Author Topic: Guzzi VS old Brit bike  (Read 17626 times)

Online Rough Edge racing

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Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« on: March 02, 2015, 05:11:53 AM »
 So...some of you here have running and licensed old Triumphs, BSA's or other vertical twin twin bikes...I have several including my race bike..... There's a discussion on a popular vintage Triumph forum about vibration....Some guys saying how smooth their 650/750 Triumphs are on the highway......
  In fact when I said a 1000 Guzzi is far smoother on the highway than any old Triumph a few told me something is wrong with my Triumph....Must be unbalanced or have loose bolts.They rode a Guzzi and it vibrated more than the Triumph at highway speeds.....I was laughing inside knowing that 40 years of Triumphs taught me something...
  What do you say from actual recent riding experience ? Prefer a 650 Triumph to a Guzzi on a road trip because it's smoother?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 05:13:11 AM by Rough Edge racing »
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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2015, 06:23:51 AM »
No recent experience but when I was a younger man, 35 years ago, riding with a group including Sportsters and Triumphs taught many of us how to ride fast to stay in front of the bikes most likely to shed parts. Not saying they were bad bikes, just tough to hold together.

Peter
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 07:26:09 AM by Cheese »


Offline oldbike54

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2015, 08:24:26 AM »
 Oh goody , another vibration thread . Did that Motogoosy fella put you up to this ? ::) :D

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Offline vf84pc

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2015, 08:36:49 AM »
I find that hard to believe, I still consider myself a "Brit Bike guy" I think my T140 was smoother at 60 than my T120 but I don't believe it would ever be smoother than an Eldorado or a T3. Was the Guzzi tuned properly? Were there any modifications to the Triumph? One of the guys in the Triumph International owners club would cruise all day with his Harley buddies at 65 to 75 Mph I found that hard to believe until he gave up his secrets. He had the Crank shaft dynamically balanced to smooth out the vibration at that RPM range and he replaced the standard sprockets. This made the his T140 a much more relaxed ride at that speed for long distances.

Online Lannis

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2015, 08:38:37 AM »
Asking "Does this bike vibrate a lot?" is sort of like asking "Does this bike have a comfortable seat?" or "Are the handlebars too far back for comfort on this bike?"

Comfort level is not something you can measure, I don't think.   I've ridden many tens of thousands of miles on BSA vertical twins, including my current '69 A65 and my '61 A10, and I don't consider the vibration level annoying at highway speeds, nor do I "shed parts" on the side of the highway.

I spent $100 to get the crankshaft on my A65 dynamically balanced when I had it rebuilt many years ago, and it's smooth by most standards.   The A10 crank has not been balanced, but it's a lower-compression bike with more mass than the A65, and the vibration isn't even noticeable.

You can feel the gentle pulsing of the Vtwin engine in the Guzzis, but to consider them as "vibrating"?   Not hardly.

I've never ridden a solid-mount Sportster; I'd love to see what the vibration feels like on those - I hear it's bad, but won't know till I ride one.

So when people talk about how their BSA or Triumph "vibrates" or "loses parts" or has "Lucas-itis" or "leaks oil", my suggestion is to knock off riding for a while, fix your bike, THEN take it out and enjoy it!

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Offline Don G

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2015, 08:49:38 AM »
The thing I found comparing Brit bikes to Guzzi's is that you can ride the Guzzi at higher speeds longer.  ;D DonG

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2015, 08:50:52 AM »
Another exercise to knock the other guy's bike to make you feel good about your own. It's silly.

Both the old British twins and the old Guzzi bikes are great and fun to ride. Different bikes, yes, but great in their own way.

The British twins tended to be the sport bikes of the era. They were/are nimble, quick-handling and offered spirited acceleration. I suspect they were more of a young man's choice in the day.

The Guzzi twins were more of a touring type machine, better suited to extended trips in the saddle.  They are smooth on the roadway, require no daily chain maintenance and offer a more mature, comfortable ride.

