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What are the main things about Guzzis that make them so quirky versus their competition?


VtwinStorm
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I was reading a very interesting thread on V11 sidestands, and it got me thinking about how non-standard so much is on a Guzzi.

Please feel free to sound off about the quirky nature of these mechanical beasts.

I might learn something, which would be great, as I am trying to learn as much as possible about the V11 Sport.

 

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In spite of themselves, they are a quite reliable machine.  My favorite reads were of those by the guy from Seattle that used to make the "Alaska" run and he'd post about all the parts he came back with in his saddlebags... that just kinda fell off, but weren't really needed.   I guess it's a matter of with a little love, they will get you home.

My story is a Convert I purchased, rode home from PA to MD, then to VA to have it looked at because it wasn't running right.  Imagine my surprise when they showed me I was only on one cylinder !!!!!!   I mean the bike was sluggish, and barely made it up to highway speeds... but it got me home and out to a mechanic..   That was when I really started taking a serious look at Moto Guzzi and I finally "got it."

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15 minutes ago, Desdinova said:

In spite of themselves, they are a quite reliable machine.  My favorite reads were of those by the guy from Seattle that used to make the "Alaska" run and he'd post about all the parts he came back with in his saddlebags... that just kinda fell off, but weren't really needed.   I guess it's a matter of with a little love, they will get you home.

My story is a Convert I purchased, rode home from PA to MD, then to VA to have it looked at because it wasn't running right.  Imagine my surprise when they showed me I was only on one cylinder !!!!!!   I mean the bike was sluggish, and barely made it up to highway speeds... but it got me home and out to a mechanic..   That was when I really started taking a serious look at Moto Guzzi and I finally "got it."

Yes, these machines really are workhorses.

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What makes you think they are "so quirky?"

(I mean, besides the community. :unsure::blink::ph34r:---> :oldgit: )

You know, besides the Rube Goldberg sidestand . . .

DSCN2894.jpg

 

 

And, of course, the gauges might need some creative embellishments . . .

IMG_0065.jpg

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4 minutes ago, docc said:

What makes you think they are "so quirky?"

(I mean, besides the community. :unsure::blink::ph34r:---> :oldgit: )

Well, coming from more "homogeneously-engineered" Japan Inc. motorcycles, years ago...Guzzis are just totally different.

Longitudinal drivetrain, shaft drive, weird wiring, kickstand, separate transmission, bevel box, dry clutch, linked braking system, I am sure there are other things that I haven't heard about yet...Guzzis are just a different kind of animal.

The only machine stranger would be an air cooled BMW boxer, or or Munch Mammut.

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20 minutes ago, docc said:

You're not trying to say that the V11 electrical system is like a wearing a G-string in a Calgary crosswind? :o

Screen%20Shot%202017-08-14%20at%206.54.3

No. I'm saying that the V11 wiring harness is like boiled spaghetti noodles left out to dry in the Summer sun. 😂

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1 minute ago, VtwinStorm said:

No. I'm saying that the V11 wiring harness is like boiled spaghetti noodles left out to dry in the Summer sun. 😂

Ah, all good then. Those can be reconstituted with a little vino, olive oil, heat and parmigiana. :food:

Like good food, the V11 responds to involvement. :luigi:

But does not suffer neglect. :(

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9 minutes ago, docc said:

Ah, all good then. Those can be reconstituted with a little vino, olive oil, heat and parmigiana. :food:

Like good food, the V11 responds to involvement. :luigi:

But does not suffer neglect. :(

Great to hear, Docc.

I love to eat, and don't neglect my machines.

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To your point, "[What makes Guzzis quirky]?"

It really is, JMO, that they require an immersed owner. No shop or tech can deliver it back to us fully capable. This would be like the veterinarian delivering our dog back to us spayed and dew claws removed. It remains to us to train and bond with this *animal* . . .

What? The Guzzi is like a living, breathing, thinking animal? Compared to common machinery? Yes.

We would not be the first to suppose such thinking . . .

"A skittish motor-bike with a touch of blood in it is better than all the riding animals on earth, because of its logical extension of our faculties, and the hint, the provocation, to excess conferred by its honeyed untiring smoothness. Because Boa loves me, he gives me five more miles of speed than a stranger would get from him."

– T. E. Lawrence

 

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Good to see the Lawrence quote. +1 on the "quirkiness" being a desirable trait. I  relived the Brough vs. Brisfit moment about a decade ago rolling towards Mid-Ohio. An ultralight was buzzing beside me and waved before peeling off.  I like to think that it was Neil Armstrong, since it was near Wapokoneta. (Sp?)

