A charming Italian cruiser

The Moto Guzzi California has always been quirky and peculiar, says Don Williams on Ultimatemotorcycling.com. Its idiosyncrasies and classic styling make it stand out in the world of cruisers. But the new 1400 Custom model is a huge improvement over its predecessors.

The engine has bumped up peak output by 24 horsepower, and you can really feel it at the high revs. Take it for a ride and it’s hard not to become a fan.

The bike has buckets of charm, and is a “big, softly sprung machine with a gentle personality that is rather at odds with its muscular appearance”, says Roland Brown in The Daily Telegraph.

It’s also beautifully finished with thick paintwork and chrome, and the performance is strong, with acceleration “always available at the twist of the throttle”. Despite the long wheelbase, it handles soundly too, even around town, and the braking is powerful.

The price is relatively high at £14,732. That puts the bike up against some desirable opposition, from Harley-Davidson in particular. Its performance and quality levels are competitive, however, and it’s hard not to appreciate the California Custom’s uniquely Italian V-twin style and character.

The California 1400 Custom was our bike of the year for 2013, and long-term testing shows our instincts weren’t wrong, says Motorcycledaily.com. This bike is “something very special”.

Engine: 1,380cc, four-stroke V-twin
Price: £14,732
Power: 96bhp @ 6,500rpm
Torque: 88lb ft @ 2,750rpm
Top speed: 125mph
Range: 180 miles @ 45mpg

Merryn

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