2015 - 2017 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX
Moto Guzzi looks to grab a slice of the adventure-tour market with its Stelvio 1200 NTX. The factory aimed high on this model, with a 1,151 cc, 100-plus horsepower V-twin driving the ride. It followed up with adjustable suspension and electronic,engine-management gadgetry that is comparable to some of the top adventure-tour bikes available on the market today, making this ’Guzzi a serious contender for its share of the market.
Right now, it seems that nearly every major player in the EU and Asia has something for the dual-sport/adventure market, and even the once-niche, adventure-tour genre is starting to get crowded, so the designers had their work cut out for them. They compounded the pressure by naming the thing after a stretch of road in the Stelvio Pass, Italian Alps, long used as a proving ground and known by driving enthusiasts around the world. Presumptuous? Maybe, but we’re fixin’ to find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX.
2015 - 2017 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX
Engine:90 ° V-twin, 4-stroke
In the dictionary next to “adventure-bike” it says see; MG Stelvio 1200... or at least it should. The overall panache is exactly what you’d expect in this genre. A new adjustable windshield crowns a new fairing that is barely deserving of the name, and is really more of an over-sized housing for the side-by-side headlights and molded-in turn signals. From there, the fuel tank dominates the profile view, and it’s not just a design trick, the Stelvio is a real camel with a massive, 8.5-gallon fuel tank. Folks, that gives us quite a range for traveling in large-interval fuel-stop areas, and even turning to the off-road for far off the beaten path adventures.
...the fuel tank dominates the profile view, and it's not just a design trick, the Stelvio is a real camel with a massive, 8.5-gallon fuel tank.
Inverted front forks buoy the front end, and the front fender comes with molded-in splash guards to protect the swept area of the inner fork tube from grit and damage. Saddle height is adjustable between 32 and 33 inches tall, and the saddle comes with a dramatic taper at the front for a slim waist and easy ground access when standing.
For me, adding the aluminum hard cases was an ace move that makes the Stelvio a good commuter and/or adventure-tourer right out of the box. Of course, you can expand that with an accessory top case, but let’s just stick with the standard trim package for the time being.
A single analog clock displays the rpm, and an LCD screen displays the speed and other critical metrics for a fairly clean instrument cluster ahead of the rather flat handlebars. Riders on-road and off will appreciate the brush guards that are handy as meathook protectors and as windbreaks that help with riding in the cold. Although the stock version is set up for road work, a set of off-road tires is all it takes to transition to the brown where the 8-1/4 inch ground clearance and 6-plus inch suspension travel becomes muy importante.
MG opted for a steel frame in the twin-beam configuration as the foundation for the Stelvio. It isn’t very light, but it is very strong, and built to withstand the forces of cornering as well as negotiating light terrain. A single-side swingarm articulates the rear wheel and serves as a housing for the drive shaft. All very clean, compact, and leaves nothing to the imagination at the rear wheel from the left side, so you get a nice, unimpeded look at the off-road-tastic laced rim and hub. A monoshock supports the swingarm on a progressive linkage, and it comes with adjustable preload as well as rebound.
The 45 mm, inverted front forks come with the entire Trinity of adjustments with variable compression- and rebound-damping as well as spring preload. We don’t see enough adjustable suspension up front these days— almost unforgiveable considering all the available options— so it’s nice to see ’Guzzi embrace it for this adventuresome ride.
The front rim mounts a 19-inch hoop with a 17-inch tire in back, and the suspension gives up 6.69-inches and 6.1-inches of travel at the front and rear, respectively, so it ain’t no supercross bike, but it will handle unimproved roads. A pair of 320 mm discs and four-pot, opposed-piston calipers slow the front wheel, and a twin-pot caliper bites a 282 mm disc to slow the rear. The Continental ABS comes as part of the standard equipment package, and it provides an extra layer of safety and protection that many riders have come to rely upon, and if you’re one of the ones who doesn’t lean on that crutch, or you want a little more control for some off-road work, you can turn the ABS off altogether.
The oversquare mill runs a 95 mm bore and 81.2 mm stroke for a total of 1,151 cc— just a skosh shy of the advertised 1,200 cubes. MG mounts the 90-degree V-twin in the typical, transverse fashion, and although the heads peek out on both sides, they’re nice and high. Plus, the factory thoughtfully threw on a set of crash bars that should protect the protruding engine parts in case you drop it, and that’s a comforting thing on a bike that may well explore the much-discussed and rarely-seen “far and wide.”
The mill grinds out 83.3 pounds of grunt at 5,800 rpm, and backs that up with 103 horsepower at 7,250 rpm, plenty of oomph to qualify as a power -something*.
The mill runs four-valve heads with a new-grind, single over-head cam on timing duty, and although the factory touts a decreased level of noise from the valvetrain, it still makes a racket and is even more of a “tractor” than a Harley at idle as far as noise and vibration goes.
MG’s ATC traction control works as you’d expect; it reduces engine power when a speed differential is detected between the front and rear wheels. Like the ABS, the ATC is also switchable, so you can turn it off for some proper off-road jackassery. The mill grinds out 83.3 pounds of grunt at 5,800 rpm, and backs that up with 103 horsepower at 7,250 rpm, plenty of oomph to qualify as a power-something.
A six-speed transmixxer sends power down the cardan-shaft drive with a single-disc, anti-vibration clutch to make the connection to engine power. Induction control comes courtesy of a pair of 50 mm throttle bodies with Weber IWP 189 injectors.
The stock Stelvio comes with a lot of goodies onboard, and this shows up on the sticker with a $15,990 MSRP. Oh, and you better like red, ’cause that’s all you get.
