How the Moto Guzzi Norge won me over RideApart

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Moto Guzzi Norge 850

Dailies. Galleries. Reviews June 13, 2011

When I up the 2011 Moto Guzzi 8V from Piaggio a few weeks I was initially somewhat sad to part the R1 I had been cruising around on. The R1 like it weighed nothing, the way only a liter-bike does, on command and had great brakes to The Norge is a touring bike, basically means it’s heavier and a lot more comfortable most other bikes. At that’s what I was expecting.

the scales at 566lbs, it’s not bad for a with a giant air-cooled shaft drive, four beam headlights, hard and a fairing that does an job of blocking the wind. It’s not either. Give it just a of clutch and the front wheel skyward.

Cool. With the off lane splitting through LA I’m not sure there’s any other I’d rather be on

This is a fast

Faster than the Black through rush-hour in Moscow and less than half the too. Faster than my to downtown and with almost stress. Faster than else in traffic really and none of the negative attention a sportsbike draws. It’s comfortable.

Comfortable enough that and I have ridden it two-up a full complement of camping on two trips in as many weeks. also a nice bike. nice enough to justify $16k price tag.

The beats out even the Honda the branding is actually something appreciate. Those tiny red Guzzi ovals on the valve could even be considered

Wes fell in love with the and I have more than a little crush on this The Norge works so well you start to wonder why all bikes this good. Rather polluting the end of a glowing review a list of gripes and things didn’t particularly suit me, I’m to list all three of them here and never mention again:

1. The center stand early and often. If this was my bike, I’d have to take it

2. There is an extremely limited of suspension adjustment. It isn’t at all but I’d add a stiffer rear spring and damping adjustment at both (Then I’d probably go to the race and get laughed at for trying to press a rig into service it was never for.)

3. Squint and both the R1 and the Norge like Dame Edna. Its projectors are extremely powerful but I’d add an HID system to at least 2 of them.

Can you them apart?

So how does it go so

I can’t single out any one thing makes the Norge so easy to so fast. When it comes to they got it right across the

The motor has a strong, smooth that pulls cleanly down low all the way to redline. Brembo have amazingly good are easy to modulate and fill you confidence. Moto Guzzi’s chassis and motor arrangement wonders when it comes to lean the Norge; a slight on the is all it takes to slam it all the way over.


The new 8V motor is amazing . The 1151cc, per cylinder, air and oil cooled 90º V-twin out a claimed 102 hp and 77 lb/ft of torque. If in the mood for fringed …-less you can hold the throttle wide-open, super early and keep the under 2,000rpm. The windscreen shake a little as the whole vibrates, but you’ll still get acceleration.

Get it spinning faster than and things smooth out considerably.

stoplights, I slipped the clutch about 5 grand, shifted before the 8,000 rev limit in gear and waited for the blinking red to cue my next change. Top speed is an 136 mph. It’s limited by though I doubt it has the power to go faster than that.

At speed, the bike is perfectly and still willing to change lean all the way over as you wish and brake extremely hard leaned all the way over with a on the back. That’s an impressive for any bike.

It brakes!

When riding like an asshole on roads it’s always to have the confidence that with really nice and a well tuned ABS system. All considered, this is one of the better braking systems out there. The have good bite, the are stainless and the last-generation Brembo and horizontal master cylinder are as powerful as they were superbikes were running just a few years ago.

Moto Guzzi Norge 850

When the ABS does kick in, it so in a gentle way that doesn’t overly slow or upset the It’s got a gentle touch and you trigger it a few times, it’s use to your advantage.

It handles!

nothing wrong with the suspension here. The bike amazingly fast with zero effort from the wide bars. Provided the isn’t already on the ground, the will tighten its line only a thought and it will ever do anything to scare you or your confidence. Case in Latigo canyon with full of tent, sleeping clothes, food and Ashlee behind me wearing a full-on country pack with the of our supplies.

This is one of those roads that has multiple down-hill, decreasing radius most of them covered in I flicked it on its side, held the stand just millimeters the ground (to avoid being in the kidneys) and trail-braked all the way through. If there was anything that make a bike unhappy, this kind of maneuver, but the had no problem.

How does a big heavy touring end up with effortlessly light and amazing feel? Thank the Guzzi twin with its oriented length-wise in chassis. Rev it at a and the bike jerks sideways so slightly.

That’s the only rotational inertia from the will have any effect on riding though. Since it a different direction from the you don’t have to overcome all the when you crank on the bars to put it on side. Actually, all Guzzis this feature.

So do BMW’s twins and Honda’s Goldwing.


The power adjustable screen an amazing job of blocking the wind. It your vision slightly, but less than any other OEM I’ve ever looked (I’m looking at you Japanese With the screen up, I was able to with my visor open for with no wind or anything in my eyes.

I’ve never been to get away with that on a before and it felt pretty Before the Norge, I never understood power adjustable I always figured you’d put it in one place and then leave it for the rest of eternity.

Since the distorts things just a it’s nice to be able it on the open freeway and drop it when it comes time to traffic again.


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