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Breva 1100
Moto Guzzi
Breva 1100 Ownership
Wednesday, 10 August 2005
Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 Update
Mood:  happy
Topic: Breva 1100

Now in to my fourth week of ownership and 1500 miles covered. So officially ‘run in’ but I am still being a little restrained most of the time and still slowly working up to the ‘red line’ only intermittently playing with the higher revs. The bike continues to enthuse and impress me, and many others. Friend’s keep spotting ‘nice little touches’ they hadn’t before such as the Guzzi badge in the rear light cluster.

One thing I didn’t think to mention with my initial impressions is the quietness of the engine. Only occurred to me the other day just how quiet the engine is, no valve clatter or tappet noise – as quiet as a Japanese machine, which of course many Guzzi owners will bemoan – but not me.

The engine continues to become increasingly free and smooth. There is very occasionally what seems like a bit of hesitation on acceleration but I wouldn’t describe it as any form of ‘flat spot’ – in fact I might just be imagining it.

My panniers finally arrived just yesterday and I fitted them last night. First pleasant surprise was what they contained. I had read of ‘cloth’ linings and thought this meant that the inside of the panniers were lined? In fact what was meant was that the panniers came with a pair of removable inner bags. Neat shoulder bag types with the Moto Guzzi logo. As useful as they undoubtedly are I had never bothered with my BM panniers as they were an extra and not cheap at around ?80! So again impressed! The panniers themselves look smaller than the more bulbous BMW ones I had previously and don’t look big enough to take a full-face helmet but do. I like them, very neat and stylish. The little Guzzi emblem that forms part of the side protectors would look better in the red to match those on the bike – but that’s a personal thing and many others would think it perhaps overkill.
Fitting was not a great problem and for once the accompanying instructions quite useful. I did seem to be ‘two bolts short of a pannier set’ but found some stainless allen bolts which did the job perfectly. I made one minor mistake when fitting them. The lower locking mechanism, which locate on each footrest hanger come complete with anti theft bolts (the type which at the specified torque snap of their heads). Presumably without these it is possible to unbolt them and take off the panniers. I was in two minds about fitting them but decided I would and stupidly also decided I would use one for the tax disc holder (yes I know it’s meant to be at the front of the bike but there was nowhere I didn’t feel looked unsightly) and when the head duly snapped off I realised I couldn’t remove the tax disc holder. Given that these invariably rust and become a mess I can’t now remove it! I’ve already thought of how I can solve this when the time comes so not a big drama – more an indication of my rapidly declining cognitive abilities! The silencer also has to be lowered just over an inch. Not enough to affect ground clearance but the plate to accomplish this looks rather cheap and a little shoddy so I may polish it or have it chromed. The hardest job of all was removing the rear exhaust rubber stop from the centre stand as this is replaced by a smaller one because of the lowering of the silencer.

The panniers need a little adjustment before everything is finally tightened but basically an easy job. The upper rails fit very neatly, and with the panniers off don’t look out of place. The lower locking points are hardly graceful but okay. The third element I am not so happy with. This comprises a steadying bar attached to the rear
mudguard and help to support the panniers at the bottom rear. They rather spoil the overall look of the bike with the panniers are off and I don’t like them. To me they look rather superfluous as well and I suspect it won’t be too long, as the panniers
appear no less rock solid without them that I try without? We’ll see. Once I’d read the instructions properly – duh!! – I found that the panniers locate on and come off very smoothly and easily and the opening and shutting mechanism is a breeze. I’ve used them a few times now – for the sake of using them rather from need I must admit - and find them un-intrusive, very well sealed and definitely up to the job.

The ONLY disappointment so far is the dis-colourisation of the down pipes. I’d
noticed on the two demonstrators I’d seen that this was an issue and now mine is noticeably and rapidly becoming as bad. I am not talking about the ‘bluing and bronzing’ of the stainless – that I don’t mind. What I am not impressed with is the ‘liver spot’ rusting effect that is really starting to take hold and looks very unsightly and really spoils the look of the bike. The bike has yet to see rain in the good weather we’ve been having so that is not a factor. The stainless system on my BM never had this problem and after 60000+ miles still looked pretty good. I’ve not paid a lot of attention to more recent Guzzis I must admit so am unsure if this is a common outcome? Any remedies?

