OK, We now have a lovely B750 in the garage but it’s modification time! I would therefore appreciate a bit of advice, please. This is my wife’s first Moto Guzzi and she’s (a) vertically challenged and (b) used to bikes with quality suspension. She isn’t ready to ride it yet due to an injury but I enjoyed the blast home after collecting it last night.
The bike has Pirelli Sport Demons which are quite worn and the front may even be original from 2007. I’ve checked the pressures etc. but the well known trait of white-lining is present and the tyres feel bit ‘all or nothing’ in the turns.
The suspension is clearly built down to a price and we know we will have to throw some money at this. The forks feel like they aren’t so good at absorbing small imperfections which could be contributing to the white lining. The damping on the OEM shocks is unadjustable and provides a harsh ride, even two-up, which doesn’t help the feeling over white lines either. Is the white-lining due to the tyres or the suspension?
Again, this is suspension related. We need to lower the bike, which already has the Lady seat fitted. After reading the article about the 100,000 mile Breva in Gambalunga, we would like to reduce the ride height the same way by sliding the forks up through the yokes and obtaining some 30mm shorter rear shock absorbers.
We have seen there are shorter springs available (Hyperpro) but don’t want to fit good springs to the OE shocks because the damping isn’t adjustable but quite happy to consider their progressive springs for the forks. There are also some replacement units available such as Ikon and then we have the tailored suspension services where we have purpose-built weight and height-specific units built. We are favouring the latter for the rear shocks, although we do know this will not be cheap. Can anyone who has carried out a similar modification please advise which suspension kit/shocks they used and how it worked out, handling-wise?
Hopefully, with a combination of better suspension, better tyres and a reduced height at both ends the bike will be able to deliver what we hope for!
Johnny, I would have naturally turned to Hagon if it wasn’t for a previous experience. They supplied a replacement shock for my Triumph Tiger which failed TWICE. They replaced it under warranty both times without quibble, which was a credit to them, but the double whammy of my experience troubles me. The shock itself was good, but not up there with WP or Ohlins. Still, it was a massive improvement on the OEM one which is what we’re seeking on this bike.
Put Bridgestone Battleaxes on it…get the pressures right…make sure that original suspension is in good order…then ride the wheels off it…them there Brevas are crackin little bikes…Cabernet is yer man…
Ps…am not much fer Hagons…why not try Maxton if you are intent on shrinkin it…I do understand the concept…I am a 5 foot 3 inch small tubby female…who has in her stable a Laverda 3C…not the lowest bike in the world…and is currently taller than stock…but the shox are good and were free…and on the plus side they make the steering quicker…but it does get a tad …er…crucial when I have one foot on the floor…and the other…6 inches above ground…
My lil’Breva is now 48k miles old.
The shocks are original though the rears have been wound down as for as possible to lower them for Brian Peck, I have left them there.
Tyres are H rated BT45’s, much better than I am. Last 10k miles front and back.
Does it have the FineBeau Forge fuel compensator?
Whatever the answer ride it for a while to see if you need it, it made a huge difference to my lil’Breva but is not necessary on the Bellagio for which it was developed.
Tyres are 32/35 psi and need it.
“But this Lady Star boot has something a little bit special for the ladies, (and we don’t mean a fruit-based cocktail). It has extra adjustment for the calves which female riders and pillions sometimes require, so we are told. But, uniquely, this boot also has a 2.5cm hidden lift in the heel. Occasionally, ladies of a vertically challenged nature find they have to stand on tip-toe when the bike is stopped at, say, the traffic lights. But with these boots, you get a bit of extra reach whilst still being able to keep your entire foot on the floor. Very clever. The perfect ladies boot. For vertically challenged men, by the way, the same boot is called the M-Star GTX.”
We’ve ordered new tyres which is pretty much the first port of call with regards to the handling. Helena is 5 foot 2 inch and almost all the bikes she has had have put her on tippy-toes. We see an opportunity here for her to be flat-footed. I won’t even suggest the trick you use on the 3C!
