Test riding the Moto Guzzi 1400 Audace

Moto Guzzi 1400 Audace is a smooth, gentle ride even on packed city roads. But, is it good for you?

The new Moto Guzzi Audace is essentially a blacked-out California, but it packs in more appeal. The Audace has a dark character for  the rebel in you. Initially, the Audace feels and looks quite intimidating. Why shouldn’t it? After all, the bike comes from a family known for being big and beautiful. The custom bike elements make it stand out. There are bits on the Audace that add a lot of flair to its beauty, such as its carbon fender. The classy Alcantara saddle makes you feel as if you are resting on a comfy lounge chair.

The Audace’s wide handlebar, or drag bar as Guzzi calls it, looks wicked as do the massive matte-black megaphone exhausts with funky exhaust tip. It may be a cruiser, but it is as modern as Italy is. The Audace features a retro-looking console, but looks are deceptive.

Analogue tacho integrated with digital speedo and multi-info display is retro-modern. Pics/Sanjay Raikar
Analogue tacho integrated with digital speedo and multi-info display is retro-modern. Pics/Sanjay Raikar

The console houses an analogue tachometer with a crisp digital display sitting at the heart of it, showing an array of useful information. But the modern stuff lies in the electronics of the Audace. ABS is standard, so is traction control and the ride-by-wire throttle. Since it is a cruiser, cruise control is a standard fitment. Other goodies include multiple riding modes like Veloce (fast), Turismo (touring) and Pioggia (rain). Our favourite is the optional smartphone connectivity to connect your smartphone with the bike using an app to see different parameters such as speedometer and tachometer, engine power and torque, instant and average fuel consumption, average speed and battery voltage, longitudinal acceleration and extended trip computer on your phone. Amazing, isn’t it?

Exhaust note sounds nice only when you give the bike some stick
Exhaust note sounds nice only when you give the bike some stick

The bike’s longitudinally mounted 1,380-cc, four-valve, 90º V-twin engine churns out 96 PS and a massive 121 Nm of torque. The power and torque are transferred to the rear wheel via a slick six-speed transmission and Guzzi’s trademark shaft drive that features the famous ‘clunk’ while shifting gears. The shaft drive, however, has one tiny niggle which many would find a bit weird. Shaft-driven bikes usually tend to lean towards one side — the side on which the shaft is located, that is — when revved hard. This attribute takes some time getting used.

The engine’s linearity took us by surprise. Great bottom and mid-range power allowed us to ride the bike in the fourth gear at 40 km/h without revving the engine beyond 2,000 RPM. An easy ride.

The Audace is 38 kilos lighter and more compact than the California. Though, at 299 kilos, it is still a heavyweight. Audace’s acceleration is gentle. Nail the throttle, and the bike takes off with gusto but the speed build-up is smooth and not sudden. It gets to triple-digit cruising speeds easily. The 100 km/h mark comes up pretty quickly and then the bike races towards the second ton mark equally quick.

Performance is quite good — the bike impressed us the most by its ride quality and handling. The suspension setup is just right. It features 45-mm forks and adjustable twin rear shocks. This setup is slightly on the softer side, thus allowing the Audace to take the Indian terrain in its stride. Few big cruisers in India have this ability.

The setup allows one to cover miles without thinking of a back massage at the end of the day. It also handles quite well for a cruiser. Show it a corner, not a really tight one, and it obliges every time you throw it into a bend. Super stable, it sticks to the chosen line quite well. The Audace’s agility is stunning. It allowed us to weave through early morning traffic fearlessly. The closed double-cradle frame is excellent and the weight distribution is also quite good. Besides, its sleeker dimensions also make the Audace a motorcycle easy to live with.

All in all, the Moto Guzzi Audace is a cruiser that handles well, has more than ample power and torque, good ride quality and, most of all, easy rideability. Combined with modern gadgetry, the Audace is a tempting everyday option. At Rs 19.7 lakh, ex-showroom in Mumbai, the Audace’s asking price is indeed audacious. Not to mention, that Guzzi’s brand recall in India isn’t as high as Piaggio (the parent company) would have liked it to be. Nevertheless, if you fancy riding an Italian and have deep pockets or if you simply have deep pockets and have a taste for exclusivity then the Audace should appeal to your sensibilities.

Need to know

Moto Guzzi 1400 Audace
Engine: 1,380 cc, four-valve, air cooled 90º V-twin with oil-cooler, longitudinally mounted
MAX POWER: 96 PS @ 6,500 rpm
MAX TORQUE: 121 Nm @ 3,000 rpm
Price: (ex-showroom, Mum) Rs 19.7 lakh

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