New Moto Guzzi California 1400 unveiled!

February 2nd, 201111 Comments »

An all new Moto Guzzi California 1400 cc was unveiled by Piaggio Group at their international dealers meeting in Monte Carlo on January 27-28, 2011.

The following information is from the Piaggio Group’s official press release:

“The new California prototype, with an original 1400cc transverse V90 twin-cylinder engine, carries on the tradition established by a bike acclaimed in five continents for its comfort, reliability and performance, delivering a re-styling that enhances the architecture of the powertrain and the comfort assured by a generously sized saddle and tank.”

“Fitted neatly around the cylinder unit, the tank heightens the impact of the new valve covers, helping to create a new style element on this irresistible California.”Moto Guzzi California 1400 prototype

“All the technical components –wheels, brakes, suspension – are new too, proclaiming the California’s membership of an eagerly awaited new generation of Moto Guzzi bikes.”

Looking at the California 1400 photo closely, although it is grainy, it seems there may be a radiator mounted vertically in front of the engine, directly behind the front fender.  At the time of this article, some motorcycle magazines, including March 2011 issue of Motorcyclist, have already published that Moto Guzzi will introduce an all new liquid-cooled engine.

Harley-Davidson 11J motorcycleAs an owner of an ’07 Guzzi California Vintage, I can’t help but notice the extreme height of the valve covers on this new California 1400 prototype.  Perhaps the extra height is needed for an overhead cam or dual overhead cams, but compared to the existing 1100 engine, or even the existing 1200, the new valve covers still seem to be extremely tall.

The new fuel tank, with the cutouts to clear the engine, brings back images of yesteryear.  It was not uncommon for motorcycles to have such cutouts on the fuel tanks.   One example is this 1915 Harley-Davidson 11J that participated in the 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball in the USA.  Excelsior-Henderson is another example of cutouts in the tank to clear large cylinder heads.  There have been lots others to have this feature, but the new Guzzi California tank style is much cleaner and tastefully done.Excelsior Super-X fuel tank

This new California 1400 has a more stretched look, especially due to the elongated side covers replacing the more triangular shaped covers we are used to seeing.  Not that it is bad, just different.

Overall, it appears the Piaggio Group has fortunately left the Moto Guzzi California style mostly in tact.  The modernized, longer look and larger engine size are a sign of the times.  The Cali was overdue for a refresh, and from what we can see of it so far, it looks like a winner.  Even so, I am glad to have one of the soon-to-be obsolete Californias with the 1064 cc air-cooled, pushrod type engine.

Guzzi California 1400 touring motorcycle with panniers and windshieldWill I trade-in my Vintage in for the new 1400?  At this point, the answer is no because I bought the California Vintage because it is highly reliable, time tested, and relatively simple from a mechanical perspective.  The big question is whether this new Guzzi California 1400 will attract new Guzzi fans and get other motorcyclists to convert over to the brand?

UPDATE: November 2012 EIMCA show was the official California 1400 launch to the public.

« Riding my Guzzi California in cold weather
California Vintage photos in video »

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About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotoGuzziCalifornia.Com. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding and maintaining his Moto Guzzi California Vintage.

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  1. Thorsten says:

    Unfortunately the new California was not persented on INTERMOT, the fair in Cologne. But i will go to EICMA, Milano to see the new one.

  2. Mike Stammer says:

    I’m really glad to have my white California Vintage, as I just don’t care for the looks of this new 1400. I’ll probably take one for a test ride just out of curiosity, but I can safely say I won’t be buying one.

  3. GIO says:

    A mio parere ritengo che dal punto di vista stilistico ancora non ci siamo. La moto si presenta molto appesantita, brutta la parte posteriore, e le borse laterali non sono proponibili per chi fa lunghi viaggi (le borse devono essere regolari atte a contenere borse estraibili , non a goccia). La moto mi sembra anche troppo lunga e un po’ datata. A mio avviso sarebbe stato opportuno pensare ad un momoammortizzatore ben regolabile. Comunque finalmente qualcosa alla Moto Guzzi si sta muovendo, anche se troppo tardi, e questo è certamente un segnale positivo

  4. Rik Guzzimaniac says:

    Hi all
    I will definitly test ride one when they come out in the UK but dont like look of the bike at moment perhaps its will grow on me.
    See yah Rik

  5. Peter Twohig says:

    Hi, guys. Looking forward to riding one. I’m 63 and have a 2001 Cali special sport aluminium with a touring setup and 58k on the clock. It’s a lovely bike. Bddumm!!! Bddumm !!!!! haha.

  6. John says:

    Hi Rusty, mating two v7 motors together to make a v4 sure would be interesting, nice idea. As for the Ducati Diavel, I have to say that I hope Guzzi does not do that to the California, but maybe the Griso could be a candidate for that sort of design.

  7. rusty says:

    I”m very disapointed, being located in the cradle of italian design, a region that has given us so many inovative beautiful machines, this rendering is the best piaggio can come up with. they should mate together 2 v7 motors,a water cooled v4, nicely styled pipes, killer borrani cast wheels, leather coverd hard bags, styled head lamp and a classy 2 tone paint scheme. Guzzi needs a Castiglione to breath some life back into this classic mark. just look at the Diavel. I am the proud owner of a customized 99 Bassa.

  8. John says:

    Heck, yes I am also an owner of a beeautiful 2007 Vintage. I’ve just rolled the clock past 62,000 kms. Would I trade my super reliable old school Vintage for on of these new 1400??? Well… mayyybe, but first I’ll wait to see what reports, test rides and comments are made on the release. My wife rides a Triumph America, but I don’t need a bike as big as the Thunderbird. I’m not sure I need a bike as big as 1400 either but if it has forward mounted controls I could be interested. I’ve been riding 43 yrs and my knees do get cramped on my Vintage, so I’m looking at putting highway pegs on the front. Hopefully Guzzi will make a highway bagger version 1400. I am always carrying gear in my panniers and I wouldn’t be without the windscreen, driving (fog) lights or my heated grips (yes, I have a made to order Vintage with these fitted, but that’s another story). So, a Cruiser 1400, I would have to seriously consider. Cheers, John – down under

  9. Matt van der Meer says:

    Hi, not much to say about the 1400cc California yet, but I’m sure the Guzzi engineers would have built another great engine and drive train to get us around the world yet again. I do wonder about what weight it may be. My 1995, 1100i, California, with 117,749 km on it, has suited me fine with a nice amount of power and torque. I load up with my lady and tent, beds, mattress, small stove, lots of clothes and food, water, tools that I have never used (touch wood) going 120km/hr a fair amount of weight for a 58 year young man to go on 2 night rides. I do hope Guzzi still keep on making a bike similar to the vintage because I may be in the market for a new one soon. Thanks, MATT v.

  10. Wilbur says:

    The California 1400 looks superb. With a bike this size, and a, possibly watercooled, 1400cc engine to match, it should be a great long-distance tourer. Let’s hope Guzzi give us the option of some decent hard luggage.

  11. Guzza says:

    The planted stance of the 1400 reminds me a lot of the Triumph Thunderbird. One would hope Moto Guzzi would take advantage of the potential this bike has for personalization, and come up with a range of blingy bits like HD and Triumph