We love scramblers for their laid-back, go-anywhere attitude. But the travelers in us get really excited when they’re kitted for long-distance adventures too.
This Moto Guzzi California has just tackled a 3,000 kilometer trip, from Utrecht in the Netherlands, to Monaco, via France and Switzerland. Sure, a BMW R 1200 GS Adventure would arguably have been a better choice, but the Guzzi makes for a far more stylish ontsnapping.
The stock California would have managed just fine too, but the owner had other ideas. So he handed it over to Dutch builder Roy Holtman at RH Motorcycles.
“The bike still was in good condition,” says Roy. “The owner has an emotional connection with this bike and didn’t want to simply let go and buy something new.”
“But he was done with the look the bike had back then, and wanted something more rugged and ready for the road trip.”
The client’s originally from the UK, so Roy wanted to give the bike more of a classic British vibe. To shed the California’s droopy cruiser stance, he rebuilt the subframe, and fitted longer rear shocks to level everything out (and to add some clearance).
All the bodywork’s been reworked too. We’re tempted to label the Guzzi as a ‘parts bin special,’ but Roy’s matched everything up so well.
The fuel tank and side panels are off a Suzuki GS750—the latter reworked with mesh panels for a more robust look. And the headlight and brackets have been adapted from a Yamaha XJR1300, but powder-coated black.
Roy modified them so that the headlight sits further back, then added a hand-made stone guard. The control area’s been finished off with gold Renthal handlebars (“for a bit more contrast”), Biltwell Inc. grips, basic switches and a smaller speedo.
He also stripped as much as he could off the bike to save weight, but left things like the airbox intact. The original fenders were shortened and refitted, and the bulk mufflers ditched for stumpy off-the-shelf units.
Up top is a bobber-style seat, and a luggage rack that can easily be swapped out for a pillion seat. Side racks add more carrying capacity; they’re currently holding a set of army surplus bags, but can take panniers too.
The final color scheme is subdued, with Roy’s cheeky moniker, ‘Are Age’ (a reference to his accent), emblazoned on the tank. We love the smaller details: like the red plug leads and the leather tank strap.
This Moto Guzzi California now has the same utilitarian vibe that we saw on the last RH Motorcycles bike we featured. More importantly, it makes us want to take up retro-bike adventure riding.
Who’s with us?