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  #1  
Old 3 Apr 2008
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Guzzi California ev

Ok so it's not your typical overland bike, but I'm considering one of these for two up touring in the UK and Europe.

I'm going to look at one on Saturday, it seems to have been well looked after but it's done a few miles, 60000 to be precise.

I know Guzzi's have a good rep for longevity but is there anything to look out for? Any reason why this might be a bad idea?

It's a 1998 Cali EV.

Any advice or opinions welcomed.

Cheers.
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  #2  
Old 4 Apr 2008
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Guzzi ride

Hi,
In 2006 a friend and I rode from Ohio to Alaska and out thought the west and back for a 2 1/2 month trip putting on 13,000 miles. No problems at all, great ride and lots of fun. Were on numerous dirt/gravel roads and lots of rain, sleet and wind at times. We have almost 50 hours of videos and over 1200 pictures for last memories.
He was on late 90's Moto Guzzi California III, I rode a 2003 Guzzi California Aluminum Special Sport that we built into a trike due to past injury that made this trip possible for me.
Frank has almost 90,000 miles on his bike, I have around 50,000 . Last year we were in Money Creek, Minnesota at the National Moto Guzzi Rally which was flooded out. Lots of bikes and property lost or destroyed. I had some water damage but all is cleaned up and running good. Expect and anxiously awaiting this riding season to get here. Sick of winter.
Good luck on your trip with what ever bike you chose.
George Denny
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  #3  
Old 4 Apr 2008
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This is in Italian, but you can look at the pictures...!


http://www.marchetti.ws/cazzivari/IR...OK_(ligth).pdf

This guy went to Iran and back on his Guzzi, only issue seemed to be the voltage regulator (which some guy built for him using bits from hairdryers )

They seem to be good bikes, this isn't the only long journey I've read about on Italian forums, I'd say just go for it....!

Giacomo
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  #4  
Old 4 Apr 2008
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I like Guzzi's in a strange love/hate sort of way. If you've not ridden Guzzi's then you have to be aware that they are unique. Give the bike some time. Take a long test ride. At first you may be put off, but once you adapt to the Guz, it may start to grow on you.

I've tested Guzzi's since the late 90's. Owned a LeMan's lll in 80's. Toured on a friends' Ambassador as well. (borrowed)

In some ways the high mileage can be a plus ..... by this time all the bugs should have be worked out and the owner, if knowledgeable, will have (hopefully) done some mods to the bike. Once sorted Guzzi's go a long time without giving much trouble. Great touring bikes IMO.

I would get onto an active Guzzi board/list and learn as much as you can. Just be aware its a weird bike to ride for the uninitiated.
Good hunting,

Patrick
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  #5  
Old 4 Apr 2008
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Guzzis I love them.

Went round the world on an 850 T3. 56,000 miles on that trip, 120,000 miles when I sold it.

I would never recommend one to anyone, they really have to be something you want, bit like marmite you either love them or hate them.

They do need a bit more owner input than many makes but if your made of the right stuff they are great bikes to own.

Best to buy one that has not been messed about with too much, they are easy to tune badly, make your own mods.

They last a long time as well, I have owned 3 with over 100,000 miles on them.

Patrick, my favorite was a MK 3 lemon.

Steve
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  #6  
Old 4 Apr 2008
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Cheers everybody, I think the quirkiness is part of the appeal.

There are plenty of comfy, reliable touring bikes around but multi cylinder engines and acres of plastic don't do it for me, I want something with a bit of character!

I do all my own servicing and maintenance so no problem with something that likes a bit of attention. Make a change from the Transalp where there's just not a lot to do once you've changed the oil!

Oh, and the owner is a long time Guzzi freak with two more in the garage, including a T3 with well over 100,000 on the clock.

Test ride tomorrow will tell for sure, I'll keep you posted.

Thanks again folks.
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Old 5 Apr 2008
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"Test ride tomorrow will tell for sure, I'll keep you posted."

