Moto Guzzi’s magnificent machine
The California motorbike was born in the days of Moto Guzzi’s glory in the 1970s, when it was the machine of choice for the Los Angeles police department, says Geoff Hill in The Sunday Times. Guzzi’s fortunes then ebbed until it was rescued by Piaggio in 2004.
With sales growing again, this new California is crucial to Guzzi’s rebirth, and the company has thrown everything at it: antilock braking, traction control, and a new 1,400cc engine. The result is “stunning”.
The new California is a delight to drive, “surprisingly agile”, and the traction control and antilock braking mean “even the most ham-fisted jockeys will swoop through twisties with such aplomb”, says Hill. It also looks “cooler than a penguin’s martini”.
The steering and response is far more agile than it has any right to be, agrees Kevin Ash in The Daily Telegraph, making the bike “a pleasure to ride hard”.
It’s pretty quick, too, and yet smooth and comfortable to drive around town, says Ash. Fuel consumption and range are modest, but “almost as important is how the bike looks, and there’s no problem in that respect”.
The detailing is good, the styling clean and the whole very well put together. This “magnificent bike brings the California bang up to date without losing the essence and character that have kept it going so long”.
Power: 95bhp @ 6,500rpm
Top speed: 125mph (estimated)
Fuel tank/range: 4.5 gallons/ 170 miles (estimated).