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Moto Guzzi's Stelvio 1200: Think 2-Wheeled SUV

By Arv Voss, December 19th, 2009

Moto Guzzi's Stelvio 1200 4v is an all-new bike that serves up versatility plus, covering the bases from hardcore adventure touring to everyday commuting scenarios.

It's legendary power delivery and carrying capacity comes from Moto Guzzi's Quattrovalvole 1200 cc 90-degree, fuel injected V-Twin - oil and air-cooled engine with an independent cooling pump that generates 105 horsepower at 7,500 rpm while producing 11 pound feet of torque at 6,400 rpm. The motor delivers its energy to the rear wheel through a six-speed manual sequential gearbox via a shaft drive. Exhaust exits through dual left side pipes enclosed in.

The Stelvio 1200 displays a visual off-road flavor, with its multi-purpose capability in evidence at first glance. The lower part of the bike is slender and streamlined, highlighted by the refined aluminum spoke wheels and the visible technology evident in the powertrain and final transmission.

The upper part of the bike is both compact and robust in its appearance, revealing the attention given to accommodating rider ergonomics. The bike displays a multitude of sculpted shapes and forms that together, showcase the many functional details such as the bold, full side-by-side double headlights, the height adjustable windshield and seat, ample chassis guides section, aluminum exhaust silencer and provisions made for the rider, passenger and luggage.

The Stelvio 1200 is essentially a touring bike that is capable of serving equally well as an off-road adventure bike. Comfort is key when astride the Stelvio, with the saddle, footrests and handlebars forming an ideal triangle for virtually any rider -- that's once you're onboard, as getting your leg over the hard bags is a stretch even if you happen to be a long-legged 6'4". The lowest seat height is 32.5 inches.

The Stelvio rides on tubeless Pirelli Scorpion rubber (110/80 R19x 2.50" up front and 180/55 R17x5.5" on the rear) mounted on aluminum lace spoke with black painted rim wheels. The suspension consists of 50mm front forks with inverted stems, single shock absorber with hydraulic rebound damping adjustment and knob spring preloading setscrew in the rear. Braking is accomplished by double stainless steel floating discs forward and a fixed stainless single disc aft, with Brembo calipers.

My test bike was finished in Corsa Red and base-priced at $14,990 while the locking, removable hard bags added another $1,049.95 to the sticker for a total of $16,039.95 before tax, license and dealer prep.

The Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V is truly an SUV in two-wheel form. It definitely falls into the adventure category with its rugged Maxi-Enduro attitude and look.

The Quattrovalvole 1200 cc, 90-degree, fuel injected V-Twin's 105 horses and torque are ready when you are - in fact, the throttle seems "hair-trigger" at first, ready to leap off the line. The 6-speed manual gearbox shifts smoothly and precisely up and down through the gears. High revving tends to torque the bike to the right -- not a good idea to twist the throttle and pop the clutch when taking off and turning at the same time. Traditional "jacking" prevalent in most shaft drive bikes is nearly imperceptible on the Stelvio.

The Stelvio is extremely well balanced and easily maneuverable. Lane-splitting where allowed probably isn't a good idea because of the wide bad-mount system, and it may feel somewhat twitchy due to the throttle sensitivity when standing on the pegs, when negotiating "whoops" and ruts off-road. Gauges are well placed, informative and legible. Bottom-line, the Stelvio 1200 makes for a versatile and functional adventure tourer both on and off the asphalt.

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