Impressions of the California Stone
Impressions of the Stone by Ron Bishop:
While at the Natl. Rally in Grass Valley I got a chance to ride the new Stone.
This was guided or follow the leader type ride. I would like to thank the factory for the use of their motorcycle. We were all lined up to move out and I was almost to the front, can't have
that. So played the old man part, trying to find the gear lever, fumbled with my helmet, then looking behind me in the mirror until everyone went by, even the guy on a Ducati that was supposed to ride drag. [not in drag, but the last one out] . Just where I wanted to be. I like playing catch up.
The bike rode well, gear change was a little notchy until I got used to it. I think maybe the gearshift &pegs were a little more forward than I'm used to. I got on it a couple of times, I really liked the throttle response, this was the first time I've ridden a bike with fuel injection, what a difference, stretched my arms a few times with it. Fun! Also I liked the speedometer standing right in the line of sight, could watch the rode and still see the Speedo without looking down.
Now for my opinions of the bike. For starters I really like the flat color, if you wanted it shiny it could always be clear coated. It had a pleasant exhaust note, just a tad of a growl. But to give this bike a cruiser look they really blew it, to get that low laid back look they moved the pegs forward and ruined what may have been a good seat, its a bit on the thin side. Or maybe its too young of a bike for me? A cruiser is for show and a Guzzi is for go. Or is Guzzi trying to be one of those wannabes? Hope not. Still its a nice motorcycle, and could be personalized to your own taste, I understand its priced low enough to do that.
If I didn't own a bike now I would probably buy one, but I don't care for the dealer they have in this area and Seattle is too far away for service and what have you. So guess I'll just keep what I got for a while.
More Impressions of the Stone byBruce Challoner
Now have 9,000kms on my Stone Metal 2002 bike. Added features over the Stone
which give it a different character.
First time I rode it (after owning ST1100) boy was it difficult getting used to the pegs that far forward. 9,000kms later - thank you Mr. Guzzi for your insight. Touring gives far less aches and stiffness in the legs than the ST1100 did. At 53 years of age, you appreciate this. The new tilt in the handlebars means a much more relaxed and upright position. As I have added a screen, I arrive relaxed and refreshed all except for my backside. The downside is the seat.
Comfortable for the short hops, but too thin for long hauls. Not enough support. A sheep skin cover has made a big difference, but still believe the seat could be better. The pillion passenger gets a worse deal. If you have the money, a Corbin or equivalent is the word, or if the finances are thin, then a sheepskin. Suggest every 2,000kms you go around and check all the screws and nuts. Had half a dozen come lose from engine, sump and frame with twin vibration. Torque wrench solved the problems once I tracked down settings off internet. Down side. Why does it take so long to produce a repair manual? Some of us need to know about our bikes Mr. Guzzi!
Ride is up to most sports bikes if you want to push it. The only thing to remember is start with the rear shock absorbers on '1' and go for ride. Keep moving setting up until at your comfort level. I doubt whether you get past '4' on a setting up to '11'. The suspension is set up firm. Firm being the operative word. Not to much you can do about the front forks but put different oil in. At least the steering damper is a dream. Even the biggest ruts and pot holes only make the Guzzi shake its head for a fraction of a second and carry on. Nothing that even gets close to panic. Just a quiet confidence that if you push it through a corner and half way around you encounter ruts in the road that would throw other bikes off line, just remember to hold on, because you will come out the other side on the same
line. I cannot speak more highly of its suspension, once you get over its firmness.
Vibration can be a problem when the tappets are not set correctly. Easy to adjust. Electronic ignition is great, allowing for smooth transitions in the throttle without any hesitation. This means at slow speeds, minor changes on the throttle grip equates to minor rev change. Ideal.
Pity the same cannot be said for the gear changing. Can stick when changing and not want to go into gear, especially between 3-5th. Needs a double
movement to achieve the change. doesn't happen all the time, only occasionally just to remind you its a Guzzi. Between 1st and 2nd, can slip into neutral if not firm on the foot when changing. That said, its a 'Guzzi' thing that you learn to adjust to. Just remember to be firm on gear changing. Just remember, the first bit of spare cash, either get a front crash bar, or the small protection pieces that fit on the bike's engine fins to protect
the spark plugs. You may never drop your bike, but if it falls over, and it doesn't have this protection, you will not be able to ride the bike anywhere because it's snapped a spark plug and lead. Very annoying! I'm learning to appreciate just how good this bike is. It's not perfect (no bike is), and it has its own unique character. You will know how much I like this bike by the ear to ear grin I have when I get off it. That's what this bike does for you.