Just discovered a few new facts about the Breva. It is practically impossible to put on centre stand with a flat rear tyre!!! Out on a run yesterday evening and it felt like the bike was running rough. Tickover seemed erratic and engine didn't feel right?? Went another half mile or so and suspected front end puncture as front end felt odd. Turned out when I stopped rear tyre was going down. Managed to ride to a nearby garage by which time the tyre was practically flat. Tried pumping it up and the air was coming out as quickly as going in and found a large round hole which the air was fair whistling out of. Fortunately, had my old BM tubeless tyre repair kit. Unfortunately, didn't have a clue how to use it, Fortunately, had an instruction sheet with it. Unfortunately,didn't have my glasses to read the very small print in the fading light - but we got there eventually and limped home. So 1700 miles and more expense - new tyre if not repairable (and even then never used a repaired tyre - not sure if I want to?)!! Also haven't a clue on the torque setting for the rear wheel bolts - in fact until tomorrow night, haven't a clue how the wheel is attached!! Yes, had checked the tyre before setting off. I suspect whatever caused the puncture had happened just minutes before I realised something wasn't right.

Update - wheel off, as you'd expect an easy operation. Worked out the torque setting by trial and error. As silencer and wheel come off so easily I'll probably do in future so as part of more detailed cleaning regime as some parts at rear not easy to get to. Wheel is definitely much, much lighter than the rear wheel from the BMW I had before.

David Owen Davies

Posted by breva1100 at 5:09 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005 3:28 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 9 August 2005
Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 Ownership Part II
Mood:  happy

SETTING THE SCENE: I am a long time Guzzi owner. A Monza, several V50’s, a Le Mans and quite a number of other models ridden over the years. Conservative estimate at least 200 000 miles. The ‘fragile’ Monza alone covered 110 000, ‘okay
hardly trouble free’ miles. A long-term owner then and someone entering new Moto Guzzi ownership with eyes wide open. However, I have not actually ridden any Moto Guzzi model built post 1983, so have no first hand experience of more ‘modern’ models.

In 1997 I was on the look out for a new machine and would have loved another Guzzi but none of the then current models appealed. Liked the look of some of the ‘sports’ models but didn’t want a ‘sports’ bike, the cruisers had never appealed. I turned traitor and bought a nearly new ‘demo’ BMW R850R. That I’ve kept until now and covered 60 000 totally trouble free miles on. The BM’ did everything I wanted in a polished manner but in truth I never really bonded with it and was never inspired by it.

Liked the look of the Breva the first time I saw it. Travelled to the first NEC showing hoping to get a sit on one – being short in the leg many kicked up rear modern bikes are beyond my little legs! Unfortunately, weren’t allowed of course to sit on the bikes.

So have been avidly reading of the bike’s progress and awaiting a chance to try one out. Eventually got to do so only at the end of May and was pleased to find getting on was no problem and that surprisingly the 800mm seat height was also not a problem – although the BM 800mm highest seat option was unusable. Odd one that as the seats have much the same width, presume it’s the width of the frame/engine etc that makes the difference. I had expected to need the lower seat option but didn’t. However, I might consider one for extra security when I know I’m taking a passenger.

To cut a short story shorter a very favourable p/x was done on the BM (and I retained a number of additions which I sold as well, bringing the p/x total up very nicely – thank you Ebay). The bike was promised for the 4th of June but materialised on the 11th. Light showers turned to heavy rain as I went to collect but an obviously good omen was that by the time the paperwork was done and I was ready to ride off, the sun was shining and the roads dry.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Echoed by many people who have viewed the Breva, the bike looks even better, by a country mile, in the tin and plastic and pictures don’t do it justice. The red is a typical Guzzi red and not as pale as most pictures show it.

The attention to detail is second to none – very impressive. Many Japanese sports bike riding friends have been genuinely impressed with the Breva. Controls well laid out and easily adjustable for lever span and positioning of gear and brake lever arms (through an eccentric cam) – although would like more adjustment of the height of the
actual foot control levers (may well be possible but I haven’t explored enough as yet). Comfortable for me at 5’ 6” ‘ ish’, comfortable reach to the bars and foot rests. Initially firm but comfortable seat. Furthest single non-stop journey I’ve completed so far I must admit is only around 80 miles but I have done one 200+ mile day and felt
fresh after. This is being written 10 days in to ownership, having completed 650 miles and the bike down at the dealers for it’s ‘running in’ service. Hadn’t realised came with immobiliser which is very nice and was unaware had power socket like the BM.
Different fitting though and I am unsure as yet whether I can use it to monitor/trickle charge battery as I did with the BM? Anybody know?

