Does your “custom” feature radial-mount Brembo four-piston calipers, adjustable traction control and power modes, as well as electronic cruise control? Stock from the factory? No, it doesn’t. Piaggio owns both Moto Guzzi and Aprilia, and in some respects considers Moto Guzzi the superior brand, and the California model more important than the championship-winning Aprilia RSV4 Superbike. Get it?
The new California 1400, in both its Touring and Custom iterations, is nothing like the old California we tested back in 2003. It has one of the most powerful, stock cruiser engines available with 96 hp and a stout 89 foot pounds of torque offered at just 2,750 rpm. The old California shook like a paint mixer, but the new California 1400 offers a unique elastic support system for the engine which, according to Moto Guzzi, is “capable of completely eliminating vibration transfer.”
Piaggio, as you may know, completely re-designed the Norge sport tourer, which we were very impressed with. We doubt Piaggio screwed up the California re-design, because of how much these new models mean to the Moto Guzzi brand.
There are other reasons why you shouldn’t consider these “typical” cruisers. Handling is important to Moto Guzzi, and despite the unique engine mounting, the new double cradle, chromoly frame is exceedingly stiff. Perhaps with more than a bit of hyperbole, Moto Guzzi claims the new California 1400 handles at low speeds “with the ease and agility of a scooter.”
Moto Guzzi chose an 18″ front wheel and 16″ rear. The rear is a 200 section, but should still roll easily from side-to-side with its relatively tall profile.
That new 1380cc, 90 degree v-twin has four-valve heads and overhead cams as well as two spark plugs per cylinder. Moto Guzzi kept the traditional look of air cooling, but supplements it with a thermostat-controlled oil cooler and fan. All together, Moto Guzzi claims the new engine improves fuel economy by 15-20% over the engine found in the Norge, despite the big jump in displacement.
These are beefy looking motorcycles, no doubt, but relatively reasonable in claimed wet weight, which is 661 pounds for the naked 1400 Custom and 709 for the 1400 Touring.
What follows is the Moto Guzzi press announcement for these two models:
With the California 1400 project Moto Guzzi redefines the concept of the luxury bike, polarising it into two opposite personalities in style, but combined in the expression of reference technologies and performance.
The emblem of a culture and capability of building unique bikes since 1921, the California 1400 Touring and Custom models are assembled by hand in the Mandello del Lario plant and, with their innovation and style, they represent the turning point in Moto Guzzi history, one of the oldest and most respected brands in motorcycle history.
1. FROM THE USA TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.
On the streets for more than forty years, the Moto Guzzi California is the most famous Italian bike in the world.
Its career began in 1970 when, after a series of stringent tests, the Moto Guzzi V7 Police won the selection to enter the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) fleet. For the first time a foreign bike had won a contract in America to supply the Police, beating out, in addition to the national manufacturer, the best English competition.
News of these stars & stripes uniformed Moto Guzzi bikes generated great interest in Europe as well, strengthening the excellent reputation that the V7 achieved with the 700 and Special versions. From the photographs of LAPD and Highway Patrol officers, however, it is clear that this Moto Guzzi V7 is decidedly different from the ones sold in dealerships: oversized saddle, bullhorn handlebars, platform footrests and an overabundance of chroming.
These are elements that gave the V7 a popular Americanised style and stimulated a demand so strong that it convinced Moto Guzzi to begin factory production in 1971 with the name California.
Since then seven generations and four engine capacities (750, 850, 1000, 1100) have alternated in more than one hundred thousand units manufactured: a success.
2. THE LIFE OF A STAR.
Well known by all, loved by many and literally revered by long distance riders, during its forty year career the Moto Guzzi California has patrolled the American freeways, escorted monarchs and presidents and been parked in the garages of cinema divas and rock stars, becoming a reference point in motorcycle history.
More than any other model manufactured at Mandello del Lario, the California represents the values and strength of the Moto Guzzi brand: style, comfort, reliability and performance.
Success motivated by a rare quality: knowing how to reconcile the comfort and cargo capacity of a custom bike with the dynamic nature and performance of a powerful street bike.