Or not...!

After a 120 mile trip to the agreed meeting point and much pacing and looking at the clock, I called the vendor and discovered he'd broken down!

Turns out the clutch had gone on the M6.

I'm not too bothered as it means the the bike will now have a new clutch.

It has made me wonder though, on a bike with this mileage, what else may be about to wear out? Not through neglect or abuse, just regular wear and tear.

I've found another Cali, same age and model, but with only 17,000 on the clock. This one's in a dealers and is around £1000 more than the other one but could it work out better value in the longer term?

Normally I reckon a bike that's well used but well looked after is a better bet than one that sits idle apart from the occasional jaunt in the sunshine.

Anyone with me on that?

I must have had too much time to think today, just complicates things...!
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  #8  
Old 5 Apr 2008
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However, is the mileage genuine?

[quote=Crusty;183279
I've found another Cali, same age and model, but with only 17,000 on the clock. This one's in a dealers and is around £1000 more than the other one but could it work out better value in the longer term?

Normally I reckon a bike that's well used but well looked after is a better bet than one that sits idle apart from the occasional jaunt in the sunshine.

Anyone with me on that?

![/quote]

Yes, that's the way I view any machinery, including bikes.
But, is the mileage on the clock genuine? (easiest thing in the world to disconnect the speedo drive).

Push both options for the best deal would be my approach - which one is keener on making a sale. There is no room for sentiment when you don't know either of them; pin the dealer down for whatever warranty and other goodies he will include. Similar for the private sale, but in that case, "what is he doing about the breakdown".

If you are not in a rush, then continue looking around for the next one to consider: that is a very good reason to own more than one bike - always looking toward changing one or other, while riding another.
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  #9  
Old 7 Apr 2008
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I have three Guzzis in my garage (and two more coming soon). The perfect bike if you like to tinker with'em yourself, as they are easy to maintain, spareparts are cheap and plentiful, and the bikes themselves are usually quite inexpensive to buy. A clutch breakdown is actually quite rare on these bikes. The clutch is overengineered, which is why large Guzzis are perfect to haul sidecars with. I know there have been occasions with warped clutch disks, but that is usually something that has happened to Guzzis pulling large sidecars. It is avoidable just by drilling some holes and do some sawing in the clutchplate. And, as you know: Dismounting and mounting a gearbox on a Guzzi is on all accounts a doable task, especially on older Tonti-framed Guzzis. I wouldn't hesitate a nanosecond to take my '85 850 T5 anywhere, even with the sidecar attached. I'm taking my Quota all over Europe, and I'm planning to do the North African dunes in a couple of years. Must do Iceland with it first, though.

I'd say: Go for it! It's a great bike, and now you can have one with a new clutch!
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  #10  
Old 7 Apr 2008
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Go with newer bike! 17K means just broken in!

Call me shallow, unsentimental, but I really prefer modern Guzzi's.
But in your situation I would always go with the younger bike. 60K is a LOT of time on components. Work the dealer some, might be worth it. As least talk to him. And if you can ..... get a test ride on one of these! (leave checkbook at home!)

Patrick



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  #11  
Old 7 Apr 2008
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There should be a warning tag on those new Guzzis, saying "Warning! Test riding will cause instant addiction!". I've tried the new Stelvio. By [choose your deity] what a bike! If it had a somewhat larger tank and being a bit more hardcore travel enduro'ish (like my Quota) I'd buy it in a heartbeat. IF I had the money, naturally...
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  #12  
Old 7 Apr 2008
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Good point about the mileage Walkabout.

I didn't have time to check it over for tell tale signs of mile hiding but on this type of bike I think a genuine low mileage is possible, people do buy them as sunny day only cruisers, which is exactly the type of usage that can cause premature wear and tear.

Indu, the clutch plates had just worn out so no major drama, just normal wear. Lucky (for me!) it happened when it did and as you say, it's now a bike with a shiny new clutch!