As far as vibration, the British 360 degree vertical twin inherently has more running vibration than a 90 degree engine like the Guzzi.  Counterbalancing does not quell it all. You can rev an old Triumph on its centerstand parked on a concrete floor and it will walk.  Over time, this same character can play havoc with assorted bolt-on items that are not Lock-Tight fastened.  

Some of the old British marques are much better in this regard.  The Nortons with their rubber engine mounts and the Royal Enfield English twins with their better-supported and balanced crankshafts are smoother than the Triumph. Still, on the open road, the British twins, even the Triumphs, seem fine to me.

I recently sold a much-loved 1970 Bonneville that I kept for years and regularly rode.  In the mountains particularly, I was always amazed that the acceleration and handling of that vintage British twin was not far below that of the late-model Triumph twin that I owned.  The brakes were adequate although not quite up to modern standards but that thing would haul ass.

Much as I have loved more than one Guzzi Loop Frame, they were not even in the same ballpark as the Triumph as far as sporting performance.  Although the later LeMans and Sport models were better, the Triumph would run circles around the Goose.

Still, if someone was going to make a trip from Jacksonville Florida to San Diego CA, most people would probably be happier on the Guzzi. On the other hand, many folks, maybe even I, would be keen to do it on the Triumph.

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« Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 04:50:48 PM by leafman60 »

Offline Sheepdog

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2015, 08:52:50 AM »
I had a Royal Enfield Interceptor that vibrated cracks in welds, ate up bulb filiments, and wore numerous holes in wire insulation. It was terrible...the worst bike I've ever owned. My Norton wasn't bad, due to the rubber mounts, but still rattled off engine/transmission bolts. Unbalanced parallel twins are the perfect storm for vibration. They're even worse than many singles because they typically have higher redlines. Guzzis, on the other hand, have perfect primary balance with the connecting rod offset causing only a small rocking couple throb. Even with a Guzzi's heavier pistons there is no comparison...
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 03:33:46 PM by Sheepdog »
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Offline pressureangle

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2015, 09:06:27 AM »
Ah geez.

My one and only long trip on a British twin;

1982, 21 years old. My and my good buddy decide we're men enough to ride from Detroit to Daytona, in February, on a '73 Commando (Me) and a '76 BMW /7.

The Norton shook the engine mount bolts out, literally all but 2 (which were both loose) before Toledo. Good thing there was a marine hardware around with SS studs. So for another $50 we went on our way.

It took 3 days to get to Macon, GA where the Brit kicked a rod out the case. I had been completely numb for 2 days by then. I admit the bike was...not properly prepared by my 21 y.o. self. Nevertheless, it shook like a dog shitting a peach pit even after refastening the motor.
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Offline oldbike54

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2015, 09:10:50 AM »
 A certain well known writer coined the term * Norton Contaminator Twin *  :D

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Online Rough Edge racing

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2015, 09:41:02 AM »

I've never ridden a solid-mount Sportster; I'd love to see what the vibration feels like on those - I hear it's bad, but won't know till I ride one.

Lannis

  The iron head Sportster I owned vibrated worse than a Triumph. I had a modified A10  and it was fairly smooth at 60 mph as compared to other vertical twins... Lannis, the vibration thread is in the Triumph forum on Brit Bike
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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2015, 09:48:10 AM »
  The iron head Sportster I owned vibrated worse than a Triumph. I had a modified A10  and it was fairly smooth at 60 mph as compared to other vertical twins... Lannis, the vibration thread is in the Triumph forum on Brit Bike

I had always heard that the big 45 degree Vee-twin in the Sportster was impossible to make smooth (without rubber mounts); that there's no amount of careful building and crank balancing that would allow you to ride 65 MPH all day without falling apart.   I'd still like to take a properly built and maintained CH on a ride sometime and see.

