Top test, Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport

Motorbike Guzzi 1200 Sport 4V

Moto Guzzi hasn’t just been in crisis since the crisis. In the identity crisis. Classic or modern, sport or touring, four valves or two? Can the 1200 Sport 4V provide an answer?

Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport 4v.

Leather or textile, racing or touring?

Problems start with the right clothing. Are you doing the mighty 1200 four-valve engine in the tightly cut dress injustice if you label it as a traditional jizz with functional textiles? On the other hand, don’t expect too much when you choose the good old twin cooling fins with a leather dress and knee slider to be the arsonist, just because now four valves instead of two are responsible for the gas exchange in the Guzzi world?

It’s not that easy. Therefore, the old rule applies: Better to be a little overdressed than to embarrass yourself in jeans at a tuxedo party. So leather, don’t underestimate the matter lightly. The 1200 Sport 4V nominally gives no reason to do so. Exactly 1151 cubic centimeters of displacement are the mighty frame for now 105 hp, while the two-valve predecessor had to be modest with 95. In view of the fact that the long-term rival BMW R 1200 R only mobilizes four more horsepower, the Guzzi is now fighting on an equal footing in terms of performance. As far as the sporting appearance is concerned, it is even ahead. The small handlebar trim, the seat cover, the front spoiler and the upper arm-thick manifold pipes maintain the sporty attitude even when the vehicle is standing, two mighty 320 mm brake discs in the front wheel complete the picture. On the other hand, there is the rich bass, the eruption with which the 90-degree V2 comes to life.

This clearly has classic features, as well as the emphatic shaking while standing. When the ends of the wide tubular handlebar indulge in the rhythm of the engine and vibrate with the beat, then the old school guzzist has also arrived at home while the rest of the world feels at home like on a long-distance journey in a different culture. So there is no question, even with four valves, the Guzzi lives and trembles like in the best of times, is still miles away from the synthetic reserve of a cultivated Bavarian boxer or even a Japanese inline four-cylinder. Sport or touring, torque or speed, function or character? The answer to this question has to wait a few more kilometers. Noiselessly – and that is a real rarity these days – the first gear is engaged over a long walk, the 1200 kicks off powerfully, strolls along the boulevard with casual dignity and deep bullies. That has something, makes us endure the seating position in which the protruding cylinders and the therefore mighty long 23-liter tank thwart all-too-intimate contact with the steering head area and front wheel. Fortunately, the here and now doesn’t matter either. Zack, zack, zack, never over 3000 rpm, the gears quilted, the 1200 is in its element.
To the end of the village.

What happens then is absolutely amazing. Past the yellow sign, finally flame, sports program! And? Nothing! Or better, almost nothing. Instead of brute propulsion, enormous capacity for action, this powerful, archaic engine immediately sinks into a gaping crate of displeasure. Finds its sad low point at around 4000 rpm and then struggles, very painstakingly, to recover. From around 4500 rpm, the four-valve engine emerges from this murky tuning channel, land finally comes into view again. And at around 5000 rpm it reaches the level of torque that it already had at 3000 rpm. But then, oh wonder, when you no longer expect it, fate turns again. From around 5000 rpm, the long-stroke four-valve engine (95 x 81.2 millimeters bore x stroke) suddenly opens properly. With a liveliness that you would never have expected a thousand revolutions before. March without hesitation towards the performance zenith (measured 104 PS at 7100 / min) and cheerfully beyond, before the limiter stops him at around 8500 / min in this wave of overzealousness and thus prevents the final collapse in time.

What was that now, one is inclined to ask? The second question: why are they doing this? Does "Sport" always have to be revolving? Has the one in Mandello (or wherever in the widely branched Piaggo group the Guzzis are currently screwed together) blinded the 4V? Do they really believe that the 1200s is a motorcycle from which you have to squeeze the last bit of top performance? Sure, the Metzeler-Sportec M3 tires also speak for this radical approach, offering grip in every position down to the deepest lean angles. But then you should have taken care of the necessary freedom from banking. Instead, the sport hits the left almost as early as its touring sister California. Noise, the side stand rattles hard and suddenly across the asphalt. It hardly bothered that the traditional telescopic fork offers a lot of comfort, but because of its soft damping gives very little feeling for the front wheel. And that the inactive sitting position prevents cocky attacks almost as reliably as the optional ABS (1000 euros) prevents the blockade during courageous braking maneuvers.

Nice to look at: the mighty cylinders and manifolds dominate.

