Moto Guzzi Motorcycle Reviews on Cycle Insider (15)
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2010-03-21 2002 Moto Guzzi California Special Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I've had many bikes over the last 32 years, from the Honda CB200 to the BMW R1150GS. Until owning my Special Sport I've never owned one for more than a couple of years and most of them, not even one. I do thousands of miles, so I soon get to know my bikes. I usually pick them for distance work, so there are a few features I must have but not without compromise. I soon get to know them and because I like to 'crack on' I soon get to know their limits too. So, with some authority on the subject, I'd like to say a few words about my special sport. I've had it for three and a half years now and I've no intention of ever selling it, so that tells you something. Here are some bullets: It's not the fastest but it can easily break the law in any gear, regardless of load. It's sublimely comfortable and stays comfortable for hours. It has the most natural seating position of any bike I've ever seen, let alone owned. It's reliable as long it's properly maintained; it has never let me down. It's economical at 45 miles per English gallon, no matter how I ride and because it sounds so amazing, I tend to get on with my rides. It can take as much luggage as any other bike I've owned, including the GS and with much less impact on handling. It handles unbelievably well for a bike of it's style and I've surprised many sports bike riders on it. It looks stunning (most of the time) and it's timeless, so ther's no worry about looking out of date (if that matters to you). It's very easy maintenance and cheap to do. I do all my own, so it's really cheap and I know exactly what's been done (You can't trust many humans when it comes to money). It'll bob across fields loaded with camping gear with no problem, as long as it's dry and because my feet can rest flat on the ground, I feel very confident fully loaded, off and on road. I can move it around easily straddled across it and because of the excellent side stand, I don't worry about how and what I'm parking on. I get all the protection I need from its simple screen, though I usually don't have one at all; only during the bug season(Yuck!). It's an absolutely perfect bike for me and ticks most of the boxes, most of the time. Downers: It's a pig to clean and because the materials used to build it aren't so good, cleaning better be something you don't neglect. I've had my wheels replaced with stailess ones and I've reworked the electrics for English weather. I've also got rid of the grey paint on the diff and coated it with black, smooth Amarite. Looks great! Things have fallen off it in the past. The naff chrome look plastic bits on the mud guards have long gone but I've replaced them with real McCoy. At tickover, the engine sounds like a bag of bolts but I know there's nothing wrong. Apparently it's just the way they are but I'm determined to sort that out later this year. In one word though, this bike has something in bucket loads that makes it stand out from the rest; heart. I love it.
- Tony Hands, Nottingham, Manchester, United Kingdom

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2007-08-09 2002 Moto Guzzi California Special Sport Motorcycles View Listings

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I have been riding for over 35 years. My favorite bikes were the BMW GS 1100, Harley FLHT, Yamaha TDM, and Suzuki V-Strom. Well, I now have a new favorite. I purchased a 2002 Guzzi Special Sport a year ago from a little man that complained the stiff suspension caused him pain. It was perfect for my 250 pound butt! This is a do anything bike. It handles like a sport bike, and will run away from my son on his Ninja on mountain roads. It is a better touring bike than the FLHT, plus it is faster. It gets the same gas mileage as my wifes 450 Nighthawk. It is a better off road bike that my V-Strom or GS 1100. I am selling all my other bikes as I spend 90% of my riding time on the Goose. My Special Sport tips the scales at 545 pounds, but feels it weighs only 350. Folks, this is the perfect all around motorcycle. Never any problems at all.
- Pappa, Franklin, Ohio

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2004-07-23 2002 Moto Guzzi California EV Motorcycles View Listings

