Moto Guzzi Stelvio

Does Italy’s Gs-ri­val still have what it takes?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - BUYING & SELLING - By Phil West MCN GUEST TESTER

What we said then:

“Moto Guzzi have never made a se­cret of aim­ing the Stelvio squarely at the mighty BMW R1200GS and thanks to a slew of changes, the Ital­ian and Ger­man machines are closer than ever, to the point where there’s only a pound price dif­fer­ence be­tween the two (in the Guzzi’s favour).

“But the Stelvio 1200 8V has ABS, heated grips and sat­nav as stan­dard, mak­ing it su­perb value, and an ace up its sleeve, in the shape of a 32-litre fuel tank. The nips and tucks have made the Stelvio a bril­liant all-rounder. For cruis­ing and scenery-spot­ting, the throaty en­gine has lots of grunt and it’s supremely com­fort­able.” MCN launch report | April 21, 2011

But what’s it like now?

The Stelvio, Moto Guzzi’s Gs-style ad­ven­ture bike, has al­ways been the best in­car­na­tion of the Ital­ian firm’s big trans­verse V-twin and I’m re­minded ex­actly why within yards of leav­ing Balder­ston, the Peter­bor­ough dealer sell­ing this clean, 18,000-mile, NTX ver­sion.

The orig­i­nal Stelvio, named af­ter an Ital­ian Alpine pass, was first launched with 76bhp in 2008 but this was quickly im­proved to 105 with new cams, in­jec­tion etc in 2009 – and it’s that model we’re rid­ing to­day. What’s more, as a higher spec NTX vari­ant, with hard cases and other ad­ven­ture good­ies, this ex­am­ple is also about as welle­quipped as they come.

And while the big, heavy Guzzi V-twin seems overly old fash­ioned now when pow­er­ing a road­ster such as the Guzzi’s now de­funct Griso, in this tall, meaty, long-legged, ad­ven­ture bike con­fig­u­ra­tion it ac­tu­ally works im­pres­sively well. Com­fort and equip­ment are de­cent, cy­cle parts in­clud­ing Brembo brakes, are as good as any and give pleas­ing han­dling and that 105bhp, plus bags of char­ac­ter­ful grunt, are more than ad­e­quate. Over­all, the Stelvio may not be quite as lithe and high-tech as BMW’S lat­est ver­sion but in most other ways this is very much the Ital­ian GS.

Any com­mon faults?

The big Guzzi is a ro­bust, rus­tic trac­tor among mo­tor­cy­cles and not much goes wrong with them as long as they’re looked af­ter cos­met­i­cally and me­chan­i­cally. This one is a twoowner ma­chine with an im­pec­ca­ble ser­vice his­tory and comes with two keys and all books, so there’s lit­tle to worry about there. Cos­met­i­cally it’s equally good. There are lots of qual­ity touches such as the dual tex­ture seat, span-ad­justable levers and more and it’s clean and, bar the tini­est signs of cor­ro­sion, im­mac­u­late.

Ju­di­cious ad­di­tions

Ad­ven­ture bikes ben­e­fit more than most from qual­ity ac­ces­sories, some­thing that re­mains one of the BMW GS’S strong­est sell­ing points, and the Stelvio is no ex­cep­tion. This one ben­e­fits from a Givi tall screen, at­trac­tive aluminium pan­niers and rack, use­ful crash bars fit­ted with rid­ing lights, hand guards and more than a few neat cos­metic add-ons, all of which give this Stelvio a classy air to go with its rugged use­ful­ness.

Af­fec­tion rekin­dled

The ap­peal of big ad­ven­ture bikes needs no re­minder but Guzzi’s Stelvio is of­ten over­looked when, in re­al­ity, it has much of the prac­ti­cal­ity and stature of the best-sell­ing BMW GS but with ex­tra ex­clu­siv­ity, a touch of added Ital­ian style and, with this one un­der £5000 yet still vir­tu­ally as new, plenty of added value as well. Sadly, Euro4 has now fi­nally killed off Guzzi’s old-school big twins so if the Stelvio ap­peals – and it should – good, low mileage, fully-loaded ones such as this are go­ing to be­come in­creas­ingly thin on the ground. In short, if you want a value big ad­ven­ture bike that stands out, it’s worth a look.

Cor­ro­sion As with most bikes check for any ev­i­dence of dis­coloura­tion or rust es­pe­cially on machines that have been rid­den through win­ter.

Don’t want to be a GS clone? Try the Guzzi

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