Moto Guzzi Cruiser

By Pappa Goose
Helpful information guide for 1994-2011 used Moto Guzzi California V11 EV big block cruisers. Moto Guzzi models include
EV, Bassa, Jackal, Stone, Stone Metal, California Vintage, Black Eagle, 90, Aluminum, Titanium, and California Special Sport.



2002 California Special Sport

Find a Moto Guzzi - Classifieds

Walnecks.Com Motorcycle
Wheelbynet Classifieds
GuzziTech Classifieds
MGNOC For Sale
Rider Buys Search
Cycles FSBO Classified
Dealer Bikes For Sale
CycleTrader Classified Ads

Shipping Note. If you are not afraid to buy a bike without riding it first, you can have it shipped to your door. If you shop around, you can find rates for less than $500 coast to coast. Do a web search for motorcycle shipping. Most auto shippers also ship motorcycles.


1999 Bassa 1100


Parts and Accessories
BikeBandit.Com
Cheap prices on tires, batteries,
saddle bags, windshields and more.


MG Cycle - Online Catalog
Moto Guzzi parts & accessories


2000 Jackal 1100


Useful Websites
Stone and Jackal - Good info!
Moto Guzzi USA Site
Web Bike World Moto Guzzi
GuzziTech.Com Website
Moto Guzzi Webring
Jackal Owners Club
Wikipedia Moto Guzzi
WildGuzzi - 100s of pics and info
Moto Guzzi National Owners Club

Moto Guzzi Forums
WildGoose Chase Forum
Sport-touring.net Moto Guzzi
Guzzi World Forum & More
Guzzi Exchange Australia
V11 Lemans Forum


2005 Titanium 1100

Road Test & Reviews
1997 California III Test
2004 California EV Review
2002 Special Sport
Sport Cruiser Comparison
1999 Jackal Road Test
2001 Special Sport
2003 Stone 1100 Review
2003 Aluminim 1100
2003 EV 1100 Touring
2006 California 1100
2005 California 1100
2000 California 1100


Best Battery?
The Stock Yuasa Y60N24 battery barely does the job. The Yuasa 5030 battery with only 300 CCA and $100 cost is not a deal either.
The most powerful battery you can cram into a Moto Guzzi California class bike is the group 51R automotive battery. The 51R fits the Honda Civic and about 30 other cars, so it is popular. You may have to modify the battery tray on some bikes, or make one out of an old car license plate. You won't have room for a tool kit. You will also need some inexpensive marine terminals to make a good connection. With 425 to 500 CCA, the 51R is king! If you shop around, you should pay less than $70 (Sams Wholesale Club).

Many Guzzi riders swear the group U1RT or 8AMU1R batteries for the Mazda Miata are the best. Prices start at $80 and up and you will need marine clamps. A much less expensive battery that has about the same power is the Sears Diehard Gold U1R lawn tractor battery. The Diehard Gold is a 40ah battery with 340 CCA....for only $50! I have 4 years on the one in my Jackal with zero problems. It is so much better that the stock battery. Walmart also sells U1R lawnmower batteries that will work as good as the Yuasa Y60N24, but are weak compared to the Diehard Gold.

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Why buy a used Moto Guzzi Cruiser? The three main reasons are reliability, performance, and cost. Yes I said cost!

Moto Guzzi is without a doubt the most reliable long life motocycle ever made. Sure there are a few other vehicles that can compare to the Guzzi reliability such as the BMW pushrod engine bikes, the Honda Gold Wings, and the Mercedes 300D. In the mid 1960s when the Italian government needed a bike that would run for 60,000 miles, Moto Guzzi answered the call. Think about the poor quality of motor oil in the 1960s and 1970s. During this time automobiles had a life span of about 100,000 miles. Moto Guzzis were running 100,000 miles or more when other bikes struggled to reach 25K. A simple overbuilt engine design that holds as much oil as many cars will lead to longer life. The industrial strength drive train helps too. Percentage wise, there are more Moto Guzzis having 100,000 miles or more still in use throughtout the world, than any other brand of motorcycle.

