2008 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200

6 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2008 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200
Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V

2008 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V – Stelvio from the Alps

It’s big, it’s ugly and it’s macho. It’s an adventure tourer! South of the Alps they make Stelvios and north of the Alps they make the mighty GS.

Moto Guzzi, like everyone else, has been green with envy over BMW’s GS success. There’s been the Quota in the past but the Stelvio is a different animal.

Words: Tor Sagen/ Photography: Milagro

There has never been any secret that Moto Guzzi are looking to Bavaria for inspiration when launching certain new models. Stelvio 1200 are one of these aimed directly at the big grown up GS market. So Guzzi have given the Stelvio its new Quattrovalvole engine to match the big Beemers power plant at least in performance.

The 90 degree transversal V-twin Moto Guzzi is using is just as quirky as BMW’s Boxer engine. Because of this uniqueness Moto Guzzi seems to be enjoying the same type of customers too.

I take a seat in the comfortable saddle. The seat height is adjustable between 820-840mm which speaks of a more road orientated package already compared to the benchmark BMW GS. 840mm is standard and that’s 10mm lower than on our German friend.

At no point during this test did I have neither the desire nor time to go offroad on the Stelvio, so what I did was a pure roadtest. Just as well because Moto Guzzi’s spec sheet informs me of a 251 (214 dry) kilo curb weight.

On the move the weight floats between the front and rear suspension in a balanced enough manner. Sampling the full 105 horsepower engine on the twisty roads around Lake Como the rear end bends down through a soft and comfortable rear shock. Let the throttle go for a second and the weight moves forward again.

Quite a different riding experience than a BMW R 1200 GS I tell you.

After a few miles in and out of the nearest mountain passes to the Mandello factory I am already in tune with the metal underneath me and I give it some more. Being an Italian two-wheeled Gelenderwagen I hadn’t expected the Stelvio to be too responsive through the tightest corners. But the Stelvio shod with grippy Pirelli Scorpion tyres just asked for more speed and harder braking.

So much so that my confidence level made me into a bit of a daredevil overtaking cars in the dark and notoriously slippery tunnels surrounding Lake Como. Brakes, tyres and engine came together perfectly for me on my concentrated testride and all bulk disappears as long as the speed can be kept up. My contact at the MG factory admitted later that the Pirelli Scorpion tyres are very grippy, but at the cost of longevity.

Expect frequent visits to your local tyre merchant if you buy one then.

Doing slow u-bends riding up and down the same stretch of tight mountain roads isn’t all that pleasant though. Here the Stelvio felt heavy and awkward and I could only hope that the photographer got what I needed of riding shots as quickly as possible.

I didn’t only go fast of course and took a moment to enjoy the sunshine and views along the way. It was evident fairly fast that the Stelvio’s cruise and touring capability on hard tarmac is up there with the best. The Stelvio is comfortable and finding a suitable rev-range to minimise engine vibrations wasn’t hard at all.

The 4-valve Quattrovalvole engine does perhaps like a few more revs than a 1200cc Boxer, but there’s very little in it. At higher speeds the adjustable windshield is placed far enough away from my head to provide sufficient protection. The Stelvio is also ready for luggage as all fittings are integrated.

The cases themselves are extra though. At the back is a useful luggage rack ready fitted as standard.

The big Guzzi trailee features an easy to read instrument panel consisting of analogue rev counter and digital speed and a host of other more or less useful readouts. One of the ones I am curious about is the handgrip heat level should you opt to fit them from Moto Guzzi’s accessory catalogue.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V

At the front Moto Guzzi have added powerful double headlights that integrate with the half fairing. The front fork protectors have also got some Italian flare to them which is a nice touch.

Should you wish to go offroad on the Stelvio it might be a good idea to get some protection from the Moto Guzzi after market catalogue such as engine and transmission (shaft drive) protection.


As a pure touring bike the Stelvio is just as genius as the BMW GS. For the versatile part I feel that the Stelvio is quite a few kilos too heavy. I wouldn’t venture too far off the beaten track without some dedicated Moto Guzzi support and where do you get that in Africa by the way?

No, it’s the perfect touring bike and probably better at such even than Guzzi’s own Norge 1200. the Stelvio is not a better motorcycle than the BMW GS, but a very tempting alternative as long as you stay mostly on hard tarmac.

A classy alternative to the BMW GS

Stelvio is a perfect touring bike

Powerful air-cooled twin with character

Too heavy as in heavier even than the GS!

You’ll have to bring whatever you might need for that once in a lifetime adventure trip.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V
Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V
Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V

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