The SE is both a doddle to ride and entertainingly engaging too. Though a big bus it’s reasonably manageable. All the controls are light and easy (something which certainly couldn’t be said of some Guzzis of old). While the cherry on top is the easy, steady and impressively precise handling which makes the Cali one of a rare breed; a heavyweight tourer that’s a genuine joy in the twisties. Brakes come in the form of the excellent radially-mounted Brembos.
The SE’s enlarged 1380cc twin, with over 20bhp more than the old 1100cc version, is both flexible and decently brisk (especially in in the Veloce mode which sharpens throttle response up). The gearchange uses a traditional heel-toe arrangement to prod up and down through the six speed gearbox and is effortlessly slick.
The SE is well built and nicely detailed – something which was sometimes difficult to say of the old 1100 Cali and its forebears with their tinny mudguards and crude fittings. The SE’s new backrest is one piece with a curvaceous grab rail and is deeply chromed, as are the fork covers. The paint is rich, the LED headlamp glorious and, although the switchgear may be a tad flimsy and the clocks decent, they're not the latest all-singing, all-dancing models found on rivals. They’re good enough though.
The SE represents good value when compared with similar bikes in its class and becomes even better value when you realise that it costs the same as the old California 1400 but with a couple of extra bells and whistles to enhance its luxurious, touring specification.
Like the stock California the SE has some of the latest electronic rider aids including three-way traction control and three switchable power modes; Rain, Touring and Performance – or Veloce as Moto Guzzi would say.
Other features include a built-in passenger backrest; slightly larger, oversized screen; supplementary riding lights plus new, chrome-plated covers for the fat 46mm front forks. Paint is a unique, two-tone Marrone Executive (or bronzey-brown to you and me) colour-scheme.