Moto Guzzi Breva V 1100: A biking jack of all trades

Charles Burgess tries the new Italian all-in-one, and finds, as usual, that you can't have everything
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Specifications

Engine: V-twin, 4-stroke 1,064cc
Max power: 86bhp at 7,500rpm
Gears: six-speed
Price: £6,999
Available in: red, black, metallic grey

Do you walk into the showroom, like many a biker before you, and say that you are looking for something you can commute to work on, as well as take out of town at weekends for a bit of run and, naturally, trundle onto the ferry once a year for a two-week tour of Europe. It is, of course, an impossibility to get one bike that combines all these styles: it's like looking for a sports car that will pull the girls and take the family to the seaside.

But still the manufacturers persist in trying to sell an all-in-one, the latest being Moto Guzzi with the Breva V 1100. The company describes it as "an unexaggerated sports motorcycle, a tourer by heritage and a 'naked' by choice." That means it can go fast, is comfortable on long trips and hasn't got much faring.

Or, to put it another way, you can go fast enough without being bent over the handlebars like some demented boy racer, but don't forget that you're going to get blown off because there is no faring to protect you, and that you're going to get wet if it rains.

This may not be a problem on Lake Como, where they make Moto Guzzis - and where Breva is the name of the southerly wind that blows over the lake bringing good weather with it - but it certainly is on a wet day on the North Circular.

The bike is definitely fast and powerful enough. The distinctive Guzzi 90-degree V-Twin 1,046cc engine not only looks lovely but creates the tireless growl that many riders find irresistible, and means that it cruises comfortable at 70mph-80mph (and probably higher, officer). The riding position is sit up, but the piddly sized screen means you get buffeted. You can't get away from the fact that you are sitting on a naked bike - there's nothing around you.

And then there is the curious noise, more like a rattling, that you get when you pull the clutch in. I thought at first that the bike was about to disintegrate. But when I rang the people at Moto Guzzi they told me not to be so silly. They said the noise was more than likely the dry clutch. They said: "All Moto Guzzi's [products] have this, as do Ducati's and racing bikes. When you pull the clutch in to put it in first gear it is normal for it to make a noticeable rattling sound."

As a rider in recent years of a Harley Road King, a Triumph Thunderbird and a BMW R1150RT (you will gather that I am over 21), this was all news to me. I would be put off by any bike with this added extra. But there is another difference between this bike and the great tourers like the Harley and BMW mentioned above - price.The Breva costs £1 less than £7,000, which is £3,000 cheaper than the BMW and £7,000 cheaper than the Harley. That is how it should be. You are getting what you pay for.

Let's examine the bike again. Sit up straight and ride a beautifully engineered machine: yes. Ride through traffic: OK, although my feet got hot from the exhaust and you felt this was not the Breva's natural habitat. Do more than 100 miles: no.

You just can't have it all.

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