Moto Guzzi V7 Racer
It’s true, I love any bike with two wheels, and even more so if it has a motor. When I was invited to take out the new 2013 Motoguzzi v7 racer with the Record Kit, it was no surprise that I said “YES.” My plan was to take my girlfriend, Tori Tuesday, down to LA to ride motorcycles around and see the opening of Ray Gordon’s “Throttled photo show”. The plan was basic: get the bike and fill in the four days with spontaneous fun events. Playing it by ear, contrary to my daily home routine. This is where I admit sometimes I let my excitement take charge, leaving out major details.
For one, the bike is a one-seater, not a two-seater – not good for two people, only good for one. A detail Tori and everyone else thought about but me. Luckily our pals at Deus Ex Machina had an extra bike for Tori. Thanks guys! This was actually a plus, because Tori is a great rider and it was fun to get to do some riding with her.
Another important detail I forgot was to find places to stay with indoor parking. Not ideal to leave 1 of 1 made bikes out in the open overnight for others to play with. Grant Ray, true gentleman that he is, put us up for two nights and gave the one-of-a-kind Guzzi a cozy little spot next to his bike.
The first thing we had to do is see our friends at Deus Ex Machina, a coffee and motorcycle shop not too dissimilar to our own shop, See See Motorcycles. We took the full tour of Deus, from the wonder machines coming out of Woolie’s Workshop to the amazing retail store. Deus really snagged my attention with the amazing collection of vintage skateboards on display.
With a few of the major details sorted, we spent our first day taking the long way to El Mirage dry lake bed for some speed trials. Just like any good motor ride, the trip is every part as much as the destination. We traveled over Angeles Crest, an amazing 55-mile stretch of back to back corners.
Our crew was Grant Ray, Neven, Matt Caputo, Tori Tuesday and myself. When asked if we were up for the 300+ mile ride, I told Grant I feel most happy riding a motorcycle and that I had no agenda. Hundreds of amazing sweeping corners later we crested the peaks. We spent the rest of the afternoon making our way down the east side of the mountains, treading our way through patches of black ice and gravel. Down in the valley we had about an hour of daylight. We arrived at El Mirage at dusk and it was full throttle right out of the gate. I was putting the Guzzi’s new high-flo head to work. 100-105-110… mph. It was one of those rare life moments where the rest of the world sat still and let us do whatever we wanted. Wheelies, burnouts, 110 mph – whatever!
Dusk fell to night and we made our way off the dry lake bed and headed back towards LA. Neven had picked up an unwanted hitchhiker, a nail that found its way into his rear tire. Luckily we found an open cycle shop 13 miles away. Neven, the happy lad that he is, asked, “Can you ride a motorcycle with a flat?” Experience has learned me not only can you ride with a flat you can race with one. The flat isn’t going to get any flatter. Neven rode conservatively for a mile or so before he realized going 40-50 made it slightly easier and just a little sketchier. We changed the world’s grimiest tire and headed back to LA LA Land.
Day 2 we had high hopes of going to the Mooneyes Christmas Drags, heading over to Trico and eventually ending up at Ray Gordon’s “Throttled.” What actually transpired was a leisurely jaunt down the 101 to the R&R Gallery where “Throttled” was to take place later that eve. Arriving early to the show we got to see four grown men unload the longest pink CB750 chopper in the world. Another gent showed up with a bike that looked like it had pulled itself out of a grave like a zombie. The owner spent a good half hour trying to fire the beast up. The first couple kicks I was hopeful but got sidetracked when Sean Duggan’s 1929 HD rolled up like an angry dragon spitting grease, oil, and dirt. It was one of last year’s Cannonball runners, completing the coast to coast and adding an extra 400 miles to the trip. What a bike!
I snuck the Guzzi into the show and parked it smack dab in the middle, hoping people noticed the fine craftsmanship of this beautiful bike. Although it was by far the newest bike in the show it was a topic of conversation as it had never before been seen. The start of the show rolled around, people started filtering in and enjoying the amazing photography of Ray Gordon and insane custom bikes from around the LA area. It was a great party and the crowd was cool. A few of the familiar faces: Grant Ray from HFL.com, Stephan Wigland from Deus, Stacie B. London and the ESMB, Dave England from Jackass, and many more.
