I have a Stelvio 8v abs 2012 model 12500 miles, fitted with the 45 mm marzocchi forks.
I really love this bike, yes its heavy and has one failing - the handling and suspension set up is a real budget compromise. Its a difficult set up when you think there is 4 stone difference over the front end between a full and empty tank (32 litres).
Overall I have tried setting the suspension every which way, and found it to be ok but on the poorer side of OK, the front end is to vague and soft, but if wound up hard it becomes harsh, the rear shock likewise is sprung to fit in massive weight variations and so is a compromise, I always find the rebound very difficult to get right but its always seems OK.
I have recently opted to have my front forks rebuilt with Italian Andreani cartridges by the excellent and knowledgable Dave and Mark of Brook suspension in Bradford. I removed the forks and they arranged collection from home by UPS for £10.00.
At the moment (September) they are offering free fitting and set up with correct springs (to your own weight and riding style) so saving about £100 in labour costs. During fitting they found the fork oil to be degraded beyond serviceable use, they also found the bushes and guides to be scored. (the bike has a full Guzzi service history yet the fork oil has never been changed in 13000 mile. (Dave Brook said it needs done at 48 month intervals or 12000 mile whichever is the sooner.
Come on Moto Guzzi ! do the services correctly please.
I digress I got the rebuilt forks back with the old internals in the package (which are still as good as new if anyone wants to buy a set of original set up springs dampers , spacers and fork caps).
The Andreani are built with spring rates specific to the riders needs, and the amount of pre load, rebound and compression damping options is way beyond that of the original set up.
Having checked the steering head bearings cleaned and regreased them I fitted the forks and went for a ride.
I was shocked by the difference, I rode on numerous roads from A class with long sweepers to C class gravel and bumpy roads all i can say is it has transformed the bikes front end beyond all recognition.
Initially I rode a few mile on an empty tank and the bike felt better immediately better than it had felt before under any riding conditions (normally on the original set up its worst when empty very harsh rebound and very poor tracking over bumps) well there was none of that it simply floated over the bumps which i kept aiming for to see what happened. I also noticed that the bike seemed to steer and turn in far better than before.
I then filled the tank, thinking maybe this is where the suspension will need adjustment well having added 28 litres of fuel the bike felt better no compromise at all so I did a quick 40 mile circuit to test everything.
On smooth tarmac the bike felt so precise it was like on rails it tracked so well and allowed me lots of feel when cranked over on sweeping bends with none of the wallow i used to get. On quicker switchbacks side to side the bike didn’t get phased it just flicked side to side remaining completely composed almost like a very good sports bike.
So i headed for the bumpy stuff roads with smaller tighter bends, gravel and pot holes, on these roads the bike absorbed everything i could chuck at it floating over all but the most harsh surface changes while tracking perfectly and never seeming to get unsettled.
The bike feels lighter and more nimble simply because your no longer fighting all the bikes weight with poor suspension it just feels planted comfortable precise and absorbed almost everything thrown at it.
The very bad bit is the front end being so good since the rebuild has shown the back end to be very poor now its magnified the compromise of the original rear shock so this is now being replaced by a built to order (weight and riding style ) Nitron shock from Brook brothers. Again i will be selling the original if anyone wants one.
Following their advice this is the ideal way to make the Stelvio work as it should its a shame that Guzzi built such a good chassis the put budget suspension on it,(looks like they are going down the same road with the new 850tt to please the bean counters not the engineers).
The Nitron is due here in a few weeks time, I will get it fitted and clean and grease the swing arm bearings while I’m on once fitted I will give a further update.
Was this expensive - Yes the front end was £580 including the cartridge kits built to spec, new bushes seals, guides and oil return postage etc. The Nitron shock is an eye watering £700 notes so a lot of money, but it will last the life of the bike, like the front end is rebuildable serviceable and can be adjusted to suit other riders by some internal changes. Unlike the front end OE equipment which cannot be rebuilt once its worn out it needs replaced anyway and a rear shock rebuild would cost at least £130 plus and still be a compromise as it can’t really be adjusted beyond the oe spec.
I do think this work overall has started to transform the bike into something far better than left the factory can’t wait for the Nitron to arrive.