Finally, an update. It has been about 3 hours since I got to actually ride the V11, and I haven't come down yet. Oh my word, what a machine. She's a bit unrefined, but still...dignified and graceful.
I confirmed before setting off all the lights, horn, brakes, etc. all were functional. No smoke on startup again, no terrifying and expensive noises within the sump telling me to replace bottom end bearings...just the normal V11 noises I'm told to expect. Again, hold the clutch in...rattle, rattle, rattle...Love it. There were a few idle surges while things warmed up for 5 mins or so before I set off. While riding, I confirmed the speedo and odo BOTH work...simultaneously...on the same V11...and the ODO reset knob is still present and works. One less thing, right?
I arrived on a 900SS, a stark contrast to the V11.
I don't have to address the elephant in the room, the style of the V11. She is sexy and elegant. Enough said.
The ergos on the V11 are more standard than sport, in spite of the clip-ons. Lots of vibration through the grips at nearly all RPM (hands got numb after 20 mins. I have to address this), I got zero vibration through the stock footpegs, which is exactly opposite of what I was told to expect. Strange.
The saddle was very wide but firm and comfy. I expected to be punished with the stock saddle, but I was pleasantly surprised! AF1 Racing in Austin, Tx. got me a NOS black seat cowl and all the fasteners and washers (still waiting to be shipped to me when the fasteners arrive). I am waiting on the cowl "moon" pad from a gent in Italy. No rush, as I won't ride her again until Spring of 2022.
The gearbox was BUTTER! Click-click-click...effortless shifting, just effortless. I was beside myself in the refinement of the gearbox. Better than even my 900SS...blasphemy! No false neutrals, no matter how many times I tried---and I tried to upset the gearbox. But, firm, deliberate shifts are what worked best as many wise members of this forum informed me. I stopped, clicked up, never popped out of gear under any scenario. Just a sweet gearbox. Great work, Guzzi!
I wasn't on bad roads, but the suspension felt firm and slightly bouncy over undulating pavement. About what I expected, but it wasn't bad.
Steering was pretty average, or more, of the wide turning radius type.
One thing I will need to get used to, is that super forward kickstand. Wow! I know it is for clearance issues, but it is going to take me a LONG time to get used to the kickstand location when I want to park the bike or set off at first. Guzzi does everything differently.
The brakes were adequate. They just did the job, but a lot of lever input was required to get the machine stopped effectively.
The tires were hardly used but old Dunlop SportMaxes, and I wasn't going to dump my baby and grind the side of a cylinder head pretending I was qualifying for the Isle of Mann TT, so I kept the leans to a casual tempo. Turn in was still excellent and composed. Tracing a line and cliping apexes was so smooth and effortless, belying the weight of this bigger lady.
As many told me about the torque-effect of the shaft drive, and the V11 didn't disappoint. At a stop, a few blips of the throttle leaned the bike slightly to the right repeatedly giving me a chuckle.
The stock cans as I understand are a bit muted, so thankfully the previous owner had great taste and donated a set of Mistral conical upswept cans for my listening pleasure. They are boomy, baritone, but perhaps 7/10ths the sound put out by my 900SS's carbon Termis. It's not fair for me to say which I prefer, they are just both their own personality. That said, the Mistrals are NOT quiet. They just boom along as the engine hums underneath you. They fit the more laid back/standard ergos and personality of the V11.
What a machine! You hit the wall of torque at 2k and it just keeps pulling and pulling. You have to rev this engine to get the most out of it, but it spins up pretty fast. The engine is eager to deliver a smooth helping of carmel-like torque. She really is industrial in her own way. Rear weight bias is evident once underway...wow. Truly, more of the weight is on that back wheel, and you feel it when you go WOT, the front suspension lets up, and you feel the front end starting to rise two or more inches. It is a very different balance than I am used to. On the plus side, the weight feels so much lower than I would have thought! You just have these two giant aluminum cylinders sticking out in front of your knees in the airstream. I feel like I am riding a wingless WWI biplane. Ha ha!!!
I stopped by a gas station after legally touching an indicated 80mph on the highway, impressed. I topped the plastic/nylon acerbis tank with sta-bil to at least minimize the damage of the ethanol while it is stored until I get her back in April '22...and I was sad to end the ride. I wanted to keep on going, and the big Guzzi certainly felt obliged to please me.
FINAL THOUGHT: These machines are like flying a WWI wingless biplane. The V11 is still an underappreciated jewel in the motorcycle world, and I am fortunate to have gotten (a NICE one, lots of junker V11s out there!!!) before too many people discover them and make them cost new bike money. Physically small, yet feeling big and agricultural in some ways, nevertheless, this sultry Italian lady has class, curves, style and is full of brio. Bellissima!
What a damned fine motorcycle. I only regret not getting one a LOT sooner! I finally got to officially drink the kool-aid and join the cult! Now, where are the cookies?