Moto Guzzi California Vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide

Touring bikes are all about entertainment and long rides. If you plan for those cross-country trips and want to back all your gears up, you will need a touring bike for sure. These bikes are exceptional when carrying loads, and they are equipped with significant and powerful engines.

Therefore, they can handle different types of road conditions as well. But keep in mind they are meant for flat surfaces. Occasional bumps are okay, but you can’t take them off-road at all. They allow you to cruise along in style and reach farthest in the countryside with everything you need easily accessible.

The bikes under consideration here are Moto Guzzi California (top speed: 107 miles an hour) and HD Road Glide (top speed: 105 miles an hour).

Now let’s compare Moto Guzzi California vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide and see which one of them comes out on top.

Industry History

Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi is one of Italy’s top motorcycle producers and has been reigning supreme since 1921. With a long industry history, this company is all about quality and performance. If you are looking for a powerful bike that is resilient with some customized options, Moto Guzzi should be your choice.


Harley-Davidson has been around since the early 1900s, and it has its own rich and long history. It is one of the best motorcycle brands in the Americas and is well known around the globe as well. Looking for some style with a combination of power-packed performance, go for the Harley, and you will never be disappointed.

Moto Guzzi California vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide – An Overview

The California 2021

The Moto Guzzi California Touring E4 2021 is one of the best by the company, with all the toys to keep you entertained on your road trip. The looks are equally astounding with a classic touring bike design, and there is plenty of storage space available as well. This tourer will keep you nice and comfortable on your road trip no matter where you are headed.

The Road Glide 2021

Equipped with a powerful engine, this unique looking touring bike is extraordinary with its highly aerodynamic gliding-style design and looks. But it’s not just about the looks. The tourer also features various entertainment options with ample storage. But if you are looking for a tourer that creates a style statement, this is the right option to consider, hands down.

Comparison Chart

FeaturesMoto Guzzi CaliforniaHarley-Davidson Road Glide
Fuel and vehicle typePetrol touring bikePetrol touring bike
Fuel tank capacity5.42 gallons6.0 gallons
Engine typeOil and air-cooled V-Twin, 4-stroke engine4-stroke, air-cooled V-Twin engine
Displacement1380 cc1754 cc
Maximum power96 HP @ 6500 RPM100 HP @ 6500 RPM
Maximum torque89.2 lb-ft @ 3000 RPM110 lb-ft @ 3000 RPM
Weight~763 lbs~855 lbs
Gear transmission6-speed shaft drive6-speed chain drive
Seat capacity and type2, dual stepped2, dual stepped
Seat height29.1 inches25.9 inches
Front and rear suspensionHydraulic telescopic fork w/ 4.7-inch front wheel travel and swingarm adjustable shock w/ 4.3-inch rear wheel travelTelescopic fork w/ 4.6-inch front wheel travel and swingarm mono-shock w/ 2.1-inch rear wheel travel
Front and rear brakesDual disc 4-piston on the front and single-disc 2-piston on the rear end4-piston fixed disc brakes on both ends
Front and rear tires130/70-18 and 200/60-16130/60-19 and 180/55-18
Wheelbase66.3 inches64 inches
Ground clearance6.5 inches5.5 inches


Moto Guzzi Engine

Let’s begin our discussion on this comparison of Moto Guzzi California vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide with their engines. Both these machines are pretty powerful and have considerable engines to accelerate and take heavy loads.

The Moto Guzzi California comes with a V-twin engine with 1380cc displacement. This air and the oil-cooled engine are designed to reach a maximum of 96 horsepower at 6500 RPM and with 89.2 lb-ft max torque at 3000 RPM. So, you can certainly go at speed with this touring bike.

On the other hand, the Harley-Davidson Road Glide also comes with a 1754cc V-twin engine which is liquid-cooled and can produce up to 100 horsepower at 6500 RPM and maximum torque of 100 lb-ft at 3000 RPM. So, whatever it is that California does, the Road Glide does even better.

The Road Glide has the engine superiority here. It means you can take more gear and stuff with you on your trips, allowing you to extend your stay. So, the Road Glide is the winner in this round.


Next, we will discuss the weight in this comparison of Moto Guzzi California vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide. As both these bikes are tourers, therefore, they are going to be pretty heavy. It means you need to be in good physical condition to handle them because you don’t want a tourer to fall on you as it’s quite heavy. So, these bikes are not designed for skinny riders.

Moreover, the weight will be high in numbers here, but you still need a lighter bike that you can conveniently maneuver and handle. And if that is the case, you need to go for the California E4 because it’s around 100 lbs lighter than the Road Glide.

If you are looking for more ride stability, you should probably go for the Road Glide. It will allow you to take more stuff with you, and you will feel more stability with more weight on your tires. It’s a win-win situation for both the bikes. But we still think that the California E4 has the upper hand here because ease in handling is always a plus. 

Suspension and brakes

Suspension and Brakes of Moto Guzzi Engine

Let’s discuss suspension and brakes in this comparison of Moto Guzzi California vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide. Both these bikes are equipped with pretty powerful engines, and they can produce some serious speeds.

