Moto Guzzi Audace Carbon
6th October 2016
California | Eldorado | 1,400cc | Review | Specs
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For 2017, Moto Guzzi has introduced a new model to bolster its 1,400cc California cruiser family. This latest addition is the ... wait for it, Audace Carbon—as in fibre, rather than footprint.
The Audace was introduced in 2015. The idea was to produce a "darker" and "meaner" cruiser to satisfy the sporting urges of the more irascible Guzzi California rider who needs to let rip once in a while during those long intercontinental jaunts. And certainly, our brief test ride showed that the factory had more or less achieved what it intended to achieve.
The bike is, after all, just that bit more flickable and throwable than its forebears, and it's all cruiser at heart with a smooth ride courtesy of its elasto-kinematic mounts. But it's difficult to imagine many riders actually sidelining the more established California (or Eldorado) for this new arrival. Nothing wrong with the bike, mind. It's just got the feel of a more excitable teenager waiting to grow into a more measured adult. Then again, some guys (and girls) like their motorcycles sex straight and without the frills and toys.
The 1400 California (image immediately above; this one is the Touring model) is currently in short supply in the UK. In fact we couldn't find a single dealer with one on the shop floor. Moto Guzzi, we're advised, is still working on the 2016 Euro3 models and getting them ready for Euro4 compliancy. So if you can find a 2016 example in a UK dealership, you'll pay anything from £14,000 - £18,500 depending on exactly which California you choose, and how desperate the dealer is to unload it for the 2017 newcomers.
The Eldorado (image immediately above) is readily available right now priced at around £15,500. And we're seeing the 2016 Audace being discounted to as low as around £12,500. Normally, you'd expect to pay around £15,000 - £15,500.
What makes this new (carbon) 2017 Audace different from the other members of the MG pack is, unsurprisingly, the addition of carbon fibre. But there isn't really all that much of it to shout about anyway. In fact, it's confined to the front mudguard and the panels on the side of the fuel tank.
To compliment the moody blackness, here's the usual Mandello Red splashed on the rocker covers and on the Brembo brake calipers. That red is also picked up on the wheels. Unlike the Californias, there are no footboards. That would send the wrong signal for the sporting riders. So, as with the original Audace, there are manly footpegs instead (as opposed to cissy footboards).
The handlebars have been bent slightly differently, supposedly to enhance the sporting stance, but probably simply for the sake of making the bike a little different for the coming season [Stand back, everyone. This cynicism is contagious - Ed].
The engine of the 1,400cc 90-degree, air/oil-cooled V-twin has been revisited, and Moto Guzzi reckon that the 2017 motor still throws out 96hp at around 6,500rpm whilst satisfying Euro4 compliancy demands. As before, maximum torque is around 89lbs-ft at 3,000rpm.
There are some mods to the electronics package which, we're told, offer a better cruise control facility. Fuel economy has also been improved, says the factory. The EcoRide mode, like other systems of its type, figures out your mileage and average consumption and basically tells you stuff you don't really want to be bothered with while you're enjoying the road.
And if you get bored with that, or run low on gas, Moto Guzzi's Multimedia Suite will interface with your smartphone and will forward information about the nearest service station. It's probably all worthy stuff, but we still prefer our bikes raw.
If it's of any interest to anyone, we'd prefer our Moto Guzzi cruiser in the California or Eldorado package. The lazy power delivery and effortless torque lends itself well to long hours in the saddle, and the cissy footboards allow you to shift and fidget as and when necessary. And then there's the question of luggage.
Beyond that, at around 657lbs (299kg) these are simply heavyweight bikes. The scratching pretensions therefore have little place on this California platform, and there are plenty of other bikes that do it a lot better, and for less money. Still, there's the Guzzi "feel" to factor in.
But the Audace is still a pretty cool pair of wheels. However, all that carbon stuff has always struck us as cheap looking, and we'd be just as happy with ordinary plastic.
Moto Guzzi Audace specifications
Engine: 90° V-twin engine, 4-stroke, 4-valve-per-cylinder, double ignition
Bore X stroke: 104mm x 81.2mm
Compression ratio: 10.5 : 1
Max power: 96hp (71 kW) at 6500 rpm
Max torque: 89lbs-ft (121 Nm @ 3,000rpm
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gallons (20.5 litres)
Transmission: 6-Speed (6th is an overdrive)
Front tyre: 130/70 R18
Rear tyre: 200/60 R16
Front brake: Dual 320 mm stainless steel floating discs, Brembo radial calipers with four horizontally opposed pistons
Rear brake: Single 282 mm stainless steel fixed disc, Brembo floating caliper with two parallel pistons
Seat height: 720mm - 740mm
Kerb weight: 657lbs (299kg)
Fuel injection with ride-by-wire throttle
3 engine maps
Adjustable traction control
Dual channel ABS
Optional Bluetooth module for IOS or an Android app (free from Moto Guzzi), plus a "Find My Bike" feature
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