2014 Moto Guzzi Griso 8V SE Review

Quattrovalvole charisma

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2014 Moto Guzzi Griso 8V SE

Editor Score: 78.25%
Engine 16.0/20
Suspension/Handling 12.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 7.5/10
Brakes 7.0/10
Instruments/Controls4.25/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 7.5/10
Appearance/Quality 8.5/10
Desirability 7.5/10
Value 8.0/10
Overall Score78.25/100

Originally launched in 2004, Moto Guzzi’s Griso isn’t new to the scene. The bike’s styling is so uncategorizable and timeless, it looks contemporary whether parked next to a BMW R nineT or KTM Super Duke R. Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, and whether you love it or leave it, you certainly can’t say it looks dated.

If, like me, you’re enamored with the masculine brutishness of the Griso, there’s a lot of motorcycle to love. Five hundred and fiddy-six soaking wet pounds suspended between 61 inches of contact patches. The Griso’s no flyweight contender. And while it is somewhat ponderous in the canyons, the Griso was never meant to be a sportbike.

Yet, it is suspended like one. A fully adjustable, 43mm inverted fork and monoshock provide fine-tuning suspension adjustments. The components work well enough to maintain composure of the 741 pounds of combined bike and rider weight, even when pushed past their intended performance envelope.

That’s not a rectangular oil cooler haphazardly attached as an afterthought, it’s a hunk of strategically placed industrial art. All in the eye of the beholder, mate.

That’s not a rectangular oil cooler haphazardly attached as an afterthought, it’s a hunk of strategically placed industrial art. All in the eye of the beholder, mate.

First offered as a SOHC, two-valve 1064cc V-Twin, the Griso was later upgraded to an 1151cc four-valve “Quattrovalvole” arrangement, changing the bike’s performance characteristics from sluggish to slugger. But this was circa 2009, and the relatively powerful Twin (95 hp at 7200 rpm & 73 ft-lb at 6400 rpm) is where the majority of the bike’s shortcomings lie.

“The Griso’s most obvious flaw is the tuning of its fuel injection,” says chief speech therapist (“it’s Gootzi”), Kevin Duke. “It’s disappointingly cold-blooded for an EFI-fed motor, and it exhibits an unrefined surging condition at low throttle openings. The imprecise fueling also results in relatively poor fuel economy. It’s due for upgrading.”

These problems would be easily rectified if Guzzi transplanted the 1380cc V-Twin powering the newer California models. The Griso would also gain traction control, ABS and cruise control in this transaction.

Oh, my, god. Becky, look at those pipes! Seven inches in circumference befits the Griso’s brutish persona. The wide seat is comfy for both rider and passenger.

Oh, my, god. Becky, look at those pipes! Seven inches in circumference befits the Griso’s brutish persona. The wide seat is comfy for both rider and passenger.

There’s also some driveline lash through the shaft final drive, probably made more evident by the EFI’s improper fueling, but smooth clutch actuation can mask most of the issue. Brembo front brakes are powerful, but only after a firm, three-finger pull on the lever rather than the usual two-finger squeeze.

So, the Griso has imperfections, or are those charismatic attributes? Nah, they’re definitely zits on the face of an otherwise stalwart mug. The charisma comes in the form of the booming 90-degree V-Twin exhaust note emanating from the over/under turbine-engine styled muffler exits; the back and forth wagging of its handlebars when at idle; the right-side twitch when goosing the throttle; its avant garde styling.

+ Highs

  • More charisma than most motorcycles
  • Sounds as good as it looks
  • Fully adjustable suspension
- Sighs

  • Unrefined EFI fueling
  • Driveline lash
  • No ABS

The Griso ain’t perfect, but it’s a Guzzi, so we knew that going into this review, didn’t we? In no way is this meant to be sexist, but the Griso is – if there ever was – a man’s man kind of a motorcycle. So is the Star VMAX. And, like the VMAX, the larger the man you are, the more the Griso will appeal to you. The footpegs may need some rearranging depending on the length of legs, but if you’re a tall man by way of a long torso, you’re gonna love the Griso.

Bachelor Editor, John Burns, says the Griso’s great for attracting women, but he has low standards, so don’t get your hopes up.

