14th February 2022
The last time I posted about motorcycles was around about May 2021 after I was hit by a car reversing rather too rapidly for the situation. The result was a squashed and bent “Tiger” which eventually had to, sadly, be sold for parts. A huge pain because I really had grown to like the bike and it could do everything I needed (and probably more). Anyway, such is life, now we have moved house and set up further south near the Alps and I feel it is time to look around for a replacement “Tiger”. I have looked for bikes of the same series but there are hardly any on the market at the moment. Thus I have made up a short-list of possible candidates:
Before I jot down the list I have been doing a fair amount of research and a bit of self-evaluation. I test drove a Honda VFR 800 recently, it is undoubtedly a tremendous bike and the V4 engine is a lot of fun, but my neck can’t handle the sitting position for any length of time (disc problem at C4/5 with spondylophytes on one side) so, unfortunately, this is off the cards. I need something more upright with a bit of wind protection. I also tested a Moto Guzzi Norge 850 which gave me much food for thought. I described my thoughts and impression here on twitter :
Now, honestly, a part of me could have hopped onto the Guzzi and headed off into the sunset straight away. Another part of me, however, was wagging a sage finger and mumbling “Isn’t it a bit expensive?”, “Look the chrome is coming off, it’s been outside too long”, and trying to make a decent joke out of “Travel for miles – miles of travel” with respect to the gear-shift linkage which was appallingly baggy after riding a Triumph for several years. This is a core part of the “Guzzi experience”, the envious looks, the sound, the smiles and the knowing wry smiles from those who know.
The Moto Guzzi website
There is something special about Guzzi’s. I have had various Guzzi’s over the years (Le Mans 4 with many changes, Le Mans 3 with many changes, V11 Scura with many changes, you get the idea). The sound and the experience are supreme but I am a bit cautious these days about all the bits falling off, sheared cables, dodgy wiring and electrics etc. I have only once not actually made it home on a Guzzi, but I’ve almost always returned with a list of “things-that-urgently-need-doing” and “that-I-really-must-get-around-to-doing” which resulted in many packages from Ebay and things being stacked in the cellar which will definitely be useful sometime when I have the time. My wife has grown rather suspicious of Guzzi’s for mainly this reason.
But I do still love ’em. As I write this I realise that I am going to end up buying either another Guzzi or a Triumph. Nothing else really seems to fit the bill. I did say that I would sketch down a list, so for the sake of completeness, here it is:
- Triumph Sprint 1050 – looks lovely in blue but is not really suitable because of sitting position, sad.
- KTM Adventure 950/990/1050 – yep, would do, but tricky to find one in my price range.
- Moto Guzzi Norge or Breva – see above
- Triumph Tiger 1050 – fits the technical bill but I cannot warm to how it looks, dreadful.
- Honda Varadero 1000 – it looks a bit bloated, engine should be fun, a bit old looking and very heavy.
- Honda VFR 800 X Crossrunner – it has the V4 and the whoomph and a sitting position I could get on with, but pricey.
- Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 – it is a mammoth without the tusks, do I need something this big?
- Moto Guzzi Quota 1000 – see above but more so.
- Yamaha Super Ténéré 1200 – nice, very nice, but the price is serious. Big bike, big money.
So there we are. The search continues and I will continue in the next installment 🙂
In the meantime here is a video of a definite candidate, I am much more of a reserved rider but it sounds marvellous: