Sunday, June 10, 2012


07 Breva in Fiddletown (Amador Co.)
The other day, I received an e-mail from Dave, the sales guy at the local BMW shop, reminding me of the first anniversary of my purchase of the Breva from the used bike floor.  “My how time flies,” he’d written.  His note prompted me to organize the photos I’d taken of the bike I call “Aria,” review what that year had looked like and what I had learned about Moto Guzzi.

'83 BMW R 65
Outside of Gillette cartridges for my Trak-II razor, I’m not much of a brand loyal guy.  Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Ford, Jeep, VW, Isuzu – all these manufacturer's products have spent time in my garage.  But when it comes to motorcycles, I’ve owned more BMWs than any other brand.  Two models, a ’83 R-65 and a ’00 R1100R held special memories – first Beemer and first Beemer upon re-entry into the sport. 

Cornfield in the California Delta
So when a black 2007 Breva roadster, shined to showroom perfection, sat amidst all the other hardware on the floor, it was if a light shown from above.  I was experiencing first love for the third time.  (Disclaimer: as far as motorcycles go.)  It didn’t take more than a couple of hundred yards on the test drive to know this two-wheeled roadster had to be mine.

In the intervening year, here’s what I’ve done and discovered:

The Breva is a beautiful example of Italian form with graceful lines and artful touches like the bronze on the heads that angle out from its iconic "Vee" engine.  They don’t do this bronze color thing any more - at least on bikes currently imported into the US, but I certainly like it on my ’07 as it adds depth to the aluminum casings and complements nicely the jet black paint.

Placer County CA by-way
“Aria” loves pavement that curves and twists and handles especially well when fitted with Michelin Pilot II tires.  This addition was a marked upgrade from the Metzelers that came on it, although I’ve trumpeted Metzes for other applications in the past.

'07 Breva at Yuba Pass (Sierra Co.)
Intermittent problems with starting were solved by consulting the Wild Goose Chase Forum and being instructed to secure the electrical fittings under the seat.  Not being too mechanical, and after a couple of incidents, the last one being somewhere the other side of Yuba Pass (CA 49), I finally removed the seat and just squoze every connection together with random abandon.  The thing has started up like clockwork every time since.

'08 1200 Sport at Elk Grove - "The one that got away."
My local Beemer Shop is ten minutes away.  The closest Guzzi shop is about an hour.  I thought this might be a problem, but most Guzzistas would be delighted if their shop were only an hour from home.  Elk Grove Power Sports has proven to be a good place to take her for service.  And they have a nice selection of MGs (Aprilias, Triumphs and Vespas) on their floor.

'07 Breva at Georgetown (El Dorado Co.) Community Park
The Wild Goose Forum is a great community of riders and a terrific resource for know-nothing guys such as myself.

Aria, the Breva, on the Foresthill Divide
A 300-mile day is quite doable on the Breva, even though it is a bit short in stature for me.  Two 150-mile days are better.

Department of Redundancy Department photo:  Crossing the North Fork of the North Fork of the American
The bike gets looks from passers-by and those in various parking lots dotted across Northern California.  The other day, a flagger at a construction site stopped me just so he could comment on the bike.

California Delta
Many folks cannot get “Goot-zee” out of Guzzi.  But they can get “Pete-zah” out of pizza.

On Bowman Lake Road (Nevada Co.)
The side stand on the Breva is a necessary design issue in that the bolt holding the stand in place unscrews itself, but because of the location of the exhaust, cannot easily be accessed for torquing.  My local dealer took about four hours to secure the thing, but only charged me $35 for the effort.  Mighta been the first time he’d seen the issue.

On Bowman Lake Road (Nevada Co.)
A ride to a favorite place on the Breva is different than a ride to the same place on an R1150RT, R1200GSA, R1100R or the KLR.  Or the Nissan Frontier.

California Delta (trip iii)
My concerns for the future of Guzzi USA may have been unfounded.  The dealer network is sparse, but there seem to be some stalwart shops unwilling to let the marque die stateside.  New models making the covers of several motorcycle magazines also give me confidence.

Drum Powerhouse Road (Placer Co.)
Guzzi fans help the cause by patronizing the dealer and by bringing riding buddies to the dealer.  Also, when we have a gripe about a dealer, talking to the dealer before broadcasting it to the universe is probably the honorable thing to do. 

Shearland Tract, near Auburn, CA
A little more heat pours off the heads on the Breva than I am used to on the Beemers.  Taller boots help.  Avoiding rides in 100 degree weather helps as well.

Ascending into Lakes Basin (Sierra Co.)
The bike likes the high country and the physics associated with the roads therein.

I am going to arrange a trip to Northern Italy for my wife’s 60th next year.  She’ll think it’s because she’s turning 60.  In reality, it’s because I want to tour the factory at Mandello del Lario on Lake Como.  Shhhh!

I have no regrets about my purchase.  I’d like to keep the little black Breva for a long, long time.  I suspect there may be another Guzzi in my future somewhere down the road.  There may not be another Beemer – although I cannot see myself without the big GS for long distances over rugged terrain: those places I wouldn’t risk the beauty of the Breva.

And to the kindred spirits over at the Wild Goose Chase forum: “Thanks for everything.  You have made the few quirks bearable, if not downright humorous, and all of the rides enjoyable.”


Related Resources:

Elk Grove Power Sports:

Wildgoose Chase Moto Guzzi (Enthusiast’s Forum among other great stuff for this Italian marque):

Moto International (a premier west coast dealership in Seattle):

© 2012
Church of the Open Road Press

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