We got a problem. An Italian problem. Followers of this blog know we are lovers of Italian motorbikes, and our goal is to procure one, sooner rather than later. When we first started thinking about it, the decision making process was rather simple. Basically, it came down to two marques: Moto Guzzi and Ducati. Aprilia wasn’t even a consideration. Roo likes them somewhat, myself, not so much. Crossed off the list. Between the two “contenda’s”, I lean heavily towards Moto Guzzi. Don’t get me wrong. Ducati makes some beautiful motorbikes (Italian, remember?). But I am a sport touring rider, with emphasis on the touring side. I am definitely not a sportbiker, and that is what swings the pendulum away from Ducati for me.
In my heart, I want to be a “Guzzisti”. Moto Guzzi is Italian heritage. The oldest Italian company to continuously produce motorcycles, they turn out beautiful classic Italian machines:
Moto Guzzi Norge
The Norge is Guzzi’s top of the line sport touring machine. She is a mile muncher like my ST, and, like the beaST, she is a heavy bike. I already have my bike in this class, and frankly, I am looking for something a bit smaller/lighter. The Norge is beautiful, and when the time comes for the ST to retire, the Norge will be up there on my list.
Moto Guzzi California
If I was to go back to riding a large displacement cruiser, this would be it. Outfitted with Guzzi windscreen and hard cases, the California would make a great touring bike, minus the “sport.”
Moto Guzzi Griso
The Griso is a freaking animal! Just look at that! A straight line power cruiser/sportbike on steroids. Can you see the panther waiting to pounce on her prey in that photo? The Griso isn’t on my list, but I plan to rent one for a day “just because.”
Now we come to my favorite line in the Guzzi lineup: The V7 series. Classic Italian style in a beautiful, sexy package (again, Italian, remember?). Motorcycling in it’s most simple, purest form.
Moto Guzzi V7 Racer
Ah, the V7 Racer. Guzzi’s answer to the cafe racer resurgence of late. A real head turner, I bet I would not want for attention riding this gorgeous motorbike. Given more scheckles in the pouch, I would have one of these in the garage.
Moto Guzzi V7 Classic
The Guzzi V7 Classic is the bike in the V7 lineup that most exemplifies Guzzi’s V7 heritage of the late 1960’s and early ’70’s. Beautiful retro classic styling with modern engine/electrical components. For Old World Guzzi style, this is the motorbike to have. It is way up on my Guzzi list, actually at number two. But my number one choice for entry into the “Guzzisti” fraternity is:
Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
This is the motorbike that will propel me into everything Guzzi. Beautiful matte black finish, two into two exhaust with that deep, mellow Guzzi rumble, cast wheels (no tube tires), 750cc engine, and, as with all Guzzi motorbikes, shaft drive. Outfitted with a Guzzi windscreen and hard cases emblazoned with the beautiful Guzzi red oval badge on each one, she makes a great medium duty touring machine. And with those cylinder heads banging out at 90 degrees, there will be no mistaking her for anything other than a Guzzi.
However, we have a problem with Moto Guzzi. it’s not “Il Problema Italiano”, but it is a problem. Moto Guzzi’s dealer network plain out sucks. The nearest dealer to us is 150 miles away. That’s a long way to schlep a bike when it eventually needs dealer attention, as all bikes eventually do. But that’s not the big decision problem. Il Problema Italiano is:
These guys. Ducati is the problem. These guys turn out some beautiful motorcycles, though in the past, they have created some ugly “Duc’s.” Ducati has a long racing history, and their motorbikes reflect that racing heritage. Hence, it has always been my contention that Ducati turned out impractical motorbikes for me and my style of riding. The closest they come to a bike I would ride is the Monster. Beautiful, but the ergonomics just don’t work for me.
Then they went and did it. Ducati turned my fairly easy decision making process upside down with the introduction of this:
What? You don’t like the ugly Duc? How about this one?
The Real Ducati Scrambler
Wow! Three iterations of the Scrambler are offered by Ducati, the one shown above being my preferred model. Adding a Ducati flyscreen and soft luggage would make this bike only a light duty tourer. Seating is upright, with plenty of room for my five foot seven inch frame. The engine is 803cc, chain final drive, cast wheels (a must). Also available in Ducati Red.
The other way Ducati has made my decision process less simple is that they have an extensive dealer network, with one right in my hometown, thank you very much. You can see how this creates IL Problema Italiano. I still lean towards Moto Guzzi, but now, the process is not so simple.
My favorite line in the movie “The Godfather”, is where Peter Clemenza says to Rocco who has just killed Paulie in the car: “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” So, in paraphrase, do I “Leave the Duc, take the Guzzi.” or “Leave the Guzzi, take the Duc.”?
Si tratta di una scelta difficile (this is a difficult choice).