The next day we headed north to Ventura to see the 9th annual David Mann Chopper Fest. A much-needed pit stop at In-out food service and we were revving our engines with the best of ‘em outside Chopper Fest. With $5 for parking and $15 for entry, it was taking its toll on my wallet. It made me feel proud to offer free attendance and parking not to mention $1.00 beers at our show, The One Motorcycle Show (nice plug;)
The show was good; my picks for best bike were the reverse-head Triumph built by Dalton Walker, the high-piped shiny red Knuckle Head, and the Kawi triple called “Dirt Nap.”
The scene was pretty much as expected: 1-percenters, tattoo contests, families, a few vendors, and some of the best bikes in Southern California.
We spent around an hour snapping some pictures before we were told the show was over at 3?
Next stop was Dave England’s compound. Dave England, mostly known for his antics in Jackass, is one of the best people I know. His compound is chock-full of fun. Quads, mini bikes, electric dirt bikes, dune buggies, you name it, he has it. Every time I see Dave I try to wheelie everything he has.
The next morning we convinced Dave to pull his bike out and go for a little ride – after all, it was 72 degrees, sunny and some of California’s best roads were right down the street. We decided on a place up in the hills with a waterfall. Dave had just bought a ridiculously awesome jacket because “it was on sale!” If nothing else, he was highly visible and unmistakable. Tori and her casual riding style never ceases to amaze me: it’s like she is barely trying yet she is smooth and fast through all the corners. If you ask her she just chalks it up as going for a leisurely cruise.
As we raced up the canyon I was critiquing everything about the Guzzi. It all came together. This bike, just like its styling tells you, is the modern-day Cafe’ bike. Stripped down, speedy but not a race bike, sleek looking, and pure. It had almost 100 years of motorcycle history behind it. Like most things I enjoy, it was classic to the core. Even the shaft-drive I took much liking to, realizing that it provided the 50 or so horses behind the v-twin 750, making for a nice non-jerky ride through the corners. The bike was stable and comfortable at double the suggested speed of any corner. It was all coming together in my mind: I was becoming a “Guzzi guy.”
We arrived at the waterfalls all smiling after the most enjoyable ride up the 30-mile canyon. The waterfall was a small stream trickling down the mountainside. At the bottom was a small hole where Dave with no hesitation climbed right in. He yelled out, “It’s big inside you should come in.” I was a little skeptical but went in. It was cool inside the cave but the week before I’d watched “Prometheus.” So comfort was low. After Dave cut the cheese I hit my tolerance and pushed my way out. We headed back down to “rancho de fun,” ripped around the back yard with Ruby and Roan England, Dave’s two amazing kids. Tori, Ruby and I did a three-person wheelie across the entire back yard on quadzilla. Definitely my first three-person quad wheelie.
That night we shared pictures and stories from the last three days, showing Dave and fam the endless beauty pics of the Guzzi and stories of our trip.
The last day of our adventure we slowly made it south down the 1. Nothing like the last three days, but we did stop at a small deserted beach to soak up a little bit more sun before we headed back to the rainy Northwest.
I kept thinking about how much fun I squeezed out of the MotoGuzzi v7 Racer with the Record Kit and wondered if others who might get the chance to borrow that bike would do the same. I felt in some way I had made a new friend and just like always reconfirmed how much I love motorcycles. My general feeling for the Guzzi is that it has a relevant place: providing the rider with a stylish, classic, and fun riding experience. It has the best tank paint job of all time (chrome), the power is sufficient, it will accelerate fast enough, it’s not a track bike but it will hold its own comparatively. It’s the kind of bike that more people should ride and enjoy.
Thanks Motoguzzi for letting me play, I dig your style. Guzzi Uzi you deserve the See See happy face of approval.