Moto Guzzi California Jackal – Triumph Bonneville
Text: Andi Seiler • Photography: Christian Neuhauser, Andi Seiler
There are more ways to ride your cruiser around than you would expect. RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Cruising Touring took the opportunity to check the all-round abilities of two classic European bikes on the twisty roads of Georgia and North Carolina.
We are riding under a deep green canopy of leaves, breathing big draughts of fresh air and dancing wherever the road dictates. There is no way out of here: The Dragon has got us and the footrests of the Bonnie are spewing fire and sparks as if we are actually fighting the mythical creature. Though it seems to be a hard clash, the bike runs the line the rider induces. The Bonnie and I try to follow Christian and the Guzzi.
They seem to be a couple of tough customers for The Dragon, too, especially when the Jackal growls and bares its teeth. But it’s not over; the outcome is yet to be decided. We have covered only a third of the 311 turns on this 11-mile stretch near Deals Gap, North Carolina, a back road famous for its curves, nice panorama, fast, native riders, and unfortunately its victims.
Surprisingly, the two classic bikes can handle this labyrinth of curves very well. Although made for easy cruising, they can be ridden more aggressively than you might usually expect. And on twisty streets like Deals Gap, you don’t need a lot of horsepower; it’s more about easy handling, good torque or mid range performance and the abilities of the rider.
Talking about Tradition
Both bikes have great heritages. The Jackal is based on the California theme of Moto Guzzi but has fewer parts and accessories than its former and current relatives, all of which saves the customer some hard-earned cash. The V-Twin in a double cradle frame has been a real eye-catcher since the V 7 Eldorado of the late sixties and early seventies and is the same as other relevant California models.
Over thirty years ago, riders appreciated this arrangement because it allowed them to go on long trips without worrying too much about fuel mileage, chain lubing or a sore back. The Guzzis were known for their large fuel tank, clean, reliable shaft drive, and relaxed seating position. The new models remain pretty close to their ancestors but are improved in many details.
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For the complete article of the riding impression(s) and technical specifications, please purchase the Summer 2001 back issue.
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