2015 Moto Guzzi Eldorado and Audace | EICMA FIRST LOOK

Two new Guzzi California cruisers: retro and modern, done right...PLUS a one-off bagger prototype.

Moto Guzzi has just released two new cruiser variants based on its impressive California 1400 platform, and the Italian manufacturer nailed the styling on both new bikes. The first is a modern interpretation of the classic Eldorado 850 that was created especially for the US market in the late 1960s. Rolling on smaller-diameter 16-inch spoked wheels wrapped in wide-whitewall tires, the new Eldo's styling riffs off the old bike with carefully chosen details like deep-skirted fenders, an oversized "western" saddle, bullhorn handlebar, enclosed rear shocks, and spot-on paint (in red or black) finished with iconic white pinstriping and chromed panels on the tank. It looks even better in person.

Underneath that throwback exterior lies some of the most up-to-date technology in the cruiser segment, with the latest Made-in-Mandello 1,400cc big-block V-twin engine with ride-by-wire throttle activation, three engine power modes, traction control, and shaft final drive. All digital instrumentation is anything but retro, as is the polyelliptical headlight with an integrated LED daytime running light.

If your personal tastes run more toward something more modern, Guzzi will also offer a sinister-looking muscle cruiser called the Auduce, which is the same basic mechanical package covered (just barely) with minimalist bodywork, a solo saddle, flat drag bar, and a carbon-fiber front fender. There’s no chrome anywhere—everything, including the big-block engine and megaphone exhaust, is blacked out. Details are superb, including sporty-looking remote reservoir rear shocks and the Alcantara-covered saddle with red contrast stitching. Both the Audace and Eldorado will arrive in the US next summer, pricing TBD.

In addition to these two new production models, Moto Guzzi also showed off a radical one-off “slim bagger” prototype based on the same California 1400 chassis and called the MGX-21—the name either a reference to 1921, the year the first Guzzi was made, or to the 21-inch wheel that graces the front end of this bike. Four decades ago, Moto Guzzi created the Eldorado just to satisfy the desires of the American market. Baggers are some of the most popular bikes sold in America today—might history repeat itself?