Moto Guzzi launched its four-valve engine at the end of 2006. By doing so, Guzzi joined BMW, Harley Davidson and Buell in the very closed club of manufacturers producing air-cooled twin cylinders and developing more than 110 horsepower. These same manufacturers that Moto-Guzzi likes to identify with.
The Griso 8V is the most stylish Italian Harley killer.
The name "Griso" comes from Italian literature where Griso plays a violent mafioso in the novel "Married persons" by Alessandro Manzoni (1825). We’re talking big arms here, and the Moto Guzzi 8V actually doesn’t lack muscle. To make a quick comparison with the tenors of this category, the BMW HP2 Sport is the undeniable queen of this machine segment but its "high range" makes it expensive. Then come the light and powerful Buell, the Bimota DB5 and the big Harley-Davidson XR1200 in last position if we consider all the performance criteria (horsepower, weight, etc.). I re-clarify that we are only talking about two-cylinder air-cooled machines. Moto Guzzi also has its own 4V Sport now equipped with the latest four-valve engine..
So here I am in Rome to drive my favorite Moto Guzzi. The Griso 8V Special Edition is a fairly long machine halfway between a performance cruiser and a sporty one. "naked" even if it leans a little more towards this last category; its design being Guzzi’s answer to Harley V-rods and other Yamaha MT-01s.
The Special Edition offered in its first vintages a handmade brown leather saddle, a decorative "Tenni" (in homage to the house pilot of the 1930s and 1940s) on the tank and satin green paint. From 2012, the saddle is dark, and the green of the trim has given way to a gray paint streaked with transverse black bands. The frame, engine, suspensions and dashboard are dressed in black. The rims are spoked for the side "retro", but the racing footrests, radial calipers and 43mm fork add a modern touch. Installed on the luxurious leather saddle at a good distance from the handlebars, the rider has a very upright riding position.
When starting the 1151cc engine, the 8V griso vibrates a little more than a BMW twin but less than a Harley. By activating the throttle, there is no longer any doubt that a powerful motor is waiting for my signal. In first, the Griso 8V easily lifts the front with each sudden acceleration like the most powerful models in Moto Guzzi’s current lineup. The 110 Italian stallions are transmitted via the shaft and cardan to the rear tire of 180. While the maximum power arrives at 7,500rpm, the maximum torque of 108Nm arrives at a little earlier at a speed of 6,400rpm easily found on the road. So, doing gun starts at red lights is the simplest thing in the world..
To handle all this power, the Griso 8V is equipped with a very solid frame and the double tubular steel cradle is essential to this rigidity. This is combined with a single swingarm while a high-quality suspension handles the rest. The solid 43mm diameter fork is fully adjustable for pre-stress, compression and rebound.
All this brings together a surprising sporting behavior. I say surprising because the wheelbase is still 1,554mm, but I was able to jump in and out of traffic, between cars and scooters with real ease. It also takes a lot of pleasure to turn energetically around street corners! The front axle and the strong and powerful brakes gave me more feel than I expected. In the past, I have often had the opportunity to ride Grisos and I can say that they are always more efficient. With the Griso 8V you will find a truly powerful machine but also a manly and a little macho style ideal for being exposed in front of a café terrace.
The 222 dry kilos may seem a bit too much for some but it is still rather light for this segment. The saddle height of 800mm can also be a bit low but the Griso 8V is well balanced and sufficiently "civilized" to be driven at very low speed when necessary.
The driving pleasure is similar to the standard version but it is when stationary that the difference is obvious. Of all the current Moto Guzzis, the Griso 8V remains my favorite. The racing parts (footrests, radial calipers) invite to a sporty driving and even if the road holding may not be perfect, its Italian side "rough" definitely make it my favorite.
The griso 8V is simply a very good bike.
By Tor SAGEN – Translation: Sebastien de Malfin
What you must remember
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GRISO 8V 1200 SPECIAL EDITION 2013
Model marketed in
200 km / h
The technical aspect
Moto-Guzzi GRISO 8V 1200 SPECIAL EDITION 2014
- Tank: 16.7 liters
- Width: 830 mm
- Height: 1,070 mm
- Wheelbase: 1,554 mm
- Dry weight: 222 kg
- Train before
- Final drive shaft
- Rear axle
(95 x 81.2 mm mm)
at 7,500 rpm
at 6,400 rpm