I return to the fold
About every four or five years I get the itch. I’m astride a perfectly good motorcycle – in this case, a flawless Yamaha Super Tenere (which I’d named Enrico) – when someone pushes out the next gotta-have – in this case, Moto Guzzi’s revised 2021 V-7. Classic lines. Throw-back style. A bit more power than last year. Italian mojo. (Enrico has a whole lot going for him, but mojo isn’t very high on the list.) Driving by our semi-local Guzzi dealer – making sure not to have gear with me so I can’t test ride, because I know what always happens when I test ride something – a beautiful gray V-7 Special sits gleaming in the western sun. “If only it was blue,” I think.
Six weeks later, I swing by again, hoping beyond hope that there won’t be a blue one there, but alas…
…now one sits in my garage. (Regarding Enrico, the shop in Windsor made me an offer I could not refuse.)
I’d purchased a lightly used 2007 B1100 Breva several years back, rode it for well over 10,000 miles and from the day I traded it in, regretted not having a Guzzi in the garage.
My taste in motorcycles has ebbed and flowed over the past 50 years. A BMW RT was a great mile-muncher and my KLR introduced me to a family of black bears crossing a fire road. The GSA was a wonderful all-purpose machine that carried me 600+ miles a day on several occasions. And Enrico ran like a clock. But the Breva had a degree of character none of the others seemed to offer. And as I found myself less comfortable throwing my leg over the high seat of the Yamaha and more at home in the passenger seat of the Subaru for touring with my wife, something a bit smaller seemed in order.
The test ride of the V-7 transported me back to my first real bike – an ’82 BMW R65 – simple, light, agile, and straight forward without a lot of things that you could adjust but that I never adjusted.
Today, three days into ownership, I decided to shake things out on a familiar route.
The first photo-op came in the Dry Creek Valley where harvest was just beginning.
Next, I paused at a picturesque red barn that has been the backdrop for first photos of former bikes.
In my twisted world, a new motorbike isn’t truly christened until it has carried me on sweeping curves through the redwoods along the Russian River to the Cape Fear Café in Duncan’s Mills. And that’s where it’s happened again happened again.
I’m setting the Special (now named Mariolanza for the way the exhaust note sings) on the side stand when a large man taking big striding steps crosses the parking lot. Uh-oh, I’m thinking, What’d I do to this guy? Then he calls me ‘brother.’ He tells me of his newly purchased V-85 TT Touring and the good trade-in he received on his Griso, all of which was interesting, because it always is. I say always because I remember parking that Breva and, nine times out of ten, being approached by some someone who either once owned a Guzzi, now owns a Guzzi, or would like to own a Guzzi. They always have a story to tell. The conversation always starts with “Beautiful bike, man!”
And my V7 Special is. Fluid. Lovely. Italian. And lovely. ‘Mariolanza’ reminds me so many grand yesteryears and begs me to ride so many tomorrows. It’s a pleasure to be back in the community.
Notes: Purchased the V-7 at Sonoma Euro-Cycle in Windsor, Ca and felt I was treated professionally, fairly and with good doses of humor and motorcycle tales: https://rideeurocycle.com
Stop by the Cape Fear Café for breakfast or lunch. I believe their home fries may be the sole reason God created the potato: http://www.capefearcafe.net
Church of the Open Road Press