How tough is the Stelvio?

Hi all, off to Mandela in June 2015 then planning to go to the Dolomites via the Stelvio. I will be on a Guzzi but my mate will be on a Harley road king (I know, I keep telling him!). Will he cope with the hairpins?

Not attempting to blow my own trumpet and I think my bike handles better than most Harleys but rode the Stelvio a few years ago on my Triumph Rocket with no probs apart from cooking the rear brake on the way down. If you mate is capable of riding there and more, the Stelvio should be fun!

Was over there two years ago,going down the Stelvio is a dawdle,but on the way up,you have to be careful at the bends,especially if slow moving traffic is in front of you,or traffic is coming down,against you.It is so easy to fall off due to under revving or in the wrong gear on these bends.Either way it is a woderful experience and enjoy…common sense prevails. :sunglasses:

I did it last year on my Breva 750. Piece of cake, although I too cooked the rear brake. I would tackle that road on anything as long as it wasn’t icy or foggy. That said, I would rather tackle it on a Road King than a Fire Blade. He’ll be fine.

it can be hard work, its usaly more enjoyable the second time you try it, and yes defo keep the reves up and maintain momentum. you will enjoy it. :smiley:

I’ve owned Harley Road Kings and Electra Glides in the past and have done various Alpine routes both solo and with a pillion.

I recall the first time was scary on the hairpins, not helped by the limited ground clearance of these bikes. I found that going up was scarier than coming down. You have to concentrate and, assuming there is no traffic in front of you, then low gear, slow in, and accelerate out was the way to do it. It is crucial to be in the correct low gear/decent revs. If in doubt, lower is better than higher. If there is a slower moving vehicle in front, then do not get too close because it could prevent you accelerating round the bend. Leave plenty of room. It becomes second nature after a few such bends.

Any Guzzi will have better handling than most Harleys.

On very steep descending hairpins it is possible to stay on the brakes throughout the turn. It becomes a positive steering, slow speed manoeuvre. You are not leaning the bike at all. OK, it does not look very elegant but better than running out of control and going over an edge or colliding with a vehicle coming up.

Have fun,


Stelvio is not difficult by any standard, whichever way you go up it. The hairpins are wide and not steep. Â If you go up the Bormio side, you will not even recognise it as the Stelvio in the photos.

Will the HD make it.

Yes no problem at all.

They take mopeds, buses, camper vans and all of gods vehicles up stelvio and its not a problem.

They may laugh at him at the top, but he should be used to that.

That’s a sympathetic smile, not laughter.

Rode up Austrian side: clutch shagged by the time I got to top, down Italian side: brakes joined the clutch!!! Â It were fuggin’ great!