How would you measure performance? At the drag strip? A Moto Guzzi cruiser will run neck and neck with the hot rod Kawasaki 1600 Vulcan Mean Streak and will out run a 1340cc Harley Davidson Heritage Softtail. In the twisties? The Moto Guzzi handles better than any cruiser made. You can not have a fair comparison. The Moto guzzi is much lighter (140 lbs less than Heritage Softtail) than other cruisers in it's class. An experienced Guzzi rider will run away from many sportbikes on mountain roads. Nothing will make you feel worse than an old man on a Guzzi pulling away from your fast nimble Honda CBR. Moto Guzzi riders normally spend much more time in the saddle, so the riding skill is greater. Long distance touring? How do you think Moto Guzzis get so many miles on them? Add a good windshield, highway pegs, and saddle bags (and bigger seat?). A moto guzzi will travel just as good as any Beamer or Road King. If you want more freeway comfort, get a Cadillac Deville. In the dirt? What? Are you crazy? You would be surprised just how well a Moto Guzzi handles on dirt roads and some trails. It is not a dual purpose bike, but it will work off road as well as most adventure bikes. With the low center of gravity, you can run away from your dirt biker buddies on gravel roads. The torque will take you anywhere you can get traction! Point where you want to go and gas it. Avoid deep sand and big rocks! At the gas pump? At 44 to 50 MPG Moto Guzzi cruisers get the same fuel mileage as 750cc and 800cc Japanese bikes. Awesome!

Are used Moto Guzzis a bargain? Darn right the are! Unlike Harley Davidson there is not a supply and demand problem. Used Moto Guzzi cruisers are priced competive with the used Japanese cruisers. Buying a Moto Guzzi with 15,000 miles on it is like buying a new motorcycle! There are used Guzzi EV motorcycles out there with less than 15K miles on them for under $6,000! Buying one would be like getting a new Harley Softail for $6,000! As for myself, I would buy one with 7k to 15k miles on it insted of buying brand new. This way I don't have to go through the long break-in period plus I pay half the price. If you are looking for a good status symbol in the motorcycling world, a Moto Guzzi is it. Most people don't know Guzzis. If your bike is clean, they won't know if it is 10 years old or new. Just because it is from Italy, some riders think it is exotic and expensive. I have been asked "why didn't you buy a harley?" I didn't tell them I only spent $5900 for my 7,500 mile 1999 Moto Guzzi Bassa.


Cruiser Motorcycles Weight Comparison

1/4 mile times comparison - Cruisers

Moto Guzzi Pics and Specifications


What to look for

First ignore the reviews in the magazines. They don't know that it takes 8000 miles to break-in a Moto Guzzi. Every road test you read will say the same thing. "The suspension is too stiff, the transmissions is hard to shift, and the engine shakes too much". IF they tested a used bike, the reviews would be good.
The 2000 and newer Moto Guzzi models models have improved shifting. I really can't tell much difference between a well broke-in 1996 Cali III transmission and a newer 2005 Stone tranny except for the shorter throw. In fact if you don't pussyfoot the shift lever, the older Moto Guzzi models way back to 1973 shifted just fine.
2003 California based models got an upgrade to hydraulic lifters. There was some camshaft problems in 2003 models, and Moto Guzzi is fixing them for free. Before you buy, ask the owner if the camshaft warranty work has been done. Some 2003 models had hairline cracks in the lower fork crown. No breakage has been reported, but it is a concern. If you are buying a high mileage bike, here are a few things you need to know. Front wheel bearings head south at about 25,000 miles. Valves need replaced at 45,000 miles. If a valve breaks, it causes hell in the engine. Check the rear differential for excessive wear and leaks. This is normally the most neglected part of the bike. Check for play or ticking in the U-joint. Check for leaks around the bell housing. Check for play in the steering head bearings.

Moto Guzzi Ownership

First, invest in some crash bars. It will be the best $150 you have ever spent. I use Napa 1215 or 1394 oil filters. After break-in, I run Shell Rotella T6 Synthetic 5w40 and change it every 6,000 miles. I change the oil filter every second oil change. The Shell Rotella T6 Sythetic is made for abused diesel truck engines plus it is cheap. You can get it at Wal-Mart or any truck stop.
I run Lucas synthetic 80w90 gear oil rear differential. In the transmission I just run Vavoline 80w90 dino oil. Some Guzzi transmissions have nylon bearing race retainers, and the synthetic oil could break them up. The problem is you don't know if your Goose has the nylon in the transmission unless you tear it apart. My Eldorado transmission went 127,000 miles with dino oil! I change the transmission and differential oil every 12,000 miles. Change the fork oil when you first get your bike. The factory oil is crap, and it has likely never been changed. Spectro 10w is good.

