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- Written by Carole Nash Editor
- Created: 20 June 2008
The Griso is a new Moto Guzzi cruiser/roadster from the Italian company, which combines grunty power and respectable handling with a unique style.
If you´re looking for a weekend motorbike with something different then the Griso could be just the thing.
Chris Moss tested the Guzzi Griso for insidebikes.com in sunny Italy.
Virtually all the Guzzis that I´ve ridden over the years have had quite significant quirks. Slow and agricultural gearing, heavy controls and cumbersome handling are just some typical examples. And, because of those idiosyncrasies, I´ve had to make allowances for Guzzis, which under certain circumstances has made them more awkward to ride. Not to mention a lot less enjoyable. Bearing this in mind, I wasn´t really looking forward to riding the new Griso power cruiser very much at its launch in Italy. But, as it turned out, the Griso, named after a famous Italian bodyguard, is aptly titled, as it looked after me very well all day long.
The Griso´s friendly qualities came as a real surprise to me and were quite apparent from the first few miles on it. It´s a very easy bike to ride overall, and what small quirks it does have can be viewed more as character-enhancing traits rather than anything more inconvenient. In short, the Griso is the most sorted and civilised Guzzi I´ve ever tried.
Engaging first gear brings none of the usual Guzzi gearbox graunching or clunking. Instead, metal meshes with metal sweetly and slickly, and off you go. The Griso is more than happy to dawdle at slow speed through town. The typical snatching of V-twin engines is barely noticeable, and the fuelling is nigh on perfect. Gaining speed is a doddle on the bike too. The 1064cc V-twin engine has excellent manners and the broad spread of power and torque equates to good throttle response whatever gear you´re in, or wherever the needle is sitting on the rev counter´s face.
The motor´s relaxed, well-mannered, low-revving, and long-legged style of delivery was all the more welcome at the time of the test, especially considering the roads we were riding on round Lake Como were nearly as wet as the lake itself. It looked like they would offer little in the way of grip. But as miles went by, I got more and more confident with the throttle, and never suffered a single slide. That really was a testimony to how friendly both the Guzzi´s engine and chassis are.
The bike´s weight distribution and suspension no doubt aided the overall poise of the bike. And the very wide bars helped with its manoeuvrability by offering plenty of leverage. But it´s the details of the bike, which have obviously been worked on well, that add up to its very sorted feel that were really boosting my confidence and making my feel at home on it.
Fortunately, the further I got along the test route the better the weather became. Temperatures rose, the sun popped out occasionally and by lunchtime the roads were getting pretty dry. By that time I was happy to push things a bit harder. And as I upped my pace I upped my praise for the bike too.
It´s a really planted and poised bike at speed. And rushing up to and round the countless number of hairpin bends on the route didn´t require much effort or generate much worry at all. And though the bike´s lazy geometry and heavy-ish weight help the planted feel, particularly on long sweeping corners, the wide bars give an almost sportsbike-quick feel to the steering. And the forks and shock both give a quality ride by offering lots of support and control, combined with a plushness over the bumps that only well set up suspension can. Braking isn´t quite as sharp as it is on some of the latest radial caliper-equipped bikes. But the Brembo kit still offers more than sufficient power. And with the sort of progression and feel it gives, stopping is always a quick and safe affair. And believe me, if it wasn´t, then there´s no way I´d have been riding over the sinuous Alpine roads as fast as I was on the Griso.
By the time we all got up into the mountains and headed towards the Spluga Pass near the Swiss border, where we all sat down for a spot of lunch, I had to pronounce myself more than happy with the bike by this time. It´s not really like any other Moto Guzzi that I´ve tried before, and is all the better for it. The Italian firm has seen quite a bit of investment in its factory since the takeover by the Piaggio group at the end of last year, and it´s beginning to show. The Griso is way ahead of Guzzis of old in the usability department.
Way ahead too is the Griso´s style, which is arguably its very best feature. It´s much better engineered than older Guzzis and many individual components like the fuel cap, clocks and huge silencer all ooze quality. Overall, the bike is a great looker from any angle and any distance. Its shape, and uncluttered and continuous lines are eye-catching, and its minimalistic design, good finish, deep paint and well-crafted look will guarantee to turn many heads. It´s a bike that feels good to be on, has plenty of cred, and is very enjoyable to ride.
Throughout the tricky test, the Griso had done what I asked of it in an orderly and well-mannered fashion. And when I switched it off for the final time it was with a hint of surprising sadness that I removed the key and walked away from it. It had been a very good day, and a much better one that I´d imagined it would. The Guzzi had ridden really well and comfortably, proved that the Italian factory has stepped up a gear, and had made me feel very good about life. And any bike that can do that in the challenging circumstances I faced from time to time has got to be a pretty special. The Moto Guzzi Griso is just that. And, more to the point isn´t a bike that you need to make any allowances for - even in the pouring rain!
It´s on sale now together with a range of accessories including luggage, alloy parts, a fairing and clothing.
The new Griso features many new parts and design features, though is still very much a Guzzi in the way it´s been built.
Its engine, quite naturally, is a V-twin and is based on the one fitted to the Breva touring bike. But the two-valve, twin plug, twin injector, air-cooled motor has many different internal parts including lighter conrods and pistons, and a bigger air box and exhaust system to allow it to rev and breathe more freely. The alternator is now mounted between the cylinders rather than at the front of the crankshaft to make the motor shorter and more compact.
The Griso´s gearbox is all-new. It´s two kilos lighter, quieter and more precise with its action. And the upgraded shaft drive arrangement features the Guzzi-patented CA.R.C. system to reduce the jerks and other upsetting quirks of shaft drives.
The Griso´s steel-tubed twin cradle frame uses the engine as a stressed member. Front suspension is taken care of by fully adjustable 43mm Showa inverted forks, while a fully adjustable rising-rate Boge monoshock controls the single-sided swingarm. Brembo four-piston calipers gripping 320mm floating discs control the braking up front. While the rear braking is handled by a single 282mm disc, and twin-piston caliper.
Instrumentation is all new and features an analogue rev counter and digital speedo. Other digitally displayed information includes average and maximum speeds, current and average fuel consumption and miles to go before needing to refuel.
Get Moto Guzzi motorcycle insurance for the Griso 2006.
Test bike supplied by Moto Guzzi Italy.
Engine90-degree V-twin, OHV, air cooled four stroke
Peak Power 88bhp @ 7,600rpm
Peak Torque 66lb/ft @ 6,400rpm
Bore and Stroke 92 x 80
Fuelling Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection
Gears 6 speed
Claimed peak power 54bhp @ 7000rpm
Chassis: tubular-steel cradle
Front suspension: 43mm Showa inverted telescopic forks, multi adjustable
Rear suspension: rising-rate Boge monoshock, multi adjustable
Rake/trail: 26degrees, 108mm
Front braking: Twin 320mm discs, 4 piston calipers
Rear braking: Single 282mm disc, 2 piston caliper
Wheels/Tyres: 120/70 17 inch front, 180/55 17 inch rear
Seat Height 800mm
Fuel Capacity 17.2 litres
Dry Weight 227kg
Est. Top Speed 125mph