Moto Guzzi California Sport Special Review from Australia

2001 Moto Guzzi California Sport Special

Year of manufacture2001
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2008
Acceleration marks 8 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 8 / 10
Handling marks 8 / 10
Braking marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.9 / 10
Distance when acquired30000 kilometres
Most recent distance50000 kilometres
Previous motorcycleHarley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200R

Summary:

Buying a GUZZI is a LOTTERY - some are perfect, others much less so!

Faults:

Fuel tank rusted, probably due to the previous owner storing it for a long period with no petrol in the tank.

Fracture (hair line) in fuel tank, leaking petrol, possibly due to above. Welded once, still a problem, mechanic has it now and is fixing it (I sold it to my mechanic who is a friend).

Fuel injection problems due to rust getting into the fuel.

Fuel pump on way out... again, possibly due to above.

Variable patchy electrics...yes, you would have thought the Italians had been on top of that by the new century... alas it is not the case.

Seat worn out totally.

Rust on various bits of bike.

Breaks down every time on a long ride... again, combination of electrics and the fuel tank issues.

Ordinary fuel economy.... 31 mpg in city, 45 mpg on a trip.

Uncomfortable seating position for anyone over 4 feet in height.

General Comments:

This bike was my return to motorcycling after about an 8 year break.

It was love at first ride, the power of the Guzzi is awesome, the love child of a H-D and a BMW I would suspect.

The bike has soul, character, all the good things... but unfortunately like a good friend with several flawed character traits, it let me down again and again and again.

My mechanic was a God amongst men, begged me to stick with it, charged me far less than he ought to for the extensive work he did... often. But the Guzzi wore me out, wore me down. So I sold the Guzzi. It still hurts to write these words.

Ultimately I suspect the problem with all Guzzis, after seeing a recent episode of "The Long Way Down" where they visit the factory, is that the factory is too much like a cottage industry. That is, if Guido and Antonio are having a good day, maybe a Friday, your bike will be FANTASTICO. But if it is a Monday, and Guido has fought with his mistress, the engine may still be FANTASTICO (because Antonio built it) but the fuel injection system may not have been screwed together properly... you catch my drift?

Yes, this all gives the bikes TREMENDOUS CHARACTER. It also makes them potentially FLAWED, like a old flakey friend who you just can't seem to reply upon in a jam.

They also can get ordinary fuel economy...about 31 mpg around the city, best of 45 mpg on a trip. Like a small car.

I am confident that my mechanic will fix the bike for a new owner so that it is perfect for years to come... I simply did not have the money or the patience (it was my only transport) to see it through.

Yes, in the end, I deserted my friend and I am less of a man for it, I know.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th September, 2008

9th Nov 2009, 13:43

I'm confused. How can the factory mechanics be responsible for what happens after the bike leaves the factory? Or do you think all Guzzis (and no other brand) rust by themselves? All your mechanical woes come from the rusty fuel tank. You just bought a neglected bike that the previous owner didn't care for, that's all. Could've been any brand.

I've got three Guzzi's and they are inherently no more or no less reliable than any of the twenty or so other bikes I've owned. Your mechanic mate was right, you should've stuck with it. I bet the next owner has a great time with it.

21st Apr 2011, 22:49

So, if I read your review correctly... You bought a neglected bike that wasn't stored properly.

Instead of testing the electrics and correcting any faults, you simply rode it and got stuck a few times.

Instead of replacing the rusty gas tank or treating it with Kreem, you simply filled it with gasoline, which loosened the rust (gas is a solvent, don't you know) and floated it into -- and ruined -- the entire fuel system.

And you fault the bike for being unreliable? It sounds like YOU let the bike down, rather than the other way 'round.

Average review marks: 6.9 / 10, based on 1 review