Moto Guzzi Stelvio
Does Italy’s Gs-rival still have what it takes?
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.
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.
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