What bikes are we going to go on?

It’s only a short question. A mere 8 words. But it’s the question that has been zooming around and around in my brain, and the longer that it doesn’t get answered then the more insistent that it is becoming.

We have been racking our and friend’s brains, looking at manufacturer’s web sites, scouring bike magazines and most recently visiting bike shops and arranging test rides.

A friend has a Yamaha Tenere 660 which is a solid proven bike that has the Yamaha lowering kit fitted, but I can still only barely touch the floor so it’s out.

Tony with the BMW Adventure

Benhams BMW in Wolverhampton were very helpful and we test rode their new Gs1200 and Gs1200 Adventure. The Adventure has all of the mods that we could need and has a gigantic petrol tank so fuel range would never be a problem. On the road it felt rock solid and dependable, was great to ride too, but again it’s quite tall. Touratech do make a lowered seat which would address that…however…it’s very heavy – 259kg and that’s without any luggage! Wheeling it around was difficult enough on tarmac. Sarah didn’t know if she could cope with pushing it on grass, let alone mud or sand, and seriously doubted that when fully loaded she could pick it up. I had to agree.

Pure Triumph in Birmingham were also keen to help and answered loads of questions whilst letting us sit on several bikes. We took the Triumph Scrambler out and both liked it, but we both agreed that we would have to change the high level exhaust pipes as they get hot and felt in the way. It has an optional main stand and bash plate, but is still quite heavy at 230kg.

Speedaway motorcycles in Blackheath let us ride the Moto Guzzi V7 classic. Now I have to be honest here, I have a soft spot for Guzzis. I have been riding them for years and, having bought a couple as projects and totally rebuilt them, I know them quite well. I knew that I would love the little 750. Pretty, nimble, sure-footed, practical, low seat height, shaft drive, easy to work on, economical, etcetera….I could go on and on…But I didn’t want to be selfish and push Sarah down the Guzzi route unless she was convinced that she would enjoy riding them too.

She set off and I waited with bated breath. Would she like its character or hate its idiosyncrasies? I waited some more but no Sarah on the little Guzzi. The guy who had booked the next test ride slot turned up a little early and still no Sarah. Then I heard that unmistakable V twin exhaust and there she was,

That was fun!

with a great big grin on her face. She had been enjoying herself so much that she had missed a sign and got lost in an unfamiliar area. I was chuffed to bits. She liked the Guzzi. Big Grin.

We went away and have been thinking about it, after all buying 2 new bikes is not something that either of us has done before. In fact I’ve only ever had one new bike and Sarah has only bought second-hand till now.  However we have decided that we are going to go for the little Moto Guzzi, something that I am very pleased about.

So why the Guzzi then?

It is big enough and powerful enough to cope with big roads, luggage and the miles that we are going to do. It is also small enough that we can get our feet down easily so we will be less likely to drop it when the tarmac runs out. Also the light dry weight of 182kg is going to make picking it up after dropping it, and getting it into things like hotel lobbies for secure parking much easier.

Another major bonus is that I know Guzzi’s quite well and what goes wrong with them. The V7 is very similar to my 30 year old V50 and so I have no worries about doing any mechanical work on them. The V twin design means that you can even adjust the tappets without taking the petrol tank off. Guzzi’s are also quite robust and if anything over-engineered.

As they are road bikes we are going to have to make some modifications, but there is a factory option main stand and the standard fuel tank should be okay – at 17 litres it should give a decent range because the V7 is quite economical.

Lots of thinking, planning and sorting to still do, but I’m really glad that we have picked our bikes, and that it’s the lovely little Moto Guzzi.