So tour after all? No question about it, the chassis and ergonomic side of the Guzzi clearly speaks more for the relaxed part of two-wheeled life. Also as a couple, because when the sporty pillion cover, held by three screws, exposes the second row, nothing really disturbs the harmonious get-together. The bench also offers comfortable upholstery and sufficient space at the back. The pegs are at a pleasant distance from the seat and the passenger will find the massive handles in the right place. On the other hand, if the pillion seat is left free, the 1200s even shows talent as a packhorse. There are luggage hooks as well as an ample load of 218 kilograms. In addition, Mandello has given the 1200 Sport a hydraulic adjustment option for the shock absorber, which can literally be adjusted in no time for pillion or luggage operation. If you then bring the huge tank and the associated considerable range of around 430 kilometers into the field, nothing stands in the way of longer vacation tours.

Yes, one thing bothers. The rushing wind presses the driver, who is enthroned upright and with arms wide apart, with force on the broad chest. Continuous full throttle at 220 km / h is therefore out of the question, even if the stable straight-line stability would certainly allow such excesses. And there is something else that makes the 1200s more of a tourist than an athlete. It is their pronounced load change behavior. Anyone who wants to change gears as quickly as possible and without using the clutch in the best circuit style, reaps an unwilling shake of the head with every shift when the inertia forces of the longitudinal crankshaft try to tip the Guzzi on its side. The only thing that helps is consciously clutching the clutch and changing gears without hectic, as it does not fit on the racetrack or on a brisk lap on the home track. Is that decided? Basically yes, the knee sliders can stay at home. Textiles fit better. Gold traditional leather. Despite its four valves per cylinder head and its sporty accessories, the Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport 4V is a traditional road sweeper without any high racing ambitions. Precisely for this reason, however, one would have wished for a more successful engine set-up, with more pressure in the middle. As you can hear, Guzzi is already working on it – and promises improvement this year. Whether Mandello will get out of the crisis with this remains to be seen. The 1200 sport, in any case, would give it a clearer identity. V2 or 4V here!

Technical specifications

Cockpit of the Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport 4v

Air-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, crankshaft lying lengthways, one high-lying, chain-driven camshaft, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, bumpers, rocker arms, wet sump lubrication, injection Ø 50 mm, regulated catalytic converter, 550 W alternator, Battery 12 V / 18 Ah, hydraulically operated two-disc dry clutch, six-speed gearbox, cardan, secondary gear ratio 3.666.

Bore x stroke 95.0 x 81.2 mm
Cubic capacity 1151 cm3
Compression ratio 11: 1
Rated output 77.0 kW (105 PS) at 7000 rpm
Max. Torque 105 Nm at 6750 rpm

landing gear
Bridge frame made of steel, load-bearing motor, telescopic fork, Ø 45 mm, adjustable rebound and compression damping, two-joint single-sided swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base and rebound damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 320 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 282 mm, double-piston floating caliper.

Cast aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 5.50 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 180/55 ZR 17
Tires in the Metzeler Sportec M3 test

Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1485 mm, steering head angle 65.0 degrees, caster 120 mm, spring travel f / h 120/140 mm, permissible total weight 478 kg, tank capacity / reserve 23.0 / 4.0 liters.

Data service
Service intervals 10,000 km
Oil and filter change every 10000 km / 3.9 l
Engine oil SAE 5W40
Telescopic fork oil SAE 5
Spark plugs PMR8B / BPR6ES
Idle speed 1100 ± 100 / min
Two year guarantee
Colors red, black, silver
Price 12,545 euros
Price test motorcycle * 13,545 euros
Additional costs 255 euros

* Incl. ABS (1000 euros)

Technical info: Voting matter

Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport 4v engine.

Four valves: What has become standard for modern motorcycle engines is slowly but surely making its way into Moto Guzzi’s V2. Now it’s the turn of the 1200 Sport, but expectations are disappointed. Not when it comes to top performance. Here Guzzi delivers with 104 hp pretty much exactly what was promised with 105 hp. But the deep torque hole between 3000 and 5000 rpm cannot be overlooked and is omnipresent in everyday life. Is this due to the new four-valve technology, in which timing chains drive the camshafts, which in turn actuate the valves via short tappets and rocker arms? No way.

A look at the curve of the old two-valve engine reveals that it had very similar characteristics. There, the drop in the rev range only shifted a little forward. A further comparison with the engine of the four-valve Stelvio shows, however, that this break-in is by no means god-given. Since March of this year, Guzzi has been installing new camshafts, a software update and a different airbox there. The result: more power and torque across the entire speed range. In the course of the year the 1200 Sport will also receive the modifications. But be careful: According to Guzzi optimizer Roland Däs, the cheaper collector of the Stelvio also has a large share in the fuller curve. MOTORRAD will measure.

Noticed: positive / negative

+ Hydraulic adjustment of the spring preload on the shock absorber
+ Good visibility in the rear-view mirrors
+ Rebound and compression damping separated by the fork leg and adjustable from above
+ On-board tools are easily accessible and, above all, stowable again, as the compartment is sufficiently large
+ Additional storage space under the bench

– Turn signal switch under the horn, therefore difficult to reach and risk of confusion
– Exposed cylinders noticeably restrict the knee freedom of tall drivers
– Powerful vibrations sometimes make the hands fall asleep


Now we’re moving forward: the four-valve engine really gets going at over 5000 rpm.

