An amazing Italian ride that remains true to its maker’s style and heritage, the 2009 Moto Guzzi Griso 1100 enters the scene as a naked, a power cruiser and even a techno-custom. The immediate visual impact taking place when facing this creation will definitely be sustained by a dream-like riding feel, so we know what to expect.
Designing the Griso, Guzzi first started with the 90 degree V-Twin engine that was aimed at backing up the versatile chassis on which it was waiting to be mounted. Technical improvements such as the alternator being positioned between the cylinders, 10 per cent lighter connecting rods, thinner piston rings, shortened piston skirts and new metal head gaskets all ensure a smooth operating monster that ends up putting big smiles on your face when it comes to accelerating strong out of corners on those twisted country roads.
Of course, there are other machines in this hard to define class. In fact, the Griso has the most diversified contenders ever as it stands as the result of blended styles.
Obviously, the Ducati Monster 1100/1100S couldn’t miss from this equation. While this also Italian bike needs no presentation whatsoever, there are a few Japanese unique alternatives that come to diversify this class even more.
For starters, the Yamaha MT01 would be the best thing to put up against the Moto Guzzi Grisso 1100 as it has the looks, the chassis and, oh boy, it has the engine. I guess that after a certain cylinder capacity (let’s say 1000cc) it doesn’t quite matter how much bore and stroke you add to it, but the tweaks that you do in order to get the best out of it. But maybe it’s just me trying to justify Grisso’s 1,064cc in front of the massive 1,670cc V-Twin powering the Yamaha. And it would all be OK if there wasn’t for the aluminum sports frame on which the powerplant finds its place or for the performance suspensions and brakes. It isn’t hard to deduce that the MT01 would eat the ground in front of the Griso, but why don’t we try to find something that would show a better face of it?
Something like the Star Warrior? Damn, Yamaha again? This last is the most appropriate power cruiser you’ll find to it and it would easily let itself taken by the Guzzi on those tight corners as it doesn’t have the cornering abilities of the bike we’re reviewing. Also in this case the, the air-cooled 1,670cc 48 degree V-Twin; pushrod OHV and four valves per cylinder won’t become a nightmare for our bike as it is tuned to be bulky a cruiser, not versatile as the Guzzi claims being.
So we’ve seen how practically a single manufacturer can provide it with two different models (apart from the Ducati) that are equally suitable to take its place in a potential customer’s mind, but how will the looks of this baby influence the final buyer’s decision?
Well, it is easy to understand why a Moto Guzzi rider never stops bragging about the way its two-wheeler looks. As soon as you get visual contact with the Griso there’s simply nothing that will take your eyes off it. The magic that will intervene there will also be the result of the combination of multiple styles that this model blends together.
Not your average naked bike and definitely not a cruiser, this Guzzi is low and compact, muscular and imposing, exactly everything you would expect not to encounter on it. And the best thing is that nothing of this bike will ever upset you or have you wanting the classic recipe. With Moto Guzzi there’s no such thing, my friend.
Testimony of the fact that uniqueness is the key is the easy-to-spot harmony between the frame and engine, giving it a rough look while the generous gas tank has it covered when it comes to finesse and union.
Also, among the best characteristics of the Griso are the large headlight, the handlebars and instrumentations. Ending up the bike is the LED rear light cluster mounted in the rear wing. While we’re at the back, there can be no discrimination for the rocket launcher-like silencer, which collects the gasses from both cylinders through the headers.
If I would have to characterize it in few words, those would be sleek and well balanced, but in the end it is all a matter of taste and preferences. Personally, I adore it painted in Guzzi Black because I believe Red goes to Ducati, but it surely suits it well also.
It is very easy to get along with the new Moto Guzzi Griso 1100 because the bike simply expresses its preferences concerning the different roads on which you take it. For example, on the city streets it would seem inadequate valued as it is practically built for handling and quick accelerating rounds.
But even so, the impressive 1,064cc 90 degree V-Twin will purr strongly and have you covered and always first at the next red light. Maneuverability is also a thing that stands out easily as you cruise on the boulevard or take it to and from the parking lot where it would rarely remain as it will have you hooked in an instant.
A very nice feature of the across-the-frame twin is the fact that it is fuel injected. Not only this, but makes it start with a single push of a button even in cold mornings in even colder climates, but as the needle gets above idle there will be uncovered great amounts of torque, something you would have expect from a Sportster Harley, but it does the trick even better on the Guzzi. The peak torque of 89 Nm is being reached at 6,400 rpm, but it is a great adventure until you reach that certain point.
Between the motor, gearbox and shaft drive it is a perfect communication and it all reflects on the awesome riding experience that you’ll be living on this thing. The six-speed gearbox is silent and very precise so you’ll be having a hard time trying to miss a gear or neutral. I must say that satisfaction and joy of buying such a thing comes with every gear shifted. Much of the contribution to the smoothness and linear power transmission is due to the CA.R.C. Compact Reactive Shaft Drive, which allows no jerks even when the throttle is being widely opened after downshifting for a quick pass, let’s say.
