Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I TOOK A TEST RIDE on the 2008 Moto Guzzi Breva Sport today. The good folks at Elk Grove Powersports were kind enough to lead me on a nice spin through rural aspects of the valley out near the delta. I was very much taken by the 1200’s performance - not nasty fast but gracefully smooth; its styling - very Italiano: everything flows, everything tastes visually as only the Italians make things taste; and its solid fit and finish - it feels like a tank and floats like a feather all at the same time.

ALL THAT SENSORY STUFF said I did not jump today. There are too many pros and cons to weigh, however, the pros are very compelling. So like all good former manager/administrator/leaders, I made a list of plusses and minuses. Here goes:

+ It is an absolutely beautiful machine. It reminded me at first, of my 2000 BMW R1100R, the first bike I purchased when I reentered motorcycling about ten years back. It also recalls the “flying brick” era K1200RS BMW that a riding buddy nearly purchased. Both the Breva and the "K" are visually stunning in black with beautiful lines. Even the mirrors are hot looking.
+ The Breva’s excellent fit, finish and build quality are complemented by a gorgeous instrument cluster – retro, yet modern – and over-informative at the touch of a button.
+ The bike produces a wonderful exhaust note. I’m thinking “Tosca.”
- Seating - almost immediately, I thought, "Well nuts! The pegs are too close to the seat," but...
+ …after riding it just a bit, I realized there's something about the way the seat is positioned that doesn't pinch my hips – my old R1100 had this problem – prompting me to have to dismount and walk it off for several minutes in order to reconcentrate on the route.
- My legs are accordioned quite a bit more than on the GS but...
+ …my weight seems distributed more evenly between my butt and my shoulders, so I got the impression my rear end might not wear out as quickly because of this curious distribution of my weight.
+ The “bikini” faring is sexy and understated. There is no wind buffeting against my helmet, just a continual whoosh. I really liked this, reminded me of riding the KLR where the wind was part of the symphony.
- My nearest dealer is 40 miles away and the local dealer franchise has changed three times in the last eight years proving to be a bit of a moving target.
- Current dealer only has limited number of 2010-11 bikes in stock.
- Guzzi imported very few 2010 units. Rumor suggests they may be building only V-7s and Grissos this year according to another buyer on the floor. However, the Guzzi web site shows both Stelvio (big-bore dual sport) and Norge (long distance touring) models in their 2011 line up.
- I hold concern about the longevity of the marque, however, since its acquisition by Piaggio, that company’s appreciation for the Guzzi heritage should stand it in good stead for many years to come.
- Finally, there are much better things to do with eight thousand – make that nine thousand (with taxes and fees) American dollars, but…
+ …I can't think of what they might be right now.

AFTER THE TEST DRIVE, I took the 110-mile long way home on the GS, up through the foothills toward Georgetown in El Dorado County, stopping a couple of places along the way. This was an effort to rationalize NOT buying the thing. I came away thinking that the maximum usage of the Guzzi would be the 150-mile picnic ride through the foothills or up the coast if ever we were to locate in that direction. The bike would be absolutely perfect for such duty. It would be NOT nearly as good as the GSs for the Gold Country – Monterey Coast tour undertaken a couple of weeks back. At least not with my long inseam.

This machine is something I do not need, but boy, oh, boy, it is like driving a Maseratti with a base price of entry below 8 grand. Pinch me. I am strongly considering a purchase. I have told the sales manager I will call her on Thursday with a yes or no.


  1. JP: Sounds like amore!

  2. Experience triumphs over passion: Called the Guzzi folks yesterday and said "Thanks, but no thanks." After the ride home on the GS and up through the mountains, plus a drive to Chico in the pickup, the over-riding thing I could not escape was the limited cockpit space. Knowing that I'd purchased the "R" thinking I'd get used to it, prompted me to think I probably would not really get used to the short distance between the seat and pegs on the Breva. The thing is beautiful, handles like its on a rail, sounds like an aria and the build quality is superb. It would be a fantastic bike for someone with an inseam two inches shorter than mine. Loved the bike and hated to make the call but really glad I rode the thing.

  3. Update! Ended up buying one a little later on. Browsing though my site, you'll see I picked up a 2007 Breva with a more conservative seating position. In retrospect, I know I'da been happy with the '08 I test rode.

    Big thanks to Elk Grove Power Sports who were generous in allowing me to test ride the bike and have been great with service on my '07.