The adventure bike market is awash with adventuresome models, so I really had plenty of material from which to choose. Small wonder I was unable to really narrow it down to one, or even two, from the vast field. Instead, we’re going to look at a handful of competitors, starting with the Tiger Explorer XR from Triumph. The Trumpet packs in some extra cubeage with a 1,215 cc triple against the ’Guzzi’s 1,151 cc twin. That size difference shows up in the performance figures with 139 ponies and 90 pounds from the Tiger and 103/83 from the Stelvio. Folks, that’s definitely going to register on the heinie-dyno. Trumpet packs on the goodies with ABS and traction control as part of the standard equipment package. Adjustable suspension also makes it onto the Brit, and Trumpet even manages to keep the price close at $16,200, just a skosh over the ’Guzzi’s $15,990 sticker. Too bad the Tiger does not come with the hard bags off the floor like the Stelvio does, ’cause that’s going to add to the price offset.
Next, the Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT seemed a likely model to visit. Displacement is a little lower at only 1,043 cc, and so it only manages to generate 75.2 pounds of grunt against 83 from the ’Guzzi. Kawi leaves the traction control on the shelf, but does offer ABS if you want it. Engine control is about the only vanilla on the Versys. KYB suspension components give us adjustable preload and rebound damping plus 5.9 inches of travel at both ends. Unlike the Tiger, the Versys comes with quick-connect hard bags for rapid reconfiguration, and thus, is a bit more trip-ready out of the box. Kawi picks up a sizable win at the checkout. A new Versys 1000 LT will set you back $12,999, quite a bit lower than the $15,990 ’Guzzi, and the lowest of the collected competitors. So, if you can live with a little less power and no traction control, the Versys comes out looking the better of the two.
Of course, who could forget the Germans? Certainly not this writer. Beemer brings the champagne to the party with its R 1200 GS Adventure. Displacement is close at 1,170 cc, and BMW runs its characteristic boxer-twin engine that’s at least as iconic as MG’s transverse-mount, 90-degree V-twin. As one would expect, the Beemer has the superior performance with 125 ponies and 92 pounds of torque, and it comes with a shift-assisst feature that allows you to shift without pulling in the clutch or rolling off the throttle. This feature shows a bona fide racing streak that the MG lacks, reinforced by the adjustable suspension and powerful engine. Prices are close with MG squeaking out a win just below the $16,495 sticker on the Beemer, and honestly, they are close across the board.
“Always a pleasure exploring MG products, and this one looks like it could be a fairly serious contender in a market full of fairly serious contenders. Honda’s Africa Twin didn’t make the competitor section but would be another comparable-enough ride with a price tag low enough to be a real threat to the Stelvio 1200. August company, indeed. Seems like a job well done on this one, ’Guzzi.”
My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "You know, I never really paid attention to Moto Guzzi when it comes to adventure bikes. That was my mistake and shame on me for making it. The Stelvio 1200 NTX is an on-road-oriented adventure bike, but don’t let that put you off. It’s a very nice ride — comfortable with plush suspension and a nice seating position — and it just keeps on keeping on. I like that it isn’t an angular-looking as some of the other bikes in the adventure class"
|Type:||90° V-twin engine, 4-stroke|
|Cooling:||Air and oil and, independent cooling pumps|
|Engine capacity:||1,151 cc|
|Bore and stroke:||95 x 81.2 mm|
|Maximum power:||103HP (77 kW) @ 7,250 rpm|
|Maximum torque:||83.3 Ft Lb (113 Nm) @ 5,800 rpm|
|Fuel supply / Ignition:||Multipoint sequential electronic ignition, Magneti Marelli IAW5A phased, alfa-n system; two 50mm diameter throttle body, Weber IWP 189 injectors, two lambda probes.|
|Exhaust system:||stainless steel, 2-in-1 type, three-way catalytic converter with lambda probe|
|CHASSIS / SUSPENSION / BRAKES:|
|Final drive:||Compact reactive cardan shaft drive system (CA.R.C.); double cardan joint and floating bevel gear seat, drive ratio 12/44 = 1: 3.666|
|Clutch:||single-disc with integrated anti-vibration buffer|
|Chassis:||High yield strength tubular steel with integrated engine|
|Wheelbase:||60.4 in( 1,535 mm)|
|Trail:||4.92 in. (125 mm)|
|Front suspension:||completely adjustable USD fork (spring preload and hydraulic compression and rebound damping) with 45 mm diam.|
|Front wheel travel:||6.69 in. (170 mm)|
|Rear suspension:||single arm with progressive linkage, monoshock with adjustable hydraulic rebound damping and spring preload adjuster knob|
|Rear wheel travel:||6.10 in (155 mm)|
|Front brake:||Dual Brembo 320 mm diameter stainless steel floating double discs, radial calipers with 4 horizontally opposed pistons|
|Rear brake:||Brembo 282 mm stainless steel fixed disc, floating caliper with 2 parallel pistons|
|Wheels:||Light alloy (tubeless, spoked)|
|Front wheel rim:||2.50” x 19”|
|Rear wheel rim:||4.25” x 17”|
|Front tire:||110/80 R19”|
|Rear tire:||150/70 R17”|
|Length:||88.53 in (2250 mm)|
|Height:||58.26 in (1,480 mm)|
|Width:||41.33 in (1,050 mm)|
|Saddle height:||32 – 33 in (820-840 mm) adjustable|
|Minimum ground clearance:||8.26 in. (210 mm)|
|Curb weight (Ready to Ride):||598 lbs (272 Kg)|
|Fuel tank capacity:||8.5 Gallons (32 liters), 1.8 Gallons (7 liters) (Reserve)|