I've had the privilege of testing lots of bikes over the years, but this one was difficult. Why? Because it's hard to be objective when the test bike may actually be the one you've been searching for all along.
The Moto Guzzi Breva comes in 3 variants: the smaller framed 750, an 850 and a new 1200 which replaces the existing 1100.
The Breva 850 would fall into the Sport/Tourer category and a very comfortable one at that. The seat was fine for me, but anyone with prostate problems may need a double check. My VCPs (vertically challenged persons), both owners of CX500 Hondas, were complimentary of the seat height and the ease at how they could pull it off the side-stand.
My favourite pillion gave the passengers rest the OK, but, with her having a crook back she'd have to confine it to short distances due to the bikes firm ride.
For some reason, the horn and blinker buttons are in opposing positions, something you really notice in an emergency situation. The trip meters, clock and other readouts are controlled by a button on the front of the left-hand grip. The speedo nacelle is mounted high and easily read although some of the digital read-outs are a bit small.
The engine has a torque "twist" that pulls right when the throttle is blipped from an idling standstill. The 6 speed gearbox lets the horses out in just the right flow that would suggest an almost flat torque curve. As with any V-twin there is some mirror vibration.
316 kilometres of riding (with no care for economy) had the fuel light glowing with 4 litres in reserve. I wasn't sure if I'd actually filled the tank though, due to the way the filler is styled.
There's much about the 850 which should make it easy to live with. Valve adjustment is by locknut & adjuster (keeps service costs low), shaft drive with single sided swing-arm (easy wheel removal), ease of front & rear suspension adjustment, standard luggage hooks, side-stand cut-out, the list goes on and on.
On the road it has knife like handling, superb brakes plus the shape of the tank & (brilliant) headlight means you don't feel like a windsock at high speed. The engine likes its revs above 2500rpm and the tacho shows just 4500rpm at 110kph. I like the exhaust note and the way the bike feels like an extension of myself.
If you're in the market for a new bike, you really must have a look at the Breva range. RRP on the 850 is $16990*.
The Breva 750 is smaller, lighter and technically older but still a choice ride. The 750 has great handling, excellent brakes and a comfortable seat. Mirror vibration is slight, controls are well within reach and gauges easy to read. The bike has a small screen that diverts the breeze up to head-height, this would be a welcome addition to the larger bikes also. I noticed that the 750 had no centre-stand.
For my part, I'd prefer self cancelling blinkers, but the 850 is otherwise pretty much what I want.
Cheers, Parksy Specifications Breva 850 (750)
|Configuration||90 degree V twin 4 stroke, air-cooled OHV||Lubrication||Trochoidal gear driven pump, wet sump.|
|Bore & Stroke||Ignition|
|Capacity||877cc (744cc)||Charging system||Bosch alternator|
|Compression Ratio||Starter||Bosch electric starter|
|Maximum Power||Transmission||Gear driven primary drive, secondary drive via cardan shaft and double universal joint|
|Torque||66Nm @ 7700rpm (54.7 Nm @ 3,600 rpm)||Gearbox||6 speed (5 speed)|
|Fuel System||Fuel-injected||Clutch||dry clutch|
|Dimensions||Dry Weight: 231kg (182kg)
Wheelbase: 1495mm (1449mm)
Seat Height: 800mm approx. (depends on susp) (790mm)
|Front Suspension||adjustable fork (non adjustable fork)||Brakes||Front: (Brembo 4 pot) Twin 320mm disks (single 320mm disk
Rear Brakes (Brembo 2 pot) single 260mm disc
|Rear suspension||mono shock single sided swing arm (twin shock twin spar swing arm)||Fuel Capacity||23L with 4 res (18L with 5 res)|
* Price in Australian dollars 2008