2012 Moto Guzzi California and V7 Scrambler get official

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In response to crappy shots of the Moto Guzzi V7 Scrambler and 2012 Moto Guzzi California leaked from the Piaggio Group’s Monte Carlo dealer conference on Friday, the company just issued these official photos and some limited details. We’d speculated that the California would adopt the same 1,151cc v-twin as other Guzzi models like the Norge and Stelvio, but instead it’s using a new, 1,400cc unit that here, in high-res, is shockingly nice looking. In fact that’s true of the whole bike, the California is damned pretty. Ever think I’d say that about a cruiser?

Here’s the extent of what Piaggio’s officially releasing about these new models:

“The new California prototype, with an original 1400cc transverse V90 twin-cylinder engine, carries on the tradition established by a bike acclaimed in five continents for its comfort, reliability and performance, delivering a re-styling that enhances the architecture of the powertrain and the comfort assured by a generously sized saddle and tank. Fitted neatly around the cylinder unit, the tank heightens the impact of the new valve covers, helping to create a new style element on this irresistible California. All the technical components –wheels, brakes, suspension – are new too, proclaiming the California’s membership of an eagerly awaited new generation of Moto Guzzi bikes.”

“Much more of a classic but equally fascinating, the Moto Guzzi V7 Scrambler is built on on the famous frame of the V7 Classic fitted with a 750cc small-block engine. Chrome trim, spoked wheels and sports tyres create a bike that, in the 1960s, would have qualified as a “Regularity” model like the famous 175 Lodola, which this Scrambler recalls with its low headlamp and integrated instrument panel. The exhaust system with its two raised side-by-side silencers is a distinctive feature of this Moto Guzzi Scrambler.”

The current Guzzi California is something of an oddity. It’s a cruiser, yes, but its riding position wasn’t designed by a comic book artist, it’s anything but brash and its engine isn’t one million ccs of flaccid performance. This new California appears to continue that restrained, practical approach. The Tonti frame is most likely gone, but there’s a nice nod to it in the continuous horizontal line along the bottom of the tank and seat unit. The shape of that tank is simply gorgeous and looks to be suitably large for touring. Badging is subtle and restrained. The best part? The only chrome we spot is on the pillion grab handle.

Neat components that catch our eye are the matte silver finned wheels, radial front brake calipers, black valve covers (swoon) and the roadster-style seat. This is shaping up to be a real motorcycle.

Also uncharacteristically, we’re a little less excited by the Scrambler, largely because it appears to be the result of crashing through a dealer parts department. The model seems to be delineated by fork gaiters, black rubber knee pads on the still-shapely tank and a set of arrow pipes that still reminds us of Ben’s bike in Full Throttle in their ridiculously huge proportions and stick-outeyness. The dark yellow paint looks nice though.

  • GT

    Above should read 1151cc. It’s about time Guzzi, nice!

  • Mike

    I see dual shocks and a stub of a down-tube support just southwest of the exhaust port. If that isn’t a Tonti frame, it’s darn close.

    The Guzzi Bellagio is an interesting mix of the Tonti & CARC frames, but this takes it to an even more retro level.

    Also..1400cc? Wow.
    Maybe I’ll wait for a few of these to hit the road before throwing too much money into my ’75′s 1000cc motor.

  • Glenngineer

    The 1400 was rumored years ago…nice to finally see it. I like that bike.

  • Beale

    Ohhh, I like that California. It definitely looks stretched compared to the old Cali. The California has been on my radar for a while since the only bikes that my wife likes and is open to touring on are cruisers. The Guzzi is the only cruiser-ish bike that doesn’t repulse me.

  • Roman

    Hope they keep making the Griso, my favorite cruiser-ish bike on the market.

  • Pete

    I like that Scrambler. Any guesses on price?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Around $8.5k like the other V7s.

  • NitroPye

    Definitely both very pretty bikes I’d be happy to take for a ride any day.

    I think the California is probably my new favorite cruiser.

    I like the scrambler too but I can’t get past the tank. Maybe it will grow on me but right now it stands out a little. As much as I like scrambler styled bikes visually I can’t help but think they sacrifice engineering for style.

  • Kevin

    Aren’t those pegs on the California going to put your shins awfully close to the cylinders?

  • Deltablues

    The S&M inspired seat on my Daytona 675 has me looking lustily at the seat on that California. Look at how w-i-d-e and sumptuous it appears. The rest of the motorcycle ain’t bad either.

  • matt

    I like the california a lot, my 2004 has a great seating position, much more like a standard than a cruiser, great for long trips. Can’t wait to see if they make an EV touring model.

  • Brendan

    A reference to a Tim Schafer game on HFL…

    I never would have guessed.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I’m a huge fan.

