Published on 29 Sep 2011 by Adriano
During the recent GMG 2011 (Giornate Mondiali Guzzi - Guzzi World Days 2011), Moto Guzzi unveiled the new California 90 model. The bike is a special limited edition California and is meant to honor Moto Guzzi’s 90th anniversary as well as the 40th anniversary of the world’s best known Italian custom bike. Born in 1971, the very first V7 California was designed around V7 Special’s technical base. The main difference between these 2 bikes was California’s bigger saddle, that was as comfortable as an armchair and allowed the rider to enjoy the view while being sheltered from the wind, thanks to that large windscreen that was part of California’s standard equipment as well as the big side bags.
This was the recipe that made this bike a success both in Europe and overseas, where it was first adopted by the L.A.P.D. (Los Angeles Police Department) and then made service bike of choice by many other American States. Back in its homeland, it also became the official motorcycle for the Corazzieri corps, the honor guard of the President of the Italian Republic. Moto Guzzi California has been subjected to several upgrades in his 40 years long history, but always managed to stay loyal to its original concept. It went from 750 to 850cc with the T model (in 1973) and introduced the famous ‘linked braking system’ with the following model, called T3 (in 1975).
In 1981 the California made its debut in the 1000cc class with a new 948cc engine - featuring distinctive ’square’ cylinder heads - which was developed out of the California I engine. The current 1100cc displacement was firstly adopted in 1994 with the launch of the California 1100i model. Since then, this version of the bike has undergone a number of restylings which allowed it to be kept into production up to this day, making it Moto Guzzi’s most successful California model to date out of all the 50000 units that have been built throughout the years at the Mandello del Lario factory.
Manufactured with the usual workmanship, the new Moto Guzzi California 90 introduces an original two-tone paint scheme called ‘Anniversario’ which combines metallic California Orange and Diamond White: the former dominates the lower part of the bike while the latter is more prominent on the upper side, meaning top of the tank, front mudguard and panniers lids, which are also finely decorated with black inserts. A distinguishing element of this new color scheme is definitely the Guzzi logo placed on the tank, which reproduces the same font style used by Moto Guzzi in the early 30s, when the mighty Omobono Tenni was the ruler of motorcycle racing. Other highlights are the handmade leather saddle and a numbered identification plate on the steering yoke, right in front of the rider’s eyes, which certifies the authenticity of this limited edition California 1100.
The ‘Anniversario’ graphics emphasize its spoked wheels, steel mudguards and supplementary fog lights, all of which have been borrowed from the Vintage model just like the stainless steel supported windscreen, the traditional ox-horn handlebar, the velvet-lined hard panniers and the chromium-plated rear luggage rack.
The California 90 is powered by the latest version of the big block series V-twin engine, an evolution of 1994 version which is well known for its mighty torque and proverbial reliability. Its 1064cc capacity comes from 92mm bore/80mm stroke aluminum alloy cylinders coupled with graphite low wear pistons. Boasting a Weber-Marelli fuel-injection system and 40mm throttle bodies, this engine can supply huge power even at low revs thanks to the fact it can reach its maximum torque value at 5000 rpm. And it can push it even further, up to 6400 rpm, when it delivers its full power of about 74hp.
In the same fashion, Moto Guzzi California 90 chassis’ design has a lot in common with the Vintage version. The frame is a neat detachable duplex cradle which, combined with the 29° rake, guarantees stability and accuracy when changing direction. Riding comfort is ensured by high quality suspension, boasting a 45mm Marzocchi fork on the front (140mm of wheel travel) and a dual shock swingarm with adjustable spring preload on the rear (104mm wheel travel).
As for braking, the California 90 exploits the best material available on the market: the front uses double 320mm stainless steel floating disc with precious 4 piston calipers made by Brembo, the rear has a 282mm disc with 2 piston calipers also made by Brembo, which provide the renowned ‘linked braking system’ that is so typical of Moto Guzzi’s motorcycles. California 90’s spoked wheels are also quite peculiar, with an 18″ on the front and a 17″ on the back fitting high shoulder tyres, a combination that gifts this bike with excellent handling and great riding accuracy.
Moto Guzzi California 90 specifications:
Engine: Air cooled 90° V-Twin 4 stroke
Maximum power: 54kW at 6400 rpm
Maximum torque: 94 Nm at 5000 rpm
Exhaust system: stainless steel, 2 tubes connected to 1 expansion room
that is connected to 2 steel mufflers; 3-way catalyzer with Lambda sensor
Gearbox: 5 speed, constant mesh gears with in-built cush drive
Final distribution: shaft drive, ratio 8/33 = 1 : 4.125
Front suspension: 45mm Marzocchi hydraulic telescopic fork, adjustable separately
Rear suspension: swing arm with 2 hydraulic shock absorbers, extension adjustable
Front brake: double stainless steel floating disc, 320mm diameter, Brembo 4 piston calipers
Rear brake: stainless steel disc, 282mm diameter, Brembo 2 piston calipers.
Moto Guzzi integral braking system
Tyres: 110/90 VB 18″ (front) - 140/70 VB 17″ (rear)
Seat height: 780mm
Dry weight: 251kg
Fuel tank capacity: 19 liters (4 liters reserve)
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