I bumped into an old friend when I was dropping off an Aprilia at Piaggio’s fleet center: a 2013 Moto Guzzi Griso 8V all done up in new matte black and gray paint and graphics designed to be slimming. Aside from the change to tubeless spoked wheels a couple of years ago, everything is status quo with the Griso. Which is fine by me. This Black Devil SE model gets its frame powdercoated black, as well as its big inverted fork and handlebar. I’m no good at persuasion but I am a big-time magazine guy, so they let me ride off on it for a week. It’s been nearly three now and they’re only just now asking for it back.
I first rode and wrote about the 8V in the March, 2009, issue of Cycle World, when everybody here who rode the new Guzzi was pretty well smitten. In fact, the Griso wasn’t new even then, but the 8-valve engine was, complete with 563 new parts (according to Guzzi) that turned the 1064cc four-valver into the current 1151cc 8V. Those parts transformed what Kevin Cameron would call a “chuffer” into a genuine free-revving 90-degree V-Twin that performs a strikingly respectable imitation of a Ducati as the tach needle passes through 5000 rpm on its way to 98.7 measured rear-wheel horsepower at 8300 rpm (and 75 foot-pounds of torque at 6500). That’s not Diavel power, but it is 12 horses and 7 ft.-lb. more than the also-air-cooled Ducati Hypermotard 1100SP we dynoed two years ago. Not to mention 17 hp more powerful and 10 ft-lb. torquier than the Honda CB1100 we all fell for in the July issue, in a package only 14 lb. heftier than the Honda. In simple terms, this Guzzi scoots (and if that’s not enough, our friend Todd Eagan at guzzitech.com says 110-plus hp is well within reach with very little effort.)
All that newfound power flows smoothly through a perfectly normal six-speed gearbox and into the surprised 180/55-17 rear Dunlop through a shaft drive, resulting in a sort of Jekyll-and-Hyde Guzzi that tastes like a rich goulash of all of our favorite motorcycles: Italian Harley-Davidson, high-power Ducati, BMW tourer and long, low-seat cruiser with standard ergoes—in fact, with its wide handlebar, you sit on the Griso like you would an old GS1100E or something. Though it’s not a small motorcycle, at 556 pounds (with 4.4 gallons of premium) stretched over a 60.9-in. wheelbase, the Griso has a riding position that is compact and comfortable for medium-sized riders. Taller ones want a bit more legroom, but tall people get enough breaks in life already. I say let them suffer.
Passengers are reasonably happy aft, and Guzzi offers a variety of natty luggage options to make what’s a great standard a pretty good sport-touring machine as well. For those who like to play with tools, the Guzzi serves its cylinder heads up for convenient valve adjustments like no other motorcycle; screw-and-locknut adjusters mean you don’t need any shims, and you won’t even leave BMW Boxer-style oil slicks on the shag carpet when you pull the valve covers. Spring for the optional centerstand and rear wheel changes are also a snap thanks to the single-sided swingarm.
Riding around on this thing for a few weeks has me in love all over again: There’s plenty of torquey V-Twin power and sound without being obnoxious (not that I’m opposed to tasteful obnoxiousness), in a chassis reminiscent of a wide-barred old superbike with great suspension, in a mechanically honest package that’s as nice to look at as it is to ride pretty much anywhere. Zooming along the freeway at 85 or so is particularly sweet at around 5000 rpm; the accessory fly screen would make it even sweeter maybe. A brighter bulb in the big round headlight would be money well spent. And about the only other thing you could complain about would be the really lousy 33-34 mpg the Griso returns (same as the original we tested in ’09); good thing the tank holds a reasonable 4.4 gallons. (And guzzitech.com says the same mods that boost power will bump fuel mileage up into the low 40s.)
Speaking of the bottom line, another thing that makes the Griso attractive all over again is the price cut Piaggio’s given a bunch of its products. In ’09, you would’ve paid $14,290 for a Griso. Today, they cost $12,690, a reduction of $1600. Not bad for a motorcycle you very well might pass on to your heirs. A definite keeper.
|DRY WEIGHT||489 lb.|
|SEAT HEIGHT||31.7 in.|
|FUEL MILEAGE||33 mpg|
|0-60 MPH||3.3 sec.|
|1/4 MILE||11.30 sec. @ 118.09 mph|
|HORSEPOWER||98.7 hp @ 8300 rpm|
|TORQUE||75.1 ft.-lb. @ 6500 rpm|
|TOP SPEED||141 mph|
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