Posted: 10 Jan 2013
As sure as lorries trundle up and down motorways every hour of the day, Moto Guzzi will continue to build motorcycles that are made for motorcyclists who enjoy the simple and indeed pleasurable way to achieve their biking ‘fix’.
The Griso 1200 personifies Moto Guzzi machinery. It is not a racing machine but carries components that wouldn’t look out of place on a race grid. It isn’t rapid in performance terms and doesn’t require the attributes of fighter pilot to control one. All it needs is someone who appreciates a relaxed ride.
Powering the Griso is a modern version of the old 90° opposed V-twin engine that built Guzzi a solid reputation for reliability. Under control of Piaggio, the new Guzzi engines are even more solid even with a shade more power. The Griso’s Quattrovalvole (four-valves per head) engine produces just under 110bhp and while this doesn’t sound much for a 1200cc engine, the more useful 81ft lb of torque is ample.
You don’t ride a Guzzi but rather enjoy riding a Guzzi. Anything below 85mph is a joy of seamless torque and relaxed engine that will happily thump out the V-twin tune for hour after hour. Move it long a bit by revving out in every gear and heavy-bass vibration will surface to annoy within an hour. This is old school charm at its worst. Precise fuel injection and gearbox meet up with shaft drive to give a non-involving ride, which is ideal to instead concentrate on the way ahead.
Rider comfort is delivered in much the same way as an old lounge chair; you sit on it and it immediately puts you to rest. Feet, arms and bum are perfectly placed for effortless riding.
But the Griso can be hustled from one corner to another if the mood takes you. Not in the same lightning steering response and ease as a lightweight, devoid of character, modern roadster you understand. There is, after all, the weighty matter of person-handling 240kg of refined metals and liquids. It’s no lightweight, the Griso, and it is lengthy, but it doesn’t get out of shape when riding it flat stick, not if the fully adjustable suspension is tweaked to suit.
Old school looks, ride quality and charm are offset by USD front forks, wavy-style front discs, alloy wheels with respectable tyre sizes to make the Griso as modern as Guzzi could manage without spoiling its purist appeal. And I for one am grateful of that.
+ points – big, dependable bus that holds true to the joys of motorcycling by not being endowed with silly power figures to get huge amounts of pleasure.
- points – engine vibration can be intrusive.
Power: 108.6bhp, 81.2ft lbs
Kerb weight: 240kg
Seat height: 815mm
Colours: Black, white