At the conclusion of our comparo, the Rockster emerged as the clear-cut winner. BMW packed the refinement and finish of its high-end sport-tourers into a compact, fun-to-ride machine. The end result is a phenomenal bike that allows the Ward Cleavers of the world to don their leathers and pretend they’re a hooligan for the day. With a MSRP of $10,790 ($12,990 with ABS), the Rockster undercuts the Ballabio by $200, making it relatively affordable compared to the rest of the BMW lineup.
Although the Guzzi comes up short when compared to the BMW, there’s little question the Italian manufacturer is stepping up the performance of its lineup. With a little more refinement, there’s a chance the Ballabio could compete with its old Italian rivals at Ducati in the Monster-type naked sportbike class. With a base price of $10,990, the Ballabio is a competitively priced machine to begin with, but Guzzi has sweetened the deal by offering up 24-hour road side assistance for all 2004 models.
If you’re looking for a bike that will turn heads with European exclusivity and panache and let you hang with your buddies in the twisties, either of these two bikes will pull double duty: Who knew BMW and Guzzi could look and act so mean?
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