Sell me a Guzzi

I’ve been in to motorbikes for the past 25-30 years and always gone with Japanese big fours. For the past 15 years I’ve been solely Kawasaki ZZR’s and for the past three years a ZZR1400. However recently this was written off after the usual ‘car pulls in front, no indicators etc’. So here I am in the market for another bike.

Now I’ve always been a big fan of the ‘different from the rest approach’ of Moto Guzzis and feel this is a good time to make a change. I do have a few questions though which have always been in the back of my mind but mainly from what I read in the press. Where better could I come than to a place where first hand experience will give me a truer insight in to why I should go with a Moto Guzzi.

I am thinking towards the 1200 Sports, Breva 1100 or possibly a V11. Any other similar recommended alternative?

I guess my main concerns are:

  1. Ask a non Guzzi dealer and straight away they speak of reliability issues. I read mixed views with reference to this. It must be able to start up and take the all round year weather the UK can offer. I ride all year as I am away working at sea for quite a chunk and have to take my biking pleasure whenever possible.

  2. I do tour and no problem up to a 1000 miles a day if need be. Comfort factor? Tank mileage and economy? Best so far 820 miles in less than 12 hours.

  3. After the ZZR’s I now feel the endless (and mainly unusable) power is not a necessity, but I still like to think my next bike will be able to ‘hustle it’ and give some knee down fun when wanted. The 1400 was never short of fun, but it did everything in excess.

  4. General handling, bagged up or otherwise

  5. Service intervals and recommendations. I am not really mechanically minded, plus being away doesn’t really give me the time to think about this side of the story. I guess reliability come in to play again

  6. The infamous ‘weaving’ at speed. Again I can only go by what the press have to say here, although I am very doubtful whether after all these years Guzzi haven’t addressed this. Did it ever exist?

I’m thinking ‘stock bikes’ here

I really would love to hear some of your honest and formed opinions here as in the back of my mind the words ‘Moto Guzzi’ sing loudly. My only other alternative option is a Honda VFR800, but I don’t want to go with the masses if I can help it and I want something people will look at, hear and think ‘now that is nice’. Plus of course I want to think the same and be proud of.

I will be very pleased and thankful for any of your replies why I should go with a Moto Guzzi and then hopefully the next time home I can have six weeks searching a good example down.

Many thanks in advance

Ive had a good few jap bikes in the past from a handling point of view i find motoguzzi excellent and for reliablity ive never had a problem i also dont remember having any electrical issues which was a problem that was always mentioned to me about italian bikes in general.Ive never had any weaving at speed on the V11 sport or the 850leman.motoguzzis are certinly different from the japs and if your looking for something different i think you could do no better thats my personal view

If you’re not mechanically minded and are thinking of a modern guzzi you will need an accessible dealership for all your maintenance. I ran a bellagio for 30,000 miles over 3 years and it did need regular attention and quite a bit if investment to keep it running as a year round bike. Have switched to a Japanese bike now and find it much less of a bind.

Weavin at speed ? Nah…
Try and get a ride on one, the old ones just keep goin, a few issues with some of the recent 8 valves, documented on here…
Ginna be a culture shock after your kwak, happy hunting…Guy and me have had many superb jap bikes over the years, but we always cherish these old nails…
Welcome to the forum by the way…

As above, re the weaving at speed, first i have ever heard of it.They are generaly reliable, good tourers (Superbike reffered to the newly launched MK111 Le Mans in '83 as an InterContinental Bassistic Motorbike) and if you are spanner savvy easy to work on.The people who ride them are generaly a good crowd and with no hangups about other bikes.Get a test ride and take it out for at least 2 hours. You will hate it at first (like your first pint) and then you wont be able to get enough (like your second…).

From my limited experience and what I’ve read here, tyres and pressures, and suspension settings, will most likely have the biggest affect on handling (and comfort), but are easy to sort out. Once you have identified the problem!

Ask a Guzzi specilaist (not necessarily a current Guzzi dealer) and not a general bike dealer for a proper answer.

Most of us keep Guzzis for years. I have had my Centauro over 10 years and the Spada some years before that. Of course some things have broken over the years and miles but the great thing is it gets fixed it keeps going.

No worries about leaving it unused for some months. I also work at sea but never have a problem with starting the Chen when I go out to the garage. I have fitted the cables for a trickle charger but never used them.


Many thanks for all your replies to date and for the welcome to the forum, most appreciated.

Seems to lean towards the positive side with all your replies which is nice to know. Also read a few other posts with reference to running costs and it doesn’t seem any more expensive than running a ‘trustworthy’ Japanese monster, which again bodes good.

I think most of my concerns have been quelled and I guess it is now as much a case of getting a ‘test ride’ and then adapting to a bike which is probably the opposite to what I am used to and probably equates to a large chunk of the fun.

I seem to be leaning towards the Breva 1100 sport if I can find one, but I am not discounting the other models I mentioned as I have found a few 1200 sports.

What about two up and general comfort? For all its ability to tour at silly speeds the ZZR was amazingly similar to sitting on a plank. Riding position brilliant, actual ass comfort dreadful.

Comfort is personal and something you should find out about on a decent test ride.I know of Breva1100’s, Stelvio’s and 1200Sports that have toured 2 up.Also various Cali’s, a Mk111 Le Mans with the origonal seat (that is shear masochism in my opinion) and a Mk1 Le Mans (even worse).As Chen said we tend to keep them and make them as we want.

I have a norge, it fulfils parts 2, 3 and 4 of your questions admirably, ride all day in comfort, that fairing deflects all the wind blast, most of the rain if you are travelling above 40mph etc, but then it will behave like a hooligan when you get there, wherever there is,

Mines hauled me to croatia and back via italy, round spain, twice, around a lot of the uk, the only reason its not done more? i have other bikes to play with, it handles ok with our without luggage.

