Moto Guzzi’s all-new 1400cc cruiser, the California 1400, lifts the legendary Italian marque from a quirky also-ran to a formidable, modernized opponent. The muscular-yet-elegant California combines chic Italian styling with modern technology and pavement-eating power, resulting in a motorcycle that’s so complete and so completely beyond its predecessor that it narrowly missed being our Motorcycle of the Year. Yeah, it’s that good.
If we told you that you could purchase a brand-new urban performance bobber with a blacked out V-Twin engine and components, a stripped neo-industrial appearance and a low seat height that’s ideal for new-ish, female or those “short of leg,” all for under eight grand, would you bite? There are two motorcycle manufacturers producing such a bike. Your choice is between the proven machine with a few well-documented idiosyncrasies, or the upstart contender that’s eager to take on the champ.