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2016 Moto Guzzi Audace Review, Road Test

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Moto Guzzi Audace is big, brawny, full of attitude and yet it starts smiling the moment it witness a long highway stretch and so does the rider

Enchanting –

  • One of a kind aesthetics
  • Superlative engine, brakes, chassis
  • Comfortable and Dynamic at the same time
  • Electronics makes it easy to ride

Unsatisfying –

  • Limited dealerships, period
  • Could do with more power

The introduction doesn’t get more emotional than this or does it? This is how Italian motorcycles are. You cannot blame the rider or the reviewer not to go into an emotional mode from the many modes that a person has. Parent company of Moto Guzzi is on a roll in India. Piaggio is in the news for all the right reasons ever since the brand Vespa and other companies under its banner came to India along with it one by one. Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Vespa. All these brands have a special connection with the masses thanks to a lot of advertising and offering unique products which actually work. The products work for all ages. Right from 18-year-old selfie taker *sorry* teenagers is the right word to Grandpa.

Yes, we are talking about the Vespa scooter which came as 125 cc and now available in 150cc. Then came Aprilia and it offered everything to the enthusiast. Tuono, RSV4, Caponord and of-course odd ball out, the Mana 850. Today the day begins with testing the new Moto Guzzi Audace. One of the entry-level cruisers from the brand of what it offers to the masses. We took out for a single day spin and still managed to clock 350 kms inside the busy streets of Pune to almost Strawberry land. Care to find out how emotional the journey is? Hope on!

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Design
We shouldn’t start with the engine in the design paragraph, but we have too. At first glance it is the big massive engine that grabs attention like no other. V-Twin sticking out, large gearbox and crankcase make it look a stripped truck for goodness sake! The front however is very skinny. The handlebars and the head lamp combination look tiny and oncoming viewers won’t like it much. However, the moment you get a glance of the side profile, jaws drop, we saw that happening while our test ride. The gas charged suspension and side panels with decals on the same are easily visible.

The massive big fuel tank protruding out on both sides and is large in width as well. Tail again gets very skinny and edgy with the tail lamps and turn-indicators being the same. The exhaust pipes are massive as well and the end can is well designed and they stand out and help it not look like a ‘Harley’. A word and the motorcycle that is always seen on our roads. Alloy wheels, beefy suspension on both ends along with massive tyres, overall, give it a distinct cruiser. A large and obvious selling point for the Audace. Overall fit-finish of the bike is good enough with one or two iffy bits.

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Speedo and Switchgear
A round dial that sits above the handlebar has all the telltale lights and warning lights you need to see on this motorcycle. The motorcycle is also blessed with a fuel gauge which is a very good thing. Gear position indicator, outside temperature, traction control lights up as ‘Brake’ when it detects slip is also shown. Full Fuel MID can also been which includes average and current fuel efficiency along with distance to empty.

Switches come from the Aprilia models and are familiar. The left hand switch has heated grip option behind the switch along with pass, high beam and low beam button situated. Menu toggle button to scroll through settings is on the RH switch as well with the horn. Left hand switch houses cruise control, starter button and hazard light button as well. The quality of the switches is good enough.

Ergonomics Another stand out feature is how the rider is placed on the motorcycle. Seat height is low enough, the seats are well done in every way and pillion seat is also usable for very short rides too. However, it is the handlebar reach for the rider that makes it arm stretching machine. Tall people of the world rejoice as there is enough leg room and your hands can reach the handlebar as well. Short people will have issues and it will take time to gel well with the posture. Our 5’11’ and 5’8 height riders had no issue after an hour into the ride. Rear view mirrors are placed well. Overall, a good job as it offers a unique prospect here as well than other cruisers in the market.

Engine and Gearbox Powering the massive cruiser is a 1380cc engine that makes just 96 PS of power at 6500 RPM and 121 Nm of torque at 3500 RPM. The oil-cooled engine has 4-valves per cylinder, dual ignition system and offers host of electronics. Three way traction control system and three riding modes to choose from. First mode gives you very linear throttle and very less engine braking system. The second part is that it gives you slightly more slip and aggressive throttle. Third mode gives you aggressive throttle and least intervention from Traction Control. We met all situations and it works really well. Electronics don’t make themselves visible, but you can feel they are working if you pay attention. Performance is good, the torque is available from as low as 2500 RPM all the way till 6500 RPM.

The engine redlines at 7500 RPM though, and post 6500 RPM there isn’t anything to extract from the engine. This makes riding in the city easy and highway overtakes are a piece of cake. However, give it an open stretch and it reaches 180 km/hr quite easily. We think this cruiser could do with more power as the 299 kg hampers the performance. At times, when we got familiar with the cruiser, it was docile, smooth and linear but it also felt less powerful. Still, it can manage 0-100 km/hour dash around 5 seconds. We got a fuel efficiency of 16 km/l.

A good sign for newbie riders a not so great sign for performance oriented riders. If you want performance, you can just take super sports version from the showroom which donated two of the four-cylinder to this cruiser to come to life. The engine does feel like it has a heart of a motorcycle. The sound from the exhaust is also very motorcycle-ish as well. However, it does have a typical machine gun rumble a cruiser should have and the Audace has it. The reason why, at the end of the day, it ends up winning enthusiasts hearts. Overall, a well accomplished engine and gearbox and we only wish the clutch was more progressive as the gearbox did its job well.

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Dynamics The big bulky 299 kg motorcycle is surprisingly nimble and agile the moment it reaches the torque band. The front is light. The rake is on the inward side and hence it makes easy to use. Needless to say highway stability is rock solid and the cruiser can actually take corners really well. Long sweepers at ludicrous triple digit speeds is easy to handle. Metzeler Lasertec tyres are infamous for the average performance and we could see the same here as well.

On wet roads traction control was on most of the time. Dry roads, though it was working perfectly. The ride quality is good too, despite being on the stiff side. All of this is thanks to mature tuning of suspension, large front and rear tyres, which are an odd combination of 130/70 18-inch at the front and 200/60 section 17-inch at the rear. The brakes are also really good. Perfect initial bite at the front and post that a lot of progressive power to bring the bike at a halt. Rear brake also actually works and has a good bite and power to stop at low speeds.

2016 Moto Guzzi Audace Review Verdict

The big question? Will we choose it over a Harley from the same price bracket? Absolutely. The performance is ample, but we think it can take more as the chassis and dynamics are extremely well sorted and it can handle that extra punch. The styling is spot on and despite it being an Italian cruiser and not American, it is another plus on in the books.

Sure, there are other American cruisers in the market that are better. For now, the Exclusivity, the brand name and including the price tag are in favor of the Moto Guzzi Audace. Everything rounds up here and there is no reason, if you have MotoPlex from Piaggio in your city you shouldn’t go there and a cut a check for this Italian bruiser.

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