Allowing you to enjoy the light handling and great engine performance is the nice accommodating riding position. In the case of the Griso 1100 the handlebars-seat-footpegs triangle proves very efficient and back pain free even though the sporty velleities are there.
This is even nicer because when revving the engine close to its 7,600 rpm redline, no disturbing vibrations will enter the scene so you’ll only have to face the wind as this Guzzi would have looked rubbish with a wind protective screen on. Just try to imagine.
But if you feel like putting all of the 88 horses into action, there will be necessary to reach redline and have no regrets. There is sufficient power for a middleweight sportbike and a massive cruiser and given the fact that the bike stands as a combination of the two, satisfaction comes in double quantity. Great power when accelerating out of those tight corners on mountain roads and I reckon that very much to do with that has the electronic fuel injection. A single twist of the throttle will have the bike’s nose raised and by that time I suggest to hug the gas tank in order to unveil the sporty character even further into your test drive. Accompanied by the strong exhaust note coming from the single silencer we’ll see how the chassis gets along with the road.
Perfectly that is! And the system that does the trick here is the suspension. Composed from a fully adjustable 43mm upside down fork and a also fully adjustable single sided swingarm, these units will allow the rider to properly feel the road while keeping its machine stable in corners and at high speed. Bumps will surely pass unnoticed and together with the comfortable seat, the ride will actually become dream-like.
But as all good things come to an end, let them at least do it with the help of the reliable 320mm double disc and four opposed pistons front braking system in tandem with the 282mm single disc and two piston calipers positioned on the rear. Braking power is confidence-inspiring and becomes best valued in emergency situations in which I don’t necessarily wish you to end up in.
Italians always knew how to appreciate their rides and at a first glance, you would think that the Moto Guzzi Griso 1100 won’t become the exception, but with an MSRP going no higher or lower than $13,490 I’m sure that your opinion already begins to change.
Blending in a multitude of styles and characters, Moto Guzzi’s new creation could be just the thing you’ve been dreaming of. After getting a good feel of it, I sincerely wish that your dreams will soon become reality and write me back about how you’ve just rode a cruiser, a naked and custom, all under one seat and a pair of handlebars that proudly confess being part of the Griso 1100, one of the greatest new Guzzi models.
Engine and Transmission
Type: 90° V-Twin, four stroke
Cooling system: Air cooled
Displacement: 1,064 cc
Bore and stroke: 3.6” x 3.15” (92 mm x 80 mm)
Compression ratio: 9.8 : 1
Valve gear: Two overhead valves operated by light alloy push-rods and rockers; exhaust valve maximum lift: 106° B.T.D.C. of overlap inlet valve maximum lift: 104° A.T.D.C. of overlap
Maximum power: 64.8 kW (88.1 CV) at 7,600 rpm
Maximum torque: 89 Nm at 6,400 rpm
Fuel system: Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection with stepper motor control
Ignition: Inductive discharge, digitally controlled, electronic twin spark ignition
Exhaust system: stainless steel, 2 in 1, with three way catalyser and Lambda probe oxygen sensor
Gearbox: 6 speed
Primary drive: Helical gears, ratio 24/35 = 1 : 1.458
Final drive: CA.R.C. Compact Reactive Shaft Drive
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Double cradle, in high tensile strength tubular steel
Wheelbase: 61.2” (1,554 mm)
Trail: 4.25” (108 mm)
Steering head angle: 26°
Steering angle: 34°
Front suspension: Ø1.7” (43 mm) upside down fork, fully adjustable in spring preload and compression and rebound damping
Front wheel travel: 4.7” (120 mm)
Rear suspension: Single sided swingarm with rising rate linkages, monoshock with separate gas reservoir, fully adjustable in spring preload and compression and rebound damping
Rear wheel travel: 4.33” (110 mm)
Front brake: Twin Ø 12.6” (320 mm) stainless steel floating discs and two calipers with four opposed pistons
Rear brake: Single Ø 11.1” (282 mm) stainless steel fixed disc and floating caliper with two parallel pistons
Wheels: Chill cast aluminum alloy, triple hollow spoke
Front wheel: 3.50” x 17”
Rear wheel: 5.50” x 17”
Front tyre: 120/70 ZR17”
Rear tyre: 180/55 ZR17”
Length: 89” (2,260 mm)
Width: 34.65” (880 mm)
Height: 42.1” (1,070 mm)
Seat height: 31.5” (800 mm)
Ground clearance: 7.3” (185 mm)
Dry weight: 500.5 lbs (227 kg)
Fuel tank capacity: 4.54 gallons (17.2 liters)
Reserve: .87 gallons (3.3 liters)
Voltage: 12 V
Battery: 12 V – 18 Ah
Alternator: 12 V – 540 W