Better-looking than the concept bike that spawned it, Guzzi's bruiser is sportier than you'd think - so much so that our man nearly had a 'wardrobe malfunction'.
Click to read: Moto Guzzi Griso owners reviews, Moto Guzzi Griso specs and to see the Moto Guzzi Griso image gallery.
WHEN I SAW one of the other testers climbing aboard the Griso wearing one-piece leathers I thought he was barking. Surely this long, low Guzzi V-twin isn't the type of bike you ride wearing a racing suit, for gawd's sake - any more than you would to ride a Harley-Davidson? It's just not right.
An hour later, following two other guys up the twisty Spluga Pass (a few miles from the Swiss border and high enough in the Alpine foothills for the autumn air to be distinctly chilly) I had second thoughts. More to the point, I'd been cranking the big Guzzi through a string of hairpins at a rate I wouldn't have imagined possible before riding it. Full leathers on the Griso, then? Well, I still reckon the big bruiser is more of a jacket and jeans type of bike, but it's a very handy all-rounder that is well up for a bit of a scrap.
The production Griso is not a watered-down version of the striking concept bike that was unveiled at Munich three years ago. The first thing that struck me after seeing the line of black V-twins outside the Mandello factory was that this is that rare beast, a production bike which looks better than the prototype. Part of the reason for that is they've stuck so faithfully to the original lines. The big air-cooled motor's impact is emphasised by large-diameter steel frame tubes, fat tyres and that huge, conical single silencer that makes a virtue of Euro 3 necessity. Detailing is excellent in everything from the cut-away front mudguard, via the bodywork grilles and big aluminium fuel cap surround to the minimalist indicators and classy rear light.
One thing Guzzi didn't need to design specially is the motor, which is the same 1064cc air-cooled unit that appeared in the Breva V1100 earlier this year. In familiar Guzzi fashion it's a 90-degree V-twin with two valves per pot and pushrod operation. But it also incorporates twin-plug heads, redesigned lubrication system and an uprated alternator relocated between the cylinders, instead of on the end of the crank. The Breva's new six-speed gearbox is also retained, as is the final drive system whereby the shaft runs inside the single-sided aluminium swingarm.
Click here to read the Moto Guzzi Griso review verdict.
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