My First Moto Guzzi
My First Moto Guzzi
When I was a child, I was always fascinated with cars and motorcycles. I suppose most boys are, but I was obsessed with these motor vehicles to some degree. I really started to get the itch for a motorcycle at the age of 14, when most of my friends had dirt bikes, so of course I had to get one too. I shoveled snow, did yard work, washed cars and anything else a kid could do to earn money at that age. Then came the day when I had sufficient funds to purchase my first bike. It was a Kawasaki 90 dirt bike and although it was pre-owned and wasn't much to look at, it was my first motorcycle and enough to satisfy my appetite at the time. I rode it for a couple of years in the woods and illegally in the street, until I sold it and bought my first car. I was without a bike for about a year, when I started to get that yearning for two wheels again, so I did the sensible thing and went shopping for a decent beginners motorcycle. I settled on a new 1980 Kawasaki 440 LTD, but soon got bored with that, so I sold it and bought a 1981 Harley Davidson Roadster 1000. What I really liked about this bike was that it felt like a REAL motorcycle with SOUL! Being that I lived in the city and didn't need a car, I sold the four wheeled cage and the Roadster became my only method of motorized travel.
As most of you well know, man does not live by bread alone. Not even by motorcycles alone, for that matter! Cupid shot his arrow in to me and before long I was married with a child and the Roadster wasn't fulfilling my families transportation needs, so I traded it in for a car. I regretted it very much, but didn't have any choice at the time. Anyway, I figured motorcycling was probably just a phase I went through and that a family man didn't need to be riding in to the sunset on two wheels.
Guess again! After two years of being cycle-less, I realized that this wasn't an adolescent phase and simply my lifelong passion, so I got the blessing from my wife and went out searching for another bike. I bought a 1985 Yamaha Maxim 700, which wasn't a bad bike at the time for the money. I put a fair amount of mileage on it, but felt I needed something bigger and a little sportier, as my riding was transforming in to touring. I traded the Maxim in for a 1989 Yamaha FJ 1200. I rode that bike a couple of times from Philadelphia to Florida, non-stop. I only wish I had the records to prove it, so I could get some "Iron Butt" credit. Great bike, but my taste for something even a little sportier led me to a 1992 Kawasaki ZX-11. I jetted the carbs, changed the exhaust, polished the frame and swing arm, put a Corbin seat on the beast and she looked, ran and sounded great. I rode this mammoth for eight years and loved everything about it, save one. It had NO SOUL! So I sold it and began my next adventure.
I went out looking for a motorcycle to end all searching. A bike that I would want to keep and not want to part with. I wanted something a bit less generic, if you know what I mean! Of course, there aren't too many options in this endeavor. There was Harley, but I'd been there, done that and they weren't sporty enough for my tastes. Besides, I wanted some performance as well! The only other option was to check out what the Italian manufacturers had to offer. I looked at some Ducati's and was almost ready to buy, until I went to The Spare Parts Company in Philadelphia to look at Laverda's and Moto Guzzi's. I saw a silver Moto Guzzi V11 Sport that met all of my requirements. It was sporty, but didn't have the engine hidden in plastic and it DEFINITELY had SOUL! For the next few days, all I did was talk about the V11 Sport and gaze at the brochure. I returned to the shop with my wife to get her nod of approval and to her amazement, my eyes were glued on a green framed 1993 1000 S that had just been traded in. BINGO, I had FOUND what I was looking for! For me, this bike had everything the V11 Sport had with the addition of retro styling. I was truly smitten! My wife and I went home and discussed the purchase of this motorcycle.......well, I talked, she listened and then gave the thumbs up, so I became the owner of this much sought after machine. I have never felt so strongly towards a motorcycle, as I have with the 1000 S. And besides being a beautiful bike, it's an absolute blast to ride. Since I've owned it, I've put a Bub exhaust system on, installed individual K&N filters, had Sargents make me a solo seat, replaced the turn signals and added some polished aluminum bits to make it sparkle a little more. And it all paid off! I was pleasantly surprised when I received 1st place "Best of Show," while attending my first Moto Guzzi event in 2001 at the MGNA Open House in Angiers, North Carolina.
I loved the ride and feel of my 1000 S so much that I decided I needed a second Guzzi in my garage, so with a little negotiating, I purchased a yellow 1997 Sport 1100i. It was almost a year to the day, that I bought my first Italian beauty and although the Sport is nearly perfect in every way, I did make a few changes from the stock "set-up." First, I installed Heli bar "clip ons," which were an absolute must for high mileage rides and then replaced the stock airbox with individual K&N's along with a Staintune stainless exhaust system for a little added horsepower.
I have nearly as much fun personalizing my bikes as I do riding them. So now that my Guzzi's are set up the way I want and there's nothing more I can do to customize them, I guess I'll have to decide which Guzzi to buy next!