Moto Guzzi Griso 1200 8v (2008 – present)
The Moto Guzzi Griso has sort of lurked in the background since it was launched back in 2005. Not because it wasn’t any good, in true Guzzi style the bike found favour with those already familiar with the brand, but it didn’t quite have the kerb appeal the Ducati Monster et al have with those looking for something new.
It’s a shame really as the Griso offers a uniquely Guzziesque experience, which stretches much deeper than mere metal, plastic and petrol should. One that even a brand as iconic as Ducati can’t match in terms of plugging into the emotives that make us ride. I rode one to the Bol Dor a few years back and enjoyed every minute of it.
It was in some pretty good company (GT Ducati, Kawasaki ZRX and Honda CB1300), but was always the one that drew attention.
It handled much better than it made power, which made for the kind of riding I always enjoy the most. The kind where the bike doesn’t intimidate, so you’re left to intimidate yourself, using the quality brakes and chassis.
The latest Griso, the SE, is set to capitalise on the original appeal of the bike, only this one delivers it in an almost bespoke looking outfit. Spoked wheels, fancy tan leather and a classic, racing green paint job make the bike look like it’s worth more than the £9,109 Moto Guzzi is asking for.
The Quattrovalvole 1151cc V-twin does an ample job of backing up the muscular theme, providing old fashioned stomp, no quirky delivery, just power 110bhp in case you were wondering.
On the face of it Moto Guzzi seem to have overstepped the mark in terms of the suspension and brakes.
Adjustable USD forks hold radial Brembo calipers over wavy discs, all sounds a bit racy, and it is. But you’ll be grateful the Griso has these parts for two reasons. Firstly, the price; I can’t think of a bike in this sector that offers so much appeal from both a monetary and a kerb-side sense.
Secondly, when you ride the thing it all makes sense. Sure, it burbles along through town, making you look way cooler than you really are, but when you get the chance to give the bike a workout, you don’t end up having one too. I didn’t come away from the launch thinking about what I would change or adjust to make it better, I just wanted to ride it more.
The Griso SE is a truly unique alternative to everything that street bikes offer. While retaining the definitive Italian hook that, once under your skin is impossible to ignore.
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