Yeah, you know by now that we're Guzzi fans, so it's always a special pleasure to return to Mandello del Lario - there's just something so romantic about its location, and the way the factory survives from year on year. On this occasion, Moto Guzzi were launching their two latest models to be based around the 1400cc motor and chassis first used in the California, which we reviewed back in Issue 5. In truth, the Eldorado and Audace aren't really new models because they're been around for a year now having debuted at bike shows last year, but what did seem new this time round was Piaggio/Moto Guzzi's determination to actually support their bikes with actual proper products that punters can go out and buy. It's been years that most people have been saying why don't Guzzi just get their act together, and do like Harley-Davidson, Triumph etc, and actually, they seem to be on the right road now.
I managed to have a good 20 minute chat in Italian with Miguel Galluzzi, Piaggio's very well known Head of Design, and he reckons that Moto Guzzi has a 10 year plan, and they are just over half way through that plan. I asked him again, having asked during their press presentation, about whether Guzzi were going to introduce a 1000 cc bike that would have the looks and lines of the best selling V7 range, but with more power. "Everyone wants more power all the time," he laughed. "The V7 has plenty for what most people want. But yes, we are working on something - you will see something new at the EICMA show this year." Some German wag journo who overheard reckoned that soon, with Euro directives, the big Guzzis could end up being water cooled - I think unlikely, but we'll have to see.
The bikes themselves were fun to ride - full feature coming up in Issue 6 - though the stretch to the Audace bars is a bit of a stretch too far for me to be comfortable for long. However, quality, character and inate Guzzi qualities are all there in spades.
Funniest moment of the launch for me was when a fellow journo I'd never met previously accused me of being a 'hipster'. Ha, funny I thought, considering I've looked the same for 30 years, and being a North Londoner, used to avoid Shoreditch like the plague 'cos it was a shithole. Maybe he was just jealous of my Ramones tee shirt, bought in Tesco. Or couldn't grow a beard like mine.
Anyway, Guzzi now have a plethora of stuff to buy if you want to spend the money, and there is a huge, very nicely put together catalogue of swag now available to browse through.
Full review of the Eldorado and Audace coming up in Issue 8 of ITALIAN MOTOR.