Moto Guzzi California Motorcycle Owners News, Reviews and More
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.”
“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.
As 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.
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.
Will 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.