1200 8V Sport - Advice

I been thinking about changing my 2 valver to the 8 valve Sport but am still concerned about the newer motors camshaft issues.
Is the latest models out of the factory free of any potential cam problems?
If I choose an ‘old stock’ bike will it be possible to verify if the camshaft and rockers need replacing before taking it out of the shop?
Are bikes that have had the new parts fitted now free of any problems?

Since the owners survey and Piaggio’s response in the mag it seems to have gone quite on the subject so what’s the latest news?
DaveM2013-09-17 11:10:58

Good question . As far as I am aware any recalls will show on the bike’s service record, as will the fact it has NOT been done. The issue has been dealt with by Piaggio and new bikes do have different parts.

From my limited understanding I think you would ideally want to go with one of the latest engines with roller cam followers. If I was buying one I would insist on verifying this was the case.

Agreed with both the above - though why change?

2012 models and later will have the later roller cam followers. 2011 models should have the latest mk3 flat followers and these have proven fine.
These are manufacturing dates of course, not first registration dates.Brian UK2013-09-20 12:40:58

I have a 2011 Griso, first registered in April I think. Would that have the ‘Mk3’ flat followers ? Nobody at the dealers seems to be aware of them.


From info I have read recently unlike the rest of the 1200 engines the 1200 Sport 8V will not be fitted with the roller cams and Guzzi will only upgrade the cams if they fail which by then there will be plenty of swarf swilling around the engine.
So on that basis the 2 valver remains in the garage and I will sleep better at night for it.

My 2012 Sport has just gone in for repair with failed cams. The manufacture date was 2012, although the engine itself has a code starting with 011 so it may be a 2011 part. Less than 6000 miles on the bike, ridden in warm, dry weather and it’s failed already. Pitiful.

I know it pitiful, but at least its well within warranty… and they now appear to have a fix that works - oh and it is at the end of the season (almost)… sorry, just trying to look on the bright side :slight_smile:

I would love to know who at Piaggio caused this whole fiasco, was it the procurement knocking the cam followers supplier down on price, or the designers and engineers who just did not develop /test properly - or the management putting some stupid deadlines on the release date??

Doubt we will ever find that one out though.


Since I first started this topic I have tried to answer my own question but have come up against a stone wall when it comes to the fundamental cause of the problem. If it is poor heat treatment of the cams/rockers than it should have been an easy fix. If so it has been handled poorly with some bikes having two or even three failures and with nagging doubts about the latest components until more miles have been clocked up.

It is noteable that other than the Sport all models now have roller cam followers but again no serious miles have been done by owners to say for certain how they perform.

I suppose the worrying issue for owners of 8V bikes without roller followers is that there could be something other than ‘soft’ components causing the wear i.e lack of lubrication or some other design flaw that cannot be solved with replacement parts and then we are in a whole new world of pain I’m afraid.

We are in muddy waters now with bikes built with different valve gear and not knowing for sure which is which. The obvious answer is to stick to roller followers but the Sport does not have them and the doubts will still linger for a while yet.DaveM2013-09-25 12:32:30

The first set of cam followers were found to be soft, independently checked in Australia with all the right kit. Second type were harder, but not hard enough, the third try seems to be better still and is a slightly different design. Almost certainly down to someone trying to save a penny a part somewhere down the line.

Buyers need a database on the recalls on this 8v fault.
Is it 1 in every 100 machines; 1 in 50 ; 1 in 30 or perhaps 1 in 10!
Also how much would this repair be if I bought a bike out of warranty

Why would the Sport have different followers to the Griso/Norge/Stelvio? Does it run a different cam?

I think the Sport 8V as reached the end of it’s production life. It is not available in the U.S. and Italy so maybe it wasn’t worth the effort to change to rollers.

That would only be the case surely if they hadn’t produced any Sports since the change to rollers. It can’t be worth their while building different engines with differing tappets and heads.But then it is Guzzi.