PERFORMANCE: Obviously, can’t say a great deal as I am still in the ‘running in’ process so can’t comment on what the bike will be once run in fully. As read in the more knowledgeable road tests the Breva is already obviously more ‘revvy’ than
Guzzi’s of my experience the initial 5000 rpm limit equates to around 80 in top, seem to recall that would be more like 4000 rpm on the old 850 Le Mans. So not a huge difference. Currently feels less flexible than my old Le Mans engine in higher gears – but may be proven wrong once I can use the performance properly.

GEARBOX: One thing I can certainly comment on and something that has had many a comment so far, is the gearbox which is a huge improvement on any Moto Guzzi I’ve ridden before. The clutch is light – although as perverse as many might see this
not any lighter than my old Le Mans – I never had a problem with that always felt it was light! The drop in to first is still noticeably clunky but thereafter very smooth. Not perfect – the 650cc Suzuki Bandit I have been loaned while my bike is being serviced is better. Rather off the point but I was pondering last night riding home on the Bandit about vibration. Road tests on Guzzis’ always pass comment on the vibration and the Breva with rubber - mounted engine likewise receives comment. What I pondered was the vibration on the Bandit – high revs tingling, not that intrusive but potentially annoying. Give me a Guzzi buzz any day.

SUSPENSION: Multi adjustable but I haven’t touched it as yet. Even on the hardest setting with which it arrived all seems very good. Bumps are soaked up. Much better than the rear suspension on the BM even when new and not worn as it was when I
parted with it. The back end certainly doesn’t kick up anywhere near as obviously as on previous models I’ve ridden. Obviously more noticeable dive under braking compared to the BM but nothing unusual or disconcerting

HANDLING: Again comments tempered by ‘running in’ and mileage covered but
very solid and fun. Definite impression so far that the Breva is looking up at me at every corner and saying, ‘what are you playing at? Drop it in…’ Typical Guzzi sure footed and planted. Impressive. More manoeuvrable and steady at low speeds than the
BM with it’s higher set bars.

ACCESSORIES: Fitted the Guzzi screen, neat and tidy. Easy to fit and better I feel than the BMW one I had on my R850R. Seems effective too, but again restricted speeds as yet. Panniers included in the deal but not yet received. So only comment I
can make is that they look go on the ones I’ve seen on demonstrators but don’t really the rear support – a thin piece of metal tube which rather spoils the lines a little when the panniers aren’t fitted.

COMPUTER: Fun (especially the ‘Blackpool illuminations’ start up), impressive, easy to set up but for me just a novelty really. Not very accurate either I suspect. The average fuel consumption figure is quite a bit less than it should be when the sums are done from the trip and fuel quantity. Also a little difficult to read as light fades and the full effect of the back-lights aren’t seen.

FUEL CONSUMPTION/TANK RANGE: Again, comments restricted by ‘running in process’. Fuel consumption is steadily improving as the miles are clocked up. Bearing in mind previous comments about the computer – the current, but improving, fuel
consumption is around 42mpg on the computer and more like 46mpg on the calculator! This has improved from initial figures of 35/36 on the computer.This is with exaggeratedly frequent use of the gearbox to avoid the engine labouring. The
fuel gauge on my bike is also inaccurate in that whenever I fill the tank the gauge never shows completely full, it always shows at least a segment empty (sorry writing this without the bike to refer to forgotten what fraction each increment is). Very easy to over-fill the tank too! With the design of the BM tank a few extra litres could be put in when seemingly full. Assuming the Guzzi would be the same as similar, if not so extreme, tank shape I tried but very quickly the fuel was poring out of the breather, potentially over the rear tyre. Basically just fill to lip of orifice

: Put it like this. The BM I had for 8 absolutely trouble free years and it did everything I wanted it to. However, I would ride it, put it away and forget about it. I have experience of the 1150R direct opponent. I toured the West Coast of the USA for a month and 6500 miles on one. Liked it but didn’t consider buying one. Afraid with the Breva I’ve become a little kid again. I ride the bike with a big grin on my face loving every minute of it and park it up in the garage and rush in to the house to make a coffee and a sandwich and rush back out to the garage to sit looking at it slowly moving around every angle. I’m smitten!!!

IN TRUTH: this was written some time ago and I've now covered nearly 3000 trouble free miles and will update this in the next few days.

Posted by breva1100 at 2:27 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005 3:29 AM EDT
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