There are so many opinions on tires. The brand and types of tires are not real critical. If you remember the older Moto Guzzis they only had 4.00-18 tires and handled very good. The Metzler 880 Marathon tires are king....if you can afford them. The Bridgestone S11 tires stick good and last a long time too. Many swear the Shinko (Yokohama) 712 series tires are great.
Guzzi cruisers are not tire picky. I run a sticky V-rated Bridgestone BT45 front tire and any brand on the rear. I figure as long as the front end stays planted, I am in control. All the rear tires I have used perform about the same. In the past I was in a jam and couldn't find a 140/80-17 rear tire for my Cali III. I purchased a 150/70-17 IRC and it worked great. The 150 tire put on the 3.5" rim is 26" diameter...same as the 140/80-17! I wonder if they are the same size tire, but marked different for 4.0 rims? Both have the same load rating. V rated or H rated rears? I don't drive fast enough to care. The H rated tires should last longer. The 130/90H17 size tires work great for the rear too. There is a huge selection of adventure bike tires in the 130/90-17 size.

How to add 12 reliable HP for under $250. I won't go into great detail. You can find more info on other Moto Guzzi sites. Drill a dozen 3/8" holes in the top of the air box (loud!). Replace the third muffler or catalyst with an "H" crossover pipe. Replace the mufflers with the cheap Dunstall Megaphone clones (EMGO) from J.C. Whitney. Remove the smog crap. On older bikes you will need to experiment with the jetting for the carbs. After these mods, your engine will run much smoother at high RPMs, and cut almost a full second from your 1/4 mile. Mid range now has a much harder kick. You may experience better MPG too.


My first Moto Guzzi: 1973 Police bike. I got it from my father with 76,000 miles on it when I was 19. I removed the faring and bags and mounted a Honda CT70 MiniTrail seat on the rear fender. I took every young lady in town for a ride on it. It had mini glass pack mufflers that made that loud V-twin (like harley) rumble. It made me popular. It was painted at least 5 times, once with a brush. I sold it for $500 in 1994 with 127,000 miles on it. I see it around town sometimes. I can tell because of the painted flames on the gas tank and the CT70 passenger seat.

My favorite Moto Guzzi: White 1999 Bassa. So pretty and ran so good. The first week I had her, I slept in the garage just to be close. A year later a soccer mom ran over her with a minivan. Things have not been the same. With the insurance money I bought an used Jackal. The Jackal did not completely heal my broken heart.

My Current Moto Guzzi: 2000 black Jackal. It has 81,000 miles on it. It is turning into a rat bike. I try to keep up with my buddy's Honda XR650 on logging roads. Sometimes I forget the bike weighs 540 lbs when flattracking through corners at 60 MPH. I have had it airborne several times. I am planning to put a dual purpose 130/90-17 tire on the rear just to see how it works. Do I need a Quota?
Out on the freeway at 75 MPH, I hit a large piece of truck tire rubber, and the bike cartwheeled about five times. Only damaged the seat, tail light, and mirrors (me: 2 broken ribs). I have crashed it at least 6 times and it still runs great. This Guzzi is built like a tank. Looks like hell though. Thank Goodness for duct tape and JB Weld.

My dream Moto Guzzi. A black and gold California Special Sport. It looks like a trouble maker. The newer California Black Eagle looks good too. This year?

Why did I build this site? Moto Guzzi motorcycles have given me so much pleasure for over 27 years. This is my way of giving something back. I have owned many other brands, but I keep coming back to Moto Guzzi. Moto Guzzi EV Cruisers are so reliable and handle great. It is not just a cruiser, but a tourer, a standard, and adventure bike. Plus Moto Guzzi has something few other motorcycles have. Soul.

Pappa Goose

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