Guzzi Stelvio 1200CC Tt ABS 1200 CC manual, review

11 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Guzzi Stelvio 1200CC Tt ABS 1200 CC manual, review
Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V


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To BMWs R1200GS?

GUZZI FANS are nothing if not passionate. When recent word came down that parent company Piaggio had temporarily shuttered Guzzis historic Mandello del Lario factory and laid off some of its workforce while the factory underwent refurbishing, conspiracy theorists howled that this was the end for Italys oldest continuously operating motorcycle manufacturer.

Not only did the Guzzi faithful refuse to stand for any talk of the brands dismissal, they vehemently insisted that Guzzis continue to be produced only in Mandello del Lario! Passionate characters, indeed! Unfortunately, in the past, Guzzi fans have been a passionate minority, even among Italian motorcycle marques, as widepsread rumors of negative dealership experiences brought on by scarce parts supplies dissuaded potential Guzzi buyers.

But since the companys purchase by Piaggio in 2004, redesigned products with dramatically improved quality control have been rumbling out of Guzzis factory doors. Looking toward the future, the company has confirmed that Guzzis will continue to be produced in the same factory they always have been, and with the appearance of the breathtaking Pierre Terblanchedesigned concept models unveiled at the recent EICMA Milan Motorcycle Show (see World Motorcycling, page 10), it appears as though Moto Guzzis best days are ahead of it.

The 2010 Moto Guzzi Stelvio ABS only reinforces that belief. Introduced in 2008 as a replacement for Moto Guzzis Quota adventure motorcycle, the Stelvio is named after the legendary Stelvio Pass, a winding mountain road in the southeastern Alps that has drawn motorcyclists from around the world to experience its magical charms, the Stelvio ABS has been enhanced via minor revisions to increase its performance. Of course, the biggest news is that it now comes standard with ABS, which bumps its MSRP up $1000, from $14,990 to $15,990.

The heartbeat of the Stelvio ABS continues to come from the smooth-running, solid-performing air/oil-cooled SOHC 4-valve 90 V-twin that first appeared in Moto Guzzis Griso naked sport

Chassis Suspension

Unchanged since its introduction in 2008, the Stelvio ABS chassis is constructed from tubular steel and uses the engine as a stressed member. Its wheelbase is 61.4, and its 27 rake


and 5.00 are appropriate for a motorcycle with adventure touring intentions. The biggest complaint of most shaft-drive motorcycles is that the shaft system unsettles the rear suspension, commonly referred to as jacking when the pinion gear on the shaft climbs the ring gear during acceleration.

Moto Guzzis CARC (Cardano Reattivo Compatto) compact reactive shaft drive combats this via a linkage system that cancels the torque forces placed on the Stelvios aluminum swingarm, and its so effective that you almost forget you are riding a shaft-drive motorcycle. The Stelvio also doesnt buck or pitch when the throttle is chopped, the CARC preserving the comfort of the ride.

As one might expect from a motorcycle with such a long wheelbase, the Stelvio is rock stable in a straight line, but it is also more than willing to tackle twisty tarmac at higher speeds. Its steering is deliberate enough that you wont mistake the Stelvio for the Yamaha R1 tested elsewhere in this issue, but the Stelvio is willing to carve graceful turns. For such a heavy motorcycle, its agility is impressive, and its lean angle is decent.

However, one of our more experienced testers was able to easily scrape the kick stand when hauling the Stelvio through lefthand turns. The Stelvios 50mm Marzocchi Magnum fork and Sachs shock have a lot to do with its cornering prowess as well as its comfort. The Marzocchis are adjustable for preload as well as compression and rebound damping. The left leg handles compression damping and the right handling rebound damping.

Typical of Marzocchis, the screw-type adjusters do not use clickers to determine adjustment increments. As delivered, our fork and shock were too soft and tended to make the Guzzi feel overweight and heavy-steering. We found the stock setting to be two complete turns out from maximum compression damping and two turns out from maximum rebound damping.

Turning both to one full turn out from maximum solved the problem with the front end, while a simple twist of the preload adjuster to dial-in the shock for test rider weight was enough to balance the suspension. Overall bump compliance is very good.

ol riding pants. And the ABS system is also quite competent. We appreciated its ability to activate smoothly without sending excessive feedback through the front brake lever. The rear brake, however, is typical of many systems weve experienced, offering a firm, resistant feel at the pedal, as if the brake isnt working at all, when the ABS is activated. All manufacturersnot just Moto Guzzineed to keep working to alleviate this type of negative feedback from their ABS.

Like the BMW GS, the Stelvio rides on 2.50 x 19 and 5.50 x 17 spoked rims that are engineered for use with tubeless tires. However, the BMW design places the spokes in the rim shoulders while the Moto Guzzis innovative design keeps the spokes in the center of the rim by using sealed, solid nipples that can be adjusted the same way as any spoked wheel. We are also impressed with the Stelvios 110/80R19 front and 180/55R17 rear Pirelli Scorpion Sync radials, which offer an amazing degree of grip.

They feel glued to the road. Interestingly, the Stelvio ABS was originally slated to be fitted with narrower wheels and tires as specd on the fully equipped Euro-only Stelvio STX, but Moto Guzzi USA personnel requested that the factory stay the course with the Stelvios original tire and wheel widths, a good choice since most Stelvios will spend most of their time on the street rather than in the dirt.

