasm got me quickly convinced that this was the one Guzzi I needed. I checked out the offers on the internet and amazingly a Guzzi dealer 50 km from my home had a black one for sale from 2011 with less than 6000 km on the odo. Offered by the dealer I made a test ride on a V7 Stone (too small for me, but the 2015 model may suit me better because the pegs have been lowered by 1”) and the new Cali 1400 as well, but it was clear that the Vintage was the one to go for. It really has the looks without showing off too much. It’s got the right vibes, the right sound, feels big and at the same time is very agile with amazing cornering clearance. I sit comfortably on it, despite my inner seam of 35.5” my knees have enough room and don’t touch the protectors at the back of the cylinder heads at all. I like the practical and beautifully integrated side cases. I bought it and after 1000 km I can only say that you could not have described the bike any better in your review. Thanks for sharing and greetings from a very happy rider from the Netherlands!

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