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Just got back from a 3,300 mile trip on my brand new Guzzi California EV Tour. Really love the bike and it was a great ride (other than seat burn)on the trip. Absolutely no problems and it ran like a champ as long as 12 - 14 hr and 600/700 mile days. Really fun cruiser that thinks it's a sport bike and is happy to behave that way. Sounds like Grandpa's threshing machine when you start it up, but it loves to rev and moves very quickly through the gears. Shifts at 5,000 RPM (now that I'm out of break-in period) are a blast. I agree with one of the other writers as it is a bit quirky, but in a very positive way. Looks like a HD to the untrained eye, but it's a distinctive cruiser that's different from everything else in McCruiser land. One magazine writer referred to it as a Sopwith Camel of motorcycles, and that's a great description, as the bike is a bit of a throw-back, but with modern mechanicals, electronics, fuel injection, etc. I really like my Beemer, but this Guzzi has it's hooks into me. The Tour addition comes with upgrades that I think are worth it. Including the beautiful Lafranconi pipes. Great, distinctive sound. You get V twin vibration, but it's not an issue, and I'm used to my smoothie blender 3 cylinder K bike. Handle bars are nicely damped, but handling has never been an issue in terms of pushing on the bars and getting good response. Mirrors do have fair amount of vibration, but don't consider it an issue. Shifting is smooth and clutch action is really nice. Both depts are better than my K bike. A few false neutrals here and there, but not an issue. Only negative I can think of is sometimes hard to find true neutral, but that's really a stretch to call it a negative. Besides that, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the seat, stay stock or get after market. Overall comfort is really great on the bike (6'2" and 230). Floor boards are really nice, but have never been a factor in aggressive cornering. I will consider removing the lower fairings and installing high-way pegs because of a bad knee that needs occasional flexing. Heated grips were nice for early AM and night I rode on Blue Ridge Parkway. Even fully loaded with a big Mag's bag for my camping gear, both saddle bags full and another dry stuff sack for clothes, it handled high speeds with stability. (I was running solo, so don't know about two up.)It loves long sweeping curves, and I found plenty of them on the run through TN and NC mountains. The bike attracts a lot of attention because it has a classic look. People gave me compliments at the gas stations, as well as at the rally. Styling attracts the older crowd mostly, but I've even gotten a 'sweet bike' from two young dudes. to this old guy, the Cali looks like what a motorcycle should look like. I test rode mine and then tried to stay away from it. But the bike and the dealer kept working on me til I caved in. Glad I did, as I don't regret it one bit. I camped with Guzzi riders at the rally and met some great people. Some of them were riding 20 - 30 yr old bikes as well as some new ones. Guzzi is obviously a small player in US, but maintenance is pretty simple and if you do it, they tell me the bike should last a long time. With the new hydraulich valves, they do one time maintenance on them at 1,000 miles and that's it for the life of the bike. The rest is fluids/filters and the like.
- chuck, Austin, Texas

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2004-05-09 2002 Moto Guzzi California EV Motorcycles View Listings

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This is a great bike it will easily out corner every other cruiser type bike. I ride with an insane amount of torque. I have had them all and this is the most satisfying bike I have owned. If you're not the type of person that requires a Harley Davidson to pump up your ego, and you actually want to do some serious miles, this bike is a great alternative. plus it's almost maintance free just change the oil and adj the valves now and then. Try it...you will love it.
- frank , parksley, Virginia

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2004-03-29 2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura Motorcycles View Listings

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Had the bike now for 6 months. Looks great, sounds great, engine feels great between the legs. Not too keen on the springs/suspension. After ALOT of fiddling, have finally got the setup pretty right. Could use some stiffer springs I think, for a better ride. But others have ridden it without much complaint. Definitely recommend after market pipes - it really lets the bike roar, and gives it extra power.
- David, Canberra, Australia

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2004-03-14 2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Le Mans Motorcycles View Listings

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Just an update on the review I posted in 8/2003. About 6 months later now and though the Nebraska winter has cut back on my riding time, I now have 5300 miles on the LeMans. Thus far it has been a great bike! The only issues I have had thus far are: The wrinkle black paint on the motor has started to bubble somewhat. Moto Guzzi is aware of this problem and will replace the engine cases or will allow the owner to choose from specific apparel or accessory options as compensation. Since it is a cosmetic thing that I can address down the road if it bothers me, I opted for the apparel/accessories option. Second is the neutral indicator switch has been dodgy off and on. Other than these two issues, which to me are very minor, the bike is outstanding. I LOVE the motor...it just keep getting better and smoother with mileage. The bike handles magnificently. The gearbox is smooth and works very well. Braking is excellent. The fit and finish are quite nice to my eye and the styling is...well it is just a thing of beauty. I love the bike. It has a soul and it makes me grin and exhilarates me every time I ride it. Can't wait for this riding season to really get underway!
- chris galardi, omaha, Nebraska

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2003-10-14 2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura Motorcycles View Listings

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I purchased this bike and loved it stock but I have carried out some improvements. Carbon fenders, side covers, dash tank pad, starter cover, alternator cover, carbon fiber disc brake(Right side front only)Corbin seat, Guzzi titanium high level pipes with CDI, K&N filter, Ohlins R&T forks, Ohlins rear shock. I know it's excessive in terms of mods, but the bike is a keeper. It will carve up back roads or go touring with no problem. I could not say that about my 916. Buy one and have fun.
- Anthony, Calgary, Alberta

