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MOTO-GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 (2013-on) Review

Published: 19 March 2014

Updated: 25 October 2019

The new California is fabulous looking, sophisticated and sexy, too


The new California is fabulous looking, sophisticated and sexy, too

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The new Moto Guzzi California 1400 is a fabulous looking bike, it’s sophisticated and, dare I say it, sexy, too – it’s a successful modern twist on a classic design.

In short it has that little something extra that Japanese, and even American, cruisers can’t match in standard form. What’s more, the big transverse V-twin has typical Guzzi traits, but is far smoother than any previous Guzzi once on the move, and makes fat torque from the smallest throttle opening. It’s just a shame that in standard form it lacks any soulful noise which would give it more character.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The handling is far better than its ‘on-paper’ weight and bulk suggest; ground clearance isn’t bad for a custom and the radial Brembo stoppers aren’t half bad either. And let’s not forget that ABS comes as standard, and there are rider modes and traction control too. Despite the California’s 337kg wet weight, it is surprisingly manageable at low speed and the only worry comes from you burning your calf muscles on the hot exhaust…

Engine 4 out of 5

On the move the Moto Guzzi California’s big transverse V-twin is impressively smooth. There’s so much torque the rev counter isn’t really needed. The big Guzzi will happily pull from as low as 2000rpm in the first five gears. Sixth is more like an over-drive. Cog down the heel and toe shift and, for such a heavyweight, the Cali has an impressive turn of pace, too. You can feel the traction control working in the wet as the fat 200-section rear tyre fights for grip.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The build quality seems high and the heel boards even have plastic sliders to protect them should you start to corner hard.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

The Moto Guzzi California is cheaper than a Harley but more expensive than a Japanese cruiser.

Insurance group: 13 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Touring comes with panniers, three fuel modes, traction control and cruise control as standard.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2013
Year discontinued -
New price £16,132
Used price £12,500 to £13,000
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 13 of 17
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost £280
Max power 95 bhp
Max torque 88 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Engine size 1380cc
Engine type Four-stroke, air-cooled DOHC, 8v V-twin
Frame type Steel double cradle
Fuel capacity 20.5 litres
Seat height 740mm
Bike weight 337kg
Front suspension 46mm inverted forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Twin shocks, spring preload adjustable
Front brake 2x320mm discs. Brembo four-piston radial calipers. ABS
Rear brake 1x283mm disc, Brembo two-piston caliper. ABS
Front tyre size 130/70ZR17
Rear tyre size 200/60ZR17

History & Versions

Model history


Other versions

The sportier Custom model comes without the panniers or screen and costs £14,732.

Other Moto Guzzi California reviews on MCN

Owners' Reviews

3 owners have reviewed their MOTO-GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 (2013-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your MOTO-GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 (2013-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.7 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.3 out of 5
Equipment 4.7 out of 5
5 out of 5

The Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring is a sports tourer disguised as a cruiser

02 April 2019 by JayMac

A fantastic touring bike.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
This is a sports tourer. The handling is fantastic. The floor boards are easily dragged and you can keep leaning until the hero blobs mounted on the chassis start to drag. There are no chicken strips on the tyres. Brakes are sportsbike level.
5 out of 5
The engine is exceptional, it revs freely and power delivery is linear. The engine is flexible enough to dawdle around town, to cruising down the freeway, but it excels in the twisties.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
I have had two problems, firstly a rubber plug came off the oil pump in the engine which resulted in low oil pressure at idle, $600 to fix. Second problem was headlight not working a result of poorly installed wiring that caused a wire to rub through and short. Also a $600 fix. The bike was out of warranty, but there was zero support from the factory.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
The original Dunlop tyres are noisy (thought a wheel bearing was failing) and don't last well. Change to Metzler ME888 ultra marathon tyres. Make a huge difference.
5 out of 5
I have added the following accessories: Agostini exhaust - fantastic sound particularly without dB killers Heated grips - a must for winter 50 litre Top Box - holds two full face helmets, only downside is another key Wind deflectors - great addition, smooths air flow and results in no turbulence behind screen
Buying experience

Great dealer.