  • Padraic

    This latest California looks an awful lot like the triumph Thunderbird which itself looks quite a bit like the previous iteration of Guzzi’s California. I definitely prefer the sharper looks and more clever styling of the California however, not to mention the lack of chrome

  • seanslides

    I’d hesitate to call the California a cruiser. I mean, technically I guess it is, but it’s so much less lame than a Harley or something like a Fury.

  • http://twowheelsplus.blogspot.com/ andehans

    The new California reminds me of the earliest 70′s California’s. Looks good. The Scrambler looked better on previous pictures, its a bit of a mess.

  • dux

    I’m just praying it makes more than 100Hp…

    • stempere

      The 1100 on my v11 is 90hp so i guess it does.

  • http://michael.uhlarik@amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

    I am a big fan of Moto Guzzi. I am a big fan of motorcycles that offer good times at reasonable prices. I am a big fan of non-performance concepts.

    But I am not a fan of these motorcycles.

    Moto Guzzi is the cougar of the legacy brands. Too much make up, too many line-extensions (new clothes) on a very tired engine platform, and a sad, me-too product plan.

    The V7 and company are just knee-jerk reactions to the success of the Triumph heritage line, only not nearly as well done and ten years too late. Ditto this scrambler. Guzzi has no off road heritage, and the concept makes no sense with that heavy tractor engine. The Stelvio was a bad BMW GS, and the California is a bad cruiser.

    The Griso is the only ray of sunshine in this once fabulous brand. The rest of the line are old hags that had trouble being sold to the dwindling Boomers when times were good. This latest bunch is a desperate move to justify keeping the company alive, and the investment that Aprilia then Piaggio stuffed into it. Moto Guzzi is now completely pointless.

    Will someone at Piaggio please do the humane thing and put a bullet in this brand so that it can die in dignity? At least Laverda got that honour.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Tell us what you really think Michael.

      • http://michael.uhlarik@amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

        Oh I was pulling my punches Wes. What I really think is probably unprintable

    • Mike

      Funny, until the neo V7 classic hit the showrooms, none of my 30-something Euro-riding friends paid any attention to new Guzzis. Now it’s a hot topic of converation.

      (No, none of us give a crap about the new Tiger, either)

      As a long time Guzzi owner, I’ve paid attention to the marque, but its been irrelevant to me for the last decade.

      Since then I’ve ended up on Ducatis & Hondas, but this latest round of bikes actually has my attention, which is more than I can say for anything they’ve done in the last 10 years.

      There has been more innovation out of Guzzi in the last 3 years since Dr John’s spine framed bikes hit the market.

      Wait, this was just a snarky troll, wasn’t it? God forbid someone sell bikes based on something more substantial than a paint scheme or movie tie-in.

      • http://michael.uhlarik@amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

        The funny thing about this subject is that despite the fact that so many people love to see things like new Moto-Guzzis, Buells,Ossas, MV Agustas, Moto-Morinis etc., NO ONE BOUGHT ANY.

        We all love that small, niche and exclusive bike brands are out there, but when it comes time to part with money, the same people who extol the joys of beautiful and obscure motorcycles promptly go out and buy mainstream machines.

        As I have said many times, motorcyclists are a conservative bunch, and make beige-pants wearing Toyota Corolla man look positively spontaneous in comparison, when it comes to purchasing habits.

  • Barry

    Wow. Until the V7, I’d decided that my Moto Guzzi lust would have to only be satisfied with old hardware(MGS-01/Ghezzi B’s excepted). It’s nice to see that they finally ditched the whole “bulbous and fantastically ugly” styling for something that is appropriately identifiable as being from them. Sure, everyone is going to barf on them for playing up the popular retro-reboot thing, but for Guzzi, I’d rather they go that way. They seem to do it better.

  • Hans Petter

    Yep. Guzzi makes it happen again. Great lookin’ bikes! Now I’m only awaiting the V7 “Enduro” to top off the V7 extension.

  • dux

    In ten years when all their riders die of old age, I can pick one of these up for super cheap. Cool.

    • http://michael.uhlarik@amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

      In 2012 when the dealers are desperate to get rid of inventory, you will pick them up cheap.

      • Mike

        Vultures, take your pick:

        I have no affiliation to Moto International, aside from being a happy customer for the last 14 years.

        • http://michael.uhlarik@amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

          I rest my case.

  • Todd

    I used to have a Guzzi V11 Ballabio. Do I kick myself routinely for letting that bike go? Yes. The only glaring issue with buying a Guzzi is lack of dealers. I would also say replacement parts but I’m not 100% sure that has gotten better with Piaggo acquiring them.