2009 Moto Guzzi Griso 8v

Text: John M. Flores • Photography: John M. Flores, Piaggio

Don't mistake the Moto Guzzi Griso 8v for a gentlemanly cruiser or a weekend toy for podiatrists and pretenders with more dough than go.

Moto Guzzi, the stereotypes suggest, is a lifestyle brand long past its sporting prime, coveted by riders more interested in heritage and logoed t-shirts than riding fast and cornering hard. And at the local watering hole, the Griso looks stylishly butch reclining on its sidestand, inviting second glances and cell-phone paparazzi wherever it goes. So while you probably wouldn't be alone in your curbside assessment - you'd be wrong.
Get on the bike and you'll quickly learn that it was not made solely for café crawls and bike nights. The alloy footpegs aren't sheathed in rubber or positioned to be recliner comfortable but instead fall right beneath the rider to promote an active, connected stance. Likewise, the tubular handlebars aren't kicked back to meet a slouching pilot; they encourage an ever so slight forward lean of the rider's torso - at least they do for this tester with 40-Regular arms. Finally, the motor doesn't like to dawdle, preferring a firm hand and stretched throttle cable.

Stop and Go

That throttle cable is connected to Weber multipoint electronic fuel injectors sitting in 50mm throttle bodies and feeding what may be Moto Guzzi's most modern motor, an 1151cc V-twin topped with a new 4-valve head. "Quattrovalvole" they call it, and leave it to the Italians to make the mundane sound positively alluring. It's the head that lets the motor breathe eagerly at high revs and gives the motor a frisky top-end to go along with the bottom-end torque. The package produces very competitive power for its class: 110hp @ 7,500 rpm and 79.7 lb-ft of torque at a slightly lower 6,400 rpm. Not all heritage is lost, however. The motor still sits transversely with the deeply-finned cylinder heads poking out at 45-degree angles. And the fins remain functional, carrying heat away from the motor and occasionally into the hands of riders stopping at lights on cool autumn days. A single-plate clutch, six-speed gearbox and driveshaft translates the motor's combustion into propulsion while spent gases snake through bicep-sized exhaust headers to a distinctive double-barrel, asymmetrical left-side exhaust.

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For the complete article of the riding impression(s) and technical specifications, please purchase the September/October 2009 back issue.