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Reviewed: Moto Guzzi Stelvio

Moto Guzzi Stelvio rider

After years in the doldrums, especially when it comes to bigger bikes, iconic Italian marque Moto Guzzi seems headed back to the big time. First, to mark its centenary, the historic brand based on the shoreline of Lake Como in Italy launched its V100 Mandello sports tourer. Powered by an all-new liquid-cooled, electronics-laden engine, the V100 managed to retain Guzzi’s signature across-the frame V-twin with shaft-drive but brought its specification and performance bang up to date for the first time in decades.

 

Moto Guzzi Stelvio bike in front of hills

 

Now the Mandello is joined by the arguably even more significant Stelvio, an adventure bike based on the same engine and tech but with potentially more mainstream appeal, as it takes on the most competitive category of all.

Although the engine is virtually identical to the V100 Mandello there are extra engine mounts, beefy, longer travel suspension, cross-spoke wire wheels (the front now a 19-incher) with knobbly tyres, a stronger, longer shaft drive unit, revised riding position, front fairing (still with electrically adjustable screen), bigger tank, updated electronics and more. In short: it wants for nothing. It is beautifully integrated and effective, still characterful and good looking and even decent value. It’s not perfect and hasn’t the performance (or price) of the latest Ducati Multistrada or KTM Super Adventure, but for many it’ll be close enough – and more than made up for with its character and exclusivity.

 

Moto Guzzi Stelvio display

 

The eight valve, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected twin was introduced in 2022 on the Mandello as a successor to Guzzi’s long-outdated, air-cooled, pushrod big twins and, as a result, is a big deal to the Piaggio-owned company and Guzzisti. Importantly, though, Guzzi retained its traditional signature across the frame layout. The result, with peak power of 113bhp may not sound that impressive compared to the 160bhp of KTM’s latest 1290cc V-twin Super Adventure S, but on real world roads it’s more than adequate. Midrange is immense, delivery progressive and the fruity drive from 6,000rpm up (especially in Sport, one of five riding modes) is addictive and accompanied from a fabulous soundtrack.

 

Moto Guzzi Stelvio Rider in Desert

 

The chassis impresses, too. Ride quality is refined, sufficiently firm yet comfortable, thanks to the decent quality Sachs 46mm inverted forks and KYB monoshock. On fast A roads, it gives a secure, planted feel that’s utterly reassuring while on twistier B-roads it’s impressively nimble with manners and steering precision more akin to a smaller wheeled roadster than a big, tall adventure bike. The Brembo brakes are more than sufficient, too, if anything being slightly too sharp and powerful for everyday riding.

The Stelvio has a classic, upright adventure bike gait but, despite its extended suspension and high handlebars, it also has a pleasingly low, wide and comfortable seat, and offers a good level of protection from the neat electrically adjustable screen. Pillion comfort is also good and alternative factory seat options, including heated and taller saddles, are available for extra cost.

 

Moto Guzzi Stelvio rider on road

As standard the Stelvio is low, comfortable and accessible enough to be a great allrounder. It is fine around town and, thanks to its screen, pillion comfort, optional heated handlebar grips and hard luggage it is a more than capable tourer too. The cherry on top is that, thanks to its planted handling, great brakes and invigorating power delivery, it is a thoroughly entertaining A-road bend sweeper, too. In terms of practicality, the only things it’s not is a cheap-and-cheerful year-round commuter (it’s too classy and high quality for that) nor a credible off-roader in the way a KTM or even BMW can be.

Equipment-wise, the Stelvio comes in two forms: standard, starting at £14,700, and the upspecced ‘PFF’ version, starting at £15,400. Both have an electric screen, Brembo brakes, quality suspension, five-inch TFT dash, five riding modes, quickshifter and USB socket but the PFF (which stands for ‘Piaggio Fast Forward’), also has front and rear radar to give lane-change assist, blind spot detection and a front collision warning, as well as Bluetooth connectivity.

 

Moto Guzzi Stelvio rider on bend

 

The prices are right in the ballpark for this type of bike and although it hasn’t benefitted from quite the same fanfare as the Mandello, it is arguably the better bike and a truly tempting alternative to BMW’s best-selling GS.

On paper and on the road, the Guzzi isn’t quite as effective. It’s not as powerful, light, proven as its German rival, nor has it the same impressive options list and dealer network. It is also not without its faults. The mirrors buzz, the gearbox clunks into first and the dash is a bit fiddly. But it does have a great, evocative and effective shaft drive motor; it handles and rides better than expected, has all the right bits in all the right places, is well-priced, good looking and effective. In short: it ticks a lot of boxes. Best of all, though, it has a huge amount of character, charm and class and will always stand out in a car park full of GSs. And that makes it very tempting indeed, and a welcome addition to the big capacity adventure motorcycle market.

 

Moto Guzzi Stelvio with mountains

 

2024 Moto Guzzi Stelvio specification

Price:                                            From £14,700

Engine:                                      1042cc V-twin, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, liquid cooled

Power:                                          113bhp (84.5kW) @ 8700rpm

Torque:                                        104.3Nm (77lb-ft) @ 6750rpm

Transmission:                        Six-speed, shaft final drive

Frame:                                          Tubular steel space frame

Suspension:                                 (F) Fully adjustable 46mm USD fork, (R) Fully adjustable mono shock.

Wheels:                                    Alloy-rimmed cross-spoke, 19”/17”

Tyres:                                     (F) 120/70 x 19, (R) 170/60 x 17

Brakes:                                         (F) 2 x 320mm floating discs, four-piston Brembo radial calipers, Brembo master cylinder (R) 280mm disc, 2-piston Brembo caliper. Cornering ABS as standard equipment

Weight:                                     246kg (kerb)

Wheelbase:                               1,520mm

Seat height:                               830mm

Fuel tank:                                 21 litres

Fuel consumption:                     50mpg (tested)

Service intervals:                       7500 miles/12 months

Warranty:                                 24 months unlimited mileage

Contact:                                    www.motoguzzi.com

 

Words: Phil West 

Photos: Moto Guzzi

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