3. CALIFORNIA 1400: AN EPIC TURNING POINT.
Designing the heir to the most famous Moto Guzzi in the world meant taking on a great technological and economic challenge in order to replicate, like in 1971, the new reference point for the category. An impressive bike, exclusive, capable of enhancing the elements of nobility of a brand which is the symbol of ‘made in Italy’.
Starting from the stylistic intuition of an innovative but recognisable design and coherent with the heritage of seven California generations manufactured until today, the main distinctive Moto Guzzi traits were redesigned with the most advanced technologies of the top European motorcycle group, achieving a series of results such as:
- The largest twin cylinder engine ever made in Europe, able to produce an explosive torque of 120 Nm at just 2750 rpm.
- The first custom in the world equipped with MGCT traction and multimap Ride by Wire technology, with the possibility of selecting three different power output curves: Turismo, Veloce and Pioggia.
- The first custom in the world with a headlight assembly equipped with LED DRL daylight running lights, like the system used on late model cars.
- A brand new double cradle frame equipped with an elastic support system capable of completely eliminating vibration transfer.
- A new cardan final drive, at the top of the category for smooth and quiet operation.
Even looking closely at any other detail of the new California 1400, from the wheels to the instrument panel, from the components to the quality of the paint and the assembly, the magnitude of the change is clear: these Moto Guzzi bikes definitely represent a turning point in the brand’s history.
4. DESIGN: THE MODERN LINES OF A LEGEND.
Elegant, with a spectacular visual impact, the lines of the 1400 California convey unmistakeable Moto Guzzi class and tradition combined with never before seen size and technology.
Surprising in the smallest details as well as in its components, the design of the new California maintains a virtual continuity with its ancestors despite not having even one element in common with them.
The stylistic hints are in the saddle profile, the chromium grab handle and the side panels inspired by the T3, as well as a size ratio between the fuel tank and engine which favours the latter, precisely like the style of the V7 and V850 ancestors.
This impression is fed above all by the ingenious fuel tank, made of metal, with a 21 litre central body and two side panels, where the Eagle logo is lodged, moulded over the powerful head guards of the new 1400 cc round head engine.
Nestled within the V formed by the twin cylinder engine, the fuel tank contributes to making the side view significantly lower and more slender, also due to the clear lengthening of the wheelbase which is now 1685 mm instead of the 1560 mm from the last California 90.
The impression is further accentuated by the horizontal flow of the shiny silencers which end at the rear mudguard, moulded over the impressive 200 tyre and equipped with a spectacular dual LED taillight assembly which also houses the turn indicators. The front view is no less spectacular with a complex surface headlight that has a polielliptical light equipped with DRL daylight running light illumination, an absolutely exclusive feature, making it immediately recognisable.
The particular polygon shape of the headlight dominates the luxurious front end, enriched in proper California tradition by the indispensable windshield and supplementary lights.
More than thirty years after the T4, lightweight alloy wheels reappear on the California 1400, now with an original ribbed design. The huge cross section of the 200/60-16 rear is striking, while the front mounts a more ordinary 130/70-18 size.
The 46 mm front fork is another reflection of its glorious ancestry: completely sealed by the imposing black “telescopes”, the style replicates the units which equipped the first V7 and V850 models. The riding cockpit is a perfect example of the marriage between design and technology that brings the new California to life. The instrument panel stands out for its attractive style and visibility, enclosed in a circular panel which is an impressive 150 mm in diameter with the analogue RPM indicator scale carved out along the outside of the multifunction, suspended full matrix display at the centre. The covered handgrips are also new, as well as the bullhorn handlebar and the electric blocks where, on the right hand the rider can, for the first time on a Moto Guzzi, engage the cruise control.
5. THE “ELASTIC” ENGINE.
Moto Guzzi history is marked with ingenious and innovative technical solutions. From the “elastic frame” designed by engineer Giuseppe Guzzi at the end of the 1920s, to the aerodynamic studies developed in the famous wind tunnel, from the 8 cylinder engine to the first transversal twin cylinder with cardan transmission all the way to the integral braking system.
Today, with the new California 1400, Moto Guzzi develops a new idea applied to the fitting of the powertrain to the frame, introducing the concept of the “Elastic Engine”.
