As power cruisers go, Moto Guzzi’s delectable Audace represented the cream of the crop. Underrated beast? You betcha!
Moto Guzzi distributor Peter Stevens has pulled the pin on its beastly Audace power cruiser in Australia, as declining road bike sales in the broader market has increased pressure on niche models. It’s a bit of a shame, really, because a lightly refreshed Audace could have made a unique Italian rival to models like the Triumph Rocket 3 and the upcoming BMW R 18.
“Decreasing sales in the broader two-wheel road bike segment over the past few years has marginalised low-volume models like Audace in recent times,” Peter Stevens Importers brand manager Gavan Moody told INFO MOTO.
“Newer manufacturers coming into the market and downward price pressure from established manufactures for a smaller market has seen models like Audace struggle to compete on price and volume.
“Unfortunately this has made it hard to retain this model in the Moto Guzzi line up here.”
Still, the outgoing Moto Guzzi Audace may make a hell of used buy, and there’s still a few new examples of the top-spec Carbon flying around, if you look hard enough.
What’s it like to ride?
So, what is this big beastie laid out in living colour before you anyway? Glad you asked. Here’s the guts… In 2015 Moto Guzzi took its much lauded California and gave it a mean and lean (well, perhaps not so lean), stance to come up with a power cruiser. Think Harley-Davidson V-Rod with a continental styling twist and you won’t be far off the money.
‘Audace’ is Italian for ‘bold’ or ‘fearless’. Of course ‘audacity’ has a slightly less complimentary meaning here in Angloworld, but let’s not get caught up in who shot who. The bike is indeed bold. Bold as.
The whole thing was given a blacked-out, sinister look and everything pared down. There’s a carbon fibre front guard, megaphone-styled mufflers and real live footpegs in place of the Cali’s footboards, and the rocker shifter was given the heave-ho for a normal lever.
The air/oil cooled 1380cc V-twin made the same 120Nm of torque as the Custom, and the bike arrived equipped with the same primo features, including ride-by-wire engine management, traction control, and dual-channel ABS on the Brembo brakes (twin rotors up front, single at the stern). This one was also the first Moto Guzzi to comply with Euro 4 regulations.
The three traction control settings (plus off) range from least intrusive (1) to moderately intrusive (2) to rain (3). These were romantically left in Italian on the single central instrument dial and are respectively Turismo (touring), Veloce (sport), and Pioggia (rain). Feel like you are rolling through a Neapolitan village yet?
I’ve ridden lots of Moto Guzzis, over many years. And to a single bike, they all have one thing in common – they grow on me. The Audace continued that tradition.
At first, they can seem unwieldy. Big, with that physical ‘throw’ to the right at idle as the cylinders pop in sequence. Subtle they ain’t.
But, over time that lovely loping power, the ‘could only be Italian’ styling, the efficiency of the brand’s shaft drive setup and the fact that, well, you feel just a little special aboard a Guzzi wins your heart. This one did that. Again. Damned clever, those Italians.
The seating position was well thought out. No bike of this ilk is going to have you head down and bum up Valentino Rossi style, but this thing has a degree of sporting credibility and the designers at Mandello del Lario unashamedly targeted an experienced and knowing buyer, so you can’t look like Peter Fonda in an outtake from Easy Rider either.
After all, we might be old, but we ain’t dead.
Moto Guzzi Audace in summary
Again, Guzzi pulled it off – made me a fan, when I started the week with the bike a little ambivalent.
It’s just loaded with character, and life is too short not to get involved with a thoroughbred Italian at some point of your life.
As a great mate once said to me ‘every person should own a Guzzi at some stage of their life’.
It mostly does what it says on the tin, offering a more sporty Cali. It looks tough and breaks the rider out of the mainstream. The tech is real world sophisticated and useable. Yep, order me a chianti. I’m into it.
Snag’s career in motoring journalism spans 29 years with stints at major bike mags Australian Road Rider, Motorcycle Trader and AMCN along with contributions to just about every other outlet worth a hill of beans. He was editor of Unique Cars magazine and hosts his legendary podcast ‘Snag Says’ when he gets off his date.