The panniers are narrower than the bars, so endless filtering, in crap traffic, on a friday night, is possible (its a consideration, where i live, unless im going to france or have the time to avoid the flippin M25

The power is there, where you want it, when you want it. It’s in the usable range and acceleration is good

Can’t comment on two up, I ride my own bike but I know of others who use a Norge two up

Interestingly the Bloke is onto his second ZZR 1200 (the first one spontaneously combusted during a Sunday ride two years ago) he too hated the seat so got it modified, memory foam, gel pad etc, mind you, he likes the Norge too

Get some proper test rides, and see what you think Halfnut2013-12-13 19:14:30

I seem to remember that one ‘speed-weave’ review in the Seventies.
Amazing it’s still resonating.


It was the same particular review I recall from years back and the fact that ‘Bike’ makes note of the 1200 sport seeing a return to the Guzzi weave. Interestingly enough it is that particular model I am very swayed towards.

The more I look and read in to Guzzis the more I am tempted to go this way.

The 1200 tops my list at this moment although I have to admit the V11 Rosso looks sorely tempting.

I can’t wait to get home in January (at sea this moment) and start to give some serious attention to the matter of obtaining a new bike.

Just hoping that I don’t get screwed on the insurance after having a write off. Then again I had in excess in of 20 years NCB’s so I shouldn’t get hit too badly. Again another reason for going with a Guzzi. The ZZR1400 was incredibly expensive full comp, even after all the NCB’s I had.

A good friend of mine, who is also a Guzzi dealer, rode a 1200 Sport back from Italy when it first came out. It had panniers on it and there was a warning on them not to exceed 80mph while they were fitted.Well on the return trip, that figure was considerably exceeded, and he reported no evidence of any problem.He was so impressed with the bike he bought one himself and rode it all over until it was written off by white van man.

I have 2012 1200 sport, bought it 6 months ago and absolutely love it. I`ve ridden it with fully loaded soft panniers and tank bag and cant say I noticed any affect on handling or ride. I also had an 1100 Breva for a couple of months last year and also rode that with panniers and again, no change.
There is a load of difference in performance between the 2 valve 1100 and 4 valve 1200 though, more than the figures would suggest on paper . They are both lovely but the Breva was like riding your favorite armchair , the 1200 Sport is more visceral if that makes sense. It is all relative of course and both are big softies compared to a sports bike.
I have noticed that the 1200 sport is quite sensitive to suspension changes, I dont think I have it spot on yet and may ask expert advice and mine came with Metzlers which I really dislike and will be changing next year.

So come on ‘Lucifer’… paint us a picture here…at sea anywhere exciting, hot, cold, middling ?
We are in the Midlands if home is anywhere nearby call for a chat and a cuppa. Only one modern guzzi tho, a 2 valve Griso. Lots of old nails mind you…

“We are in the Midlands if home is anywhere nearby call for a chat and a cuppa”

Attention all shipping in the Midlands get out there’s no bloody water.

Actually in Mexico this moment where I have worked for the past four years. At least it’s warm and I do have some Yorkshire Tea-bags with me so a decent cuppa is never that far away.

What has amazed me about this forum is the amount of quick, informative and great replies. Other forums can be like waiting for a bus. You wait, wait and wait…then make your own mind up, find out for yourself and walk.

Since posting I really am turning towards Guzzis and scouring the web for ideas of prices, availability and which models to consider.

I’ve certainly got it in to my head that big fours will not be missed.

Mexico eh, so am guessing 'ot then…
I did say home tho in my defence… we have Westport Lake and Chasewater, and then theres always the Trent and Mersey !
Thing is, you meet the nicest people on a Guzzi, the club is a good one and we have made many friends…
Regarding the choice of modern guzzis I have ridden a 1200 Sport, lovely, our Griso- preferred the Sport, Paul at CorsaItaliana’s Bellagio, fab- want one- sadly discontinued…
Have not ridden the little V7, expect I would like it…
When u started this thread I immediately thought Norge, is a very capable tourer by all accounts but… I personally dislike its looks…each to his own eh ?
The 1200 Sport in the red, white and green paint job I think looks lovely, add panniers and the taller cockpit, who knows…
We do not venture overseas much, only usually for particular events.
In the future tho we may visit family in Ukraine and it will be by motorcycle, one each… thing is, twill probably Guy on his old GS Bmw, and me ?, well I might well be on my Yamaha Serow, unless Guzzi come out with a 940 Mini Stelvio, am only 5’3 and can’t have a big un !..

Google Austin or Mondo Sahara for something different and maybe come and visit us on the Bellagio channel, we like to hear about foreign parts…x

guykate2013-12-14 16:54:27

6ft 3" here so another reason I’m looking at MG’s as I don’t want to look like I’m swamping a bike out. One reason the little 1000’s never interested me as after a test on an MV Augusta Senna I felt rather folded in two. Shame really as I liked the bike itself.

Possibly why I have not considered a V7 as aren’t they on the smaller side?

Oh yes. Mind you the mv folds anybody in two… we had one at work… uk
Am nutter with guzzis and dukes…
V7s are small and possibly a little underpowered for this remit…
Relevant in todays world but not what you are looking for methinks…

Listen, don’t take any notice of this lot - the big problem you have is deciding which Guzzi will be sitting next to the one you DO buy!!!I’ve had my V11 for 7 months now and trying to find a way of sneaking a small block into the garage without Mrs WG noticing… but she’s very observant