The innovation, introduced to obtain a new standard in terms of riding, consists in fitting the powertrain to the frame by means of an exclusive elastic-kinematic supports system made up of a front rocker, two side rockers and a series of rubber dampeners which allow the engine to shake around its own centre of gravity, filtering out all the vibrations preventing them from being transmitted to the bike and the places where the rider and passenger come into contact with it.
In addition to guaranteeing a new standard of riding comfort, the new California’s frame has its strong point in its dynamic performance, obtained by seeking maximum rigidity between an oversized headstock and large diameter swingarm.
Characterised by a high strength steel tubular structure, the California 1400 frame is a closed double cradle with typically custom dimensions: the steering angle is open at 32°, the trail is 155 mm while the wheelbase is that of a true free way cruiser: 1685 mm. These are dimensions that ensure stability and precision in direction changes and also, thanks to the low centre of gravity and the central position of the weight surprisingly agile handling for a bike of this size.
Sitting just 740 mm off the ground, a walking pace is all you have to reach in order to manoeuvre, with the ease and agility of a scooter, the powerful twin cylinder from Mandello, which responds to the slightest touch of the throttle, leaving the vibrations generated by the engine behind as a distant memory for those who rode the California of days gone by.
The more nostalgic rider may feel like something is missing, but all they need to do is leave the bike at idle speed on the stand to see it rock under the powerful action of the two 104 mm pistons, generating vibrations which disappear as soon as the throttle is touched. At a standstill the bike maintains, nay enhances, its “pulsating soul”, transforming it into speed without tremors once in motion.
The innovations don’t end here. The fork is also new, with 46 mm stanchions which, although in coherence with its custom style and the generous 120 mm travel, betrays its attitude toward high performance with the presence of radial mountings for Brembo four piston callipers.
On the other hand, a traditional solution was chosen for the rear suspension, where a pair of chromium shock absorbers with adjustable spring preload operates, while the choice of wheels goes against the trend for the category. Standing out with their “ribbed” design, the wheels are 18″ in diameter on the front and 16″ on the rear. The latter, thanks to a 6″ cross section rim, mounts a showy “traffic light-burning 200/60” tyre. The California 1400 abandons, after thirty years, the famed integral braking system, definitively surpassed by the advantages of ABS and the power of a braking system which has never been seen before in this motorcycle class: Brembo radial callipers with 4 horizontally opposed pistons that grip a pair of perforated 320 mm floating discs on the front and a 282 mm disc on the rear gripped by a Brembo floating calliper with two parallel pistons.
6. 1380 CC: THE LARGEST V2 IN EUROPE.
Before the new California 1400 the record for engine size reached by the transverse 90° V twin engine was 1225 cc on the MGS01, basically a champion racing bike.
The new California engine, an evolution of the popular “Quattrovalvole” (Four Valve) pushes well beyond this and, using the same stroke as the 1151 cc engine, reaches a displacement of 1380 cc through a record breaking bore of 104 mm.
However, this is not a simple act of mechanical hypertrophy, but an engine which has been entirely redesigned from the external layout to the internal components and all the way down to the electronics.
Aesthetically it looks like an aluminium sculpture, essential in its lines, but expressive in its mechanical content: the size of the head guards shows off the impressive displacement, while the shiny, Moto Guzzi silk-screen printed valve cover and the tight finning convey the great attention to construction detail.
After the 750cc small block this 1380cc big bore is also fuelled by a single Magneti Marelli throttle body, in this configuration increased to a 52 mm diameter and equipped with motorised action, which replicates the advantages in terms of fluid-dynamic performance which can be obtained by the single “Y” manifold, now arranged behind new long intake ducts which increase torque at low RPM.
Making its début on a Moto Guzzi and in the custom segment is the ride by wire electronic engine management system. This technology allows the rider to choose from three engine management mappings: Turismo (Touring), Veloce (Fast) and Bagnato (Wet).
The different mappings allow the rider to choose from the engine characteristic which best suits his/her riding style, the route or the weather conditions. In fact, modifying the torque output and engine brake management, the ECU is able to give the California engine all the smoothness needed to provide maximum comfort, aggressiveness for those who prefer a sportier ride or the control needed on a wet surface: in the latter situation this is nothing less than providential given the capacity of the engine to unload 120 Nm of torque to the ground at just 2750 RPM and stretch out up to 6500 RPM to reach the last of its ninety-six horses (71KW).
