That elusive X factor!

Went to MotoStrada today and test rode the Stelvio NTX. I’ve been considering returning to the Guzzi fold and it seemed like a good place to start – I currently have a 2012 V-Strom 650 and the adventure style bikes suit my 6’3” frame…

Have to say I was pretty disappointed and I’m trying to figure out if it’s me, or the bikes, or a combination.

It just seemed like a lot of effort to ride. On fast sweepers and long straights, it was sublime. The engine note is great and the general feel of the motor working away was welcome after the spookily quiet and smooth Suzuki. But I found crawling along in traffic, or even just holding a steady throttle, tiresome. The fuel delivery felt so abrupt, or perhaps it was the shaft drive compared to chain?

The sadly departed Kevin Ash loved the Stelvio and said ‘The fuelling is perfect and vibration is reduced thanks to newly rubber-mounted handlebars – all that’s left is a chunky shudder when you open the throttle, although that is communicative rather than intrusive.’ Well I found that shudder on opening and closing the throttle intrusive and its part of what saw me get rid of the Breva 1100 I had a couple of years ago too. (I had that for a year so I don’t think it’s a case of me not spending enough time to get used to the character of the new generation big blocks.)

Before you all assume I ‘don’t get Guzzis’ I should add that the only bike I regret letting go of was a slightly tatty Guzzi T3. I loved that bike and travelled all round Europe on it. Wanting to get that bond with a bike again was what made me buy the Breva - hoping it would be a similar experience but with a little more shove and modern touches to make it more suitable for commuting. Soooo, did my old T3 have the same jerky nature and I’ve forgotten it in a rose-tinted haze? Or have I become a soft welp and should stick with jap machinery? The Suzuki is one of the ‘best’ motorbikes I’ve had, but it doesn’t inspire the brand loyalty / affection that a Guzzi does. It certainly isn’t my favourite. Does anyone here with experience of a range of Guzzis different models recognise any of what I’m saying? Have suggestions for other models to try?

Perhaps try another Stelvio at a different dealer just in case it was the set up of this lparticular bike. J&S at Doncaster have a second hand late model Stelvio or Teasdales at Thirsk have one on demo.

I had a Breva 11 before my Stelvio and found it smoother and more flexible. My wife had a Suzuki SV 650 and I have to agree that was a great engine.

Many complain about the abrupt throttle response at low speed. This is normally caused by the throttle cable having too much slack in it or the TBs not being synchronised, but usually the former.

Thanks for the responses. When I next get a chance I’ll pop down to Yorkshire again to try another to see if it was a set-up issue. I’m in Newcastle and we don’t have a great deal around here.

I should add that i’m not specifically looking for a new / nearly new bike. I tried the Stelvio to see if it had been something specific to the Breva that I didn’t like.

I really want to get a go on a v11 sport / v11 le mans. But that isn’t so easy round here. Strada had a v11 recently, but it was only in the shop for about 4 days.Karl2013-08-29 12:01:24

Having owned a V11 sport the only complaint I had was the rear suspension was too hard for the road. This was on the origonal, they will probobly be aftermarket by now.Oh and they handle a lot better with decent front wheel bearings.

Teasdales in Thirsk would be nearest then. I think you are taking about 3 different animals really. A Stelvio is a lot different to a V11 and even a B1100.
Good luck with your quest

I found the throttle response on my Stelvio pretty ‘snatchy’ when I first got it. Took it to a Guzzi tech who worked his wonders by giving it a tune up, and it is now a lot more manageable. I do think they need to be spot on to get the fuelling just right. Persevere with the Stelvio, its a great bike.

was the bike new ? they do run much better after being broken in properly
usually around 8 thousand miles with a Guzzi

Yes I do, much as I love my 2 valve Norge…

But, heavy throttle/clutch apart, I really loved my Spada, and in the contexts of which you speak, I wonder if it has anything to do with:

-lighter flywheels
-fuel injection opposed to carbs
-leaner burn, emission controls…
dunno, just conjecture…

The Spada was soooo tractable compared to the Norge.
The Norge is quicker and more agile…but…Laurie2014-05-30 21:27:49


Just bought a Stelvio NT and, after reading Kevin Ash’s review, I expected new heights of Guzzi quiet smoothness. In fact I find the vibration through the bars enough to numb fingers after a hundred miles or so and mechanical clatter is as bad as my 2003 Cali. No problems with a snatchy throttle. Mine has covered 9000 miles so perhaps it is at the magical point of being properly run in.



Is it one of the big tank post 2011 bikes of the earlier type with the cubby hole in the front of the tank? If it is the earlier bike you may have the dreaded cam follower issue.

Hi Chris,

No worries on this issue. I did my research and made sure I purchased a bike with an AC series roller cam top end.



Excellent. That rules that out then.

I was considering a Stelvio but was put of by the joke sized fuel tank. Bought an Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 and love it. Will sit at a ton all day, top 140 if thats your thing and can be bought for pennies.I will almost certainly replace it with the newer 1200 model in a couple of years.Would have loved to own a Stelvio, but hear to many tales of woe…

Hi Dan,

The Caponord is a wonderful and underrated bike and I was seriously considering getting one. I was put off by the chain drive and the fact I am a Guzzi man! Come to think of it I may still get one for use when I am in Italy.