Modern And Elegant Successor To The Original "850"

Playing to the sport crowd in the mid 1970s meant death for the Moto Guzzi Eldorado 850. The iconic tourer was dumped for the sportier 850T, but Moto Guzzi was already entrenched in the American cruiser market. In fact, if you have one of those 1972-to-1974 Eldorado 850s, you have a gold mine. Thanks to Piaggio’s willingness to let its brands stay true to themselves, the 2018 Eldorado carries the sexy lines and the bold elegance of the Eldorado of yesteryear. Powered by a 1,380 cc engine that delivers plenty of torque at low-low rpm, the Eldorado is as much classic as it is classy.

Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi Eldorado.

  • 2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
  • Year:
    2016- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V-Twin
  • Displacement:
    1380 cc
  • Price:
    16490
  • Price:

Design

2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
- image 650663
The Eldorado is a heavy bike and could be a handful for folks of smaller stature with not as much upper body strength, but once on the road, it's smooth sailing.

I remember watching news clips on TV in the early-to mid 1970s for events taking place in California. The news had plenty to talk about with the Vietnam War and the protests resulting from it and other events whose historical impact escapes me right at this moment. What sticks in my mind was my fascination with the motorcycles the police were riding. Used by the Los Angeles police and the California Highway Patrol, the California model — dubbed the "Eldorado" here in the U.S. — stamped its name on the American motorcycling world and made us sit up and pay attention to Italian manufacturer Moto Guzzi.

While you don’t get the siren and flashing lights of the old LAPD bikes, the 2018 Eldorado is still as beautiful a machine as it was when it hit the California coast forty-some years ago. Similar to its stable mate, the Audace, the Eldorado is the heavyweight touring cruiser where the Audace is more the muscle cruiser. With bullhorn handlebars instead of drag bars, floorboards instead of pegs, those gangster whitewalls on spoked wheels, classic fenders and plenty of chrome, the Eldorado is the all-day tourer with a comfortable triangle and a don’t-trap-your-boot shifter.

The oversize saddle is built for comfort and with a seat height at 29.1 inches, it’s an easy reach to the ground for anyone of average height. You can shave a bit off of that with the low-seat option.

At 700 pounds before you get on it, the Eldorado is a heavy bike and could be a handful for folks smaller of stature with not as much upper body strength. You’ll wrestle it in the parking lot, but once on the road, it’s smooth sailing. Replaceable nylon sliders under the floorboards give you a little insurance on aggressive cornering, and it handles the curves like a champ. Of course, if you like aggressive cornering, you might do better with the Audace.

Chassis

2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
- image 650669
The ABS that comes standard helps you deal with the massive forces generated both by the weight of the bike, but also the front calipers. Opposed-piston calipers are no joke, and you'd better be tender with the lever until you get used to them.

MG starts out with a tubular-steel frame that forms a double cradle to support the distinctive, transverse-mount V-twin on rubber motor mounts. Massive 46 mm, right-side-up front forks float the front on 4.7 inches of travel, and dual, externally-mounted rear shocks support the swingarm with the same travel as the front. Plus, the shocks come with swanky, black-on-chrome shock covers; a nice classic touch that pairs well with the chrome knee patches on the black tank, the polished-aluminum fork lowers and black tube shrouds giving us a continuity of design that kind of brings the whole bike together.

At 700 pounds wet plus rider(s) and cargo, this is a lot of bike to control. To that end, the factory gave it big, dual 320 mm front brake discs, and Brembo calipers with four opposed pistons each. A 282 mm disc and dual-pot, piston-and-anvil Brembo caliper bind the rear. ABS comes standard to help you deal with the massive forces generated both by the weight of the bike, but also the front calipers. Opposed-piston calipers are no joke, and you’d better be tender with the lever until you get used to them. Metzeler Lasertec tires wrap the 16-inch polished aluminum rims, and the fat gangster whitewalls certainly add to the classic looks.

Frame: Double cradle tubular frame in ALS steel with detachable rear subframe
Suspension, Front: standard forks 46 mm, with radial caliper mounting bracket and telescopes on the stanchions, 4.7-inch travel
Suspension, Rear: swingarm with double shock absorber adjustable spring preload, 4.7-inch travel
Brake, Front: Dual 320 mm stainless steel floating discs, Brembo radial calipers with four horizontally opposed pistons: ABS as standard equipment
Brake, Rear: 282 mm stainless steel fixed disc, Brembo floating caliper with two parallel pistons: ABS as standard
Wheel, Front: 16-inch polished aluminum, spoked with tubeless system, 130/90
Wheel, Rear: 16-inch polished aluminum, spoked with tubeless system, 180/65
Tire, Front: 130/90 R16ʼʼ
Tire, Rear: 180/65 R16ʼʼ

Drivetrain

2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
- image 650670
There is no mistaking a 'Guzzi for any other ride. The transverse-mounted V-twin engine stands proud of the rest of the bike, leaving it with the distinctive “shoulders” that gives it away in a heartbeat.

There is no mistaking a ’Guzzi for any other ride. The transverse-mount, 90-degree, V-twin engine stands proud of the rest of the bike, leaving it with the distinctive “shoulders” that gives it away in a heartbeat. At 1,380 cc, the mill falls in the upper-middle range for cruisers in the Stateside market, as do the performance values with 96 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 88.5 pound-feet of grunt at a low 2,750 rpm. That’s right folks, this engine comes on early.

Dual-ignition heads contribute to that, as does the Weber-Marelli fuel injection system. A Ride-by-Wire throttle runs through the Moto-Guzzi Traction Control (MGTC) system; a combination that allows for three separate engine maps to manage power delivery, and three adjustable traction-control profiles. Plus, cruise control serves as the icing on the proverbial cake for long-distance riders.

