Q How does it feel compared to its nearest rival?
We compare the Mandello to its main Euro rival, the BMW R1250RS
The BMW is as wonderfully well-developed as you might expect. Every last flaw has been smoothed out through years of gradual evolution.
It’s sophisticated, refined yet still exudes character — and distinctly boxer-twin character at that.
The motor feels noticeably stronger than the Guzzi, especially in terms of torque and roll-on throttle stomp. The fueling is absolutely spot on. The work BMW has done with the electronics, no doubt with help from the car division, has made what used to be a crude-feeling engine layout feel thoroughly modern and astonishingly fast. The BMW’S long gearing makes cruising over distance a breeze and the clutch/ gearbox exhibit none of the slow-witted, clunky feel present on the Guzzi.
The BMW’S riding position feels sportier than the Guzzi’s too: lower bars and slightly more forward-tilted lean to the bars gives it a natural feel for A and B-road hustling that match its sportier performance. Long-distance comfort is still good enough to see out a full tank of fuel at a time though.
There’s little to fault on the R1250RS, although the complicated switchgear does irk. It’s harder to fathom and use than the Guzzi’s clean and simple set-up. The price is a big issue, too. The R1250RS is £15,410 in standard form — only £340 less than an S model Mandello. You need to spend extra to spec the BMW up (and very few BMWS are sold without a healthy list of options added).
The bike we tested here costs £19,170: a huge jump from the Guzzi. We like the BMW a lot but we’d opt for the Mandello S — the higher specification offsets some of its disadvantages compared to the 1250RS, and it’s still a great bike.
And £2000 left over to spend on a riding holiday.
‘We like the BMW but would opt for the Guzzi’
Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX From £12,349
140bhp 82lb·ft 235kg (kerb) Ballistically fast sports tourer that’s surprisingly well equipped — modes, cruise control, quickshifter and connectivity all standard. Not got the character of the BMW or Guzzi but is a superbly well-polished package. Comes in four options.