With the weight they are pulling, you will gain serious momentum on the road. Therefore, you need to have the right suspension and brakes to back up this momentum and speed to total ride control.

The California E4 features a hydraulic telescopic fork with 4.7-inch front wheel travel and swingarm adjustable shock with 4.3-inch rear-wheel travel.

On the other hand, the Road Glide features a telescopic fork with 4.6-inch front wheel travel and a swingarm monoshock with 2.1-inch rear-wheel travel. Both these suspension systems are good, but the California E4 has a better rear suspension. Therefore, your ride comfort will be top-notch on it.

When we talk about the brakes, the E4 features Dual disc 4-piston on the front and single-disc 2-piston on the rear end. The Road Glide, on the other hand, comes with 4-piston fixed disc brakes on both ends.

Furthermore, the braking systems these bikes have are impressive and highly responsive. But the California E4 has an overall upper hand due to its superior suspensions and wheel travel.


Ergonomics of moto guzzi and road glide

Ergonomics are fairly important when it comes to riding comfort, especially when we talk about touring bikes. And now, we are going to discuss the ergonomics in this comparison of Moto Guzzi California vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide.

Both the bikes have their handlebars and footpegs nicely designed and placed to maintain an upright sitting position. The set height of the California E4 tourer is just over 29 inches, while it’s around 26 inches on the Road Glide. Therefore, you will be seated closer to the ground when you are riding your Harley. As Harley is a heavier bike, therefore, you will have much more stability in your ride.

However, the California Touring E4 comes with a larger wheelbase over 66 inches (a couple of inches more than the Road Glide) and has a ground clearance of 6.5 inches. This is where the E4 manages to balance out the higher seat for better stability.

Besides, with more wheelbase, you will have a bigger footprint and better control on your bike, and with a lighter weight, the E4 does that pretty well. You can also handle bumpy roads on your E4 than the Road Glide because it has more ground clearance than the latter. So, the winner of this round is the California Touring E4.

Looks and aesthetics

Looks and aesthetics of Harley road Glide

Now let’s have a few words about the looks and aesthetics in this comparison of Moto Guzzi California vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide. The matter might be too subjective to discuss, but still, we will. Most people think that touring bikes are less about looks and more about carrying loads at far distances.

When you look at the Road Glide, you will notice it has that jet-car kind of a look that makes it even more iconic. This design is all about uniqueness.

The same can be said about the California E4, but it has a more classic look. If you are a fan of a traditional-looking touring bike with a touch of police patrollers, you will love riding the E4. The E4 is available in two colors, while the Road Glide is available in three different colors. So, in terms of looks and aesthetics, the Road Glide is undoubtedly a little ahead of the Touring E4 California. 


Now let’s discuss the pricing of both these machines in this comparison of Moto Guzzi California vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide. The California Touring E4 is priced slightly under the Road Glide. With this bike, you are focusing more on the ride control and resilience of the ride itself. It is all about riding to the new horizon, and there is no second thought about it.

But with the Road Glide, riding is definitely at the center stage. Still, you are also paying for the stylish design, different entertainment options, and creating a statement in your group.

If you are only into riding, go for the California E4 for sure, but if it is all about riding with style, go for the HD Road Glide. But the bigger price tag is for the added options and looks only.

Moto Guzzi California vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide – The Similarities

You might think both these machines are different from one another. But there are some similarities between them as well. We are going to explore those similarities in this section briefly.

Fuel and vehicle type

Both these machines are touring bikes, and they are equipped with gasoline tanks to fuel them. The only difference is that the Road Glide features a bigger tank as compared to the California E4.

Engine type

The California E4 and the Road Glide both come with V-Twin 4-stroke engines that are built for power. They only differ as the E4 has air and oil-cooled system while the Road Glide has a liquid-cooled system.

Gear transmission

Both these machines come with a 6-speed manual transmission. The Road Glide features chain drive, while the E4 has shaft drive in its gearing system.

Seat capacity and type

The Road Glide and the California E4 both come with a seating capacity for two people, and they both have a dual-step seating design.

Moto Guzzi California vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide – Pros & Cons

Moto Guzzi California 2021


  • Better ergonomics.
  • Lighter design.
  • A classic look.
  • Superior suspension.


  • Smaller fuel tank.

Harley Davidson Road Glide 2021


  • Unique design and look.
  • Larger fuel tank.
  • More horsepower and torque.
  • More storage capacity.


  • Bulkier to handle.


Both these bikes are extraordinary, but the winner of this comparison of Moto Guzzi California vs. Harley Davidson Road Glide is the California E4. It might not be equipped with a bigger engine, but it is certainly more comfortable to ride and offer better ride comfort and control.

However, if you’re looking for a classic and conventional touring bike, the E4 is all about it. It comes at a slightly smaller price tag as well. On the other hand, the Road Glide is more geared towards making a style statement and delivering performance.

But if you look at performance, the E4 is no disappointment at all. The maintenance of this bike is simple and easy. You can handle it on your own if you have some experience. It’s a top-notch bike to ride even in the city with its patrolling bike looks.

Featured Image from Flickr © Tom Hart – The original image was not changed