2011 Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V Road Test Rider Magazine Reviews

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Moto Guzzi 650 GT

2011 Moto Guzzi GT 8V Road Test


September 20, 2011

[This Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V Test was originally published in the 2011 issue of Rider ]

by Kevin Wing

Mama look at it lean! The centerstand no scrapes but the sidestand will on the left side moments the peg feeler. Still, you can go deep on the Norge without complaint the chassis.

Get ready to rumble….

Guzzi, one of Italy’s most motorcycle brands, turns 90 year, and an emblem honoring milestone can be found atop the tank of every “Goose” in 2011. Five years to celebrate its 85th anniversary, Guzzi sponsored a reprise of Guzzi’s epic 4,000-mile, ride, in 1928, from the in Mandello del Lario to Norway’s Cape, a frigid, rocky above the Arctic Circle Europe’s northernmost point. In

Giuseppe’s gutsy ride was a stunt to prove the effectiveness and of the elastic frame he and his brother had just invented, which the first production example of swingarm-mounted suspension, on the Moto GT 500. Upon completion of his Giuseppe christened the GT 500 as the “Norge” for Norway). Having an international of journalists retrace Giuseppe’s in 2006, was another publicity to showcase Moto Guzzi’s Norge GT, a sport tourer in honor of the historic ride.

To Moto Guzzi’s 90th I embarked on a trek of my own aboard the Norge GT 8V, though one of decidedly modest ambitions. One of Southern most famous motorcycling the Angeles Crest Highway, a winding, 66-mile route the San Gabriel Mountains, near Los Due to damage from landslides the winters of 2004-2006, much of the was closed until May 2009.

It closed again a few months due to the Station Fire, opened then closed again due to landslide damage. Finally, on 3, it opened again. Due in San Diego for an on June 7, I plotted a route included the entire Angeles Highway, plus Rim of the World and other epic roads the San Bernardino National Forest, by Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear

In true Rider fashion, my route from Ventura to San doubled the number of miles and the number of hours it would take on the freeway. And when the was over, I did the whole thing in

A longitudinally mounted 90-degree has been Moto Guzzi’s card since the late This 8V version is the most yet.

The Norge GT 8V was an ideal for my two-day, 800-mile round Like me before coffee, the is slow to warm up on a cold But soon enough, its loping falls into a steady The longitudinally mounted, air-cooled, V-twin has been Moto trademark mill since the ’60s, and it has evolved steadily since.

With my gear safely in spacious saddlebags, my perched comfortably on a plush and my body protected by a full I throttled smoothly on various toward the foothills of the San Gabriels, the engine’s smooth, rumbling My knees fit perfectly behind the Vee” cylinders and under the giving the Norge a slender an impression enhanced by its narrow and windscreen. With a full a full tank and fresh it was just me, the Norge and the road.

CARC stands for CArdanico Compatto, or Compact Reactive Drive, which eliminates Effective, and maintenance free.

At glance the Norge GT 8V appears changed from its predecessor, but Guzzi says 80 percent of the is new or revised. Although displacement bore x … (95.0 x are the same, the eight-valve version of the 90-degree V-twin—which debuted on the ( Rider . August 2009)—is more powerful than the tested in our comparison with the BMW R RT ( Rider . July 2008).

As by Jett Tuning’s Dynojet four-valve model made horsepower and 61.2 lb-ft of the new eight-valve model beat it by horsepower (up 27 percent) and 7.6 lb-ft of (up 12 percent). Two extra valves per different camshaft profiles and to the electronic control, timing, and exhaust systems help the run more efficiently and quietly.

An ignition and injection ECU uses from two lambda probes to optimal fueling, throttle power delivery and emissions. A oil cooler with a thermostat-controlled fan mitigates engine heat. And a quieter muffler boosts torque.

The 8V’s greater force reaches the rear by way of a compact reactive cardan drive similar to BMW’s setup. Despite having a single-plate clutch, pull is and the lever adjustable. The overused of Moto Guzzi transmissions as “agricultural” doesn’t apply as the Norge shifts clunk-free its six gears.

Like butter-soft Italian or a well-made espresso, the Norge GT 8V feels right, delivering a and satisfying combination of power, and sound.

