Road Test: Moto Guzzi Breva V1100

Moto Guzzi come out swinging with their new Breva V11, and they've got BMW's R1150R boxer twin up against the ropes.

Posted: 27 April 2008
by John Cantlie

Age is a curious thing. You can't hear it, and you can't see it, but one day you wake up and realise all breakfast show DJs are wankers and the country's gone to pot because New Labour are a bunch of low-class liars.

I also came to the staggering conclusion that, at 34, I rather liked Moto Guzzis, a motorcycle that for many years I had derided as heavy, old and agricultural. To be fair, this was because until now most Guzzis have indeed been heavy, old and agricultural. But now they have their new Breva 1100, and it's quite apparent that the factory are keen to drag their marque into the 21st Century.

The Breva 11 is aimed squarely at the European touring market, slashing directly for BMW's jugular. The German's R1150R kept cropping up in the press briefing, and Guzzi personnel make no bones about wanting a slice of the naked tour-bike pie. The engine is 50% revised, the gearbox is entirely new, the styling is modern and chunky, and there's a togetherness and sense of purpose about the finished product that has been lacking in Guzzi's recent past.

Guzzi would probably admit they'd taken the modular design of models like the Café Sport as far as it would go, and selling 'quirky alternatives' to a die-hard but disappearing market of loyal customers is not really sustainable. Along with the forthcoming Griso and the promise of a road-going MGS-01 superbike, Guzzi appear to be getting their skates on.

The first thing you notice about the Breva is the way it looks. Gone is the retro-chic of big beasts like the V11, and in its place are sculpted, handsome slabs of metal and plastic that give the Breva real presence, and the front half of the Breva 11 is packed with stylish muscle.

The 1064cc Guzzi V-twin engine has always looked good and this application is no exception, but everything looks more modern on the Breva and the anodised cylinder heads are dead smart. Wide handlebars, digital clocks, a somewhat over-complicated on-board computer and one of the most comfortable seats ever attached to a motorcycle firmly underline the purpose for which the Breva was made.

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