Controls Ergonomics

A wide handlebar gives the Stelvio rider a lot of leverage when negotiating turns, although some of our testers thought that their rise is a bit too high and suggested that the bars would be more comfortable if they were rotated back in the triple clamps. The Stelvios seat offers plenty of padding and a contour that is wide in the rear but very narrow at the tank junction, enhancing leg room and rider maneuverability and making it easier for inseamchallenged riders to reach the ground.

But while the Stelvios windshield does a decent job of protecting upper torso from wind and weather, and doesnt buffet the helmet at high speeds, its compact size combines with the wide handlebar to leave the riders arms exposed to the elements. Cold-day riding left us wishing for heated grips and/or handguards to deflect the wind. Moto Guzzi sells both items as accessories for the Stelvio.

The Stelvio ABS shares the same easy-to-read instrumentation as its sister, the Griso 8V, with almost the same features, including an analog tachometer, digital speedometer with dual tripmeter function. Additionally, the trip computer offers lots of information to the rider, such as current and average fuel mileage, distance to empty, average speed, maximum speed and ambient temperature. All trip computer information is easily accessed via a toggle switch on the left handlebar cluster.

Brakes, Wheels Tires

As much as we appreciated the performance of other components on the Stelvio, its Brembo brakes are among the best feeling and most powerful binders on any motorcycle todaysave, perhaps, the Ducati Streetfighter S, and it doesnt come with ABS. The Stelvios dual front 320mm semi-floating rotors and radial-mounted 4-piston calipers and 282mm rear disc with 2piston caliper were really able to pull the reins on the Stelvio during our braking drills.

By deactivating the ABS, our testbike went from 600 mph in a relatively short 120.79′, with fairly consistent stops in the 122123′ rangeimpressive for such a heavy motorcycle. Activating the ABS option only added less than 10′ to the total stopping distance. Our best ABS stop was 129.79′.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V

But quite frankly, the feel of the Brembos is as impressive as their power. Feedback is excellent, allowing the rider to dial in exactly the amount of braking force dictated by the seat of the

Final Thoughts

While a certain Bavarian motorcycle manufacturer may still have the upper hand in the adventure bike category, the Moto Guzzi Stelvio ABS is proof that the Italians are gunning for top spot on the mantle. While more street- than dirt-oriented, the Stelvio is nonetheless a comfortable, excellent-performing motorcycle with a high degree of workmanship that happens to speak Italian rather than German. As alternatives go, you could not ask for much more.

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Left: The changes that Moto Guzzi made to the Stelvio 4V only enhance its character. They include revised camshafts, new fuel injectors and revised ECU mapping designed to enhance mid-range torque, albeit at the expense of peak horsepower. One ride was all it took for us to appreciate the change.

Above Right: The CARC compact reactive shaft drive system does such a fine job of eliminating shaft drive jacking, it was easy to forget the Stelvio is a shafty. Right: The Stelvios LED rear taillight integrates the turn signals in a compact package. The taillights offer a unique look that could only come from Italy.

Above: The Stelvios seat is very well padded and features an extremely narrow profile at the seat/tank junction. The seat provides excellent legroom and, if necessary, makes it easy for the rider to stand up. Above Left: The Stelvios conventional-appearing spoked rims feature sealed nipples that allow the use of tubeless tires.

Its Dual 320mm Brembo brakes offer excellent power and feel in or out of ABS mode. Left: The Stelvios tach and LCD screen are easy to read, and its trip computer offers a wealth of info. Right: The Stelvios 50mm Marzocchi fork features compression control in one leg, rebound in the other.

Its windscreen should offer better wind protection, but the mirror-mounted turn signals are a nice touch.


Were I inclined to bestow names on inanimate objects, my name of choice for the Stelvio would be Porky as homage to its 600+ pounds of wet weight. This attribute is most noticeable when lifting the big Goose off the sidestand. Fortunately, the centerstand is designed and positioned in such a way that the bike pops up into its parked position with minimal effort.

Although this weight would seem to preclude offroad adventuring on any surface more technical than hard packed dirt, the quick revving power of its big 1200 cc, V-twin motor easily overcomes its bulk as the throttle is twisted and acceleration rapidly increases. While engine vibration feels intrusive at first, this singular somewhat retro characteristic is overshadowed by the Stelvios thoroughly modern, easy shifting transmission, responsive handling manners and comfortable upright riding position.

Traveling pleasure is enhanced by a seat that is wide enough to give adequate support to the riders derriere, but narrow enough in front to enable even the short legged among us to adequately reach the ground when at a stop. With a set of side cases and a tank bag, the Stelvio has the makings of a competent and personable sport touring mount that I could happily enjoy for thousands of miles. Gary Prickett Ive never been a fan of adventure bikes.

My stance has always been if you want a real off-road adventure, get a real off-road motorcycle. Wrestling an overweight, hardbag-laden streetbike with knobbies through the dez seemed about as fun to me as trying to do the same with a Honda Gold Wing. However, Id almost consider taking the Moto Guzzi Stelvio in the dirt.

Its really too pretty to get dirty, but its smooth, torquey engine, incredibly balanced chassis, excellent seat and, yes, even its ABS, had me believing that I could go just about anywhere on the planet aboard the Stelvio in perfect happiness. And therein lies the real beauty of the Stelvio: On the mean streets or in the outback, it fills you with a sense of adventure every time you ride it. Man, how cool is that? Scott Rousseau

2010 Moto Guzzi Stelvio ABS


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

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