First Ride: Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V

A grand turismo intended to have all the fun of a naked sportsbike but with all the protection of a tourer.

First Ride: Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V
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First Ride: Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V

Now in its 90th anniversary year, Moto Guzzi has replaced its premium Norge 1200 with the new Norge GT8V.

The similar looks don't mean they are similar bikes though, almost 80% of the bike has been redesigned but as Moto Guzzi Brand Manager Gianluca Di Oto stated at the press launch, this bike is "an evolution, not  revolution".

Initial impressions after sitting on the new bike were the high footpegs. but in reality my brain just needed resetting after a morning's ride on the Moto Guzzi Stelvio.

Whilst obviously not as agile as a sportsbike and despite the bike weighing in at a 257kg dry it certainly changes direction with ease and was a lot of fun to ride.

The winding roads around the Tuscan Hills were eaten up in comfort, although inevtably the bike did scrape its way through a few of the corners when really pushed.

For the first time the Norge gets the 1200cc 8V engine and it's this that really gives the bike its character. The bike has 102 bhp to call on and torque pulls strong from low revs, peaking at 5,500rpm.

The six-speed gearbox is smooth and easy to engage but I spent most of the time riding round the Tuscan Hills in third due to the good spread of power. The shaft driven bike has a new single plate clutch and was well behaved in town and certainly fast enough on the short open stretches of roads.

The Norge is a GT so you would expect it to be comfy, but I think they have done a great job. It's a soft ride but also one that gives confidence and although another tester found the seat to be too soft, it was great for me.

Apparently Marzocchi had a lot of time to get the best set-up with the front forks and this was an area that previous Norge owners had called for improvement on. A new spring set has been used and the test bike I had gave me great confidence in the front end. The rear suspension has also been updated.

Whether it's still eager to turn on its side so easily two-up and fully loaded with luggage remains to be seen any time saved in speeding through corners could have been used to take in the beautiful views.

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