The dynamic nature of the vehicle is kept under control by the presence, for the first time on a custom, of latest generation traction control (MGCT) which can be adjusted to three different levels in order to enhance active safety without sacrificing performance and riding pleasure.
The new heads have four valves per cylinder, driven by an overhead cam in each bank, through a roller rockers system, to reduce friction losses. The modern nature of the engine is also expressed through the presence of the double ignition, in order to guarantee perfect combustion, as well as two oxygen sensors which make the mixture in the cylinders uniform in any operating conditions with a consequent improvement in fuel economy and harmful emissions.
Contributing to the overall general efficiency of the engine is the new larger size finning of the cylinders, enriched by the “brushed” finish of the external edge and the generous sizing of the oil radiator, equipped with a thermostat controlled electric fan, which reduces the average operating temperature, in addition to the new filter box, redesigned to cater to the robust thrust of the twin cylinder from Mandello.
The result is that the California engine, despite the generous increase in displacement improves fuel economy by 15-20%, depending on the conditions of use, compared to the “Quattrovalvole” 1200 cc engine.
On the transmission front there are also important innovations.
The transmission is now a six speed instead of five, while the clutch goes from a twin-disc to a new dry single disc with built in flexible coupling and reduced activation load.
The cardan final drive has been completely redesigned and satisfies the new need to transfer, with maximum fluidity and comfort, the enormous torque of the engine, in addition to boasting an elastic aspect with significantly more modern and technological aesthetics.
7. MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 TOURING:
This is the California in its most classic expression, intended for great travellers, long distance riders and those who are so dependent on motorcycles that they can do without a car. After all, where comfort, aerodynamic protection and cargo capacity are concerned, the Touring version rival even four-wheeled flagships, but with that feeling of freedom and riding pleasure that only a bike, or rather a Moto Guzzi, can provide.
Luxuriously equipped with a prestigious two-tone saddle, a “Patrol” windshield, chromium supplementary lights, 35 litre side panniers, engine guard and pannier guard kits, the Touring is an ultra chromium and technological “tourer” which, powered by the largest V-twin ever built in Europe, can run all day long with a thrilling sound and, whenever necessary, can provide a bull-like power that will leave any two or four-wheeled vehicle in its wake.
The sensory satisfaction continues when the California 1400 Touring is standing still too, parked outside of your favourite eatery or in the intimacy of your garage at home, where you can explore it in every detail. Here there is an embarrassing wide range of choices, between engine and chassis parts or technological devices: among these you will find, for the first time in its category, the possibility of choosing the engine response you prefer – Turismo, Veloce and Pioggia – or you can select cruise control which, together with the antitheft system, come standard on this fantastic bike.
Nevertheless, the luxurious standard equipment does not prevent you from being able to further modify your California Touring in line with your own aesthetic tastes and needs, taking advantage of the most complete accessories catalogue ever produced by Moto Guzzi.
High performance silencers, chromium and billet components, saddles of all types and materials up to the support and Apps which allow you to transform your iPhone into a supplementary dashboard to obtain a wide variety of information on navigation, performance and technical data.
Particular attention is given to the chromatic concept, developed on two evocative graphics: the Eldorado, white with dark ornamental lines on the tank, inspired by the California Highway Patrol versions, or Ambassador, which expresses the classic black with white lines similar to its origins, like the V7 and 850 California.
8. MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA 1400 CUSTOM:
The Moto Guzzi California Custom is not the sport twin to the Touring but its “wicked” sister, in stark contrast where temperament, style and vocation are concerned.
It doesn’t spoil the riders with accessories and shiny gadgets, but it wins their heart with the power expressed in its cruiser style design, hard and pure: two wheels, an engine, saddle and handlebars. Nothing else, but all made in the strictest form and function, combining with a typically Italian aesthetic sense, an expression of attention to detail and executive capacity worthy of the best interpretations that made in Italy has ever produced in the automotive field.
All you need to do is look at the two-seater saddle, where the Eagle logo is hot printed, at the drag bar handlebars with the lightweight supports, at the brand new rear shock absorbers equipped with external tank.
