For 30 years the Moto Guzzi California has always been the cornerstone of the Guzzi range. The 'Cali' has survived by doing what it does best: laid-back, cruising in the finest American tradition
It's been kind of hard to categorise for the last few years though, as it has moved along a bit from its original seventies raison d'etre of being just a cruiser version of the cafe racer V7 for the voracious US market.
Guzzi now seems to want to make various versions of the Cali to suit different people and different budgets in a bid to emulate Harley's success of marketing over common sense. Don't blame them, either. So, this year you have the California Jackal Stone at one end of the price margin at £6299 (minus one front disc) and the California EV at £8250. The beast I managed to swing a leg over, the California Special Sport, sits nicely in the middle at £7299.
All three bikes can be made unique, just like those machines from Milwaukee, by ordering a plethora of shiny bits and pieces that would make any self-respecting motorcycling magpie go mad.Nice thinking Guzzi.
Look at the Cali and you know what you're gonna get. Pull-back bars, classic looks and those two huge cylinders which insult anyone you dare go head on with on the road; pure, laid-back, unashamed pose.
The 1064cc 90-degree fuel-injected vee-twin motor is the heart of the Cali and it really is an impressive lump. The updated fuel-injection shows few signs of glitchiness at low revs and 74bhp twangs you towards the horizon without hesitation. It's torquey too. You can pull 40mph in top (five gears on the Calis, unlike the V11's six) at a shade over 2,000rpm and it would soon punt you up to speed, albeit with a fairly swift rattle and jiggle of the old fillings.
Click to read the final page of the Moto Guzzi California Special review.
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