I think it has a different cam as well, but I think 1200 sport production is very low now.
I have been told the issue is as much down to the oil pump as the cams. Early ones were suffering premature oil pump wear.

I owned an 8V Sport from new until very recently. In the end with a heavy heart I could not put up with the lingering doubts over reliability with cams/followers. I was running the Mk2 followers/cams (originals changed at 200 miles - no failure - part of recall)when they failed at 13000 miles. There has been much debate over the hardness of the followers & cams, the lack of zinc content in modern engine oils, and absolute paranoia over the correct grade of oil to use. All deemed the route cause of failure. Well I have my own theory, based on what I found when the engine was in bits. I rebuilt the engine myself using the latest mk3 parts. I am not a professional mechanic, but have stripped many engines over the years, so taking the 8V apart did not hold any fears for me. What I found really surprised me, the physical size, or rather lack of, the actual cam surface and the follower. They are tiny! They are much smaller than those I found in an Aprilia 1000cc V twin, smaller than a 1000cc 1970’s Honda, smaller in fact than anything I have seen in any other large capacity engine. Frankly, size wise, they remind me of something out of a 250 or at best 400cc engine. All of the engines I am familiar with are true over head cam design. So in my experience you have one (bigger) cam lobe acting on one (bigger) shim surface to operate one valve. In the 8V, you have a very small (under sized?) cam lobe acting on a very small (under sized?)follower which in turn is then acting on a rocker shaft that is pushing down not one, but two very large valves in a large capacity V twin. The design must mean that the forces must therefore be doubled, all acting on one very small follower and cam surface. So I think not only do we have undersized cam lobes and followers, but the design is asking it to cope with double the normal forces that an overhead cam design would generate. So in my opinion, it is a complete design fault due to the cams and followers being completely under engineered. There is not enough surface area to cope. This would explain why perfectly serviced engines are suffering numerous repeat failures. For me, it also explains why Piaggio have given up on the design and moved to the roller tappet version. The very nature of this design means that the forces are spread over a much larger surface area. Consequently, I am no longer the owner of an 8V Sport which is a real shame as in all other respects I thought it was a great bike. I do miss it.

I hear what you’re saying, but then surely they would all be failing? Why does the problem seem to be more prevalent in Europe? Why would some fail at just a few thousand miles and others with as much as 22,000 mls? (that’s the highest mileage failure I’ve heard of)
This could be the biggest enigma of the 21st century fatal2013-10-23 09:16:25

It is an enigma. I also believe ambient temperature must play a large part. On sunny, but cold days, I would ride the bike in the winter. I do not dawdle. I do not commute. I use it for proper pleasure rides, with usually a minimum of 50miles covered using all thev performance. I am regularly accused of riding my bikes hard, always have done. My point is, the engine always got up to temperature. But twice I found the dreaded ‘mayo’ under the rocker covers. First time when I did the valve clearances one winter a while ago, the next was when I did the engine rebuild in February earlier this year. The valve covers were completely covered with a creamy, sticky, gunky mayo type material which was alarming. Then when I dropped the sump, I found a huge amount of the stuff sitting at the bottom. If it was a water cooled engine you would have sworn that the head gasket had gone. I do not know what caused this, but I have never seen so much nasty material inside an air cooled engine. This can only damage the lubrication qualities of the oil. Yet, if you take the valve covers off mid summer, you will not find any tell tale ‘mayo’ at all. So I think, anyone who only rides in the summer months, or rides in countries with predominantly higher temperatures than us will not see failures, or suffer a much lower failure rate because the oil is not compromised and therefore protects the under engineered valve train for longer. But who knows? There are highly paid engineers and technicians who are arguably much better placed to identify the root cause, but with the advent of the roller tappet we will probably never really know!

That’s why I change my oil twice a year, I’m trying to mitigate this potential cause, despite being publicly humiliated and scorned by some on this forum for doing so. It may help, it may not, but it won’t do any harm.