To increase the expressive power of the design, a minimalist graphic appearance based on material colours like mercury grey and basalt black converge with a few skilled touches of style, such as the lacquered black wheels with the red Moto Guzzi logo and the black rear view mirrors.
Once the rider is in the saddle the differences with respect to the Touring version come out clearly; the new sport saddle and the drag-bar handlebar create seating which is low and shifted over the rear wheel for a perfect metropolitan show off.
You will ride immersed in the sound of the big bore 1380 cc, ready to unload 120 Nm of torque onto the asphalt at 2750 RPM or sail into overdrive, at just above idle speed, listening to the 104 mm pistons pumping in the chest of the majestic 90° V made in Mandello del Lario, filtered by the innovative elastic-kinematic fitting to the tubular frame.
Wide open spaces where the rider dialogues with his mount, in the velvety gait of a bike with a deep soul, capable of giving its utmost in powerful sprints just as easily as it glides majestically at parade pace to follow with its gaze the reflection of an image that rolls along the surfaces of the glass store fronts in our cities, engulfed in the characteristic rumble of ‘made in Mandello’ powertrains.
The intentional minimalist look of the design further enhances the presence of technological content which is simply not found on any other bike the competition makes. The California Custom, just like its travelling sister, comes equipped standard with cruise control, MGCT traction control which can be set to three different levels and, thanks to the Ride by Wire system, the engine response can also be adjusted to three modes, respectively ”Turismo”, “Veloce” and “Pioggia”.
And if the California Custom rider can choose his bike’s personality based on the type of route and use, he can also do the same to adapt it to his personality, taking advantage of the richest accessories catalogue ever produced by Moto Guzzi.
9. MOTO GUZZI ACCESSORIES RANGE: CHOOSE THE BEST TO MAKE IT PERFECT AND UNIQUE.
There is only one way to make a unique bike like the California Vintage SE even more rich and luxurious: customise it with original Moto Guzzi accessories.
Leather side panniers:
The side panniers, designed by the Moto Guzzi Style Centre, are available covered in genuine natural leather by specialised craftsmen. The resulting product matches the original line of the bike, providing an attractive personalisation using prestigious Italian skins.
For those looking for a luxurious finish, a saddle is available covered in genuine natural leather by specialised craftsmen. The type of leather, the style and the quality match that of the side panniers.
Luxury fibreglass top box.
Spacious fibreglass top box (60 litres) painted to match with chromium locks and handles built into the upper shell half. It has a large and comfortable backrest cushion for the passenger, covered in the same material and colour as the saddle. The interior is finished in velvet and has a mirror and a cargo net.
50 litre top box.
Spacious quick release top box which can accommodate two flip up helmets. The upper shell is painted to match the vehicle and has a comfort backrest for passenger finished in same material and colour as saddle. Inside there is a document pouch and an elastic cargo strap.
Internal bags for panniers and top box.
The internal bags were made to have the same shape as the panniers and the top box which contains them. They can be easily removed and carried with handles and shoulder straps. The set of bags is made with high performance and innovative technical materials which guarantee that it is waterproof and resistant to atmospheric agents.
Tank bag kit.
The kit is made up of a water repellent leather strap that covers the central part of the tank where the leather tank bag can be fixed in order to guarantee additional cargo room for the more demanding Guzzista. The bag can be easily removed by two quick release clips. This kit was designed by the Moto Guzzi Style Centre in order to guarantee perfect integration with the bike itself. The materials used were tested to react perfectly in the harshest weather conditions.
Designed in chromium pipe by the Moto Guzzi Style Centre, this luggage rack increases the bike’s cargo capacity, allowing dedicated accessory top boxes to be installed thanks to the special fitting predispositions.
Similar to a top fairing, it protects against the wind even though it is small. It contributes to the personalisation of the bike because it integrates perfectly into the original design.
Air deflectors to be applied at the bottom area of the windshield to increase protection and riding comfort for the rider.
Slip on “sound” exhaust
For those who want to «hear» the roar of a true «custom», slip-on exhaust pipes were made with a style similar to the factory exhaust but with a dedicated finish and specific bottom.
These are special bottoms to be applied to the factory exhaust to customise the style of the vehicle. The external housing is made in polished stainless steel while the internal muffler is made from billet aluminium with a polished finish.
