In the canyons, fluid inputs to the extremely wide, tapered handlebar turn the brawny Griso 8V SE into a decent handling machine. In sweeping corners especially, the bike handles exceptionally well. The bike becomes a handful when you are abrupt with the throttle or stab the brakes though, and the steel, double beam frame seems to flex beneath you as the corners tighten up. Avoid being too aggressive, and the Moto Guzzi will consent to spirited passes on your favorite section of road. Dual Brembo four-piston calipers biting on 320mm rotors up front and a Brembo two-piston caliper out back do reasonably well getting things slowed back down. The overly firm feel from the front brake lever was our only concern.
The sportbike-inspired suspension front and rear provides enough adjustment to set the bike up for different weight riders and different riding situations, although travel at the front is limited to 4.7 inches and 4.3 inches in the rear. Both the inverted 43mm fork and shock are adjustable for spring preload, plus rebound and compression damping, and are up to the challenge of controlling the Griso, which tips the scales at 488 pounds…dry.
The Griso 8V SE runs the same single-sided swingarm and Compact Reactive Shaft Drive, or CARC, as similar Moto Guzzi models. The design works well to limit the abruptness typical of some drive shafts and is said to require little maintenance. What you won’t find on similar Griso models is the SE’s 17-inch spoke wheels, which are wrapped in tubeless Pirelli Scorpion rubber — an enduro-type tire that is actually designed for dual purpose motorcycles.
While we can’t see the Griso ever touching dirt, our test riders do agree that the 8V SE is a great bike in a number of scenarios. Cruising down your favorite scenic road on the Moto Guzzi, for instance, is quite enjoyable. Weekend rides are especially nice with the Italian machine, and even around town commuting can be made enjoyable with the thundering V-twin beneath you.
Just don’t be surprised at how many people stop to talk to you about the bike — there’s something about the bike that really catches people’s attention. And so a pat on the back goes to the Italian designers then, who took an already tasteful and capable motorcycle and turned it into an even more unique machine. SR
2011 Moto Guzzi Griso 8V SE
Type: Air- and oil-cooled 90-degree SOHC V-twin four-stroke, 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x stroke: 95 x 81.2mm
Compression ratio: 11.1:1
Induction: Magneti Marelli EFI, 50mm throttle bodies
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Scorpion Tubeless
Rear tire: 180/55ZR-17 Pirelli Scorpion Tubeless
Rake/trail: 26.3 degrees/4.25 in. (108mm)
Wheelbase: 61.2 in. (1554mm)
Seat height: 31.5 in. (800mm)
Fuel Capacity: 4.4 gal. (16.7L)
Claimed dry weight: 488 lb (222 kg)