Guzzi has taken its California and given it the mean and moody treatment to come up with the new Audace. The new bike has a sporty stance and wide bars, while the footboards have been replaced by proper footpegs. It handles better too. The Audace feels lighter, the handling is sportier as there is less lift and squat from the shaftdrive under acceleration and deceleration. The sporty stance puts you forward in the chassis and there’s more ground clearance than you’d expect.
Guzzi produce excellent cruisers, the classic California and the new Eldorado are fine examples. They are classy, sophisticated, smooth and comfortable. Guzzi cruisers are not built for outright speed or performance but they exude confidence and quality, built up over decades of evolution and trust, with racing success deep in the company’s DNA. But somehow the Audace doesn’t quite come off.
Guzzi claims the Audace is mean with a dark side. Truth is, it’s not mean enough. Yes it’s a little sportier than the Eldorado and has some nice touches but I don’t think many will choose one over a California or a new Eldorado – not for such a small saving (£1500 and £500 respectively).