MOTO-GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 (2013 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£280|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
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 & brakesNext up: Engine
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…
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The build quality seems high and the heel boards even have plastic sliders to protect them should you start to corner hard.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Moto Guzzi California is cheaper than a Harley but more expensive than a Japanese cruiser.
The Touring comes with panniers, three fuel modes, traction control and cruise control as standard.
|Engine type||Four-stroke, air-cooled DOHC, 8v V-twin|
|Frame type||Steel double cradle|
|Fuel capacity||20.5 litres|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||38 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£280|
13 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||95 bhp|
|Max torque||88 ft-lb|
|Top speed||130 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||180 miles|
Model history & versions
Owners' reviews for the MOTO-GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 (2013 - on)
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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£280|
Annual servicing cost: £350
A fantastic touring bike.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
Annual servicing cost: £200
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.
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 leading...as for distance I've ridden for 135 miles without stopping with no aches and pains
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.
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.
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
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 handy....it's coiled up and tied underneath the fuel tank near the headstock left hand side....you 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