2001 Moto Guzzi California Sport Special from Brunei

Summary:

Who needs a Harley!

Faults:

Fork seals leaked.

Electrical connection to coils failed.

General Comments:

First Guzzi I have had, although I have had other Italian bikes. Love the V twin sound, the torque, the smooth shaft drive action, and it's a lot of fun to ride for someone of my average build. (1.7m). Good size fuel tank meant decent range, and would happily cruise all day at 110kph effortlessly.

Linked brakes and the rocker gear change action took a bit of getting used to, and the brakes generally could be better.

Paint and chrome finish is typically Italian; not the best around, and you would be pretty disappointed if you had bought this bike new, to see how they deteriorate.

In the 2 years I had it, it never let me down; regular servicing and keeping it running are the key. If you park it long term in the wrong conditions, you will have problems, but that can be said for any bike!

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th October, 2011

4th Oct 2013, 15:52

Please do explain that 110 kph is really close to 66 mph. My 1974 Honda 550 cruised comfortably at that speed all day long too. But all aside, traded my LeMans for a Road Glide and now there's no looking back (probably because of the displacement discrepancy). Please do ride an '09 or newer 103" motor Harley, you'll see and feel the night and day difference. Happy motoring, and please by all means keep the shiny side up.

2001 Moto Guzzi California Sport Special from Australia

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.