Black chromed handlebar.
To allow an exclusive personalisation of your bike a black chromium handlebar is available. This handlebar was developed by our testers to maintain an optimum riding position to control your bike.
Special approved rear-view mirrors made in billet aluminium with polished, scratch-proof finish.
Aluminium handgrip kit.
Special handgrips made from billet aluminium with anti-slip inserts in rubber and polished finish.
Rear brake fluid reservoir cover.
For those who love to change the look of their bikes, customising with finishing different than the factory version, a rear brake fluid reservoir cover is available. It is made from billet aluminium and covers the entire body of the brake fluid reservoir, so it has no effect on the functionality. It is easy to install and has a polished finish that contributes to the «custom» design of the California.
Brushed upper fork yoke.
For those who love to customise their bikes, the upper fork yoke is available with a brushed finish that contributes to enhancing the «vintage» look of their California.
Two billet aluminium horn covers are available for the bike. They contribute to enhancing the «vintage» look of your California with their polished finish.
Special brake and clutch levers made from billet aluminium with a customised design and polished scratch-proof finish.
Front brake and clutch master cylinder covers.
Special brake and clutch master cylinder covers made in billet aluminium with polished, scratch-proof finish.
Tank cover kit.
The tank side covers, made in aluminium with a brushed finish, personalise the style of the bike, making it a true «custom».
Chromed head covers.
For those who love to customise their bikes, head covers with brushed finish are available.
License plate bracket kit.
Elegant approved license plate bracket in stainless steel with polished finish.
To personalise your bike a chromium pipe is available which protects the front mudguard. It is made in chromium pipe and connects the external perimeter of the mudguard.
Swingarm aesthetics kit.
Special washers made in billet aluminium to personalise the style of your vehicle.
Cylinder side guards.
Special side guards made from billet aluminium with mirror polished finish, these integrate perfectly with the style and design of the bike. Complete with brackets made in mirror polished stainless steel.
The pair of injector covers made in aluminium with a brushed finish replaces the factory set, giving the vehicle a richer, more elegant look and coherent with the aluminium parts which are already on the vehicle.
LED supplementary lights
These small advanced electronic LED lamps absorb very little energy but are able to produce the light of a 55 watt incandescent bulb for each lamp. They make night riding safe and comfortable. Mounting brackets are included.
LED turn indicators.
Use of these turn indicators allows greater brightness and less energy consumption. They are characterised by elegant lines which are perfectly designed to match the vehicle.
For those who love to change the look of their bikes, customising with finishing different than the factory version, the rear body of the headlamp with chromium finish is available.
iGuzzi is a new device that allows easy connection of your smartphone (BlueDash technology) with the California, transforming it into a true multimedia platform, capable of managing all the vehicle information as well as useful travel information.
The Bluetooth connection provided by iGuzzi, together with the GPS and Internet features, allows the Smartphone to become an integral part of the instrument panel. Customisable in graphics and content, iGuzzi offers the possibility of accessing numerous features such as: on board computer (averages, fuel economy, residual range, etc.), additional indications (temperature, RPM indicator, levels, operating values).
Satellite navigator mounting kit
Mounting bracket made in polished stainless steel predisposed for installation of the GPS satellite navigator.
This antitheft system, which can be activated via transponder, tracks the position of the bike in order to find it in case of theft. An operational centre is in constant contact with the vehicle to monitor bike anomalies and in the event of theft steps are taken to coordinate with local law enforcement to recover the vehicle. There are 36 Operational Centres available all over the world that can intervene in the event that the bike crosses over international borders. Apps available for Apple and Android provide the bike owner with the itineraries that have been travelled so they can be shared with Biker communities.
Telepass Bracket (Italian Motorways).
For those who love to travel the motorways (in Italy) a telepass bracket is available which allows the rider to bring the telepass along, protecting it during the trip but at the same time ensuring passage through tollbooths and automatic payment of the tolls.
This accessory is very useful for periods when the bike is not being used. It supports the vehicle in the correct position during small upkeep and maintenance jobs.
Tailor-made cover for indoors to protect against dust, intended for use during long periods of storing the bike in a garage. It is made from an elasticised two-coloured fabric with graphics dedicated to the bike. Available in two versions – with or without top box.