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Moto Guzzi Audace First Ride Review

29 June 2016, 09:33 PM Pratheek Kunder

What is it?

The Moto Guzzi Audace is Eldorado’s darker and meaner cousin. It might look like a cruiser, but it isn’t as raw as the Eldorado or the California (which is a tourer). It’s more urban looking, has some fashion sense and it comes from Italy – the place which is usually related to the word ‘exotic’ in the motoring world. The Audace has been on sale in India since the last one year and is the most affordable of the lot. And not to miss is its unique V-Twin engine that rocks the bike on the right side each time you twist the throttle. This is because of the crankshaft's rotation along the left-right axis, instead of front-back in case of regular V-Twins. So we took the Moto Guzzi Audace for a ride to find out if it’s a desirable and a practical cruiser.

How does it ride?

The Audace looks daunting and intimidating, and there’s no doubt about that. Get this 300kg cruiser in motion on the highway, and there’s a sudden change of perception about the Audace. The overall riding stance of the Audace is not that of a typical cruiser but it’s more on the aggressive side with a wide drag style-handlebar where you need to stretch your arms little more than usual and there’s also the forward set pegs to complement the aggressiveness.

Moto Guzzi Audace

Moto Guzzi Audace

  • Displacement1,380 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)93.8 bhp
  • Kerb Weight299 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 22,74,606

I’m a big guy and I was able to soak into this riding position quite comfortably. What bothered me the most is riding the Audace in city. Needless to say, we know this beast does not like to be cramped. It’s very uncomfortable, blame the super hard hydraulic clutch. You need to have very strong hands if you plan to buy the Audace. And there’s the centre-biased weight distribution to make your ride difficult in the city. In short, don’t think of buying the Audace if you plan to do a lot of city riding. The Audace belongs to the highway and its performance blows you away.

The engine – 1400cc transverse v-twin engine is a unique one. This engine produces 96bhp and 121Nm of peak torque and this engine is mated to a six-speed transmission that transfers power to the rear-wheel via a shaft drive. Start the bike and the handlebar vibrates to the tune of the V-Twin and interestingly that’s the only time you’ll see the handlebar moving or vibrating. Because once you start riding the Audace, you’ll be surprised to see how refined and smooth this engine is. And the best part, you won’t experience any vibrations from this motor, not even at higher rpm. It’s super impressive. This engine is all about mid-range and that’s why you’ll see yourself crossing 100kmph with ease.

The ideal cruising range is between 100kmph and 140kmph but there’s plenty of room to go above that, if the road conditions permit. There’s more than enough torque coming out of this V-Twin till 5000rpm, after which it starts to lose little steam. At low end too, the Audace won’t disappoint you with the power delivery. It’s linear and easily accessible – something you want to see in a cruiser.

The suspension setup of the Audace is slightly on the firmer side, but not bad enough to break your back. And this makes it easy for the Audace to go around the corners with some really good lean angles. It eats up bumps and potholes pretty well. The braking department too, is impressive. Dual channel ABS is standard and when you combine this setup with the sticky Dunlop tyres, you’re one confident person on the road.

Anything else should I know?

The Audace traces its roots back to Italy and comes from under the Piaggio umbrella. Knowing its origins guarantees the buyers that their Audace comes packed with a good amount of gadget and electronic wizardry. It gets the ride-by wire system which helps the rider choose from three different riding modes – the Veloce, Turismo and Pioggia. In Veloce mode- the fastest it can go- the bike behaves like an absolute beast, unrestrained and fast. Its sensitive throttle makes sure you feel each hike in speed. You have engine braking set to the highest level.  Second in line is the Turismo mode and like the name suggests gets you going in the touring mode.  Power remains impressive, though nothing to match the Veloce but will do well for a ride on the highway. Throttle sensitivity and engine braking is on the wane here.  

The Pioggia mode, the safest of all, used especially in rains to protect the rider from going berserk. And along with modes, the Audace is equipped with traction control system (TCS) with three levels (four if you consider the ‘off’ mode). These are your best friends when it comes to a slippery road. The instrument cluster is that of a typical cruiser – round, with a small integrated display. This screen shows all kinds of information like speed, fuel efficiency, ambient temperature, fuel gauge, ride modes and TCS modes. The modes can be selected through the toggle switch on the switchgear. You should also now that the Audace gets a carbon fibre mudguard.

Why should I buy one?

The Audace is not your regular cruiser. It is expensive, heavy and looks like the Batmobile. With a price tag of Rs 23.5 lakh (on-road Pune), the Audace is counted as one of the most expensive and exclusive cruisers in India and due to this, there’ll be very less on the Indian roads. So rest assured when you are out on your ride, traffic is bound to halt around you. It's a massive bike with a real massive road presence. This baby isn't meant for your potholed, bumpy city roads, let it loose on some piece of fine smooth tarmac and you will know what we are talking about. With its exclusive nature, the bike is also limited in terms of sales and service reach. Currently, Moto Guzzis are sold through only four Motoplex stores in the country.

Where does it fit in?

The Moto Guzzi Audace competes with the Triumph Rocket III Roadster, which is priced at Rs 21.7 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and the Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special at Rs 21.92 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). 

Photography by Kapil Angane