5 out of 5

The way the Vee is meant to be

13 August 2018 by The Mr Darcy

The Guzzi I've waited 25 years for. A superb lolloping torquey engine that NEVER fails to put a smile on my face be it a bimble around the north York moors or rolling down the pyrenees from Spain into France. The big bird has an awesome presence.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Brembo 4 pot radials. Need I say more? Big bike, big rider and still inspired confidence on alpine twisties. switchable traction control and Abs are nice additions but I don't think necessary on this class of motorcycle. The bike and it's handling inspire confidence and I must admit I have touched the running boards down on twisty downhill mountain sections, however the boards are mounted in such a way that they move and some spirited Italian design guru had the foresight to mount replaceable sliders under the boards!
5 out of 5
Awesome! This is the 11th Guzzi I've owned and the 58th overall and it's fair to say it's superb. A whole different ball game to my earlier guzzis, it just oozes finesse and flexibility. It moves like it has absolutely no right to from the lightest twist of the "fly by wire" throttle. It's a stonking motor. I've tried all three of the engine modes but the 'only' one to use is Veloce. I think it's Italian for Grin!
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
I've only knocked one star off because of the failure of the clutch micro switch. A component designed to be exposed to the elements should not fail after 5,500 miles. There are lots of tasteful and we'll designed aspects to the Cali from art deco cooling fins at the rear of the headlight to the way the tank is sculpted around that superb motor. Apart from the niggle over the clutch switch I've not experienced any other problems in 5,500 miles.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Tyre changes (rear) can be expensive, if you take it to a dealer it's a good hour or more labour as the silencers and rear shock all need unfastening. However, basic servicing is competitivly priced. Fuel consumption for such a big bike has ranged from 45mpg (making progress officer) on motorways/fast A roads to mid 50's on and around mountainous areas. The bike is physically heavy, as am I and I think the overall Mpg is easily on a par or better than dedicated 'touring' bikes
5 out of 5
It has to be that engine. The way all Vees should be. I love the build quality and after market gel seat. I fitted a Guzzi 52 litre top case and although expensive £380 it's enormous and easily large enough for a weeks touring. Currently running Avon cobras and using them to their maximum extent.
Buying experience

I bought this 2013 model with factory seat and OE gel seat thrown in. It also came with a superbly chromed rack. The bike had 1500 miles showing and I paid £8700 from a non-franchised dealer.

5 out of 5

A sweet handling cruiser with a stonking engine

23 July 2016 by Ivankent

This bike has to be a class leader....sorry but a Diavel is not a cruiser....this bike is a proper cruiser but handles better than it should be allowed to....brakes are amazing for a cruiser and it's comfy too.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
The ride quality on the Custom is fantastic for such a big heavy bike,even two up with luggage I haven't encountered any real issues aside from ground clearance....I scrape the boards pretty much everyday but they have replaceable sliders....the brakes are awesome and must be class for distance I've ridden for 135 miles without stopping with no aches and pains
5 out of 5
The engine is top notch and in my Guzzi experience ( Stelvio and Griso) this is by far the best motor they have produced.....torque is always available through the Rev range and in any gear and 6th gear is like an overdrive for motorways......I like the cruise control although a little bit awkward to set but nothing to difficult.....the 3 engine maps are all useful in my opinion.....I actually use them all the time and for their intended purpose....the rain mode is useful when it's tipping it down.....touring mode is my preferred map to use but if I'm getting a shift on round the lanes I always stick it in veloce but you have to keep an eye on the revs as it revs up much quicker and you can easily hit the limiter.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
I've covered 6000 miles in my first year of ownership and I haven't encountered any real issues at all aside from exhaust heat shields can shake lose but a bit of loctite and they are fixed.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
The mpg wasn't great when I purchased mine (ex demo 1000miles on ) it was struggling to hit 40mpg but after 7000miles covered in averaging 43-45 which for a twin this size and weight I think is more than respectable.....the servicing is cheap as the old fashioned design of Guzzis means even a valve clearance service is quick and easy in comparison to any other bike....I've found an amazing independent in south London,who's knowledge is second to none and is super cheap and has 30 years experience and has the pads software (Baldricks Workshop) rear wheel removal is prob the only nightmare on these bikes hence my 4/5 rating
4 out of 5
The handling is prob my favourite thing about this bike but if I bought another the first thing I would do is ditch the oe Dunlop tyres....they are very noisy and vibey and do not last very long at all...I managed 3000 miles out of them before the rest was square and the front was stepped......I swapped to Avon Cobras and the transformation was instant.....the lower gel seat is definitely a good purchase for me as I ride with a pillion a fair bit and the standard custom seat isn't the best for a passenger!! The bike comes factory pre wired for the Latest tom tom sat nav which was very's coiled up and tied underneath the fuel tank near the headstock left hand need the mount bracket which is a genuine Guzzi part and a tad pricey (£69.99) for a piece of metal but the fit and the quality are top notch
Buying experience

I paid £10.999 last year (2015) for a 2013 custom in Mercury silver with 1000 miles on the clock from a main dealer in Kent who I wasn't that impressed with if I'm honest as brand knowledge was pretty much non existent

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