Moto Guzzi California 1400 launched!

November 14th, 20125 Comments »

Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring black with lights onOn November 13, 2012, Moto Guzzi history was made with the launch of the new California 1400 at EICMA show in Milan. Two versions are being made available and both are built in the famous Mandello del Lario factory in Italy.  The two models launched are the California 1400 Touring and the Custom.

The California Touring is a bagger that comes with the following features: stylized hard bags (35 liter capacity each), windshield, touring handlebars, touring saddle, chrome tube guards up front for the engine and at the rear for protecting the hard bags, three selectable engine performance modes, traction control, cruise control, and anti theft.  These features are all standard equipment on the Touring.  I have to say, my California Vintage now seems 20 years old when I compare it to the new 1400 Touring.  More about that further down the page, but first let’s move on to the new 1400 Custom.

Moto Guzzi California 1400 whiteThe California 1400 Custom is what Moto Guzzi describes as the “wicked sister” to the Touring model.  With drag bars, a lower seat, no windshield and no bags, the Custom seems to take on the role of a technology-driven street cruiser with three selectable performance modes, traction control and cruise control standard on this bike same as on the Touring model  Since the Custom has no side bags, the advanced rear shocks get to show off their external reservoirs that provide for improved suspension performance and a custom racing appearance.

Unlike the recent past, a huge range of well thought out factory accessories are offered by Moto Guzzi for the new California to help owners customize their new beast.  Those add-ons include such things as slip-on exhaust pipes; black chrome handle bars; additional LED lights and LED turn signals; a lower windshield; leather-covered side bags; various brackets and covers;  billet aluminum levers, grips and mirrors.  Other more practical accessories include a choice of two different trunks of 50 or 60 liter storage capacities, heated grips, and passenger foot boards.

Personally, I’m blown away by this major step forward from Moto Guzzi.  They have not only join the ranks of modern full size touring and cruiser motorcycles, but they have establish new standards by offering advanced technology as standard features on this class of motorcycle, and by manufacturing the largest v-twin production motorcycle engine in Europe.  Congratulations to all at Moto Guzzi and thanks to Piaggio for supporting this project!

On the other side of the coin, I have always been fond of the simplicity of the Moto Guzzi California.  This new California 1400 really kicks things up a notch away from such simplicity.  I’m not saying this is a negative, but is a different approach.  One could argue that the now “old” California was lagging too far behind in design to be competitive on the market.  The engine was “small” for the class of bike it usually got grouped into as people like to categorize motorcycles.  I never considered 1064 cc small, but the new 1400 (1380 cc) certainly brings Moto Guzzi more up to speed with their Asian and American competitors in the Touring and Custom classes.  Do we really need that much engine displacement, of course not.  Do we tend to like big engines?  Yes.  However, weight and cost are two very important issues when choosing a motorcycle.  I don’t know exact numbers yet (UPDATE:  The 2013 list prices per Moto Guzzi USA are Touring $17,990; Custom $14,990 ). In the end, the bike is an obvious winner in my book

Technical Specs per Moto Guzzi published data:

Weight:  337 kg (743 lbs) fully equipped

Power:  71 kw (95 hp) at 6500 rpm

Torque:  120 Nm (88.5 lbs-ft) at 2750 rpm

Engine Displacement: 1380 cc

Bore x Stroke:  104 mm  x  81.2 mm (approximately 4.095″ x 3.197″)

Alternator:  550 Watt

Transmission: 6 speed manual

Front Tire:  130/70 R 18

Rear Tire:  200/60 R 16

Seat Height:  740 mm (29-1/8 “)

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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. Paul Snyder says:

    I have a 2007 California Vintage and can tell you that there is nothing quite like riding a Guzzi. It is my second Guzzi the first being an 850 Eldorado that I bought new in 1973 and had a blast riding through the Rocky Mountains. It was made to ride in mountainous roads with all the curves, climbing and descending. They are a reliable cycle that many people don’t know about and don’t get the credit they deserve.

  2. Robert says:

    I currently ride a 2005 Softail Deluxe, and although I love my bike, I will admit I’m rather fond of the Guzzi. My seventy five year old father in law has a 1951 Falcone, and my brother in law has a 2005 CaliVintage. I’ve been considering upgrading for a while now, and I took a 2012 HD Roadking for a test ride. Although it was OK, (apart from the shaking at idle), I’m not convinced I want to part with AUD$32,000, and then spend AUD$2,000 getting it to run right! Not bashing HD, just thinking maybe they could have done more for 2013. I will be watching closely what Moto Guzzi Australia does with this baby, but importantly, will be listening intently what your readers have to say. So far, I like the Cali 1400 Touring, and the technical aspects, but I think I LOVE the Custom; perhaps in silver with the black leather bags and a small screen…

  3. Bob Hadden says:

    Like I said in my earlier posting “There’s no substitute for cubic inches”, or in this case cubic centimeters… More torque is always a good thing, and as this bike has grown in weight, I hope the torque is sufficient. There are definitely occasions that I’ve wished for more power while riding my Titanium up a long grade against the wind (especially if I had to put in low-grade ethanol blend somewhere). I hope this bike will run better on lower quality fuels, because I’m afraid that’s all that will be available to us in the future.
    It sounds like the Guzzi engineers improved the factory suspension components so let’s hope the 1400 handles like the California we’ve all come expect. Cheers to the factory boys! Andare Veloce!!

  4. Roy says:

    1400 cc looks like an improvement, but the torque to weight ratio of the California 1400 is not too different from the the, say, old California Vinatge that I own. The only REAL difference: The new one delivers it’s max torque at much lower rpm….

    The new one looks great though – but how will it sound? Will it have the same swagger as the oldie?

    To be seen.


  5. Thorsten says:

    I took a seat on it yesterday… the new california is much nicer than it looks on pictures. So i will start collecting some money…