The BSAs and Triumphs can obviously be made to be smooth, since even a non-mechanical-genius like me can do it, or have it done.   But again, you don't want to be holding the thing at 90 MPH all day long either.   You have to ride bikes how they were meant to be ridden, to some degree.   A /2 BMW or even an original VW Beetle is designed so that it can be run all day at wide-open throttle and not blow up (assuming you check the oil in the VW regularly); a twin-carb BSA is not the same animal.

I haven't read the BB.com thread, but I suspect without even reading it (based on past experience) that many people who are asserting things about bikes, are talking about bikes that they haven't taken on a 2500-mile trip!

Lannis
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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2015, 10:06:19 AM »
I have limited experience to base a comparison on- just 2 bikes, a 1977 LeMans and a 1978 Triumph Bonneville ( T140).  Neither was what one would call smooth but back in those days we rarely thought much about vibration, we just rode the bike we had and accepted what went with it.

The Guzzi LeMans I bought entirely based on looks. Never rode a Guzzi, particularly that sporting model until I got on it and rode it out of the parking area from Doc Storm's shop Sept 1977.  Soon as I was on the road I realized this was waaaaay different than the KZ900 I traded in.  But the issue of vibration was the power pulses, unless one kept the revs up ( which I was too ignorant to do) made the bike seem tractor like.  I was 4 years into motorcycling and too unknowing to ride that bike like it was designed to be used.  Traded it for a 1978 Ducati Darmah ( nightmare) a year later.  Big mistake.

Still the Guzzi was smoother than a 1978 Bonneville I bought to renew and ride in 1985.  I spent hours replacing parts and cleaning until the day it was pronounced ready for the street.  That first ride was not good.  The bike vibrated at any rpm over 3000 so bad the headlight rotated in it's shell and my hand were numbed after 45 minutes.  I was disappointed to be sure and that bike wins the contest in my garage for being the vibrating-est machine I've experienced. 

I've talked with and heard from other Triumph owners of smoother running Triumph twins and so I imagine mine was not representative of the T140 line, at least I hope not because the bike was so good looking, had the right sound and such a classic.

Offline mgfan

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2015, 10:31:22 AM »
The Sportsters don't vibrate because after 10 minutes you're numb and can't feel it! My 79 T140 is as smooth as any of my Guzzi"s up to 40 mph, maybe 50 on a good day. After that forgetaboutit! Unless you have 2 more pistons going in the opposite direction, it's just not going to be Guzzi smooth.   :BEER:
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Offline PeteS

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2015, 10:39:13 AM »
Never spent much time on a Triumph twin but always assumed they vibrated like a non isolastic Norton or BSA twin. Those would rattle your fillings out compared to any Guzzi twin I have ever rode.

Pete

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2015, 10:49:49 AM »
Never spent much time on a Triumph twin but always assumed they vibrated like a non isolastic Norton or BSA twin. Those would rattle your fillings out compared to any Guzzi twin I have ever rode.

Pete

1.  If you're into the engine, have the builder balance the crank, dynamically, and balance the pistons.

2.  If there are two carbs, sync them well.

3.  Install an electronic ignition where the timing relationship between the two cylinders is established by the location of the triggers on the backing plate, NOT by trying to set two sets of points so they fire at the right times, which can't be done unless you set the dwell wrong on one of them.

These things make a BIG difference!

Lannis
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Online Bob Wegman

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2015, 11:25:14 AM »
1.  If you're into the engine, have the builder balance the crank, dynamically, and balance the pistons.

2.  If there are two carbs, sync them well.

3.  Install an electronic ignition where the timing relationship between the two cylinders is established by the location of the triggers on the backing plate, NOT by trying to set two sets of points so they fire at the right times, which can't be done unless you set the dwell wrong on one of them.

These things make a BIG difference!

