I was introduced to the sound of classical Italian music - you know, the music flowing from LaFranconi exhaust pipes on a Guzzi - by my brother, David, in Germany in the mid eighties.
Over the years, I visited with David many times, while he was living in Germany, and we rode Guzzis all over Europe together, attending Guzzi meetings on every single trip. I had the opportunity to visit many places in Europe and to meet many, many great Guzzi folks, some of whom have become very good friends. We also were able to ride many kilometers in the Alps, as well as ride many kilometers in the rain!
Fast forwarding to 2003, I decided to buy another new Moto Guzzi. I still owned a 1998 EV, with 22,000 miles on it, along with three other Guzzis, all registered and insured, but not ridden too much, as I could not spread myself equally among all four bikes. I decided to sell my SP-II and my EV and buy a 2003 EV Touring.
Having made this particular decision, I now was faced with a much more significant decision...just where could I buy this bike, as in Maine we have no Moto Guzzi dealer. After much thought and deliberation, I decided that the dealer I wanted to do business with was Freddie Marsh. Freddie had been a motorcycle dealer since 1926 and in the early seventies I lived perhaps five miles from his dealership, located in East Windsor, Connecticut. Freddie, who was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 2002, brought his nephew, Allen Marks, in to help run his business maybe eight years ago. Freddie passed away several months ago, at the age of 103, but he was at his shop every single day, until very shortly before his passing.
The decision was made...over 200 miles from my home in Sweden, Maine, it was Freddie Marsh's for me and my new Guzzi...I rode it home in March.
The very first thing that I noticed, as I was tooling along Interstate 84, was that the windshield was too short...way too much noise for me. After getting home, I noticed that the windshield was two inches shorter than the one on my EV; for me, at my age, very unacceptable. I fashioned a wind deflector from some Plexiglas and installed it on my windshield, solving the noise problem and making riding this new member of the Guzzi stable much more enjoyable.
Now, I could hear better...but, whoops, what is that noise that I hear as I accelerate ? I could hear a whining noise whenever I put the bike under a load; once up to speed, the noise would disappear. I have owned several new, late model Guzzi touring bikes and have never heard this whining noise before... I rode my '98 EV, to compare the whining noise with the 2003 EV Touring and there was no noise at all.
Maybe this noise was just because the bike was new and it would disappear...maybe, maybe... I made some inquiries to some knowledgeable Moto Guzzi owners and they all thought that this noise was nothing to worry about. However, it was my posterior on this bike and while on Interstates, cruising between ninety and one hundred miles an hour for prolonged periods of time, I could not dispel the thought of a possible rear wheel lock-up happening at any time.
As I passed through 3500 miles on this new Guzzi and as this whining still persisted, I decided to make a trip to Connecticut to chat with the Premier Moto Guzzi Dealer in America; Allen Marks. He made arrangements in advance for his head wrench, John Guzie (yeh, Guzie and Guzzi!), to check my bike out.
John took my bike for a ride and returned a short time later to the shop; as he parked my bike, I overheard him say, with a grin, that he didn't hear a thing...but...he then suggested that the bike be parked and left there, as he was going to suggest to Allen that the rear end be replaced...bingo!!
As I understand, John Guzie works for one of the biggest Mercedes Benz dealers in Massachusetts and has been there for over 20 years; he also worked directly for Freddie Marsh in the seventies, when Freddie was pushing Guzzis out the door as fast as Mandello could ship them to him. Putting all of this together, my confidence in John Guzie's assessment of bike's performance increased tremendously. On top of this, Allen and John told me what they were going to solve my problem, without me having to try to convince them that there was something wrong; expressed another way, they were going to completely solve my problem, no half hearted attempts to try this and to try that...replace the entire rear end, period.
All of this took place on a Thursday... I was now stranded in Connecticut, but my sister, Liz, lived about 30 miles away from the shop.
On Saturday afternoon, I called Allen from my sister's to get an update and this is what Allen told me...
Moto Guzzi North America, the importer, was closed for inventory on Thursday and Friday and Allen could not communicate with anyone there. In an attempt to get me back on the road, on Saturday morning they removed a rear end from a new bike on the showroom floor and installed it on my bike. For some specific technical reason, it did not fit just right so they removed it from my bike and put it back on the new bike from which they had removed it. They then removed another rear end from another new showroom bike, but it too did not align properly with the rear wheel assembly; again, this rear end was taken off my bike and put back onto the new model from which it was removed. All of this was done without my knowledge, without me suggesting it, simply to provide top notch service to a customer and to enable me to return to Maine on Saturday.
On Saturday night I enjoyed some very good Italian wine and for sure I had a glass or two for both Allen Marks and John Guzie, a salute to them both for outstanding service... First Class Guzzi Service!
On Monday, Allen called MGNA and asked them to send a rear end assembly for my bike, next day air. He also asked them that if they did not have one on hand, to please call the factory, in Mandello and instruct the factory to next day air a rear end directly to Marsh Motorcycle, attention of Allen Marks... First Class Guzzi Service!
A new rear drive assembly was shipped from MGNA and installed on my bike and I now have my 2003 EV Touring in Sweden, Maine, and it runs as fine as one could ever expect. I have read a lot on the Internet and in other publications about very poor service from Guzzi dealers, poor warranty work, unwillingness of dealers to "go to bat" for the customer and so forth...not the case here !
I am writing this article for the MGNOC newsletter because I would like to thank Allen and John for all their effort and I would like everyone in the world to know that Allen Marks and John Guzie, of Marsh Motorcycle, in East Windsor, Connecticut provide...First Class Guzzi Service!
Thanks to two people who promote the marque with First Class Guzzi Service !