Patrick, both bikes are actually the same age and identical models, only the mileage is different. I agree with you about time on components but the seller has done the bulk of those miles, all long trips only, no commuting. He's also replaced the fuel pump and reg/reg, both suspect Cali parts and has serviced it regularly himself. I mean this guy has a book detailing every time he's changed or replaced anything with a note of the mileage and and what day of the year it was! This I find encouraging.

Having said all that, cost is big factor here. I'm meant to be saving for a big South America trip, hopefully next year, and cash is short as it is. I can't afford to keep two bikes (too much out of the budget) and I reckon I could get the cheaper Guzzi for just a few hundred on top of what I would get for for my TA. I already got the dealer down £500 on the other one and thats final!

Isn't the Griso just the must exquisite piece of engineering? You lead me into temptation!

Thanks for the replies, watch this space!
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Old 8 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crusty View Post
I mean this guy has a book detailing every time he's changed or replaced anything with a note of the mileage and and what day of the year it was! This I find encouraging.

I already got the dealer down £500 on the other one and thats final!
Crusty,
Sounds good: I also like meticulous records of that nature - if he can be bothered to make that kind of detailed record then he has probably done a good job on the bike.
I guess you are at a stage now where only you can really judge these two bikes, from everything that you have got to know about the bikes and the sellers.
£500 discount sound like a good deal, from any dealer, compared with the asking price for the higher mileage bike: makes it a tougher decision though.


I agree about the Griso: it's a good looking bike, as shown well in M/dogs pics.
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  #14  
Old 8 Apr 2008
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'98 Cali EV

Crusty,
I have a '98 Cali EV, I've had it since 1999, and... I love it to bits. It's done 35,000 miles; I've done nearly all of them myself. I live in Spain and use it as my daily runabout, although I have done one long-ish tour (UK to Croatia and back) on it. I have modified and messed around with it quite a bit, which seems to be an easy thing to do with Guzzis.

Problem areas:
- Electrical relays: at least 3 of these failed in the first 2 or 3 years, I ended up replacing them all with a slightly larger, more modern verison, so far so good.
- The rev counter self-destructed at about 15,000 miles but so far the replacement item has been fine.
- The fuel level sensor and the electric fuel tap failed early on. I replaced the tap with a manual one (which works fine!) I replaced the level sensor, only to find that the replacement item was also useless (lesson learned, just get a manual on/reserve tap).
- Pillion seat: the standard item is absolutely no good for touring at all, clearly designed by an Italian sadist, and will torture your pillion horribly. There is a possible mod by a German firm (MOTOS-PEZIAL.DE) which involes moving the ECU from under the seat and fitting a softer seat, but it is expensive. For touring solo, the bike is comfortable enough.

One surprising thing about the Cali is its ability to keep up with sportsbikes on twisty roads. It has good ground clearance, loads of low-down grunt, and handles really well for a "cruiser". Mine has a Power Commander fitted, plus Mistral exhausts and an open-topped airbox. I have had it on the dyno, and it puts out 75 BHP (up from 56 as standard...) at the back wheel. It makes a great noise. My other changes have all been cosmetic, mainly reducing the amount of chrome by taking bits off or painting them black. I also replaced the standard ape-hangers with some wider, flatter bars; this helps the handling a little. Mechanically (though not necessarily electrically...) it has been utterly reliable. It is a very easy bike to work on, and DIY servicing is a doddle. If you don't need to carry a pillion, then IMHO it makes an excellent all-rounder.
Nigel
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  #15  
Old 8 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigelrojo View Post
- Pillion seat: the standard item is absolutely no good for touring at all, clearly designed by an Italian sadist, and will torture your pillion horribly.
Tell me your kidding Nigel please!

I need a bike that can comfortably carry two people for several hundred miles at a stretch. I thought the Cali would handle this just fine.

Anyone else here had pillion trauma?

Just when I thought I'd cracked it.

Help me out here, I really, really don't want a Paneurodullwing...!
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