Lannis

The later point plates(1968 on I think) with the condensers mounted under the fuel tank allow the dwell to be set on each set of points. I think it was with the change from monobloc to concentric carburetors.
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Offline mgfan

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2015, 11:33:17 AM »
I put up with some vibration because of the song the exhaust sings. 2 best sounding motors in history a Guzzi and a British twin!   :BEER:
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Offline Petrus Rocks

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2015, 11:36:42 AM »
My T140 is pretty good at 50, not too much vibration, I could ride at that speed for hours.  At 60 it's bothersome at a steady pace.
 My '85 Guzzi vibrates in a much less intense way.  I haven't ridden a 70's guzzi so I can't compare directly but...

I would rather ride my Guzzi through the Vermont/New Hamphshire mountains than the Triumph on a long trip.

I would rather ride the Triumph on the dirt roads and hills of the Finger Lakes.

We'll see how Tony's new Triumph compares to my T140 shake-wise and to the Guzzi this spring
 
And I love how both bikes sound too!!

Offline Testarossa

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2015, 11:55:44 AM »
My 850T and my TR6R have new cylinders, pistons and head work, but are basically stock with no special balancing. The Triumph is comfortable -- the vibration is there but not annoying. The Guzzi is smoother at all speeds. Both bikes handle beautifully but the Triumph is roughly 25% lighter (with a shorter wheelbase) and therefore more agile. I trust the Guzzi for long distances and high speeds -- not so the Triumph.
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Online Rough Edge racing

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2015, 12:43:52 PM »
My T140 is pretty good at 50, not too much vibration, I could ride at that speed for hours.  At 60 it's bothersome at a steady pace.
 My '85 Guzzi vibrates in a much less intense way.  I haven't ridden a 70's guzzi so I can't compare directly but...

I would rather ride my Guzzi through the Vermont/New Hamphshire mountains than the Triumph on a long trip.

I would rather ride the Triumph on the dirt roads and hills of the Finger Lakes.

We'll see how Tony's new Triumph compares to my T140 shake-wise and to the Guzzi this spring
 
And I love how both bikes sound too!!

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« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 12:44:16 PM by Rough Edge racing »
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Offline Sasquatch Jim

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2015, 12:55:21 PM »
  I think the guy saying the triumph was smoother fibbed.
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Offline marcogtv6

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2015, 01:01:27 PM »
I have an 82t140es and a 83lemans III...the first is a 1938 design the other an early 70s solution. The 30 years of difference are immediately apparent after a ride. The first is a "split" single, the other a "balanced" 90deg design. Both are fun to ride, t140 is a fun urban bike, for everything else there is the Guzzi.


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Offline brenwin

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2015, 01:47:50 PM »
What the hell it's Monday morning and a good way to start the week off with my OPINION !
Had a 67 Triumph Trophy in 69 and sure didn't seem like it vibrated at all but compared to what back in the day ?  My 74 850 Commando didn't vibrate either but I could sure see the engine doing a helluva lively dance . Those rubber mounts sure worked good .
My problem with these bikes was keeping them on the road . The Norton was like owning a boat , just kept throwing money at it . The Triumph tranny blew about 2,000 miles into owning it . Oh ya , 2 wiring harnesses for the Norton . Stranded me more than once !
I know I'm off topic here but lets face it were does dependability come into the equation but definitely overlooked and I know I'm off topic  ???
The guzzis at speed are slightly vibrating machines , like anything that's not Jap or 3 cylinder and will get you to your destination without leaving you on the side of the road , vibration or no vibration . Thats an important feature for this rider . If I was mechanically inclined beyond normal maintenance I still might have one of those brit bikes but my love affair with them has been over for a longtime . Ride on Guzzi.............. ................... ......... ;-T
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Offline lazlokovacs

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2015, 01:58:49 PM »
I rode a 60s triumph as my daily transport in london for a few years, great bike.

Now I'm doing the same with a loop, both great bikes.

The triumph handles, the guzzi is smoother, both have endless character and knock most modern bikes for 6.

(cricketing term, substitute home run)

my tuppence worth...

