My Breva photo album can be found at:
The writing appeared on the wall for my BM'
back in 2003 when pictures started appearing of the new Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 model and were further hammered in when I was
able to have a good look at a prototype at that years motorcycle show. Just what I would have bought in the first place had
it been available. However, due to financial problems/takeovers etc with Moto Guzzi I had to wait until this year to get to
ride and purchase the Breva. Which I did June of this year (2005). Writing this early August I have covered nearly 3000 mile
son the Breva and absolutely love it.
The Breva is a huge improvement on earlier Moto
Guzzis. Much work and re-designing has gone in to this important model. Mechanically superficially little different to previous
models in reality the Breva is a completely different machine. Smoother, mechanically quieter and far more refined than any
previous offering. I'm not going to turn this part in to a magazine 'road test' article but suffice to say I am enamoured
with it. Maybe I'll add a few pages from a few articles I've written about the bike elsewhere if I have room. Unlike the BM
the Breva definitely 'DOES' inspire me and has bags of character. Like a teenager again I keep sneaking out to the garage
for a polish or to just sit with a cup of coffee and stare at every nook and cranny!!!
If you'd like to know more of
my opinions drop me a line, happy to chat about it.
BREVA 1100 EARLY IMPRESSIONS.
These notes are taken from an article I have
submitted to the Moto Guzzi Club GB magazine - thought might be of interest to potential owners.
I 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
CONCLUSION: 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 aboutit. 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!!!
BREVA 1100 UPDATE:
Now in to my fifth week of ownership and 1700
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 and I fitted them
straight away. 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?
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.
THIRD UPDATE: AUGUST 8TH:
Not a great deal to add. Bike now covered nearly
3000 miles and still in love with it. Now, obviously fully run in and running more and more freely. No problems encountered.
Oil needed topping up but not drastically. Oil isn't re-circulated instead is trapped in a breather pipe which has a removeable
bung for emptying. Tyres appear to be lasting well. Am looking to go away for a few weeks on bike so that should take some
wear on the tyre. Fuel consumption seems to have settled around 45/46 mpg but I must admit I am rather heavy on the throttle
so much better available I'm sure. Managed to see 102 mpg on the computer, practically free wheeling downhill in traffic on
a run in the North Yorkshire National Park- also seen 12 mpg!!