2014 Moto Guzzi Griso 8V SE Specs
MSRP $12,990
Engine Capacity 1151cc
Engine Type Four-stroke V 90 Twin
Horsepower 95.14 @ 7200
Torque 73.16 @ 6400
Bore x Stroke 95 x 81.2 mm
Compression 11:01
Fuel System EFI
Transmission Six-speed
Final Drive Shaft
Frame High tensile steel tubular twin cradle
Front Suspension 43mm fork, spring preload and hydraulic for rebound and compression, 4.7 inches of travel
Rear Suspension Monoshock, spring preload, rebound, compression, 4.3 inches of travel
Front Brakes Dual, four-piston calipers, 320mm discs
Rear Brakes Single caliper, 282mm disc
Front Tire 120/70-17
Rear Tire 180/55-17
Seat Height 31.4 inches
Wheelbase 61 inches
Rake/Trail 26.30º/4.25 inches
Curb Weight 556 pounds
Fuel Capacity 4.4 gal
MPG 31.2 MPG
Colors Black/Silver

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  • VeganLondonMan

    Looks similar to the Indian Scout as far as weight, price, power, torque, displacement, 6-speed. Obviously differs in ergonomics and shaft drive. Definitely unique. Kevin Duke should buy a Moto Goozey and eat a slice of Peezah.

    • Kevin

      Peezugh isn’t it?

      • VeganLondonMan

        As a Strom1000 owner, I approve of the Stelvio1200! Though it never seems to get mentioned in ADV comparisons-perhaps because it is a little underpowered against the KTM/BMW and expensive against a V-Strom? Maybe they should throw the California1400 motor in the Stelvio too.

  • Tod Rafferty

    Interresting… The Griso has gained only a few pounds over the 2-valve version that I rode eight years ago at Lake Como, but the original bike exhibited no throttle response issues. So apparently the FI mapping has not kept pace in the conversion to a 4-valve head. Unfortunate, since it was a delightful bike to ride. Notwithstanding the gorpy muffler, I thought the sport-roadster was one Mandello’s best efforts to date.

  • dW

    Rode the 8-valve version a couple of years back and found it a really great bike, more fun and character than most anything else on two wheels. I’ve been waiting….and waiting……for an ABS version to come out. Looks unlikely; no modern new bike should be offered without this potentially life-saving necessity. Shame when you see that most of Guzzi’s other offerings come with it.

    • http://www.themotorcycleobsession.com/ Chris Cope

      Wait two more years. ABS will be required on all new bikes (above 125cc) sold in the European Union from 2016.

  • http://www.themotorcycleobsession.com/ Chris Cope

    I have long loved the Griso. It’s good looking in a ridiculous sort of way. As soon as they put anti-lock brakes on the thing (thank you, EU, for forcing that on every bike soon), I’ll seriously consider getting one.

    • Auphliam

      ” It’s good looking in a ridiculous sort of way.”

      That is one of the best descriptions of the Griso that I’ve ever read LOL

  • JMDonald

    A few flaws that can easily be corrected. ABS please. This is my second favorite Guzzi.

  • SRMark

    Exhaust headers look like they came from under a kitchen sink. Mufflers look stupid. Color is drab at best. Space heater hanging of the right side. Doesn’t run right. Gets crappy gas mileage. I’ll take one. But a green one with red and white accents, ANY aftermarket exhaust and a re-flash would really be nice.

  • Steve C

    I love this bike, lusted after it since it first came out, nothing else looks like it, it has that low’ long narrow look of my 77 LeMan’s. Bella! I drank the Guzzi Kool Aide years ago. lol

  • RideaTart

    I had an 8V. The pleasure of ownership exceeded the pleasure of riding, but mainly because the former was exceedingly high. Functionally a very competent bike though it’s riding sweet spot is pretty much limited to long sweepers. Fueling was not as problematic as this review seems to suggest.

  • NorthShoreRider

    Love! Such a gorgeous bike. Will be trading in my V7 for a Griso when it ships with ABS. Guzzi is killin it these days.

  • Glenn59

    I strongly suspect that your test bike had a tuning problem? Either that or the US emissions controls are not very well thought out for this bike? I have ridden several versions here in Australia and the fueling is fine.

    • eric

      US emissions controls weren’t well thought out for this bike since the 1100 and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was still the case.

      • eric

        But I still love mine. There are easy aftermarket fixes.

  • Bmwclay

    My 2002 LeMans was my favorite of over 40 bikes in my 50 year riding career. It’s not about power, it’s the MOTOR bucko. It’s fun like my 72 Commando was but the Guzzi never broke. I have a 1150 GS twin, but it is boring next to the LeMans. I have a K1200S but once you get use to the power the Guzzi gets the nod for the most fun. All you CBR 600 and Ninja riders ought to try a big Guzzi at least once in your lifetime.

    • Kevin

      Character, perhaps? Riding a Guzzi has always made me feel good in a way that is somehow similar to the way I felt watching Robin Williams performing in character:

  • Old MOron

    “Bachelor Editor, John Burns, says the Griso’s great for attracting women, but he has low standards, so don’t get your hopes up.”

    Har har har! MO editors bagging on each other in the finest tradition.