Moto Guzzi ups the ante in the cruiser segment with its new California 1400 Custom featuring a larger 1380cc V-Twin, traction control, variable engine maps, standard cruise control and a ride-by-wire engine management system.
“A new standard in handling, comfort and technology is coming to the cruiser market…”
So declared Moto Guzzi on the eve of releasing its California 1400 Touring and California 1400 Custom to fans at the 2012 EICMA in Milan. The striking new cruiser motorcycle has a two-tone black and white seat and pinstriped tank that harks back to the model’s 1971 debut. What its predecessor didn’t have is a ride-by-wire throttle, ABS, traction control and standard cruise control.
Moto Guzzi worked hard to revamp one of the most popular models in its lineup, injecting it with advanced electronics and rider aids in a segment where other manufacturers don’t. The new Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring and Custom models are assembled by hand in the Mandello del Lario plant, lending even more to its mystique and adding to the cruiser’s allure.
At the heart of the Moto Guzzi California 1400 is an air/oil cooled, transverse 90-degree V-Twin with a healthy 4.09-inch bore plunging at the same 3.19-inch stroke as its 1151cc predecessor. Performance numbers of the larger 1380cc Moto Guzzi powerplant are claimed to be 96 hp @ 6500 rpm and 89 lb-ft of torque @ 2750 rpm. The Moto Guzzi California 1400 is equipped with a ride-by-wire system, another first for a Guzzi cruiser. So are the three engine maps riders can toggle through, Tourismo (Touring), Veloce (Fast) and Bagnato (Wet), which allows manual modification of torque output and engine braking depending on riding conditions. Power will be pushed to the rear wheel via a shaft drive mated to a six-speed gear box.
Moto Guzzi heralds its new 1380cc V-Twin as the “Elastic Engine,” the new mounting system aimed to stem the vibrations of the former California powerplant.
“The innovation, introduced to obtain a new standard in terms of riding, consists in fitting the powertrain to the frame by means of an exclusive elastic-kinematic supports system made up of a front rocker, two side rockers and a series of rubber dampeners which allow the engine to shake around its own center of gravity, filtering out all the vibrations preventing them from being transmitted to the bike and the places where the rider and passenger come into contact with it,” said Moto Guzzi PR.
Moto Guzzi states the California 1400 will have a “sports tuned chassis.” The double cradle frame has a 46mm fork set out at a 32-degree rake angle. Suspension duties on the rear will be handled by a pair of preload adjustable shock absorbers. Its wheelbase has been increased in comparison to the California 90 (1685mm to 1560mm) while its backside sports a generous 200mm tire.
The new California 1400 is also the first cruiser we can recall equipped with traction control. The Moto Guzzi Traction Control has three different settings, the system constantly regulating rear wheel spin in relation to throttle openings in varying road conditions. The California 1400 features another first for Moto Guzzi, standard cruise control, operated via controls housed on the right hand side of the new ‘bullhorn handlebar.’
Even the headlamps on the Moto Guzzi California 1400 are a step up from previous models. The new polygon-shaped headlamp makes the California 1400 the first “custom in the world with a headlight assembly equipped with LED DRL daylight running lights, like the system used on late model cars,” according to Moto Guzzi.
The Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring version has small, hard, color-matched 35 liter saddlebags, a medium-sized ‘Patrol’ windscreen, standard cruise control, highway bars, and auxiliary lights. It also has an attractive two-tone saddle and a cool black and white paint scheme on the tank inspired by old California Highway Patrol Moto Guzzis. The California 1400 Custom gets a different seat, lower drag-style bars, and different rear shocks with external reservoirs. Moto Guzzi already has a list of aftermarket accessories for the line, from slip-on exhausts to leather panniers.