courtesy of Jens Lyck

Why ride a Moto Guzzi ?

Motorcycle aerodynamics is quite bad and therefore is fuel consumption not lower than when you're riding a car, even though your bike only weigh 1/4 of the average family car. Motorcycle tires are more expensive than car tires and don't last as long. Insurance is horrible, and the value of your bike will deteriorate quite fast if you allow yourself to ride it on salty winter roads.

So, in my opinion most people riding a bigger bike is doing it out of interest and for pleasure, not in an attempt to save money. This means that our choice of motorcycle depends on our personal preferences (and size of the wallet), not on "what we need". This is how we choose between sports-, touring-, or custom bikes. But, why pick a Moto Guzzi?

I can of course not give you everybody's opinion, but here's a number of, partly personal, reasons:

  • A Moto Guzzi can go round corners without wobbling. I'm aware that all newer sports bikes can do that today, but for a 20 year old bike it's definitely not something obvious.
  • A big powerful engine with a lot of torque in the middle area where most of your driving takes place. This means that you're are able to ride quite fast in a very relaxed manner - actually am I riding faster than ever on the local roads after I got my Le Mans. Honestly, I'm not doing this on purpose, but the bike is acting so confident on the street that the speed is automatically increased.
  • It's a mechanically sound and immensely strong construction, all engine parts and bearings are dimensioned for durability and can be repaired if necessary.
  • Spare parts are cheap and easy to obtain - almost nothing have been changed the last 30 years ;-) Just kiddin', parts are ordered from the original spare parts catalogue (which is accessible to the customers), and more often than not, the dealer has the needed parts in stock.
  • It's a very simple (old fashioned) construction. This means that you are able to service and repair the bike without special tools. Ordinary service is quickly taken care of, I'm able to change oli+filter+spark plugs, adjust valves, and sync carbs in about an hour.
  • You can customize a Moto Guzzi according to your own preferences, and if you are able to use a lathe end a milling machine there's plenty of opportunities to experiment with your own solutions.
  • A Moto Guzzi holds its value better than average. Only if you take proper care of it, of course. Selling a dismantled bike in cardboard boxes won't make you rich.
  • The show off factor - some of us willingly admit that we like to turn heads on people in the street. A thundering V-twin passing by will wake up most of the poor natives :-)

Now, the points above represents the sunshine, but there's a couple of clouds in the sky also:

  • It's a heavy bike that you won't master 100% on the first rides, it takes an experienced rider and a bit of practice to get ahead of it. But once you learned it, the bike will yield lots of driving pleasure back to you.
  • The bike was constructed almost 30 years ago, and even though they are fantastic machines, they have a hard time competing with modern motorcycles. The right man on a 600cc sports bike can ride around you in circles. Bear with it, you are still got a fast bike - just not the fastest.
  • Almost all older Moto Guzzi's are high mileage bikes with varying degree of maintenance. This means that chances are that you'll have to bring out your tool kit once in a while to keep it running. This goes for all older bikes, not just Guzzi's, but my point is that if you're one of those people that hurts themselves every time they are within 30 yards of a spanner, you might want to reconsider if this is the right bike for you.

For the grand finale I'll give you a snip from the first page of a Le Mans 2 instruction book, it's for you to decide if it's a good or a bad point:

  • "Due to its exceptionally high feature, this motorcycle can be considered as in the racing machine class and as such has to be ridden in a sportsmanlike way. For this very reason, it has met the favor of many motorcycle fans but, same as for all racing bykes, it has to be used accordingly."

Everybody else would fill the first pages with a number of warnings, but not the Italians - this is a serious motorcycle, there's no fooling around.............