Hi All,Thinking about getting a Cali, either an EVI 1100 or maybe even a 1400 Custom. Would appreciate any buying advice. With the 1100, is it worth paying a bit more for a 2003 model on with the hydraulic tappets? How much attention should I pay to mileage?

Are the conventional footpeg models a good idea?

The hydraulic tappet model was only made for about 18 months then they went back to the old system so I personally would not buy that model it was subject to recalls to sort out problems. Running boards or foot pegs is a personal choice I had a EV with running boards only issue is rear brake pedal position takes a little getting use to. if buying second hand go on condition not mileage get the best one you can get pay a little more If I was buying one now I would try to find a California Vintage as that was the penultimate 1100 California before the California 1400 came out and that is a totally new design. I hope this is some help Regards Keith 8 Valve Eagle2013-12-20 21:19:37

Keith, that’s great. Really appreciate it. My brother John has a Harley Davidson dealership in Basel, Switzerland and he sneers at anything that isn’t HD, especially if it’s Japanese and especially if it’s Italian. As a Ducati owner for the last year or so (a 996 SPS), I don’t think his general dismissive over reliability of Italian bikes is justified. However, if I were to buy a 10+ year old Guzzi, would I end up with egg on my face?

Maybe, maybe not…
guykate2013-12-22 05:02:09

The dealer here this special sport has the hydraulic tappets, but other bikes I have seen that do have the hydraulic tappets actually seem to have this information cast into the cylinder head surround. Is that how you reliably identify one with hydraulic tappets or are there exceptions? This one registered in 2006 clearly has the hydraulic tappets…

Guzzis will cover 100+k miles with ease BUT they are quirky as are any Italian Bikes no where near as expensive to keep as a Ducati, moderate spannerings can save a fortune.
The engine will need more revs than a Harley but less than a Doo cah tee.

Can’t see that ad but Stratstone in Wolverhampton have an EV on e-bay right now, looks OK too. With a Guzzi mileage and age is less of a problem than what it looks and feels like. Some of the hardly used low mileage ones can be a bigger problem than the higher miles well kept ones.

On the Hydraulic bikes the ONLY real have to do is the correct oil and changed at the right interval. ALL guzzis benefit from regular oil changes but other than the very new ones and the Hyd tappett ones the choice of oil is as long as yer arm BUT the older ones (none hydraulic tappets) work BEST on 20/50 oil…


The more miles you put on a Guzzi, the better they get. Some do have little niggles, but if you sort them out you can run them forever. A lot of us on here have got 1950 - 1960 bikes.

As for HD. Sonny Barger from the Hells Angels has said his biggest mistake was insisting that all Hells Angels ride HD. They look pretty but I wouldn’t fancy riding one from Denmark to Mandello and back.


Our Calli 3 70th Anniversary was a great bike,last of the carb versions,handled well,went well, and ooh so comfy seat.
Brakes bit wooden but then I never attempted to see if I could improve them…great value for money bike. Engine soo tractable, ran down to a thousand revs in top if needs be without protest. |We sold that for a Calli 90th Anniversary, fuel injected engine doesnt like real low revs BUT 1500 rpm can be managed, flexible otherwise, not as comfy for us but still very good (different seat),brakes are a vast improvement, paint great but chrome suspect in quality… great bike, same as a Vintage but with a few embellishments

Hi Drew,

I have a 2003 Cali Stone. A badge on the tank proudly proclaims “Valvole Idrauliche”. However, it has the standard push rod operated valves so I would suggest the only reliable way to find out is to take the rocker covers off and have a look. I agree with other correspondents that there is no particular advantage to the hydraulic valve version and I certainly wouldn’t waste time/money seeking one out. By the same token, if one turns up that ticks all your boxes and happens to have hydraulic valves there is no reason not to buy it. I bought my Stone in 2010 when it was seven years old and have been very happy with it so I would say that buying a well maintained Cali is not a risky bet.



However, if I were to buy a 10+ year old Guzzi, would I end up with egg on my face?

We have a '94 1100 and have nothing on our faces but smiles…

Drew posted back in December so I guess he made up his mind by now. But if others are reading this post:
I had the special sport for 8 years and it never let me down once, I now have the cali vintage and hope it proves just as reliable.
the special sport has a much lower seat and foot pegs, you could sit on the seat all day long in comfort. the cali vintage has a higher flatter less padded seat and foot boards. Both are different to the EV, it would be good for anyone thinking of a cali to try a few.
Even the engines are a little different the vintage is much faster accelerating than my special sport ever was.

cut from website:
California Vintage, The engine has been almost entirely imported from the Breva 1100, with a considerable improvement in performance. The heads, cylinders, conrods, pistons, sintered valve seats and guides and Nymonic exhaust valves come from the Breva 1100 and inherit its power characteristics. The alternator has also been improved and the flywheel is new. Combustion is more efficient thanks to the twin spark cylinder heads, the braking pressure distributor has been modified to improve efficiency
Californhihay2014-06-01 07:15:46

So the '94 1100 is a load of crap that needed constant evolution to get to the Vintage. How deflating !!

I feel like I turned up at a meeting of nifty-fifties on a Mobylette now.

I loved my Cali hydro and I love my Breva 1100; but I wouldn’t have wanted the Breva engine in the Cali. A friend of mine who’d enjoyed an older Cali was disappointed when he purchased a Vintage; he found the changed seating position cramped his legs so much he sold it on after a few months. I’m sure the Vintage is a great bike and ideal for many people, but if ever I had another Cali, I would want a pre 2002 - unless it was the 1400 of course.

I would say…

Thinking about getting a Cali, either an EVI 1100 or maybe even a 1400 Custom. Would appreciate any buying advice.

If you can afford the 12-14k for a 1400, why are you even considering an older model that can be got for pocket change?

Perhaps because the 1400 is so refined and the older Calis are fun, fun fun

nope just different, My special sport engine had much more character in my opinion than my current vintage. The s’sport could dry itself shaking like a dog on tick over!!
I would have another as well as the vintage if i had enough free time to ride both. the vintage is much smoother but after 1700 miles I cant decide if it is better or just different. the s’sport had more Growl to the exhaust.Californhihay2014-06-01 20:50:13

In my opinion, it’s a real shame that the hydraulic tappets were dropped. Assuming they could be made to work correctly, there is a definate maintenance benefit for lower revving engines. Of course, it’s still possible for the hydraulic mechanism at the followers to give trouble but the idea of a self-adjusting and theoretically quieter set up is appealing.

The other advantage is that you won’t need to wait for your engine to be stone cold before the service can be completed .
Harley can do it so why not Guzzi?

I’d agree with that. Once the initial issues were sorted and recalls done on the affected bikes then IMHO they should have continued with the design. A friend has one in a Cali EV and it pulls like a train, more low-down grunt than my '97 Cali EV and smoother as well.