A six-speed transmission comes with an overdrive-ratio top gear, another bonus for highway riders, and the MG Reactive Shaft Drive sends the power to the rear wheel.

Engine: Four-stroke 90-degree V-twin, four valves, double ignition
Displacement: 1,380 cc
Bore x Stroke: 104 mm x 81.2 mm
Maximum Power: 96 Horsepower at 6,500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 88.5 Pound-Feet at 2,750 rpm
Fuel System: Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection
Engine Controls: dual ignition, Ride by Wire with three engine maps, three level adjustable traction control, Cruise Control as standard equipment
Exhaust System: Stainless steel, 2-in-2 type, 3-way catalytic converter with double oxygen sensor
Transmission: Six-speed with final overdrive

Pricing

2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
- image 742593
MSRP hangs in there at last year's prices in Rosso Pregiato or Nero Classico

MSRP on the 2018 Eldorado is $16,490 — same as last year — and it comes in red or black.

Color:
2016: Nero Classico
2017, 2018: Rosso Pregiato, Nero Classico
Price:
2016: $15,990
2017, 2018: $16,490

Competitor

2016 - 2018 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
- image 650768
2015 - 2017 Yamaha V Star 1300 Tourer
- image 705132
Nevermind that a "touring cruiser" should have bags and a windshield -- the Eldorado doesn't -- but with some quick release components and a trip to the accessories catalog, we can have whatever we want.

Where the Audace is the muscle cruiser, Eldorado is the touring cruiser. When I think touring cruiser, the V Star 1300 Tourer from Yamaha’s Star lineup comes to mind. Nevermind that a "touring cruiser" should have bags and a windshield — the Eldorado doesn’t — but with some quick release components and a trip to the accessories catalog, we can have whatever we want.

Engine size is fairly comparable, with the Guzzi barely squeaking out a win with its 1,380 cc displacement over the V Star’s 1304 cc. Granted, the V Star conforms to the U.S. mold with a traditionally-mounted, V-twin mill, but Guzzi has long been popular in the U.S., so its distinctive design does not detract from it one bit.

Star takes a hit in the electronics department. No ABS, traction control, engine maps, cruise control or anything, so MG takes the cake in the fancy gadget category, hands down. Even though the V Star can be had for $12,390, a sight lower than the Eldorado at $16,490, the gadgetry that comes standard with the MG explains away that price discrepancy. Even though Eldorado buyers will have to go out of pocket for bags and a windshield, padding the price even more, it should be well worth the extra money for someone looking to do some serious highway work.

He Said

My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, "I’ve always liked ’Guzzis, even if they are kind of a niche bike. By ’niche’ I mean they appeal to a certain sector based on their historical roots, and rather unique looks. The Eldorado is a solid-looking bike, I mean this thing is a buffalo that looks tough as hell, and mean to boot. If touring ain’t your thing, this ride would make a dandy boulevard bruiser."

She Said

"I think I fell in love with this bike the first time I saw one on the TV news ridden by a California cop. It was the reason I watched the old TV show CHiPs, even though they rode Kawasaki KZ-900s and 1000s on the show. I didn’t care about the show; I wanted to see the bikes. It was an Eldorado that had me say first, ’ I love that bike! Who are these Moto Guzzi folks?’ and I haven’t changed my mind in 40-plus years."

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Four-stroke 90-degree V-twin, four valves, double ignition
Displacement: 1,380 cc
Bore: 104 mm
Stroke: 81.2 mm
Maximum Power: 96 Horsepower at 6,500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 88.5 Pound-Feet at 2,750 rpm
Fuel System: Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection
Engine Controls: dual ignition, Ride by Wire with three engine maps, three level adjustable traction control, Cruise Control as standard equipment
Exhaust System: Stainless steel, 2-in-2 type, 3-way catalytic converter with double oxygen sensor
Transmission: Six-speed with final overdrive
Final Drive: CA.R.C. Compact Reactive Shaft Drive
Clutch: Single-disc with integrated anti-vibration buffer
Chassis:
Frame: Double cradle tubular frame in ALS steel with detachable rear subframe
Suspension, Front: standard forks 46 mm, with radial caliper mounting bracket and telescopes on the stanchions, 4.7-inch travel
Suspension, Rear: swingarm with double shock absorber adjustable spring preload, 4.7-inch travel
Brake, Front: Dual 320 mm stainless steel floating discs, Brembo radial calipers with four horizontally opposed pistons: ABS as standard equipment
Brake, Rear: 282 mm stainless steel fixed disc, Brembo floating caliper with two parallel pistons: ABS as standard
Wheel, Front: 16-inch polished aluminum, spoked with tubeless system, 130/90
Wheel, Rear: 16-inch polished aluminum, spoked with tubeless system, 180/65
Tire, Front: 130/90 R16ʼʼ
Tire, Rear: 180/65 R16ʼʼ
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 96.3 inches
Width: 37 inches
Height: 43.8 inches
Saddle height: 29.1 inches
Wheelbase: 66.7 inches
Details:
Curb weight: 701 Pounds
Fuel tank capacity: 5.4 Gallons
Reserve: 0.66 Gallons
Details:
Color:
2016: Nero Classico
2017, 2018: Rosso Pregiato, Nero Classico
Price:
2016: $15,990
2017, 2018: $16,490

References

2015 - 2017 Yamaha V Star 1300 Tourer
- image 712680

See our review of the Yamaha V-Star 1300 Tourer.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: motoguzzi-us.com, yamaha-motor.com

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