What is it?
The Stelvio is a 1200cc dual-sport bike, which competes in the popular segment shared by BMW’s 1200 GS, Yamaha’s 1200 Super Ténéré and Honda’s 1200 Crosstourer, amongst others. The bike has the characteristic Moto Guzzi transverse V-shaped twin-cylinder engine. For someone interested in a motorcycle in this segment, but want “something different”, the Stelvio is the one to have.
The air- and oil-cooled V-twin 1151cc engine produces 77kW at 7250r/min and 113Nm at 5800r/min. The power is transmitted to the back wheel via the CA.R.C, otherwise known as the compact reactive cardan shaft drive. Many riders consider the shaft drive as the preferred method of transmission as it means little to no maintenance in comparison with chain and sprocket drive.
Style, instruments and equipment
As with many other manufacturers, the overall styling is described as “aggressive”. Moto Guzzi goes one further and calls it “dynamic”, whatever that means. When I first saw the bike in its Lava Black (or satin black for we mere mortals) finish, it reminded me of a Stealth Bomber. The aluminium panniers in the same satin black finish, which come as standard with the Stelvio, make it look even larger. There’s quite a bit of extra kit included with the Stelvio, namely: ABS, traction control, cylinder guards, long-range halogen lights, aluminium sump guard, hand guards and an extra-large adjustable windshield with side wind deflectors. The bike is factory made for long-distance touring, on and off the beaten track, which is helped along with a 32-litre fuel tank.
The ABS, as well as the traction control, can be switched off to suit the rider’s style and road surface. Both the front (preload) and back (preload and rebound) suspension is adjustable. The instrumentation console mixes it up with analogue and digital faces. All the basic information is given at a quick glance downwards, but what was missed was a gear indicator. One other niggling issue was my left hand index finger would brush against the light switch, causing me to throw the lights onto their main beam setting at awkward moments. A few fellow road users were not amused.
A speed bike it is not, and the red line approaches fast, but that is to be expected from an engine that delivers its maximum output at 7250r/min. It will, however, eat up the tar at speed and travel comfortably on gravel. For the average rider like me, it has more than enough power and road-handling capability. More than once I caught myself cruising at 160km/h and more, as the Stelvio is such a comfortable ride. It does not feel strained at all.
Ride and handling
The bike is large and, with its standard panniers fitted, it looks monstrous. However the Guzzi is anything but unwieldy. Cornering and commuting was a pleasure. One thing about the Moto Guzzi that surprised me is that the bike cants over to the right when you open the throttle when standing still. This is due to the transverse placement of the cylinders. You can also sometimes feel it when cornering from standstill, but I quickly became used to it. I just had to remove the panniers in the city, as they can cause a mishap in small spaces when you try to manoeuvre through traffic and parking obstacles.
There is a famous clip on YouTube of a French motorcycling journalist who had an embarrassing experience with panniers. See it here.
Like: The looks, the ride and the questions from people at robots.
Dislike: Classic Moto Guzzi, the engine will become a knee warmer in slower traffic.
Verdict and rating
Moto Guzzi has always been part of the South African motorcycling scene. Now they have brought out an excellent motorcycle to compete with the GS’ on the road, coupled with Italian charisma that stands out in the crowd. 8/10.
Honda VFR1200X Crosstourer, BMW 1200 GS and GS Adventure, Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré, KTM 1190 Adventure
Specifications for Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 8V NTX
- Engine Oil- and air-cooled V-twin
- Gearbox Six-speed gearbox, single disc clutch. Shaft drive.
- Power 77kW@7250r/min
- Torque 113Nm@5800r/min
- Weight 272kg (wet and fuelled)
- Seat height 820 to 840mm (adjustable)
- Fuel capacity 32 litres
- Fuel consumption 14.8km/l
- Tank range 480km
- Warranty and servicing Two-year unlimited warranty, first service at 1000km, after that 10 000km service intervals.
- Price R165 995
- Ridden by Bikeroutes March 2012
- Review by Bert Kirsten
More info from www.motoguzzisa.co.za