Test: Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring
Italian touring cruiser
When the leaves were brown and the sky was gray, The Mamas were dreaming & the Papas from their California home in 1965. Moto Guzzi fans can dream of the new California: more American than ever, but with a big Italian heart.
A gentle giant for free riders.
He’s got the peace: the fat V-Twin stomps calmly in front of your knees, the huge rev counter reports a full 2000 revolutions. The massive, discreetly bubbling 1400er pushes you forward, the polished cylinder head covers are always in view – no other motorcycle can convey that special Guzzi feeling. When you take a seat in the comfortable seat – your feet casually resting on the huge running boards, the wide steering tube loosely in your grip – and then let the fat California act on you, you gradually realize how logical the concept of the Guzzi V-engine is In fact: the crankshaft is longitudinally, which saves the primary drive and a bevel drive, the two air-cooled cylinders stretched out in the airstream and therefore easily accessible for maintenance. That makes sense – and it delivers that very special feeling.
It is the traditional Guzzi principle that is based on the first V2 in the legendary V7 from 1966. And of course it was preserved in the new California. But the engine was technically turned upside down more than the exterior would suggest. Compared to the previous 1151, the four-valve engine had pistons enlarged from 95 to an impressive 104 millimeters, which pump the displacement to a full 1380 cm3. It is supplied via an intake bridge with a single, central throttle valve; the nozzles inject into the intake ducts on both sides just in front of the cylinder heads. And of course the 1400 also has the now mandatory real ride-by-wire, i.e. an electronically controlled control of the throttle valve, which opens up almost endless possibilities for tuning.
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Test: Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring
Italian touring cruiser
Lots of metal, lots of chrome, lots of motorcycle: The California 1400 Touring is a mighty glider with plenty of thrust and a typical Guzzi feeling, whose design spans the range from classic lines to modern design elements.
If you go below this limit – which can happen in the beginning – it picks up the cardan quite roughly. But already at 2000 revolutions it starts to pressure. And powerful: the Italians give a whopping 120 Nm – at a meager 2750 revolutions. A TDI on two wheels with a torque curve that develops all of its vehemence early on in order to flatten out at the top. Just the right drive for such a heavy cruiser. You hardly feel compelled to turn over 3500 revolutions. At 100 km / h, the clock shows a casual 3000 rpm in the last gear. That radiates calm and serenity. So quickly push in the next gear – which the V2 confirms acoustically with a hearty “clack” – and then glide gently along the shores of the Mediterranean.
An Italian luxury food in American style. This always fits the feeling of driving a really heavy machine. The new California is no longer the dynamic tourer with a cruising touch, but a massive glider that weighs almost 340 kilograms when fully fueled. Mass, which is also visually expressed in a massive opulence. Everything looks solid, massive. Suitcase, additional headlights, meters of chrome-plated tube, but that adds up on the scales.
When maneuvering in the parking lot at a standstill, the crowd is reasonably manageable thanks to the low seat height. The Cali is comfortable anyway, with your feet having plenty of space on huge running boards. Anyone who, like the author, has a height of 1.90 meters, may knock on the left, i.e. rear cylinder head when shifting gears – not a really serious handicap. It is rather annoying that the calves are resting against the chrome covers of the intake manifold. And even at moderate outside temperatures, they prove to be more of a heat conductor than a heat shield. Then you have to drive a little more bowlegged.
The wind protection is pleasantly good, the windshield is not simply upright in the airstream, but has been tilted backwards and curved a little. This means that it distorts the perspective a little, especially at the edges. But even medium-sized drivers easily ignore it. Nevertheless, the upper edge of the pane remaining in the field of vision is a bit annoying. Unfortunately, the screen is not adjustable, but Guzzi offers various options as an alternative. A slightly smaller one would be the right choice for most pilots.
Attention to detail: The Cali is not a bargain, but there is also a lot on offer. Everything about the machine shown is standard equipment: Here the modern cockpit.
But let’s get back to the essence of driving a Guzzi, let’s enjoy the gentle swing on the winding southern French back roads. The driver doesn’t have to put in a lot of effort on the handlebars to keep the giant cruiser on course here. The wide 200cc Pirelli on the rear wheel naturally restricts handiness, especially in comparison to the previous California Vintage with thin 140cc tire. In any case, the early dragging folding running boards and especially the chassis parts that hit hard shortly afterwards put an end to the brisk zest for action. Straight ahead, clean, appealing spring elements and excellent brakes including fine-tuning ABS are convincing.
In terms of price, the Guzzi is advancing into Harley dimensions at just under 20,000 euros. There you can find alternatives to the California, it is a touring cruiser like a Road King Classic, also has a primitive engine, but with a cardan shaft and more power. And it is noticeable: where the California stops, people on the Côte d’Azur marvel at the gleaming chrome. When there is snow and ice, the German Guzzi fan can also visit the Cali at the retailer and dream of spring: California dreamin ‘on such a winter’s day.
Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring engine with 97 HP and 120 NM torque.
Air / oil-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, crankshaft lengthways, one half-height, chain-driven camshaft, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, bumpers, rocker arms, wet sump lubrication, injection, Ø 52 mm, regulated catalytic converter, alternator 550 W, battery 12 V / 18 Ah, hydraulically operated single-plate dry clutch, six-speed gearbox, cardan shaft, secondary ratio 4.125.
Bore x stroke 104.0 x 81.2 mm
Cubic capacity 1380 cm³
Compression ratio 10.5: 1
rated capacity 71.0 kW (97 hp) at 6500 rpm
Max. Torque 120 Nm at 2750 rpm
Double loop frame made of steel, telescopic fork, Ø 46 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, two spring struts, adjustable spring base, double disc brake at the front, Ø 320 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 282 mm, double-piston floating caliper, ABS, traction control.
Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 18; 6.00 x 16
130/70 R 18 tires; 200/60 R 16
Dimensions + weight
Wheelbase 1685 mm, steering head angle 58.0 degrees, caster 155 mm, spring travel f / r 120/110 mm, seat height 740 mm, ground clearance 165 mm, weight with a full tank 337 kg, tank capacity / reserve 20.5 / 5.0 liters.
Two year guarantee
Service intervals 10000 km
Colors black (“Ambassador”), white (“Eldorado”)
Price including additional costs 19600 euros (Custom: 17950 euros)
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