Moto Guzzi's latest creation, the Griso 1100 is here at last, and it more than lives up to the expectations brought on by the historic Italian marque.
Moto Guzzi motorcycles have always been renowned for their technical solutions and bold styling and the Griso continues the tradition, with its legendary 90 degrees V-twin engine wrapped in a beautifully designed chassis. However, enthusiasts will note that the classic Moto Guzzi engine has been completely redesigned by the engineers at Mandello del Lario.
Great attention to detail has been lavished onto the highly original chassis too. The Griso is aggressive and solid with its frame and engine well in view, its large fuel tank and the closely packed fins on the V-twin cylinders. "There are so many details to savour; this bike is Italian design at its very best, and there's always more to look at no matter how close you get," writes Kevin Ash for The Daily Telegraph. "The Griso rider should don an Armani suit before firing up the 1,064cc motor."
The Griso is so desirable that movie star and around the world biker, Ewan McGregor bought the first one to arrive at his local dealer.
This unique motorcycle escapes classification; it may be a naked, but then it's also a power cruiser and a techno custom. The powerful engine merges with the mighty frame's tubes to form a super-rigid structure from which the bike's defining characteristics stand out: the wide handlebars that give it a cool and commanding riding stance, the large headlight where even the bulb mountings are deliberately styled, the deceptively classic-looking instruments that feature an active matrix LCD and futuristic on-board computer, the sleek tail with its high intensity LED rear light cluster; you'll even find Guzzi's eagle crest cast into the plastic light lens. To the right, the oil cooler is housed in a squared aluminium-alloy casting finished in silk black, while to the left there's the chunky pair of exhaust pipes that twist down to the back of the engine and disappear briefly, before re-emerging into a conical silencer of massive proportions.
"Such a beautiful design offers the potential of riding disappointment, but the Griso keeps on impressing from the saddle," writes Ash. "The shorter gearing transforms a willing engine into a punchy, vivacious one that drives its way past ordinary traffic with little effort."
The Griso also handles beautifully. The front end feels planted and stable even at high speeds, transmitting plenty of feel back to the rider, while the rear powers smoothly out of corners. "The suspension is high quality, matching Japanese Showa forks with a Boge rear damper," writes Ash.
The Griso will appeal to the motorcyclist who wants a unique and distinctive machine, a masterpiece of design that is a pleasure to show off around town and a hoot to ride on the back roads.
The all-new engine retains the classic Moto Guzzi 90 degree V-twin layout, but gets a host of technical innovations. It's equipped with electronic fuel injection to provide silky-smooth idling and touch-of-a-button starting even in very cold weather. Twin spark ignition and fuel injectors in the inlet manifolds for perfect combustion ensure consistent high performance. Power delivery is smooth and progressive, and emissions and consumption are reduced to a minimum to let the Griso conform fully to Euro3 standards.
Meanwhile, the alternator no longer resides in front of the crankshaft. Instead, it snuggles neatly between the two cylinders, making the whole engine shorter and more compact, and improving weight distribution. The conrods are 10% lighter and the ratio between conrod length and piston stroke has been improved to reduce vibration. Double oil sprays are used to improve efficiency and extend engine life. The metal cylinder head gaskets are new, and designed to improve heat transmission and to ensure that pressure from the cylinder head studs remains constant. Tweaks to the intake and exhaust system and the shorter gear ratios produce an extra pull from the already torquey engine. Maximum power is 87bhp @ 7,600 rpm, and maximum torque is 66lb.ft @ 6,400 rpm.
The gearbox has been completely redesigned too and is now slick and comfortable to use. "Gear changing is smooth and easy, which you have to mention as on older Guzzis it wasn't," writes Ash.
But these impressive stats still fail to convey the Griso's unique riding experience. Press the starter button and you're greeted with those unmistakable deep-throated pulsations from Moto Guzzi's 90° V-Twin powerplant. The instant torque that comes in smoothly makes the Griso easy to ride; pick up the pace and you'll find it more than capable of sports bike speeds.
The Griso 1100's long and low power cruiser profile conceals the chassis strength that gives this great new Italian motorcycle superior rigidity and unexpected agility, letting the rider carve and maintain surgically precise lines.
The high strength tubular steel frame envelops the engine, and the parallelogram swingarm incorporates Guzzi's patented compact reactive shaft drive system. The system leaves the bevel gear and shaft free to oscillate while the drive shaft incorporates two universal joints with built-in torsional shock absorbers. This results in smooth, precise and jerk-free power, eliminating the anti-shaft effect associated with conventional shaft drives.
The 43mm upside down front forks are adjustable for spring preload and compression and rebound damping, while the rear suspension is made up of a single-sided swingarm and rising rate linkages, with a monoshock also adjustable for preload, compression and rebound.
The high performance braking system is made up of two 320mm floating discs and twin calipers with four opposing pistons at the front, and a single 282mm disc with a floating caliper and twin parallel pistons at the back. Grip is guaranteed by high performance 120/70 ZR17" front, and 180/55 ZR17" rear, tyres. These are fitted to hollow three-spoke aluminium alloy wheels.
Moto Guzzi's range of dedicated accessories includes 25-litre semi-rigid panniers equipped with Moto Guzzi's patented Fast Click® system, making them easy to fit and remove; a chrome plated luggage rack that can also be used as a grab handle for pillions; a sleek semi-transparent nose fairing; a tank bag, and a series of exclusive ergal parts including adjustable brake and clutch levers, clutch and brake master cylinder caps, rider footrests, rear brake reservoir and number plate holder.
The Griso comes in Midnight Black, Racing Red or Pearly Blue and is priced at £7,499 OTR. All models in the Moto Guzzi range, including the Griso, are available under a 0% Finance scheme, offer ends 30 June 2006.
All new Moto Guzzi motorcycles come with 2 years manufacturer's warranty and 2 years European Roadside Assistance and Recovery. For a brochure and details of your nearest Moto Guzzi dealer call 01293 823890, or visit www.motoguzzi.it