It's been a while in coming. We expected to ride Moto Guzzi's new downsized cruiser motorcycle in the Spring of 2004, but then Moto Guzzi's new parent company, motorcycle maker Aprilia, ran into financial problems. Late this summer, Aprilia was acquired and bailed out by Piaggio, best know for Vespa scooters, and the Moto Guzzi Nevada, still a 2004 model, finally reached production. And so, we are getting out first in-the-flesh look at and saddle time on new 2004 cruiser model after having ridden other manufacturers 2005 offerings.
Laid out across the frame...
Laid out across the frame in classic Guzzi fashion, the fuel-injected V-twin engine makes modest power.
The narrow engine, upswept...
The narrow engine, upswept mufflers and high-ish footpegs provide excellent cornering ground clearance.
We always believe that including...
We always believe that including a a tachometer indicates that a motorcycle is serious about being ridden.
We knew from past experience not to wish for the moon. Moto Guzzi motorcycles we have tested in the past have been a hoot to ride, but their styling fell flat, and their somewhat hefty prices never seemed quite justifiable. Despite that, we've always been suckers for that nebulous Guzzi joie de vivre, so when the Nevada came a knockin', we couldn't refuse. Good thing toothe 3 days we spent in the Georgia hills on this thing had us grinning like idiots.
The 40mm fork legs' 28 degree...
The 40mm fork legs' 28 degree angle is steeper for more responsive steering than most cruisers
Somebody should explain to...
Somebody should explain to Guzzi's models that you are supposed to ride with your flip-up helmet open.
Poking out into the wind,...
Poking out into the wind, the cylinders are effectively cooled, yet the engine is narrow at its bottom.
So why's the feel-good vibe stronger this time around?
First and foremost, the Nevada 750 is light, agile and quick - three adjectives you probably don't associate with cruisers. But there's substance too. The Nevada uses the fuel-injected 90 degree v-twin and shaft final drive from the sporty-standard Breva 750 introduced last year. It shares some of that bike's chassis bits as well. The Nevada weighs in at a mere 406 pounds, drypractically a skateboard compared to Triumph's 800 lb Rocket III.
That relatively light weight keeps the Nevada's performance lively despite a modest 48 horsepower. Throttle response is lively. Peak torque arrives at 3600 rpm, and it's substantial enough to happily thrust the Nevada forward from just off idle. That allows it to cruise comfortably at about an 70 mph, though anything north of 80 mph begins to tax the bike's few ponies.
The styling is distinctive....
The styling is distinctive. Note the clear signal lenses. The tank holds a somewhat meager 3.7 gallons.
The passenger grab rail attaches...
The passenger grab rail attaches under the saddle and appears ready to plug into a small luggage rack.
The Nevada's chrome accents...
The Nevada's chrome accents around the engine follow the airflow in a manner similar to the Yamaha V-Max.
Cruiser styling cues on the Nevada 750 IE include a 29.9-inch-high seat, extra chrome, a wide pullback bar and new megaphone-style pipes. The reasonably high-mounted mid-placed footrests and upswept twin mufflers (one on each side) make for impressive cornering clearance. This agile little Guzzi delivers more fun on twisty roads than most of its heavier brethren, with its basic fork and shocks maintaining control and dishing out a reasonably comfortable ride. Single disc Brembo brakes are standard on both ends.
The bottom line is that the new-for-2004 Nevada is an easy-to ride, flexible, smooth machine that would likely leave most of its rivals in the 800 class for dead on the twisty roads we rode. And except for the the priceabout $1500 more than other 800 V-twinsGuzzi's latest makes us smile.
Look for an in-depth First Ride of the Moto Guzzi Nevada in the upcoming issue of Motorcycle Cruiser, on sale the last week of December.
Moto Guzzi Nevada Classic 750 IE
Standard colors: Grigio Luce, Nero Guzzi, Rosso del Lario
Warranty: 12 months, unlimited miles
Recommended service intervals: 3000 miles
Engine type: Air-cooled 90 tandem V-twin
Valve arrangement: 2 valves operated by push-rods
Displacement, bore x stroke: 744cc, 80 x 74mm
Compression ratio: 9.6:1
Transmission: 5 speeds
Clutch: Dry, single plate
Final drive: Shaft
Dry weight: 406 lbs.
Wheelbase: 57.8 in.
Overall length: 85.3 in.
Seat height: 29.9 in.
Rake/trail: 28 degrees/5.43 in.
Front suspension: 40mm Marzocchi hydraulic telescopic fork, 5.4 in. travel
Rear suspension: Dual dampers, 3.9 in. travel, adjustable for preload
Front brake: 4-piston caliper, 12.6-in. floating disc
Rear brake: 2-piston caliper, 10.2-in, disc
Wheels: Wire-spoke, 2.5x18 front, 3.5x16 rear
Front tire: 100/90-18
Rear tire: 130/90-16
Fuel tank: 3.7 gal.
ELECTRICAL & INSTRUMENTATION
Battery: 12V, 14AH
Charging output: 330 watts
Instrumentation: Electronic speedometer, tachometer, LCD odometer/tripmeter; warning lights for headlight high beam, low oil pressure, low fuel level, fuel-injection system failure, left and right turn signals, neutral