September 24, 2022

Chapter 7 – looking for a new “Tiger”

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

Moto Guzzi: Italian Motorcycles. Official Website
The official website of Moto Guzzi, the motorcycle brand of Mandello del Lario since 1921, a timeless myth of Italian and international motorcycling.

Moto Guzzi on Wikipedia

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:

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