We have a little measuring experiment to conduct later. By reducing the eye-eye shock free length by 30mm, and retaining the same fully compressed limit, this would result in a reduced stroke from 90mm to 60mm. What I will try to establish is if there is any further upward travel possible, even just 20mm, that would allow the shortened shock to retain a reasonable stroke of around 80mm (allowing for any small increase in the UJ angle). She will be using the bike solo only and even though she drinks pints, she still can’t compress the standard springs enough to make them work properly so we’ll be specifying a poundage too. Unless we are lucky with off-the-shelf offerings, I think this will be a special order.
taking into account the angle of the dangle and the relative position of the axle-to-shock mounts, I’m expecting a 30mm shock length reduction to translate to ~25mm ride height reduction at the back (a further working reduction will occur when the correct spring rate is used). Of course, we will need to reduce the front by the same amount, which I’m hoping is less of a challenge/expense!
Fitted the new tyres, pushed the forks through the yokes by 25mm, slackened off the rear shock preload adjusters such that there was zero compression of the spring whilst the bike was on the centrestand. There was actually another 20mm of slackening available beyond this point but this would leave the springs juggling up and down on the shock body!
Perhaps equally as important, we took this opportunity to check the and adjust the steering head bearings and (they were tight).
Result: The bike is transformed. Neutral steering into corners, no white-lining, not sudden tip-in and an absolute delight to chuck around the Sussex country roads, following some rudimentary tyre scrubbing-in. I still can’t excuse Guzzi for the awful damping for those rear shocks but they are next in line for the slaughter house
PS I find there is plenty of power for solo use on these 750s
Helena took her first ride on the Breva today, her first time riding a bike since breaking her collarbone. We were both surprised at her confidence, which had taken a hit but she still managed OK on the lil’ Breva. Did something like 20 miles but it was long enough to get a feel for the handling, controls and weight.
I have reduced the ride height to somewhere close to where we want it to be at both ends, although the bike is still fitted with the standard shocks (completely unwound to the point where the springs will jangle if the bike is on the c/stand ). Feedback is that the steering is a little too lively, so I’ll reduce the amount we have slid the forks up through the yokes. I found it fast but OK and I think this is because I put more weight onto the front tyre.
The narrow bars make the steering feel lively.
First time I rode mine I thought I was going to crash every metre.
I got used to it and now love the quick response.
How you have set the rear shocks is how mine are set up but I left the forks as they are.
Ian, I agree and quite enjoy the turn-in on these …
It was her first ride on this bike and indeed first for 9 weeks on any bike, so it was a lot to take in. The steering is, shall we say. ‘rather immediate’ but we can make subtle changes to add some stability. Rider preference plays a big part here.
As an initial set up until we replace the rear shocks, the spring collars have been unwound to the end of the threads and the forks raised through the yokes by 25mm. The fork oil has been changed recently and they feel quite good on the road but those rear shocks would be at home on a HD Sportster! The seat height is still a little high but it’s OK to ride. We will dial-out a little twitchiness by setting the forks half way for the next ride, maybe 12mm or so, and take it from there.
Adjusting tyre pressures slightly could also slow the steering but I think it’s the geometry in this case. The raised forks/dropped yokes would of course work best with shorter shocks (360mm eye-eye) and we haven’t replicated this enough simply by backing off the preload.
I disagree about the bars. Narrow bars gives one less leverage so should make the steering heavier. Putting wider bars on will make the bike even more skittish, especially in blustery winds.
That which makes the Breva 750 so quick steering is the 17" front wheel. All other injection small blocks are 18". The extra gyroscopic effect requires more rider input to over come. The 17" reduces the counter steer required. It also makes the braking lighter, there being few moments to overcome by the same disc /caliper combination.
I have worked with gyroscopic effect on Chieftain tank and guided missiles.
The wheels are not big enough to have any gyroscopic effect whatsoever.
You’d need wheels a lot bigger than a penny farthings for that.
However I agree that the 17’’ front wheel makes a huge difference.
All other things being equal, the obvious differences between the Breva and the current V7 steering;
Smaller diameter front wheel (17"/18")
Lighter front wheel, especially compared to the spoked version.
Lighter front tyre, especially compared to the spoked version with tubes.
However, I have experienced very responsive turn-in with 19" fronts on my Stelvio (cast/tubeless) and previously with my Tiger (cast/tubeless). Both have wide 'bars. I quite like the steering this way because you can really enjoy throwing heavy bikes around roundabouts but I recognise not everyone feels the same.
Back to the Breva. Comment from Helena through intercom on ride back from Guzzi club last night; “The rear suspension is SH*T”
The sooner we get that sorted, the quieter my life will become