Ridemalibu Motorcycle Rentals & Tours – Los Angeles CA
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California 1400 Reliabilty Opinions?

Discussion in 'Cal 1400 8V' started by roadventure, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. roadventure

    roadventure GT Reference GT Famiglia

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    Hello all!

    This is my first time posting here, but not my first time looking. I recently sold my 2005 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe. It is a great bike, but I was ready for a change. "Different" bikes appeal to me and Moto Guzzi is unlike most other manufacturers.

    The California 1400 Touring has held my interest since it was introduced about two years ago. I have done a demo ride on one and am impressed with the overall finish and smoothness of the engine. Now I am ready to get serious and look to buy one.

    Before I do I am hoping that those of you who are now owners can help me with your opinion and overall satisfaction. I am interested, of course, on any problems that seem to arise. I also want to know what about this bike appeals to you.

    How does the California 1400 do at its intended task.............Touring.

    Have any of you done 500 - 1000 mile days on your California?

    What do you think of the standard seat?

    Have you been able to adjust the bike to fit YOU without buying a lot of stuff to make it fit?

    How may miles do you have on your bike now?

    Thanks for reading and I am looking forward to learn from your answers.

    Dave
    Maryland
     
    CWH likes this.
  2. jbhotchkiss

    jbhotchkiss Cruisin' Guzzisti GT Famiglia

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    I have a Custom, but have enjoyed touring on it (Guzzi leather bags installed). Have done several 500+ mile days and I have no complaints regarding the stock seat, which is different than the Touring seat. Adjusted the rear shocks (different on the Touring) according the specs in the owners manual, which improved ride quality tremendously. I have about 6k miles on the bike right now.
    The exhaust xover hasn't cracked yet, which seems to be a common problem, so I proactively purchased Todd's xover and will install it this winter. Adjusting the valves and changing fluids is pretty straight-forward if you're mechanically inclined and/or have done so on other Guzzis.
     
  3. roadventure

    roadventure GT Reference GT Famiglia

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    Thanks for the input. I have been doing more reading here and am getting concerned about owner reports of electronic control problems and saddlebags that are not waterproof. The entry price on the California 1400 is way to high for that kind of problem. And then there is the cracking crossover problem that you mention.

    How do owners feel about these kind of design or quality problems AFTER THE WARRANRY EXPIRES? Could this be why I come across low mileage California 1400 models that are for sale at the end of the warranty period?

    I know what I read on forums is most commonly reports from those who have complaints. What about the owners who are out of warranty and are still happy with their choice of the Moto Guzzi California 1400?
     
  4. abbienormal

    abbienormal High Miler GT Famiglia

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    There is a thread on here called "mileage and issues" that may answer a lot of your concerns. I Don' t think any are out of warranty yet as it is good for 2 years. Mine has 9,300 miles on it and several niggling problems. I seem more concerned about the leaking saddlegs that you mention than anybody else here. I think it is stupid.
     
    MikeBike likes this.
  5. roadventure

    roadventure GT Reference GT Famiglia

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    Thanks. I did look at the "mileage and issues" thread.

    I saw you mentioned a ride to Nova Scotia. I took a ride from Maryland to Newfoundland (via New Brunswick/Nova Scotia) on my Yamaha Tour Deluxe in August. Had a great time and would do it again, but with a little less rain perhaps.

    I have been looking at "used" California 1400s and see many of them being sold with only a few hundred miles on them. I wonder about that since selling any vehicle so soon after buying it new is a significant hit. Why would someone be willing to "throw away" so much money. This makes me wonder if there is something about this bike that makes people not want them after living with them for a short time.
     
  6. abbienormal

    abbienormal High Miler GT Famiglia

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    I did the Newfoundland ride from Ohio to Port-a-Basque to St. John and back to Lance a Meadows then back to Ohio about 5 years ago on my Norge. Great ride and probably 10 hours of rain combined the entire trip.
    I am thinking the quick sales are people who think they are buying a bike that is Japanese like in quality control and dealer/customer service. The niggles drive them away. After 26,000 miles on my Norge I did not trust it anymore due to recurring problems I kept fixing. Of course the guy who bought it about 3 years ago has had no problems. It now lives in New Zealand.
    If the low mileage big hit is a real drag to you start looking at used BMW's and Harleys. There is a lot of that there also. Or my friend that bought a Ducati Diavel Carbon for $20,000+ then added $7,000 worth of accessories and sold it 6 months later with 500 miles on it for $20,000 to another friend of mine.
     
