50bookchallenge 18/50: The Moto Guzzi Story, Ian Falloon

Not rec­om­mend­ed for any­one who isn’t fas­ci­nat­ed by motor­cy­cles, this well-researched and pho­tographed cof­feetable book is hard to read only because there are so many pho­tos of beau­ti­ful motor­cy­cles dis­tract­ing from the text at every turn of the page.

Fal­loon presents a sur­pris­ing­ly even­hand­ed overview of the his­to­ry of the Ital­ian motor­cy­cle com­pa­ny, but betrays his love for the Moto Guzzi on occa­sion with words like “unfor­tu­nate” and the occa­sion­al aes­thet­ic judg­ment. It’s always clear where he thinks a bike is ugly rather than just not well-received by the public.

What’s sur­pris­ing to me is how lit­tle pull I feel toward the old­er mod­els. I love the V7 Sport, which is the dis­tant ances­tor of my own Cal­i­for­nia Stone, but so many of the motor­cy­cles from the 70s and 80s, and even the 90s exhib­it too many squared plas­tic cor­ners to gen­er­ate any inter­est in me.

It’s sort of a cof­feetable book and was lent to me by the own­er of Sub­ter­ranean Cycles here in SF. It is full of text though and in addi­tion to look­ing at all the pret­ty pic­tures, I did go from cov­er to cov­er. Now that I’m done with it, I’ll have to give it back. But that’s OK, I’m sure that there are oth­er motor­cy­cle books for me to read!

10 Replies to “50bookchallenge 18/50: The Moto Guzzi Story, Ian Falloon”

  1. “…was lent to me by the
    …was lent to me by the own­er of Sub­ter­ranean Cycles here in SF.

    Sub­Cy­cles is a kick­ass place.
    I was about to buy a Hus­aberg from them till I decid­ed that would be INSANE and I would prob­a­bly kill myself. I feel bad for not buy­ing it because the guy I talked to was so awe­some. I will prob­a­bly give him the biz to work on my KTM though.

    I will buy a Hus­aberg in a year or two when I have more dis­pos­able income + garage space heh.

  2. yeah, i read all the way
    yeah, i read all the way back through your entries till i found out what kind of Guzzi you rode . . 😉 . . i just love the Cali Stone! what year is yours? you have the flat paint? I’ve been look­ing at the new Nevada’s . . even tho they are still a bit too tall for me . . 🙁 . . (i actu­al­ly dont quite ride yet, but come this feb­ru­ary i will! buy­ing my first bike then! and i cant wait!) . . but i have rode near­ly 5000 miles since memo­r­i­al week­end, on the back of a Moto Guzzi Cal­i­for­nia Stone! (hope you dont mind, but i added you to my freinds list . . any­one that rides a Guzzi and writes about it, well . . i wan­na read about it!

  3. Wel­come! Of course it’s
    Wel­come! Of course it’s fine. We can all use more friends, right? =^)

    Mine is a 2004, black with a tan stripe on the top of the gas tank. Here:


    Kind of a fun­ny angle, but you can see the color.

    I’ve rid­den almost 7000 miles since I bought the Stone, about a week before Memo­r­i­al Day, but less than two hun­dred of those miles with a passenger.

    I con­sid­ered the Neva­da, but the CA Stone actu­al­ly rides a lit­tle low­er. The Neva­da felt too tall for me. Also, I’m real­ly glad to have the extra pow­er. The Bre­va does real­ly well with the 750cc engine, but I think it’s a much lighter bike than the Neva­da. Not real­ly sure about that…

    I’m now infat­u­at­ed with the V11 Café Sport, but I’m afraid that it won’t be as com­fort­able for a pas­sen­ger and more afraid that it won’t be as com­fort­able for me. I like the high han­dle­bar posi­tion of the Stone. Stay­ing upright like that keeps my back from killing me. I rode a friend’s VFR recent­ly, and even that hurt my back. I fear that the Café Sport would be the same.

    Any­how howdy! It’s a plea­sure to make your aquainance!

  4. well i can touch toes to the
    well i can touch toes to the ground on the Neva­da, with a seat height of 30″ . . can bare­ly touch toes with one foot on the Stone . . but the pegs, both front and pas­sen­ger, are a lot low­er on the Stone . .maybe that is what makes it feel like it rides lower . . 

    my options are lim­it­ed as to what bike i can ride . . i need a seat height of 27″ or low­er . . i’m such a shorty 😉 . . but i’m told the V50 would fit me . . but . . nev­er see them . . 🙁 . . so i’m buy­ing a Hon­da Rebel . . nice and light for my first bike, afford­able for my first bike . . short enough for my first bike . . i’m so very excited!

  5. The Stone’s seat is actu­al­ly
    The Stone’s seat is actu­al­ly at least an inch and a half low­er, but the bike is wider, which makes it hard­er to com­fort­ably flat-foot. How­ev­er, it means that you can flat foot one side with less lean than a taller but nar­row­er bike. I can flat­foot both sides of the Stone only if I take my butt off the seat, but I don’t think I can flat­foot both feet on a Neva­da at all.

    Just anoth­er fac­tor to consider.

    That Rebel is real light and small. If you’re used to doing a lot of rid­ing you might be bet­ter served by a big­ger bike, maybe one of the small­er Shad­ows? The Rebel is sim­i­lar in pow­er and weight to my Vira­go, which I out­grew in a mat­ter of a cou­ple months. I guess it also depends on the ter­rain where you ride, too.

