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2016 Moto Guzzi Eldorado: MD Ride Review

When I first saw a picture of the Moto Guzzi Eldorado featuring the new 1380cc v-twin engine, I fell in love with the classic styling (it happened to be a red one, not the color of our black test unit). I knew that the big v-twin was a gem, having named the first bike to feature it, the California, our Bike of the Year back in 2013.

Expecting the Eldorado to have the same capable chassis as the California, I was intrigued by the stealth offered up by the classic looks (including white-wall tires). It also looked comfortable, and a capable long-distance touring mount. I asked Moto Guzzi for one to test, and made sure they included the optional leather bags and wind screen.

The Eldorado has the same enormous plateau of power we found on the Audace tested last year. Moto Guzzi claims a beefy 87 foot/pounds of torque at just 2,750 rpm, while a healthy peak of 96 horsepower arrives well up the tach at 6,500 rpm. With three engine maps to choose from (including Sport, Touring and Rain), the well-tuned fuel injection allows the rider to squirt through gaps in traffic effortlessly, and confidently.

Like several other Moto Guzzis, the handling of the big Eldorado is a surprising contrast to its girth (claimed curb weight is 692 pounds). Despite a cruiser-ish seating position, an excellent seat offers both support and comfort, and the wide bars make direction changes relatively low effort. This is no sport bike, certainly, but the engine and chassis together allow a good rider to leave just about any “cruiser” for dead on a twisty road.

The gorgeous 16″ wheels with stainless steel spokes carry tubeless tires sized 180/65 rear and 130/90 front. The fat rubber undoubtedly contributes to the comfortable, stable ride offered by the Eldorado, which features largely non-adjustable suspension (only spring preload on the rear shocks is adjustable).

The steel frame carries some high tech components, including radial-mount Brembo four-piston front brake calipers squeezing huge 320mm discs with standard ABS, the aforementioned selectable engine maps, adjustable traction control and electronic cruise control. This isn’t your father’s Moto Guzzi.

The six-speed transmission (with overdrive) feeds power through a shaft to the rear wheel. Moto Guzzi has long since resolved the clumsy feeling offered by older shaft drive systems, leaving rear suspension action all but indistinguishable from a chain drive machine. Befitting the nature of the machine, the front brakes come on smoothly, but offer more than adequate power and feel. These brakes go well beyond those found on your typical classic-looking tourer. They will be great to have if you should cruise around on the Eldorado with a passenger and luggage, utilizing some of the many accessories offered by Moto Guzzi.

So, this iteration of the Moto Guzzi 1400 platform is not surprising. All of its siblings combine the same lively, flexible powerplant with a chassis that is simultaneously stable, yet eager. The trump card is the gorgeous styling that, in my opinion, sets the Eldorado apart. Of course, the transversely-mounted 90° v-twin is front-and-center, but it is the whole package (including those chrome panels on the gas tank) that will have owners staring at the machine whether it is at home parked in the garage or in a lot outside the local coffee shop. It will also have bystanders asking whether it is a restored classic, or a current production model.

Priced at $16,490, the Eldorado is available in the two colors shown, Black and Red. Moto Guzzi offers several accessories, including but not limited to the nicely finished (and capacious) leather saddlebags and wind screen pictured on our test unit. Take a look at Moto Guzzi’s web site for additional details and specifications.


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89 Comments

  1. Tom says:

    With the 16″ wheels the Eldorado handles well on mountain hairpin switch back roads. Doesn’t take a lot of input for handling. Once under way the weight isn’t as apparent as in the parking lot when pushing it.

  2. ONE UPPER says:

    I worked for a multi brand dealers as a GM and it takes a certain kind of buyer to want one of these and a really good salesperson to even get someone interested in Guzzi! Not a fan myself!

    • mickey says:

      I did as well. Yamaha/Moto Guzzi/Norton. If an older man with a beard walks in wearing suspenders and he has his pants tucked into the top of his boots, he’s probably a Guzzi customer lol.

  3. Tank says:

    Indian made a longitudinal crankshaft V twin (841) long before MG made them popular. It was a military bike, but there are some ‘civilian-ized’ versions that look really cool. It would be nice to see Indian make a modern 841. You wouldn’t have the heat from the rear cylinder of a traditional V twin.

