So the only other "woman" in my life is my new Italian mistress the Guzzi, which I picked up yesterday.
I left my home in Rothesay and made the 170km trek to the Guzzi dealer just outside of Moncton, in the Town of Dieppe. It was my last ride on the Strom, and the ol' girl performed well as usual, cruising along effortlessly at 125kph. As much as I love the Guzzi, I will miss the Strom.
I had checked the forecast before I left and it was calling for sun and cloud. Well, the sun part was elusive and by the time I reached Sussex, 45mins away, heavy mist, rain showers and a wet highway greeted me. I "always" pack rain gear when I ride, I never leave home without it, it rests in my left pannier ready to don at the first sprinkle. Today it was home, protecting the garage floor from getting wet. I had emptied everything off the bike since it was being traded in.
The forecast was good........tells you how good our weather forecasting is. So I left home with my Icon jeans and my Olympia coat. Luckily the Strom is big enough to keep almost all the water off me, and other than my knees and arms I remained mostly dry. The ride home on a naked bike might be a different story.
Luckily the showers let up just before Moncton. The salesman, Danny Brun, at the dealer even called to see if I was still coming up because of the rain. Really.......it's gonna take more than some liquid sunshine to stop me from getting my new bike.
Once at the dealer, G. Bourque we got all the paperwork out of the way, and I even convinced them that throwing in a nice $50 Moto Guzzi T-shirt would be really nice gesture as well. $50 for a t-shirt. Damn. I thought this was Moto Guzzi, not Ducati.
It wasn't long before I was throwing my leg over my new V7 Stone. Ah the shaking and the rumble of that v-twin, and the sweet sounding exhaust note. It makes my heart skip a beat or two.
Most women, I mean my wife, just don't understand the bond, and love between a man and a special machine. It's a wonderful thing. I think my youngest daughter Katie gets it. The look she gets when she sees an old classic car or motorcycle is awesome. You can't teach that. Mind you, my wife can go pretty gaga over a nice pair of shoes, and that's just weird, all together.
While the Guzzi was warming up her two big cylinders, I said goodbye to Danny and geared up for the ride home. The dark clouds of earlier had give way to those less threatening white puffy ones that look like the cartoon clouds from the Simpson's, a sign that the ride home would be a dry one.
I rode off through main street Dieppe, the buttery smooth transmission and torquing engine putting a very big smile on my face. Glad I had a full tint visor on so I didn't look like a complete idiot, and to keep the bugs out of my teeth. Dieppe seamlessly runs into Moncton and I made my way across the city weaving my way around the late morning traffic. The bike is so light and flickable, it's just a joy to ride. The clutch pull is super light and easy, a welcome relief for my arthritic hands. The high humidity of summer not helping with that.
Before long Moncton was in the rearview mirror, not a bad place for it either, and I was cruising the backroad towards Salisbury at a leisurely 80kph. I thought I'd miss the big windscreen of the Strom, but to my surprise the clean undisturbed airflow of a naked bike was refreshing. No buffet, just smooth air, making you feel like your flying. I was back to pure motorcycling at its best.
Now, I may be biased on my impressions, because I did just throw down a bunch of cash on this bike, and no matter who you are you will always make up for or ignore the shortcomings of something new, that you own.
I do love the Guzzi, is it perfect? No. The rear suspension is stiff. Not Yamaha Bolt of HD 883 stiff, but it does give a "firm" ride over the bumps. I knew that from previous reviews. The suspension on the V7 Racer is better. A few hundred dollars for some better shocks maybe in order next year.
The seat. It's not bad, either my arse needs to get used to it, or it needs to break in a bit, but it's probably better than most stock seats I've been on. Unlike the Ducati Scrambler, the seat on the Stone, doesn't lock you into one position, so it's easy to move around and change up your seating position slightly. For the majority of my riding the stock seat will be fine. Long touring trips and I'll throw on the Airhawk seat cushion.
After my first few minutes on the bike, I was a little worried about legroom. Especially coming off the big Strom. My legs are a little more cramped up, which I thought would give me some issues, but to my surprise after two hours of riding I was perfectly fine.
Now, this is not an Interstate bike, yes you can do it, but why. I did jump on the four lane highway for a couple of stints, and at 110kph the little Guzzi chugged along effortlessly at just under 4000rpm. Wind blast was quite manageable, and I would easily be comfortable doing this for a couple of hours. Throw in some strong headwinds and that would change the situation. On the I95 with everyone doing 80mph, nah, that would not be so much fun, but then again the I95 isn't fun in a cage either.
The happy spot for me and this bike is cruising at 80-90kph on two lane highways, the Route 66's of the world. The roads that beg to ridden and explored.
I know a lot of you are thinking, why not another adventure bike, or dual-purpose? Well, this is an adventure bike, it's the '50's through to the '80's version. The do it all standard bike we grew up with. It reminds me of the old CB550's and 750's I lusted after in high school but couldn't have. Maybe that's the allure of it. Simple, and sexy.
It's a plain Jane, standard bike with a touch, well more like a smack in the face, of Italian flair and sexiness.
Now if Ashley Madison was setting people up with two-wheeled love affairs the world would be a better place and divorce lawyers would be a lot poorer.