Moto Guzzi, the other, other Italian motorcycle manufacturer, used its latest dealer meeting in Monte Carlo to pull the wraps off its two latest prototypes: a brand new version of the long-running California and the V7 Scrambler.
Each of these models would appear to be a direct assault at a specific machine from Triumph; obviously the V7 Scrambler would go toe-to-toe with the Triumph of the same name, while the California would be a logical competitor to the British brand’s reborn Thunderbird.
Unlike most modern Guzzis, this California sees the displacement of its air-cooled transverse V-twin bumped up to 1400cc, which is about the minimum displacement these days to be considered a ‘big’ bike. Styling is spot-on, especially the fuel tank, which wraps around the dual chrome cylinders.
As befitting a Scrambler-style motorcycle, this V7 prototype looks capable of straying at least a little ways off the beaten path courtesy of its spoked wheels and raised side-by-side mufflers. The style side of the equation has been nailed, and the 750cc air-cooled small block V-twin is nothing if not a willing partner, as we found out when we reviewed the V7 Classic.