  4. charger_john says:

    Great looking ride!
    I’m not a cruiser guy but if any bike can ever convert me this could be it!
    And maybe get a Cadillac Eldorado too for the matching set. Okay, lame comment, sorry.

  5. Cagefree says:

    The dealer thing really isn’t a big deal. Im on my second Guzzi, a 13 Stelvio with 31k miles so far and had a 12 Griso before that and have never bought anything or had a service done at the dealer. Im lucky because where I live in So Ca there are 5 dealers within 80 miles if there was a serious problem. They are super easy to work on and have been as reliable as any bike Ive owned. The dealer where I bought my Guzzi’s in San Diego has a new Eldorado for $13999. Not a cruiser guy but a damn beautiful bike imho, may have to check it out.

    • mickey says:

      The dealer thing is only a big deal if you happen to get one of the units that needs warranty work, has some issues, or as you said “if there was a serious problem”. Other than that no biggie.

      Its easy to google Issues with Moto Guzzi motorcycles ( or any other brand for that matter) and find out that not all units that roll out of the factory are perfect. ( no matter who makes them)

  6. Dirty Bob says:

    Wouldn’t buy one or trade my FXDB103 for two of those old fashioned cruisers. Too much junk on that thing! U S A made for me. Where is a MG dealer (rhetorical).

  7. kjazz says:

    I went down to the dealer this weekend and sat on one. Man, that engine configuration is so freakin cool. Exudes solid strength visually. Love it. A Guzzi is going in my garage soon.

  8. Jeremy in TX says:

    I am not nearly as impressed by the styling as many others here. It looks pretty goofy to me frankly though I confess I feel that way about most cruiser designs. But it looks good as far as cruisers go for what it is worth.

    It is by all accounts an impressive engine and chassis, though. I’d love to ride one to experience it, but this is not a bike I would ever buy.

  9. Artem says:

    I think MG Centauro was a better design, even not that practical.

  10. sbashir says:

    How do you “squirt through traffic” on a 700 lb beast with wide handlebars and its jugs sticking out?

    • Dirck Edge says:

      You need sufficient skill, but the engine response permits it. Ask anyone who has ridden a new MG 1400 about “veloce” mode.

    • MGNorge says:

      I don’t squirt through, I go around! 🙂

      • MGNorge says:

        Just noticed that the time indicated for my response appears to be Eastern Time, I’m over here on the left coast! Servers located back east?

  11. Tank says:

    I think the red bike would have looked better if it was all red instead of just the tank and side covers. Passenger seat doesn’t look very comfortable. Beautiful bike.

  12. paul246 says:

    OK, I have to ask about engine heat on the rider’s shins. To me it looks like it would be an issue at lower speeds, especially coming into town after a highway run. Would Guzzi be offering chrome plated shin guards in their accessory catalog? 🙂 Seriously though, is heat on the rider’s legs an issue or not?

    • John Kramer says:

      There is almost no heat from the cylinders, because unlike longitudinal v-twins (everyone but Guzzi) the cylinders stick out enough for the heat to rise up. I have owned many Guzzis including the Eldo 1400 (current bike) and they are great about not being too hot.

    • MGNorge says:

      In my experience, if you tuck your knees in tightly to the valve covers you can gain some warmth on a cooler day. But usually my legs are splayed outward some and it’s unnoticeable. On a hot day, yes of course, keeping your leg/knees up tightly would not be the most comfortable but just a touch outward and again it’s really not noticeable.

  13. Grover says:

    A lot of positive comments about this Guzzi but no buyers. I doubt if this bike is going to be a big seller as the cylinders are twisted 90 degrees from where Americans like them. Just sayin’.

    • Superlight says:

      The sales issue is not about the engine, it’s the lack of Moto Guzzi dealers.

    • JVB says:

      I love my V11 Lemans, and it has been bullet proof. Dealerships are sparse, yet haven’t needed one since my initial service to maintain warranty. Longest run so far is 850mi in 1 day. I’m not into cruisers, yet it does look nice.

