Adventure bikes come in all heights, weights, shapes and engine displacements. At the larger, heavier, more touring-oriented end of the scale is the maxi-enduro class, which includes the Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V and, now, in Europe, the much-improved Stelvio NTX.
Guzzi’s engineers devoted great attention to improving the dynamic qualities of the chassis. More accurate suspension tuning has erased the rubbery feeling that made the original Stelvio less pleasant to ride when pushed to footpeg-dragging cornering speeds than, say, a BMW R1200GS.
Revisions included a few unexpected steps, such as switching from the celebrated 50mm Marzocchi inverted fork to a lighter 45mm unit. The latest legs remain fully adjustable for spring preload, as well as compression and rebound damping, and still use a 20mm-offset axle. Wheel travel remains 6.7 inches front and 6.1 rear. Steering geometry (27.0 degrees of rake, 4.9 inches of trail) is also unchanged. Same goes for wheelbase, which spans 60.4 inches. Seat height, however, is slightly lower than before and variable over a narrow range, 32.8 to 33.0 inches.
BMW beater? The Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX is priced in Italy at 13,990 Euros. At current exchange rates, that’s about $19,800.
Pirelli Scorpion Syncs have given way to more deeply grooved Scorpion Trails in 110/90-19 front and 150/70-17 rear sizes. Despite the narrower rubber, less-rigid front suspension and claimed 600-pound dry weight, the NTX feels more agile and neutral handling than the previous model. Apparently, the 50mm fork and fat street radials put too much strain on the Griso-derived frame, which was not torsionally stiff enough to compensate for the greater forces.
As for the engine, the eight-valve, 90-degree, 1200cc V-Twin has also has undergone the same ECU updating given the Norge sport-tourer. Here, the results are even more rewarding, as the more rationally located airbox lets the engine breathe more freely. The result is a very lively 105 horsepower at 7250 rpm and 83 foot-pounds of peak torque at 5800 rpm. A numerically higher primary ratio allows the engine to hammer away with a vengeance in any gear. ATC traction control offered appreciated assistance, especially off-road.
A new, much-larger 8.45-gallon gas tank guarantees an impressive 250-plus-mile range. The tank is well-shaped, does not interfere with the bike/rider ergonomic relationship and places the weight of all that fuel in the right place: low and forward. And Guzzi got rid of that silly glovebox carved into the tank of the original Stelvio.
A more broadly capable and versatile motorcycle, the Stelvio NTX can now look its competition directly in the eye.