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.
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.
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.
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|
|Engine Type||Four-stroke V 90 Twin|
|Horsepower||95.14 @ 7200|
|Torque||73.16 @ 6400|
|Bore x Stroke||95 x 81.2 mm|
|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|
|Seat Height||31.4 inches|
|Curb Weight||556 pounds|
|Fuel Capacity||4.4 gal|