  14. Neil Dowsing says:

    I test rode a Triumph Commander, Indian Chieftain and a HD Fat Boy. They all had their positives but I must say that the Indian and Triumph had little in the way of character. Then I had a test ride on an Eldorado. Seconds after starting it up I had a huge smile on my face. 240 miles later and there was no going back. More power, better handling, better breaking than the others were positives. But more than anything was the fantastic engine character that make it so satisfying to ride. It is also is a machine that has its own identity. I bought a black one and it’s the best bike I have ever owned. A real keeper.

    • Scott the Aussie says:

      Welcome to gang Neil!! Guzzis are special, and if you like em, you like em. 12 years on mine now and its going strong and puts a smile on my face every time I get on, from just going to work to 10 days away in the Pyrenees.

  15. Rapier says:

    The large cruiser focus is probably a good business decision, by Piaggio of course who own them. I am not knocking that although some do, because they did invest money in Guzzi and they desperately needed it.

    I’m a fan and just purchased one, an NTX, after selling my V7 Sport in 1978 so I am a fan and hope the company can survive a lot longer. I think they are going to abandon the 1200 and thus the Norge, Stelvio NTX and maybe the Grisso as I guess meeting Euro 4 is just too much of a burden in markets where power rules. The smaller nakeds and scramblers and the big rigs are where they will stay, unless they go water cooling but to do that they have to make sales.

    In the end that big lump of engine sitting our there for all to see is what makes Guzzi Guzzi and the basic design of the 90 degree V in a big strong case with a dry clutch is simple, strong and makes a nicely balanced sort of power and sound.

  16. ROXX says:

    DROP DEAD GORGEOUS!

  17. Tommy D says:

    I had a buddy with a 70’s California that rode with us for years. His bike got more attention than any of our big buck H-D’s. My friend and his bike have long since passed but every time I see one of these I think of him. The new bike has that same look. In a world full of copycat cruisers this bike really stands apart with its own sense of style that can trace its lineage back historically as well. If you like cruisers and you like being the center of attention then this is the bike to pull into a parking lot of an H-D event.

  18. Hot Dog says:

    Finally a decent front fenda.

    • That is a nice fender shape and I wondered where ICurly says:

      That is a nice fender shape and I wondered where I’d seen it before. 1964 Yamaha YA6 “Santa Barbara 125”. Look it up.

      This bike looks so much better than Harleys and Indians to me. I hope a lot of people buy it.

    • Max says:

      If you clip that little flippy bit off. That and the tail light hurt my eyes. Not sure about the spokes either given you can’t really see them. Especially, if it requires the tires running tubes.

  19. Cyclemotorist says:

    What a beautiful motorcycle!

  20. Moto-Kafe says:

    I like what they have done with the tank (“sculpted out” for cylinder clearance……similar to what Dodge has done with their rear bumpers for the exhaust tips. Why didn’t anyone think of that before??) But looking at the rear wheel/fender lines…….how does one remove the rear wheel?? No way it will come straight out the back. Just wondering……

  21. My2cents says:

    Red is just sexy. The indentation in the fuel tank to allow the cylinder head clearance to the passing breeze all instant class. Enough chrome and curves oozing lust to tempt even the least passionate of folks to swing a leg over.

  22. Grover says:

    I test rode a Guzzi model similar to this bike. It was parked on a hill which made getting it off the kickstand that much more difficult. Top heavy it is I can tell you that! It’s a nice big fat slob on the highway, which is where it belongs. Better find something about 300 lbs lighter if you do a lot of city commuting.

    • MGNorge says:

      True, the heavier a bike the more muscle it takes to wrangle them into submission. While that’s true the obvious cure is to not park them in those situations as much as is possible. It won’t be always but much of the time it’s not hard to find a better spot to put them on their stands. I’m a big guy so I probably have less of a problem in that area than some. What I like about my Norge is its character. It burbles down the road in satisfying fashion, tracks into, through and out of corners with a very neutral feel and is very comfortable. It gets up and goes in satisfying fashion when wanted. To each their own, certainly not everyone’s cup ‘o tea but I find it very pleasing.

  23. Keener says:

    I read the comments and think yep my Ducati weighs 445 ibs wet, has 105 rwhp and probaly 70 ft lbs its been massaged a bit.. but i would bet that this New Eldo would be alot of fun to ride, its not always about spec,and it should be about the fun ..

