Vanity of the Flying Fortress

MGX-21

Moto Guzzi are known to make nice bikes, the Flying Fortress MGX-21 is no exception. The first bagger to be produced by Moto Guzzi is a stunner, using the California 1400 engine and made of mostly carbon fibre, the MGX-21 also has 3 riding modes, two channel ABS, cruise control and ride-by-wire system as standard. But it’s styling is very Honda NM4 Vultus, but a more classic batman-edged style. The red tips and callipers are a nice feature.

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Where Eagles Dare

V7 II Special
The other Italian bike maker are not to be sniffed at, they have a style all to themselves, even “Ducati” have tried to copy their style, and they know a thing or to about that.

Moto Guzzi have an entry level model called the V7 II, it comes in 3 variations, this one is the Special. Old in style but not in features, Dual channel ABS, New 6 speed Gear box and improved ergonomics. The V7 still uses the iconic 90° V-twin 4-stroke engine from the original V7, and comes in a variation of classic colours, not bad for a price tag of £7635.

Moto Guzzi know how to make classic style bikes, plus you get to have one of the best badges you can have on a motorbike.

Modern Vintage

The old style bikes from the 60’s through to the 80’s seem to have a place in a bikers heart. They were little more than an engine with two wheels. You were open to all the elements with little protection, even comfort was excluded. But somehow these bikes seen to have a unique admiration. A lot of the major manufacturers have the same fondness for the classic style, and have resurrected, or re-designed bikes to sit in there range of modern designed, computerised, aerodynamic motorcycles. Here are a few samples.

Norton specialise in classic style bikes, the 961SF is the entry level of the 961’s. It has a 961 cc parallel twin engine and Ohlins suspension and brembo breaks. All the mod-con add up though, as it has the not to classic price of £16’495

Yamaha have brought this bike through the years, all 30 of them. It was a popular bike when it was first out, but fell out of favour with the 90’s motorcyclist as bigger and better bike were available. But, with the introduction of new licence laws, the 400 is becoming popular with the everyday commuter and the SR400 classic looks and cheap price of £5,199 make it hard to turn down.

Moto Guzzi seem to be the specialists in classic styles, no more so than the V7 Special, originally out in the 70’s, Moto Guzzi have redeveloped and redesigned the original to come up with the current V7, the engine is a V-twin 4 Storke 744cc engine, and they have kept the large petrol tank, this one has a 22ltr with 4ltr reserve. This slice of retro comes in at £7,132.

Kawasaki seem to specialise in making bike as futuristic and modern as possible, so it’s a surprise to come across this complete standout in the range. The W800 is newly designed, but has a history dating as far back as 67’. The W800 has a 773cc blacked out engine and the retro looking twin exhaust. £6,649

Triumph have a large range of classic style bikes to choose from, but the scrambler has a bit of 1960’s Hollywood retro to make it stand out from the impressive crowd. The engine is 865cc eight-valve, with lots of low rev torque, making these bike are fun in all kinds of terrain. The bike has not changed much through the years and costs £7,399. Not too bad for a classic Triumph.

Motorcycle Live 2013

This was my second trip to the motorcycle show at Birmingham NEC, I had a few bike I was looking at, as I’m considering changing my bike soon. All the manufacturers had the latest bikes on show, some for you to try out and some for you to look at.

At the Honda stand i was looking forward to see the new VFR 800, this was a bike near the top of my shopping list, well, the now “old” model is. The new VFR 800 has reverted back to the looks of pre 2002 models, the exhaust has returned back down to the side of the back tyre, I rather liked the under seat exhaust system the previous model supported. I also got to see the CTX1300 which seems to be the pan european version of the F6B, just as ugly in real life, as it is in images on the net. It reminds me of the Honda DN-01. The VFR 1200 is unchanged, I was also interested in this bike, but sitting on it, i felt it to be quite a sporty seating position, for a sports tourer. They have also produced a new take on the Monkey bike, a half sized mini bike called MSX125, strangely appealing and look great fun, not for the long journeys though.

Yamaha had the MT-09 at centre stage this year, this seems to be like a flagship model for them. and lot’s of manufacturers are releasing this “street” style of bike, so it’s turning into a tough competition. The bike that caught my eye was the custom style XV950 and XV950R. Yamaha have upped the stakes on the custom market, these are some of the best looking custom bikes I have seen coming onto the market.

At the triumph stand, the rocket 3 was hogging the stage, every other bike seems small in comparison when sitting on this bike, and that wasn’t even the touring edition, which seems to be larger. I got a sense of the acceleration this thing can produce and it wasn’t even moving. Also on show were the numerous classic style bikes the Bonneville and Scrambler still have desirable 60’s looks, that outclass many new designs.

Ducati always impress with their unique designs, even if they were to just show up with the classics of yesterday, their stand would still be packed, luckily they had some new monsters on show, the new model has some similarities to the Diavel, which is a good thing as the diavel is a good looking bike, the monster seems to have that same “brute force” look to it. And, just to keep you salivating, they also had a mat black 1199 Panigale, (i’m sure it’s to make it invisible to radar).

Kawasaki have a few upgrades, as I’m almost positive the green paint they use was extra vibrant last year, and this year the volume was all the way up to 20. The ZZR1400 has had a few tweaks, and still looks good with the GREEN Claw marks on the side. Not a lot to report from Kawazaki, there range is impressive but nothing stood out. Suzuki also seemed to suffer from this problem. A new Hayabusa that has not changed much from the previous version except from the colour scheme, which is quite nice. The new V-storm is also a nice looking bike, but all manufacturers these days seem to base the design of adventure bike on the multistrada and R1200.

BMW had a nice display of past bikes, got to see the long way round and long way down bike as well as some classic race models, they had a K1on display, one of the best looking bikes of yester-year. The C1 was there, but not sure of it’s place in motorcycle history. The BMW tourers were impressive, especially with the angel eye headlights, not to mention the comfort, you kind of get an idea where your extra ££££’s go. The R nine T is just as nice in real life as it is in pictures. Plus the new toys you can get for the K1600 are good enough to keep you on your bike even when your parked up in the garage.

Motoguzzi are quite like triumph, in the way that they can bring out bikes that take the style of 1960’s and don’t look out of place in 2014’s market. The standout bike was the V7 Racer, chrome tank and red frame with race style numbers plastered all over it, It was a cafe racers dream bike. The new Californai was also eye catching, but it hasn’t changed much since the last model, sill a head turner though.

Vintage T-Shirts

vintage style t-shirts
Every biker loves their vintage style T-Shirts
Here is a small selection from the vast amounts out there.
All these T-Shirts are official merchandise.
(Top Row: Left to Right)
(Bottom Row: Left to Right)

Moto Guzzi California 1400

California 1400 Custom & Touring

The Italian motorbike makers “Moto Guzzi” have updated the California model. This bike comes in two models, Touring and Custom. Both come with a 21ltr tank, 96hp from a 1,380cc 900 V twin engine, MGCT Traction Control, Cruise Control, ABS and Shaft Drive. The Touring comes with additions including a screen and panniers. The California 1400 Touring comes in at £15,900. For more information go to Moto Guzzi California