This article was originally printed in the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club monthly newsletter.

New or Not so New - A difficult question, by Frans de Weers

I don't know if you have had this same experience, but so often I regret selling my old motorcycle just so I could justify buying that shiny new motorcycle. Heck that old one was paid for, the liability insurance was only $50 a year, bird poop and scratches really didn't bother me that much anymore, it got good fuel mileage and maintaining it was becoming fairly easy, now that I finally knew what to look for.

But you have all heard of this disease and likely experienced it too, this sudden infection, this unexpected illness that affects the brain, called NBS. Yes, there are ways to prevent it, it is curable, but it is a difficult healing process. NBS stands for New Bike Syndrome. It affects me every so often and the cure doesn't always come so easily.

The Quota really was going to be my next travel bike. After all, the 1989 California III had survived being hammered on goat trails in New Mexico and Colorado, but I had to work very hard and the suspension had taken a severe beating doing that off-road stuff two-up and loaded with camping gear. And then there was the time when we found the old coast route Texas 87 washed away between Sabine Pass and Galveston. We ran the old Guzzi through sand, between broken sections of blacktop and over shell banks. Not so easy when you are packed two-up. But Susan could jump off the back quickly every time we were close to burying the rear wheel in loose sand. All good reasoning to consider the Quota for our adventure traveling. I did borrow a friend's Quota and enjoyed running it on fire lanes and unpaved roads. It jumped reasonably well and could even drift the rear wheel on loose stuff. This was going to be a lot of fun, although a bit tall for Susan to climb on the passenger's perch.

Taking it back to my friend I got stuck in deep gravel in his driveway and tried to push the Quota back a few feet to get it out of that rut. Too tall to get a good grip on the bike and too heavy to just pull it sideways. That sure cured the NBS for the Quota. I still have its brochure on the wall just in case I get old enough to restrict my motorcycle adventures to solid pavement.

I should have never sold my Cagiva 650 Elefant years ago, it was a lot lighter and easier to manhandle. Add that to my list of bikes that "I should not have sold."

A short time later NBS infected me again. The V11 LeMans was so pretty, rode well and easy, had excellent brakes and a buttery transmission. Friend Corey sure likes his V11 Mandello Rosso. this was an important recommendation. I sure enjoyed riding the demo model, seemed comfortable for long distance. The passenger pegs were at the right location for my 7-year old grandson, but way too high for Susan. An open drive shaft? Would I have to carry, a grease gun on my trips? It brought back bad memories of my historic days riding British machines. Where do I keep luggage? But Frank Wedge provided a good solution for that with his GIVI setup. Nevertheless comparing it with my 1981 CX-100 was logical. The CX-100 is comfortable thanks to the Corbin seat. It carries soft saddlebags easily and the rest gets packed in the tankbag and on the luggage rack. Susan can get on and off without assistance and her legs aren't cramped. Fixing a Fiat or doing any maintenance is easy thanks to the practical old-fashioned centerstand. It gets 45 mpg - that makes our European trips a bit more affordable while visiting Italy, Spain, France and all those other interesting countries where gasoline costs $7 per gallon. We leave the CX-100 now in Europe, safely secured at a Guzzi dealer who preps it for us every time we are ready to use it again. And of course we only have liability insurance coverage on it. I'll give you that story some other time. But not buying the V11 LeMans we will save enough money for airline tickets, cute little hotels, and grand Italian dinners for the next four years. So that cured that attack of NBS.

The latest bout of NBS came with the introduction of the 750 Breva. Susan had learned her motorcycle skills on the V65C, but borrowed my V50 so often because she liked the riding position better. She took a spin on a Ducati Monster and that was fun. She didn't care for the Aprilia Pegaso. But was comfortable on the Breva. She doesn't get affected by NBS however. Women must have some immunity against it. The Breva has a lot going for it. It is reasonable light, has an enclosed driveshaft, can carry saddlebags, there is a centerstand for it, it isn't too tall, probably reasonably affordable to insure and plenty of power for long runs. NBS is still lingering. So her V65C was put up for sale and found a new owner quickly.

I had purchased a 1984 850 T5 a few years ago from a fellow who had dropped it overshooting a turn, and that had spooked him. It had done only 8500 miles, had a hole in one valve cover, dent in the fuel tank, and broken turn signals. Really all small stuff that was quickly fixed other than the dent. The chassis had not suffered. I didn't care much for the handling, had heard enough stories about the fashionable 16" wheels Guzzi decided to use on that model. Taking the front end apart after a long while and greasing the bone dry steering head bearings sure improved the handling a whole lot. I still think the headlight and fairing is kind of ugly.

NBS was still affecting my brain, so I was putting it up for sale as I did not use it a lot. To make sure it worked well for a potential buyer I pulled it out of the corner where it had slept for two years, put air in the new Avon Venom tires, changed the brake fluid, checked the ignition, put the California's battery in it, and poured fresh gas in. Then I took it for a spin. Changed the engine oil and took it for a longer spin. I washed and waxed it and joined a small group of sport riders this last Sunday for a long spirited ride through the Texas Hill Country. I got some nice comments on the good condition of this 20 year old Guzzi and enjoyed the ride very much.

Yes, you guessed it ... the T5 is no longer for sale! Just so I don't regret selling it later. But it did not cure the NBS this time; still have my heart set on the Breva. Anybody interested in a nice Triumph Sprint Sport in excellent condition with brand new tires? Or will I regret that later too...??

Return to previous page