Top speed * 220 km / h

0-100 km / h 3.9 sec
0–140 km / h 6.8 sec
0-200 km / h 15.1 sec

60-100 km / h 4.6 sec
100–140 km / h 6.2 sec
140–180 km / h 5.8 sec

Speedometer deviation
Effective (display 50/100) 48/95 km / h

Tachometer deviation
Display red area 8500 / min, effective 8500 / min

at 130 km / h 5.2 l / 100 km
Country road 5.3 l / 100 km
Theor. Range of the country road 434 km
Fuel type super

Dimensions + weights
L / W / H2200 / 950/1280 mm
Seat height 820 mm
Handlebar height 1060 mm
Turning circle 6200 mm
Weight with a full tank 260 kg
Payload 218 kg
Wheel load distribution f / r49 / 51%

The inactive sitting position is a nuisance when changing lean angles. Hence, little feedback on the front wheel. Counter-steer must be used in tight bends. 

The tire allows very good grip and large lean angles. Be careful when changing lean angles to the left. Here the side stand keys down spontaneously. Neutral driving behavior with constant lean angle. The side stand keys down a little early on the left. Noticeable righting moment when braking in an inclined position.

Up and down: What the 1200 reveals between 3000 and 5000 rpm is not a tuning hole, but a real crater. Unfortunately, that is precisely the area in which one prefers to romp around on the country road. The gear diagram shows that this speed range covers speeds from 80 to 140 km / h in the last gear.

Even with hard deceleration, the rear wheel remains on the ground and can be effectively braked. The control intervals can be clearly felt on the handbrake lever and roughly on the footbrake lever. The front brake responds somewhat bluntly and needs some operating temperature.

* Manufacturer information; 1MOTORRAD test course, values ​​from handling course and brake test averaged from the three best driving tests; Reference: motorcycle from the respective category with the previous best values; 2 Power on the crankshaft. Measurements on Dynojet roller test stand 250, corrected according to 95/1 / EG, maximum possible deviation ± 5%

The competition

BMW R 1200 R.
Two-cylinder, six-speed, 109 hp, weight 232 kg, 0-100 km / h 3.4 seconds, vmax: 215 km / h, consumption 5.2 liters, from 11,909 euros *

Ducati Monster 1100
Two-cylinder, six-speed, 90 hp, weight 187 kg, 0-100 km / h: 3.4 seconds, vmax: 220 km / h, consumption 4.3 liters, 11,450 euros *

Moto Morini 1200 Sport
Two-cylinder, six-speed, 116 hp, weight 222 kg, 0-100 km / h: 3.7 seconds, vmax: 210 km / h, consumption 6.3 liters, 11,745 euros *.

*Additional costs included

Our conclusion

Quo vadis, Moto Guzzi? Unfortunately the 1200 Sport 4V cannot help with this question either. On the contrary: it is a mixture of different styles, and its indecision is a little irritating. The Italians should quickly eliminate the weaknesses in the engine tuning and revise the ergonomics. That would do the undoubtedly existing fascination potential of the V2 good.

MOTORCYCLE how to scoring

Something else can be done: In view of its powerful displacement, the 1200 four-valve engine disappoints at least in terms of its pulling power and the expected engine characteristics. The fault is the performance hole in the middle of the speed. The load change reactions, on the other hand, are due to the engine concept, as are the violent vibrations, while the transmission has long shift travel, but otherwise works well.

landing gear
The chassis of the mighty Guzzi is clearly on the comfortable side. It is obvious that a 260-kilo bolide can only be mediocre in terms of handiness. The fact that it is not enough for more in terms of steering behavior is due to the fact that counter-steering often has to be carried out in an inclined position, while the poor feedback is due to the underdamped fork and the inactive seating position. The Guzzi does well with a pillion passenger.

everyday life
If you want to sit well, you better sit in the back on the 1200 Sport. Now seriously: the long way to the handlebars behind the mighty tank is clearly old style. The rest is mediocre – with the exception of the payload and the range. In the handling / maintenance chapter, the cardan shaft has a positive effect, which fortunately does not have a negative impact on driving.

ABS on board – that’s the good news. The fact that it regulates something roughly here and there is not dramatic. Just as little as the only mediocre effect and dosage. Knocking the handlebars is not an issue with the 1200 Sport, but an annoying righting moment when braking is.

The consumption is reasonable, the inspection costs are quite low. Seen this way, there are more expensive motorcycles than a Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport 4V

The Italian motorcycle that shines in this category has yet to be invented. The Guzzi also adapts seamlessly in this direction.

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