This ride was for less than a week, but any long ride on an old bike has the makings of an 'epic'........
1974 Moto Guzzi 750S - Highway 138 to Natashquan, Quebec
4 days, 3182 Kms
Why would anyone choose a 38 year old sport bike for a manic blast up one of the more remote roads in Canada? It’s a question I asked myself many times as I was riding home, fighting constant headwinds, the muscles in my neck and back screaming for relief, my backside feeling as though I was back in the headmasters office in Grammar School, and my knees locked in a permanent crook.
Of course, I’m exaggerating a bit. I actually find riding the 750S relatively comfortable - at least for sane distances - and while, after a few hours it does remind me that a) I am no longer 20, b) it wasn’t really ever designed for long distance touring, and c) my 2007 Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 might have been the saner choice, its not all that bad.
Putting ergonomics aside for a while, from a mechanical standpoint, the 750 is a surprisingly good choice for long distance riding. The tall gearing which makes the bike a bit of a pig in town, translates into effortless cruising. It prefers to be in fourth at a steady 100kph (just around 4000 rpm) and starts to get positively balky in fifth at anything below about 105kph.
OK, so it doesn’t have a windscreen, so riding the last 10 hours into a 60kph headwind was a bit of a nightmare. But in every other way it was a fine ride. The handling is exemplary (by any standard I have been exposed to) and it has that ‘cool’ factor which puts a big smile on my face even in the middle of nowhere. Is 750 enough? I should say so!
The bike wasn’t really the issue I was wrestling with. I was trying, unsuccessfully I might add, to get at the root of what it is that drives me to take older bikes on torture tours to some of the more remote parts of eastern and central Canada. I’m not trying to break the bikes, honest I’m not. They are Guzzis!
Remember that original design brief - able to withstand the abuses of squaddies and cops for at least 100,000 kms without major mechanical intervention. No, breaking the bikes isn’t even on the cards, although I do get a wry pleasure with having to deal with whatever minor troubles do occur on the road.
Breaking myself then? Testing my immor
mortality? There’s a possibility. Perhaps I’m waiting for
something to break............................................
The Bike - 1974 Moto Guzzi 750S
Setting off from Inverary, Ontario