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The 'fits and niggles' of our era Guzzi are a result of an old world motor co being kept on life support by passionate Italian folk who simply refused to let it die. Guzzi was a normal competitive motorcycle co. and relative equal in the moto world till the CB750 emerged in '69. A day of reckoning for every other brand as well. It was up to the "driven" players and the bean counters to make necessary changes (if the money was there) or let your marque die. So think of it from the business decisions made at the time while many other brands went by the wayside, Guzzi moved ahead with what they had. An old motor they couldn't afford to replace, and the desire to build and sell bikes. They spent what they could on what they felt was a priority. Internationally, police motorcycles kept a cash flow. Dr John Wittner gave them the public performance injection needed at just the right time. Sure there were other models available but the spine frames were what kept the marque moving forward technically, at a pretty dark time.

When I look at the stupid wiring or bicycle grade gauges, or sub standard castings, or obvious afterthought arrangements, I see acceptable loss when all that mattered was a price point that had to be reached. I see passion and patriotism, and love. I don't get the feeling they were cheating in any way to just make money. (C'mon, you know nylon is not what designers preferred for gas tanks) What we're left with is the answer to a math problem several decades old. The sooner you think of your bike as the Italians had to to just get her produced and to market, the sooner you can learn to have a glass of wine and just enjoy the relationship. Just change what they could not.

To me 'strange and quirky'.. are, for my Guzzi, terms of endearment.... like... "my girlfriend is crazy" but you should meet her, and you'll see everything about her is not "standard."

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     I don't know if quirky is appropriate, I would reserve that to describe the traits on some of the UJM's I've had, my Suzuki DL1000 VStrom had hours worth of tupperware to remove just to see what had to be removed to do a valve adjustment; all held together with magical rubiks cube plastic fasteners that only divulged the magic password after you broke a few. The top notch engineers at Suzuki after much design work and testing, determined that Oxygen was the best material for the seat for the hydraulic clutch seal, now that's Quirky, but I digress   :homer:

 

     Guzzis at the core, are pretty straight forward, simple engineering, that reward hands on involved ownership.

     If every time a valve cover leaks, the sump drips a bit of oil, the side stand bolt loosens, the grounds get corroded, you want to make a run ro a dealer to fix the peripheral nigglies, I think you're setting yourself up for a world of heartache.

     For that matter, just trying to find a dealer can be an exercise in frustration , let alone find one that can do quality work. :rasta:

     Guzzis reward what you put into them imo, I've never felt that planted on pavement on any other brand, the engine powerband has a character that works well in the real world.

     I will admit to having more of a fondness for the flowing gracefulness of the Tonti framed bikes, you can tell when you work on a Spine frame that they evolved on a race track, added brace, changed this or that, bolted together here there and everywhere, it's quite the collection of fastenings, brackets and bits.:2c:

     fwiw ymmv

     

     

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59 minutes ago, footgoose said:

The 'fits and niggles' of our era Guzzi are a result of an old world motor co being kept on life support by passionate Italian folk who simply refused to let it die. Guzzi was a normal competitive motorcycle co. and relative equal in the moto world till the CB750 emerged in '69. A day of reckoning for every other brand as well. It was up to the "driven" players and the bean counters to make necessary changes (if the money was there) or let your marque die. So think of it from the business decisions made at the time while many other brands went by the wayside, Guzzi moved ahead with what they had. An old motor they couldn't afford to replace, and the desire to build and sell bikes. They spent what they could on what they felt was a priority. Internationally, police motorcycles kept a cash flow. Dr John Wittner gave them the public performance injection needed at just the right time. Sure there were other models available but the spine frames were what kept the marque moving forward technically, at a pretty dark time.

When I look at the stupid wiring or bicycle grade gauges, or sub standard castings, or obvious afterthought arrangements, I see acceptable loss when all that mattered was a price point that had to be reached. I see passion and patriotism, and love. I don't get the feeling they were cheating in any way to just make money. (C'mon, you know nylon is not what designers preferred for gas tanks) What we're left with is the answer to a math problem several decades old. The sooner you think of your bike as the Italians had to to just get her produced and to market, the sooner you can learn to have a glass of wine and just enjoy the relationship. Just change what they could not.

To me 'strange and quirky'.. are, for my Guzzi, terms of endearment.... like... "my girlfriend is crazy" but you should meet her, and you'll see everything about her is not "standard."

I totally get it about Guzzis now that I have one. I really "get" it.

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