With its fully-adjustable 50mm Marzocchi forks and, fully adjustable rear shock and 180/55 x 17 size rear tyre (something you usually only see on sports bikes), the Moto Guzzi Stelvio really handles when pushed hard. The only limitation to ultimate dry grip is the dual-purpose Pirelli tyres, which don’t have as much contact area with the tarmac as a more lightly treaded road tyre. Comfort, as you would expect from a Guzzi is very good, with a relaxed riding a position and a soft seat, which has two height settings. Although it has radial-mounted Brembo calipers, again only usually seen on a sports bike, the bite and feel is lacking. Off-road ability is compromised by a tyre-hugging front mudguard and dual-purpose tyres.
Moto Guzzi’s new-generation 1151cc V-twin engine and transmission has so far only been seen in the new 8v Griso and 1200 Sport. Gone are the clunky gearboxes and dodgy power deliveries of old-school Guzzis, this new powerplant and the fuel injection system that goes with it is smooth and refined, although it still has a distinctive Italian V-twin edge to it. At traffic lights the Stelvio still rocks from side to side as you blip the throttle like Guzzis are supposed to. There a decent amount of low-down oomph and if you rev it, a good top-end buzz too, but it’s sorely lacking power in the mid-range, just where you need it the most.
Not only are these new breed of Guzzis more refined than ever before, the build-quality is superb too. The quality of the components used is top-quality, the paintwork is superb and the whole lot is screwed together beautifully. Moto Guzzi is now owned by scooter giant Piaggio and the investment they’ve put into this old historic motorcycling brand really shows in the Stelvio. Like its sister company Aprilia, Moto Guzzi has rigorous durability tests during the development of its new machines, so reliability issues should be a thing of the past.
The Moto Guzzi Stelvio is a grand cheaper than the basic R1200GS, which makes it cracking value for this type of machine. It has style, character, is comfortable, handles well and there’s a decent amount of shove when needed, the only blot on its copy book is the lack of mid-range, but Guzzi plan to rectify this before bikes go on sale in the UK in March 2008. Find a Moto Guzzi Stelvio for sale.
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There are a good number of bells and whistles on the Moto Guzzi Stelvio to keep things interesting, like those high-spec, forks and brakes. You also get shaft drive , a manually adjustable screen and seat, a fully adjustable rear shock with an easy to adjust pre-load knob, spoked wheels, a centre-stand, multi-function LCD dash and a cubby-hole in the dummy fuel tank cover with an electronically-operated flap.