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. Continue reading

Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport – Day 8 – Why should I buy a Guzzi?

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?

The Breva 1200 Sport, just north of Ventura off the 101, Sunset.

The Breva 1200 Sport, just north of Ventura off the 101, Sunset.

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”?

Continue reading

Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport – Day 7 – Time with the Suspension.

This is the seventh in a series of posts about life with the Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport.  The previous post is here.

Rattle, Rattle, Rattle…

When I received the Breva, it was obvious that a previous rider had really clamped down the suspension and then proceeded to wring it out.  The bike takes a big lean and really digs into turns much deeper than you think possible.  Just keep on pushing on the bars, and the bike comes down — add throttle, lean, and you can really go deep and fast, much further than my limits.

Rear Shock adjustment

Rear Shock adjustment

I do a lot of riding on Los Angeles’ freeways, and as such, the concrete slabs and joints had my teeth rattling to a point that I finally started to dig in and see what I could do about softening up the ride, and making the big, irregular surfaced sweepers much more manageable.

 The first thing I went after was the rear suspension; it has a big dial that says SOFTER/HARDER and shows a direction to turn for such.  I turned it one click softer and rode, but it didn’t help much.  Finally dialed in two clicks and it became much more manageable.   Continue reading

Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 – Day 5 – Notes, Details and Nits to Pick

This is the fifth in a series of posts about life with the Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport.  The previous post is here.

A buncha miles down.  What details of the Breva Sport do you like or hate?

 

Rincon Beach Sunset

Rincon Beach Sunset

 

 

Transmission

Having lived with a 36-year-old Eldorado Transmission for nearly a year and enough miles to really say that I know it, I had high expectations for the 6 speed on the Breva.  I’m not disappointed. It is very smooth.  It shifts like it’s supposed to.  I don’t miss-shift except when I forget it’s a UJM pattern and not the reverse, GP-style shift that my personal bikes have.  Neutral is accurate and easy to find, and I haven’t felt any false neutrals between gears.  

The only “nit” that I would pick would be what seems to be some of lash in the transmission and drive train.  When I’m moving from acceleration to deceleration and back, there’s a little “take up” as the throttle is applied that takes a little getting used to; i.e. if you’re decelerating into an apex and then just dump the throttle, you’ll get a little “wobble” when the motor catches up with the rear wheel.  I adjusted my technique and this became less apparent.

Not having to deal with chain maintenance just makes me happy. Continue reading

Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 – Day 4 – Monday Morning Commute

This is the fourth installment in the series.  The previous article is here.

I woke up late Monday Morning, nursing the remnants of a chest cold.  After drowning it with a couple of cups of coffee, I showered and threw my gear on for the 90-mile ride to work.  Bopping out the door and into the garage, the Breva 1200 waited, and I was ready to put my regular commute to the test, comparing this ride to my Ducati ST2, and other days when I take the ’72 Eldorado.  

The cavernous tank of the Breva had served me well, but after 200 miles of weekend jaunts it was on fumes. I hopped over to the Mobile station across the street and stuck some gas in it, cursing that I had forgotten the mileage so I wasn’t able to get an exact MPG value — I’ll do this later I promise.

Off to do battle with the cagers on my Northridge-to-Santa Barbara-run.  First leg of the journey is up Reseda Boulevard to the 118 freeway.  The traffic is backed up and I split lanes between the parked cars for a ways, but the wide stance of the bar/mirrors combined with not-quite-completely-caffienated drivers not paying attention got me thinking that taking it easy might be wise until I’m more at home with this bike.  After a few weeks with it, I estimate that the width of the Breva would be in lockstep with my “space”, and this would no longer be an issue.  Funny how the pulled back bars of my Duc give me a sense of “narrowness” even though I’ve got a full set of Nonfangos on the back. Continue reading

Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 – Day 3 Tweaks and Tech Specs

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”.
Continue reading

Moto Guzzi Breva 1200 Sport, Day 2

(This is the second article in the series.  The first one is here)

It rained most of the day today.  I took some pictures of the bike with the rain beads on it.  Previous journalist riders had ridden the bike much harder than me, and had overheated the rear tire.  This became more apparent as it tried to lock as I rode it around a bit during a let-up in the weather.  Didn’t last long, as I got stuck at my favorite Italian Deli (San Carlo in Chatsworth), sipping doppios and chatting with Giovanni, who owned a Guzzi Cardelino in Rome as a kid. Continue reading