By John Burns
Ask not why MO‘s review of an Italian bike called “California” comes from a correspondent in Barcelona, ask what you can do for MO. The first California, c. 1971, was designed with input from the Los Angeles PD, and sported a bulletproof windshield as part of its law enforcement equipment. We haven’t seen any California LEOs on Guzzis lately, but you never see the one with your number on it, do you? Let’s all behave out there, respect all traffic laws, always wear gloves, and honor the longitudinal 90-degree V-twin. Amen.
First Impression: Moto Guzzi California
A few decades ago, Moto Guzzi was atop Europe’s motorcycle market.But in recent times, changing consumer demands and a lack of genuinely new designs have seen the legend fall into oblivion. Things may change for the company in 1996 as “The Eagle” returns with their latest version of the legendary Moto Guzzi California.
We picked up our California at Moto Guzzi’s newest dealer in Barcelona, Spain, Motos J.Caparros. Ours was the standard version without windscreen, leather bags or top-case but still resplendent with lots of chrome, comfortable seat, Bitubo forks, Brembo calipers, dual 300mm front brake rotors, spoked wheels and a passenger back support. A classic instrument cluster housing only a speedometer and tachometer greets the rider along with the standard assortment of idiot lights.
In spite of a low seat height shorter riders need not apply, as the wide seat and floorboards will only allow you to reach the ground if you’re at least 5′-8″. However taller riders have complained that the cylinder heads hit their knees, so you’ll have to “try one on” in the showroom to see how the bike fits you. Seating position is fairly comfortable with an easy reach to the handlebars and rubber-mounted floorboards.Despite a classic …read more