Analog essentials, extras, in a panel that’s and asymmetrical. Lots of info but the blocky LCD font is hard to at a glance.

Adopting the eight-valve necessitated a redesign of the Norge’s which is said to dissipate engine heat and provide wind protection. The narrow, adjustable windscreen is supposedly new as but it looks and behaves like the old with a mere 2 inches of up and adjustment controlled by separate on the left and right handlebars are frustratingly beyond thumbs’

At least the screen stays at the you select even after the key is off. It provided decent for my upper torso and head, but my arms exposed to the elements. The panel, which features a of analog gauges for engine road speed and fuel an LCD display, is now closer to the rider and to be easier to read, but I found the blocky LCD font troublesome at a

I had no complaints about the generously 31.9-inch saddle, which is than before. The handlebars are slightly lower and positioned to the rider, allowing for a relaxed, seating position.

Helmet: Profile / Jacket, Pants Tourmaster / Boots: Firstgear

My real complaint in terms of was cramped legroom, since the is fairly low and the pegs are fairly The revised centerstand no longer at modest lean angles (it was so bad on our test bike that we had to it), and the peg feelers scrape at deep lean angles. when raised, the sidestand just below the left and I bounced off it disconcertingly during a few photo passes.

The Norge’s steel double frame, which uses the as a stressed member, is unchanged and everything together solidly. The of the Marzocchi fork are still in diameter and adjustable only for but its progressive-rate springs are now stiffer. The shock, which is adjustable for (via remote knob behind a pop-off fairing and rebound, also gets a spring.

Ride quality is rather than taut, but the wallows less in tight than did its predecessor. Front and suspension travel is the same inches), as is rake and trail (25 inches) and wheelbase (58.8 No reason to change what well.

For a bike that’s at the end of the sport-touring spectrum, I was surprised at how the Norge GT 8V felt, how easily it into corners and changed Tipping the scales at 641 pounds fueled, the Norge is a fairly machine that hides its well.

Brembo binders in gold provide great power with good ABS is standard and can be turned off.

Our bike was shod with neutral-handling Pirelli Angel ST in customary 120/70 front, rear sizes. And, as so many Italian bikes, is the brake supplier of choice. The four-piston front calipers and two-piston rear caliper speed with intuitive and confident power, backed up by ABS made by Continental.

Oddly, at least for a sport a button on the right grip the ABS off, certainly for the occasional foray rather than stoppies. Mile after hairpin after hairpin, after sweeper, the Norge my every command instinctively and rewarding me for taking the long

Touring amenities are quite on the Norge. The standard onboard tallies lots of data, the LCD display showing tripmeter (1 or 2), clock, ambient temperature and one of functions (trip time, consumption, max speed or average all at the same time. There’s a chronometer for track days, I suspect will be infrequent.

The holds 6.1 gallons of premium which kept the engine along for 205 miles at my deep-throttle of 33.7 mpg. The passenger is comfortable and includes large, grab handles. Removable, saddlebags, an underseat 12V power and heated grips are standard, and modest storage space and a toolkit under the seat.

the panniers were “completely to guarantee perfect coupling of the two they leaked during a hose down, and the low/ grip heaters provided warmth only on the high There is no luggage rack (an item is available), but a pair of hooks on either side of the make it easy to mount a The accessories list includes a top tankbag, 1.2-inch-lower gel seat, liners, anti-theft alarm and GPS

Returning home, I was filled the awe and wonder of riding a delightfully motorcycle on roads with and views that rival the Europe has to offer. Born and in the shadow of the Alps, the Norge right at home. It’s the of choice for the Milan and Berlin departments, a testament to its agility, and comfort.

Riding our Diamond White bike in dark gear, motorists gave me a wide and were more likely to use to let me pass on mountain roads also available in Competition As part of the multibrand Piaggio Moto Guzzi has benefited factory upgrades and other that have improved which is clearly evident in the GT 8V.

And even though it has a much powerful engine and has been updated, its $15,990 MSRP is $400 more than of the four-valve model we tested in Fantastico!

2011 Moto Norge GT 8V

Base Price:

Warranty: 2 yrs. unltd.


Type: Air-cooled, 90-degree V-twin


Bore x Stroke: 95.0 x

Compression Ratio: 10.8:1


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