  24. bmbktmracer says:

    It’s odd to hear people complaining about the weight of this machine. This is a class where buyers want steel-everything, huge, chrome-plated exhausts, throbbing engines with massive crankshafts… In this day and age, we have a great variety of bikes from which to choose. If you want lightweight, there are plenty of choices, even within the Moto Guzzi lineup.

    I’ve never ridden a cruiser, but I can see the virtue in Guzzi’s take on the theme, with more suspension travel and reasonable lean angles. It seems like a nice way to slow down and take in the sights, especially with my lovely lady along for the ride.

    • sbashir says:

      The seat for your lovely lady will not be very comfortable. Also no back rest to keep her from falling off.

  25. Martin B says:

    Most of us have a special memory of that Guzzi that first caught our attention. For me, it was a gold metal flake 850 T3 in 1974 in Paraparumu in New Zealand. Just gorgeous. Some things you never forget. And the 750 S3, and the 750 Classic…

  26. Gary says:

    I like Guzzis. To me they look classically handsome and functional. But I can’t help but wonder if they have the same cache among millenials, who have suddenly decided that Bonnevilles and R9Ts are hot items. My guess is most younger folk don’t see Guzzis as classics. As such they will be a tough sell for anyone but us old pharts.

    • Kagato says:

      Gary–I don’t think so–the Guzzi name is not enough of an “internet meme” to attract the hipster crowd–like having a Bultaco or a Hodaka–some things should be too sacred to let them get their hands on ; – ) lol

    • MGNorge says:

      With my Norge I am asked somewhat frequently, “Moto what?” Recently had a service guy to the house and he asked about the emblem on the rear window of my truck. I told him it was Moto Guzzi, he didn’t know the brand but wondered if it was a motorcycle. Beyond that he wasn’t very curious. An older woman (I’m 63) at the gas pumps called out to me once, “Moto Guzzi, pretty bike! At least it isn’t another Harley!” Gave me a little chuckle. Typical reaction is a look of bewilderment as it’s simply an unknown. When I was young, if I saw a motorcycle I’d never seen before and knew nothing about, I would have been all over it, checking it out. Different times, different world.

    • EGS says:

      Guzzis are pretty hot in the NY metro area. They depreciate quickly but then settle somewhat higher than comparable Japanese bikes. NY hipsters seem to dig anything air cooled and ‘authentic’ so classic stype Guzzis fit the bill. I’ve had both California and Breva models and the classic Cali garnered far more attention than the more modern Breva.

    • Magnus says:

      MG V7s seem to be a hit with the hipsters. I’ve seen a number of them in my hipster heavy city. My Griso is still an anomaly. There is an Elderado rolling around town too. Having a local dealer obviously helps a lot.

  27. Joe Bogusheimer says:

    Another super-heavy cruiser. I’ll be cold and dead in the grave before I’ll ever buy a bike that weighs ~700 lbs, unless it’s a fully dressed tourer like a Goldwing or K1600LT. Pretty, though, and I don’t doubt that it’s a good ride. But that still seems like a lot of weight for no real good reason to me. Nothing against Guzzi – they’re not even the worst offenders in that regard.

    • Provologna says:

      GW and K1600 are waaaaay N of 700 lbs, not even close.

      I echo all the positive comments about this great new MG. Glad to see MG continue to carve their own unique Italian niche in the cruiser market.

    • Max says:

      As long as a bike carries its weight low, it’s really not an issue.

  28. mickey says:

    Pretty motorcycle. My younger brother had one of the original Eldorados in 73, an 850 if I’m not mistaken. It truly was “all day comfortable” to ride. wonder if this new one is too?

    • John Kramer says:

      The 1400 Eldo is indeed even more comfortable than my 1972 850 was. And way better brakes and handling. it is an all day rider, and actually lightweight for its class.

      • mickey says:

        Probably don’t have to worry about the distrubutor drowning out in an all day rain in Ga on the way to Fla either lol.

  29. Kagato says:

    I’ve always wanted a Goose. That is a beautiful bike. I’m with y’all, the red is verrah nice looking.

  30. xLaYN says:

    That last photo was taken with a lens with such a big aperture that almost look tilt-shifted…. beautiful photo… congrats to Chris Rubino.

    That bike is friking beautiful! I could make you think twice about taking the CB1300 for a touring ride… ~~

  31. WSHart says:

    Fuel economy please? That is something few reviews ever touch on and it’s important.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Expect high 30s to low 40s. 42 for us at highway speeds.