  7. roadventure

    roadventure GT Reference GT Famiglia

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    I am ready to go back to NL, now that I have had an introduction, and get to see some of the things I missed like going up to Port Stanley and taking the boat over to Labrador. I did get a chance to ride through the area known as Wreckhouse. After I got into the hotel I saw on the news that the winds were at ~35mph constant with ~65mph gusts. I FELT it! And, of course it was raining. Would also like to get back there and actually get off the bike. When I was there I didn't want to stop foe fear of getting blown over. It was all fun though.
     
  8. MJPTexas

    MJPTexas Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    I've had my Cali Custom for 10 months, 7,200 miles. Zero problems. Numerous 400+ mile days. Stock setup, removed heal shifter, added MG sport flyscreen. The bike is the most comfortable one I've ever owned and not by a small margin.

    High points:
    - Amazingly smooth above 3,000 rpm.
    - Traction control has saved my skin more than once.
    - Once you have electronic cruise you wonder how you ever lived without it.
    - No 700+ lb bike has any business handling as well as this bike does.
    - Fast.

    Niggles (like I said zero problems):
    - It's a 700+ lb bike.
    - The engine shake at idle loses its novelty after a couple of months.
    - Cruise control is awkward to set.
    - Fuel mileage at 75mph+ is not very good.

    The Cali is my ride of choice (out of 5 bikes) when I'm going more than 250 miles.
     
  9. roadventure

    roadventure GT Reference GT Famiglia

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    Thanks Mike. I sold my '05 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe to move onto the California. I am used to SMOOTH. Based on the demo ride I had initially, the California did seem comparable with the Yamaha V4 in smoothness and power characteristics.

    I hope I never have an actual need for the traction control or ABS, but it nice to know it is there if needed.

    The setting for the Cruise control actually seems to be pretty simple compared to the Yamaha. I agree it is one of those things you don't know you need................until you have it, But, again, I will need to get some ride time to become acclimated to how it works.
     
  10. MikeBike

    MikeBike Tuned and Synch'ed

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    Leaking saddlebags? You have the fiberglass ones I see. I forgot to put the cover on and the bags had unacceptable water inside. What did you do?

    Thanks
     
  11. abbienormal

    abbienormal High Miler GT Famiglia

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    There is a Leaking Saddlebags thread under the California 1400 section. My lousy tablet won't let me paste it in here. All the info is there. The "fibreglass" bags are actually glass fibre reinforced plastic by the recycle code. They feel like plastic to me. All my trials and tribulations of fixing them is there.
     
  12. roadventure

    roadventure GT Reference GT Famiglia

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    But, did you actually fix them? Any more leakage?
     
  13. Davetac1

    Davetac1 Tuned and Synch'ed

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    I too have many concerns about the California,[which is the reason I came on board here BEFORE investing in one] the biggest concern being about the bucking I got out of several different California's I road tested and the stealers telling me that "THEY ALL DO IT" !! One of the gentlemen on here was gracious enough to call me [and again,I thank you for the call sir] to assure me that they all don't run like that and the stealer I was dealing with didn't know what he was talking about nor did he care about correcting that condition.But now,the more I read,the more negative things I'm reading about these machines.It almost seems that the negatives are out weighing the positives,which unfortunately,is turning me away from the California.But I will continue reading and keep an open mind as I go.So please carry on gentlemen as I am learning,and thank you for putting up with a dummy like me!! Dave!!!
     
  14. roadventure

    roadventure GT Reference GT Famiglia

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    Dave,

    You have got to decide these things for yourself. But, consider human nature. That is when someone is happy, they generally are quiet. But, let something go wrong and they broadcast to the world about this "terrible thing" (whatever it is...).

    You will ALWAYS read more negatives on any forum. If you can read between the lines though, you may come closer to a truth that will work for you.

    Best of luck in coming to a decision that works for you!

    dave
    bel air, md
     
  15. abbienormal

    abbienormal High Miler GT Famiglia

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    As stated in that thread mine have-not leaked riding in the rain or washing the bike so far this year. I am still goiñg to install the improved Aprilia lid seals just to be doubly safe.
     