    (psst! Come on, you know you want a Guzzi! Get one of those old V7 Sports! OK, only if you have a good mechan­ic LOL)

  6. well let me tell ya . . i
    well let me tell ya . . i have no short­age of Guzzi mechan­ics where i live! . . there’s a Guzzi deal­er right down the street from where i work . . i hang out there quite often, just chill­ing with the guys at the shop . . there’s just this huge group of peo­ple (reg­u­lars) that are always up there and they all just know so much about Guzzis . . it’s amazing . . 

    what i would real­ly love is an old Ambas­sador . . or Eldo­ra­do . . damn, i love those bikes . . i can almost reach on those! haha . . 

    yeah, i’ve got a lot of miles under my butt, but it’s all only been as a pas­sen­ger . . nev­er the oper­a­tor . . i’m per­fect­ly hap­py start­ing out with a lit­tle 250 Rebel . . i dont need alot of pow­er . . at least not rihgt at the get-go . . i’d like to work my way up . . besides, i’ve talk to a lot of peo­ple who have rid­den thi­er Rebels all over the coun­try . . no rea­son i could­nt nei­ther! the guys are always talk­ing about this guy that rode his 250 some­thing or oth­er, or his 350 hon­da all the way to wher­ev­er . . cause no one told him he could­nt! so . . why not on a Rebel? 🙂

    yeah, i fig­ure around town, day trips, maybe a ral­ly here and there, my Rebel will suit me just fine . . 

    actu­al­ly, you know what else i fit on? a BMW R/27 …oh baby! how sweet would that be!! yeah, i have a thing for them old bikes . . just so totaly awe­some! but try find­ing one of them! you need to rob a bank any­more to afford one that’s ready to ride . . 🙁

    but i’m total­ly geeked to even be get­ting my first bike! it’s gonna open up a whole new world for me . . i just can­not wait!

  7. Ooooh, an Ambo! Yum!

    Ooooh, an Ambo! Yum!

    Yeah, you can ride a Rebel 250 any­where. And you’ll love it. I’m not try­ing to rain on your parade. I’m just shar­ing my expe­ri­ence with my Vira­go 250, which is a sim­i­lar small but great bike. If you ride enough, you’ll out­grow that bike fast. Hav­ing more pow­er at your dis­pos­al helps you be agile and respon­sive and helps you through the cor­ners. Your expe­ri­ence may be dif­fer­ent from mine, but I bought a bike too small and replaced it with a liter bike in under three months. If I’d got­ten a Ducati Mon­ster 620 instead, I’d prob­a­bly still be rid­ing it.

    Also, I think that rid­ing a big­ger bike will force you to learn bet­ter han­dling skills and make you a bet­ter rid­er. I have a friend who got his wife a 1400cc Harley as a starter bike and only lat­er got her a 50cc scoot­er for around town.

    Again, I’m not try­ing to put a damper on your enthu­si­asm. But if you live among great Guzzi mechan­ics, why not go for your dream bike instead of sell­ing your­self short for a bike that will get you start­ed. You can han­dle a big­ger bike for cer­tain. You can cer­tain­ly go across coun­try on a Rebel – make it to San Fran­cis­co and I’ll buy you a tasty bev­er­age – but I think you’ll do it more hap­pi­ly on a big­ger bike.

  8. well, it’s not just the
    well, it’s not just the small­er engine size that i like . . hon­est­ly, it’s not realy the engine size at all the con­cerns me . . it’s the seat height . . any­thing over a 27 inch seat height is just to tall for me! . . 

    but i will own a Guzzi one day . . i check out MY Neva­da every­time i go up to the bike shop!! i touch it and feel it . .and sit on it . . and try try try to reach the ground . . 😉 LOL . . now the mechan­ic there says that he can low­er the Neva­da 3 inch­es, no prob­lem . . might lose some of the sus­pen­sion in the back . . but then again, he couild switch out the rear shocks and get some of it back . . 

    so you’re think­ing, why not just buy the Neva­da 750, right? . . well . . 2 rea­sons . . 1) being an expere­inced rid­er and being an expere­inced pas­sen­ger are 2 com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent things . . i know i dont want to start with a 750 . . as much as i love that bike . .love it . . it’s just not prac­ti­cal for me right now . . and 2) Moto Guzzi Neva­da 750 = $8,000 / Hon­da Rebel 250 = $2900 … yeah . . BIG difference . . 

    i did con­sid­er ebay’ing it and look­ing for a Hon­da Rebel 450 . . but . . well, they only made those ’86 and ’87 . . so every sin­gle one of them would be 20 years old . . used/old bikes = more poten­tial for prob­lems . . and idiots on ebay have dri­ven the price up on those to ridicu­lous num­bers . . try­ing to sell them as “col­lec­tors bikes” …give me a break! LOL . . 

    so i’m pret­ty damn hap­py to be get­ting my lit­tle White Hon­da Rebel . . it’s gonna be sweet . . 

    and trust me . . there’s noth­ing you can say that could rain on my parade!!!! espe­cial­ly when you tempt me with tasty bev­er­age should i take up the chal­lenge of a cross coun­try trip on my new found love! 😉

    (oh, by the way . . speak­ing of cross coun­try, when i went to the Moto Guzzi Nation­al Ral­ly this past memo­r­i­al week­end, there was a woman there who rode her Bre­va there (west vir­gina) all the way from Cal­i­for­nia . . by her­self . . her hus­band? he flew in . . how awe­some is that! . .yeah, she’s my hero! LOL)

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