      • WSHart says:

        Thanks. Still pretty low for that displacement and the tank should have been at least 6 gallons U.S. but…

        …What a beautiful bike. For those that whine about weight, think about this: Are you carrying it anywhere? Nope. Most of ’em could probably stand to lose 30 pounds themselves.

        Bicycle people whine even more about the weight of their rides.

        Are the valve check/adjust intervals at least in the 10s of thousands or are they still down in the single digits, e.g., 5,000 or so miles? If so, that’s even more of a deal breaker than the smallish tank range.

        • WSHart says:

          Found a PDF owner’s manual and it states that valve check/adjust be done first at 900 miles (1,500km) and thereafter every 6,000 miles (10,000 km).

          That is ridiculous in a modern motor and far too often for a touring bike. I know, easy peasy mac ‘n’ cheesy to do, but it is still way too often for a touring bike. The Goose is off the list and for that reason alone I would avoid any bike that had such frequent maintenance requirements as this Guzzi.

          Ridiculously maintenance intensive for this day and age. It should have hydraulic adjusters but for whatever reason the Italians messed it up in the ’03 Californias and have refused to implement hydraulics in anything after that.

          Pass.

          Too bad as it is gorgeous.

  32. Gham says:

    I wondered if it was as good as it looks,now I know.Nice article, although I have yet to see one on the road.

  33. Larry Kahn says:

    I’m seeing them at dealers now in the $12K range. And I’m thinking the tires have tubes. Spoke wheels not of the tubeless type spoke set-up. How was the effectiveness of the windshield?

  34. kjazz says:

    Gorgeous motorcycle. Not a cruiser guy, but……dang. Maybe this is the one. Love it !!!!!

    • WSHart says:

      It is gorgeous. It is not a cruiser in a similar way that a Harley is not a cruiser, it is a Harley. And this bike is a Moto Guzzi.

      Nice screen name. KJAZZ out of Long Beach is an excellent Real Jazz station. I don’t know if that was your inspiration or not, but wanted to mention it all the same.

      • kjazz says:

        No, actually just a shorter version of my full initials and jazz; which is what I spend most of my time on trumpet playing.

        I hear your comment about MG, HD regarding cruiser. I used that term loosely, I envision being able to ride this at a far slower pace than my normal; yet still having a great experience.

        I put the HD Deluxe and this MG in the same category. This is based on visual appeal; how they strike me personally. And I like them both !!

        My standard orientation is from the seat of a BMW R1200 GS. Which I prefer to ride over just about anything. But like I said previously, I may have to add what I see as a “cruiser” to my garage. Something my wife will enjoy too. If she’s on the back of the BMW I hear “You’re going too fast!!” too much.

  35. beasty says:

    Gorgeous bike!

  36. Stephane says:

    In a world where a new Harley Davidson Road King with it’s new 1746cc engine is claiming the biggest HP gain HD has done in years to 92HP and weight more than 800 pounds. Yes, the Guzzi Eldorado really has something. I have tried it and, no it’s not a sport bike but it’s a really fun bike to ride

  37. Kent says:

    “This isn’t your father’s Moto Guzzi.” Understatement of the year.
    My father wouldn’t be caught dead on a 700 pound bike.

    I understand that cruisers sell, but I really don’t like that Guzzi has gone from making competent sporty bikes to making bloated cruisers.
    1.4 liters and less than 100 hp In 2017?

    • Selecter says:

      And my V11 LeMans from 2003 had 80HP from 1.1 liters.

      When has Guzzi made competent sporty bikes? I tend to think that the Eldo/Cali are right in Guzzi’s wheelhouse.

      • Kent says:

        When has Guzzi made competent sporty bikes?
        Many of their bikes were competent sporty bikes, other than the Eldo & California.

        LeMans, V7, 850T series…
        I have an 850T5. I rolled it next to my dad’s Ducati Darmah 900, and started measuring. It has very similar geometry, and almost exactly the same suspension & brake components.

        • mickey says:

          I’ve ridden a Griso and thought it pretty sporting, at least in ergos and engine characteristics

  38. MGNorge says:

    Gonna have to ride me one of them sometime! You know, just to compare you understand? 🙂