(substitute 2c)

ps yes, a 500cc triumph WILL vibrate your back teeth at highway speeds

Offline Guido Valvole

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2015, 03:18:23 PM »
No Triumph experience but a few years ago I spent a couple of months with a 67 or so BSA 650 Thunderbolt in preparation for 3 weeks in the UK and Isle of Man for the BSA International Rally that year. I was expecting cement-mixer vibrations but no. It vibrated a bit, but nothing like the SR/XT 500 Yamahas I've ridden that had me seeing double in short order. Or an old girlfriend's XS650. Single carb could have helped there. It was happiest on the country roads it was really meant for but could do ok on motorway or freeway up to about 60 mph.

My V50 II feels very smooth, almost no vibration. The Monza has a noticeably rocking couple at idle, more so than the II if less than the Le Mans. A BSA B40 single in SS90 tune has come to live with me and is also surprisingly smooth. Foot massage yes, double vision not at all. Recalcitrant starting, um, yeah it's a Beezer single, lol. Makes an old Guzzi feel modern!  :BEER:
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Offline cruzziguzzi

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2015, 05:35:29 PM »
I had a bobbed TR6 after my Commando.

The Commando was HORRIBLE until I found a guy down Boston that could really set up the isolastic mounts. What a difference in handling and vibration. I was well on my way to pronouncing Commandos to be over-protected damnation cycles till I had mine set up correctly.

Later, when I got the bobbed Triumph on the road - it was completely unacceptable to ride into Boston. Rigid mount bars, no rear suspension and a motor put together with the wrong tools and wishful thinking.

It came apart and where applicable was both statically and dynamically balanced. After that, big fat Triumph grips and pegs, the right tires and tracking down some otherwise mysterious transmission/sprocket vibrations and I had a wonder of motoring pleasure. This in a rigid, long chain Triumph. The antithesis to touring bikes. Putted that thing all over New England and even into Canada. 'Course, had to ship my 'possibles in a GreyHound. :BEER:

So much one can do wrong inside a Brit-Twin!. Pistons, crank, clutch assembly, trans...

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2015, 08:18:30 PM »
I owned a Bonneville for a few years in  1969-1970.  It vibrated quite a bit. 

Offline LowRyter

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2015, 08:24:08 PM »
 :beat_horse :beat_horse :beat_horse :beat_horse :beat_horse :beat_horse
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Offline tpeever

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Re: Guzzi VS old Brit bike
« Reply #29 on: March 02, 2015, 10:41:14 PM »
So...some of you here have running and licensed old Triumphs, BSA's or other vertical twin twin bikes...I have several including my race bike..... There's a discussion on a popular vintage Triumph forum about vibration....Some guys saying how smooth their 650/750 Triumphs are on the highway......
  In fact when I said a 1000 Guzzi is far smoother on the highway than any old Triumph a few told me something is wrong with my Triumph....Must be unbalanced or have loose bolts.They rode a Guzzi and it vibrated more than the Triumph at highway speeds.....I was laughing inside knowing that 40 years of Triumphs taught me something...
  What do you say from actual recent riding experience ? Prefer a 650 Triumph to a Guzzi on a road trip because it's smoother?

I think the question is biased because it doesn't consider the design limits of the parallel twin and focuses on 650cc and larger twins. British twins were designed at 500cc and that is where they seem to excel, especially if rigidly mounted. I have owned a couple of British 650cc twins ('67 Triumph TR6C, Matchless G12) , an 850cc British twin ('74 Commando) and one 500cc twin (1961 Norton Dominator 88) and the Dominator is far and away the smoothest of the lot. I had the Dommie crank dynamically balanced during restoration but don't know about the other bikes so my comparison may also be extremely biased because of this dynamic balancing step. All I know is that my Dominator 88 is as smooth as silk compared to any of the other Britbikes I have owned. But I have to agree with several of the other posters that any Guzzi is always going to be smoother than any parallel twin. Just the nature of the design.
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