  16. abbienormal

    abbienormal High Miler GT Famiglia

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    As RA states above you will see far more negatives. If you are expecting Japanese reliability you better buy Japanese. I have a V-Strom and the forums for those list horror stories but it is still a great bike. Your European bikes seem to be slightly less finished but they have more character. I do not mean breaking down but the owner needs to fettle the details as the manufacturer didn't. You have to decide if you want to do that. Having fought with niggling problems on the California I like riding the bike. I purchased it for a comfortable ride for me and the lady friend. She cannot ride on it any more so it is not getting as many miles. Since I am not a fan of larger heavy bikes except for 2-up riding it may stay or it may go. Even I am not sure.
     
  17. mgmike

    mgmike Cruisin' Guzzisti GT Contributor

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    My bike had a few issues in the beginning but nothing that effected the ride or safety.
    The Guzzi tech mod made her run better throughout range especially low to mid...
    Plus love the sound I pipes. I have no intention of parting from this sweet running machine..
     
  18. Touringman

    Touringman Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    Dave, I will see if I can pass along some insights from my 15 months of ownership.
    I have owned two different HD's and spent the last seven years before purchasing the Cali1400 on a sport tourer. I decided that it was time for something different. The California 1400 Touring IS different. If you buy this expecting to get an Italian HD, you will be disappointed. The Cali1400 is an intriguing blend of cruiser and sport tourer. It looks like a cruiser and handles like the sport tourer (mostly). It does not feel like a cruiser, it light and responsive, particularly once it is up at speed. Frankly, my 665 pound Wide Glide felt heavier than the 775 lb Cali1400. Probably because of the raked out front end on the HD...
    My wife and I have ridden numerous 4-500 mile weekends and a couple of 350 mile days. We no longer have the stock seat. For us it was too soft. Great for 100 miles or so annoying by 225 miles and butt burning by 350. Despite our weight differences me 205, her half that, we both experienced the burn at similar mileages. Was it the material combined with the softness? Who knows. We now have a Corbin "Gunfighter and Lady" saddle with dual seat heat and a backrest for me. VERY nice and wifey is super happy with it. I also added a set of highway pegs for me. Because of the ground clearance the footboards seemed too high for my personal taste. Adding the Kuryakyn longhorn peg set to the highway bars solved the issue on long days.

    Cruise control is awesome, cant believe we rode so many years without it. VASTLY superior to a set of Throttlemeisters.
    One if the best windshields I have ridden behind (not including a batwing fairing).

    Grips and levers...I know what MG was trying to do. Make the grips look and feel like HD controls. Sorry...FAIL. After seven years on a sport tourer, the huge clunky grip (37mm) and the long reach brake and clutch levers were a sad state of affairs. If you can palm a basketball, these might just be big enough for you. I did a little research and found that the 32mm grips on the Aprilia Capanord and the Guzzi Griso fit with no mods, just interchange and go. Those and a set of PAZZO adjustable levers and the bike now feels perfect for me. That said I don't know if I have ever heard anyone else complain about them.

    On "buying a lot of stuff to make it fit."... My philosophy is this; I spent $22000.00 USD on a bike that I fell in love with. If I need/want to spend a couple of thousand more to make the bike perfect...so be it. To be sure, the bike "fit" at the dealer. If my idea of touring was running as many as 250 miles a day, I would have not needed to add anything. But, the planning for the run from Dallas to Fairbanks is already underway...I plan to spend 500 to 600 mile days, back to back for several weeks. I want perfection...wouldn't you? And I'm pretty sure virtually everyone spends at least a little on farkles, useful or not.

    Current options list:
    From dealer: 60litre tour pack; black touring handlebars; adjustable passenger footboards, lower wind fairings; black wheels and mirrors off the Custom model.
    From the Aftermarket: Caponord grips; Pazzo shorty levers; Corbin seat with heaters and backrest; carbon fiber fuel injection covers; set of AVON Cobra tires; set of Kuryakyn "longhorn" highway pegs; several GuzziTech mechanical mods coming soon.
    Currently 5856 miles...(I need to ride more.)
    Issues requiring dealer attention...none. Warranty issues...none.
    Would I buy one again...ABSOLUTELY!
    Good Luck!
    Kirk
     
    MarkV likes this.
  19. mikeaedmonds

    mikeaedmonds Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    Kirk, Can I ask where did you order the Pazzo shorty levers from? I too am finding the stock levers a little to tall for my short hands.
     
  20. GTM®

    GTM® Administrator Staff Member GT di Razza Pura

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