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2003-08-26 2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Le Mans Motorcycles View Listings

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I just picked up this new 2002 Lemans about two weeks ago. Thus far after about 800 miles my initiail impressions are: -Excellent handling...holds the road like it is on rails -Wonderful, slick six-speed gearbox. Much smoother than the Guzzi five speed gearbox...excellent indeed! -Wonderful motor, well mated to the gearbox with loads of torque on demand. -An absolute hoot to ride. Not the fastest or most technologically sophisticated bike in it's class, but just so damned fun to ride, so easy to control. So far, so great. I'll report again after I put some serious miles on the bike.
- chris g., oamah, Nebraska

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2003-08-21 2002 Moto Guzzi California Stone Metal Motorcycles View Listings

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Had my 2002 Stone Metal 3 weeks, and what a bike. It handles so much better than my previous Le Mans 1000 (1989) The seat is comfortable and the engine (though new) pulls like a train. 1st tankful shows 55 mpg (imperial) Build quality since Aprilia took over is so much sharper than my Le Mans.I really look forward to putting some miles on this bike.
- dave, guildford, Missouri, Great Britain (UK)

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2003-07-09 2002 Moto Guzzi California EV Motorcycles View Listings

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Not the model Guzzi I own, but hardly "outdated". No other cruiser comes with such hi-tech furel injection, suspension and brakes. Not to mention that this is the bike that won the Cycle World "Cruiser Shootout" a coupla years back, beating out 13 other cruisers from all the majopr companies.
- GuzziTim, Las Vegas, Nevada

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2003-06-05 2002 Moto Guzzi California EV Motorcycles View Listings

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Did you ever want to own a classic bike that was made today? Here's your chance. The engine has been in almost constant production for 20 years in one form or another (updated with hydraulic valves in 2003). The bike is a good looking (subjective) and comfortable ride, but the forward foot boards may take a bit to get used to, as will the rear brake pedal for non cruiser types. All is all a world of fun and character for a reasonable price.
- Len, Raleigh, North Carolina

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2003-01-31 2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura Motorcycles View Listings

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A friend in SF has gone thru 2 Scura motors in 9 months. Twice now after the first tuneup the motor has siezed. First time was due to some debris in the crank that block oil flow. Today during a ride the motor started making strange noises. Back at the dealer they found a thrown rod. Waiting to see what Moto Guzzi USA has to say this time.
- Robbie, San Francisco, California

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2002-09-25 2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura Motorcycles View Listings

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This is one of the most exciting bikes I've owned. Excellent handling. Bumpy on bad roads but outside of that it's a blast to ride. The engine pulls better than I thought it would. Only 60 coming to the US out of 600 being made. They have a serial number on the triple crown, mine is number 596. Personality plus!!!!
- David Filer, Antelope, California

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2002-09-02 2002 Moto Guzzi California Stone Metal Motorcycles View Listings

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Bought my California Stone metal on 8/2/02. 4 weeks and 1850 miles later, I have loved every minute of rding thus far! The bike is a blast to ride and the power just keeps building as the revs get higher. My long trip thus far was a 500 miler between Omaha and the Kansas City area...mostly interstate and she ran and handled beautifully and with great passing power. After about 300-350 miles of riding my butt got a little sore, but not too bad. The gearbox was a little notchy at first but has gotten smoother with time and miles. You learn to shift very deliberately and positively, especially early on. Average about 40 mpg, with a best tank of 42 mpg and a worst of about 38.5 mpg thus far. Seating position is pretty upright and seat height is fairly high for a cruiser styled bike at around 29 inches....more like a standard. My dealer, Baxter Cycle is Marne Iowa, has been great. Excellent service thus far. They are motorcycle lovers and sell Triumph and Moto Guzzi new models as well as a ton of older British and other bikes. Worth a visit!! My Guzzi has loads of that indefinable "character" and I can't wait to wake up every day and ride it!
- cg, Omaha, Nebraska

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2002-04-18 2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Scura Motorcycles View Listings

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I recently traded my 2001 Guzzi V11 Rosso Mandello for the new improved Scura. Almost all of the things that needed to be changed to improve the bike were done. Ohlins front and rear certainly make the handling much better. Lengthening the frame and bracing it reduced the flex. This is now a cool great handling bike with great sound and looks. If you want to be different get this bike.
- Marc Lampell, San Francisco, California

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