In 1971, Moto Guzzi introduced the very first California — an Italian V-twin cruiser originally developed for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Traffic Division, featuring a bulletproof Lexan windshield, sirens, radio, lights, and a left-foot gearshift. The California has now been in continuous production for 50 years, receiving various updates along the way.
The California 1100 came along in 1993, boasting a 74-hp air-cooled V-twin, a 1/4-mile time of 13.2 seconds, and the Italian charisma that’s been drawing Guzzisti to the brand for generations.
“An Italian with real history – the Moto Guzzi California 1100EV hasn’t changed hugely since the 850cc version of 1972. But it’s still a machine well worth considering. The California 1100EV is a cruiser / tourer that actually handles.” —MCN
Our friends at Lisbon’s Unik Edition Custom Motorcycles recently heard from a customer who had a ’94 California 1100 that was in solid shape mechanically, but the owner just hadn’t been riding it much.
“The engine and bike were fine, but he wanted something more modern and up to date. The original bike is very big, so we wanted to make it clean and lighter.”
To that end, the Unik Edition crew outfitted the bike with a lighter subframe, lightweight flat-track fender/seat, new spoked wheels, updated electronics and key location, rear-set foot controls, clip-ons, and more.
“Being able to ride this bike proved to be the best part of this process. The bike has spectacular torque and sound. Very comfortable. We are very satisfied with the final result.”
Moto Guzzi California Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Moto Guzzi California 1100, 1994
• Why was this bike built?
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The customer had a Guzzi motorcycle for many years that he hadn’t used. The engine and bike were fine, but he wanted something more modern and up to date. The original bike is very big, so we wanted to make it clean and lighter.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Rear set foot controls (very demanding), new spoke wheels and tires, new sub-frame, new flat track seat, new headlight, completely new electronics, relocation of key, clip ons adaptation, new exhaust, paint job, etc.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Being able to ride this bike proved to be the best part of this process. The bike has spectacular torque and sound. Very comfortable. We are very satisfied with the final result.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
What makes us happier is the moment we look at the original bike and then look at ours. We must be proud of the bike in general.