By Steve Rossi / RIDE-CT
BETHEL, CT – It’s Friday, January 19. The thermometer reads 28 degrees, snow flurries are flying, and I’m piloting a vehicle with sporting pretensions to Hamlin Cycles. Instead of being on two wheels, though, I’m on four – in a late model sport utility vehicle.
What got me out in this diabolical winter weather? It was Jim Hamlin’s phone call concerning the arrival and immediate uncrating of the new Moto Guzzi Stelvio!
Have seat heaters, will travel…
This new Stelvio is the second iteration of Moto Guzzi’s V100 platform. It features the same V-twin engine and chassis architecture which is now water-cooled; a welcome addition to the growing Mandello del Lario line of passionate products.
First and foremost, its appearance is rich, refined and inspired Italian. Unlike a lot of recent adventure bikes that look like two-wheeled praying mantises, the Stelvio is striking. Its quality matte-gray finish design (including the valve covers) is crisp and purposeful. It’s devoid of unnecessary embellishment or folderol – befitting its mission to provide greater, real-world usability in what’s become a more demanding everyday operating environment.
The model’s build quality that shouts “premium product,” along the lines of an Armani suit or Prada purse.
The adjustable windscreen is flanked by a pair of delicate winglets, while the saddle is upholstered with a new, rather grippy seating material which will come in handy when out there in the wild.
Unlike the Mandello, the Stelvio fuel tank does not incorporate active aero side flaps. The assumption is that they were left off to maximize gas capacity for the road less traveled. Capacity is 5.3 gallons, compared to the V100’s 4.6.
Like the V100, the radiator is well integrated. The rear tail sections are the same, though the Stelvio sports a cast rear grab rail and rack and has beefier/longer rear peg brackets. The new adventure bike also shares all the upgraded switchgear and hydraulics/reservoirs with the Mandello. And the silver-painted V-twin engine sure stands out.
No doubt, the Stelvio will be cross shopped more against the Moto Guzzi’s V85 TT than the V100 Mandello. Comparatively, it’s some 25 lbs. heavier (dry) but provides 39 more horsepower than the V85, so it promises to be a blast.
While it’s likewise shod with a 19-inch front tire (compared to the V100’s 17-incher), the Stelvio’s wheels are aggressively wider than the TT. The rear is 17-inches. Both adventure models rely on the same, outboard cross-spoke tubeless wheel design.
If you were blindfolded and jumped on a Stelvio you’d be hard pressed to distinguish it from a V85. The upright riding positions are similarly familiar, compliantly comfortable and the static mass feels essentially the same. But once you opened your eyes, you’d notice that the Stelvio instrument cluster is elevated to the point of being almost in-your-face obtrusive. That fosters the attention necessary to enjoy a fully adventurous life in the outback, which includes a GPS mounting rail for such provision.
As of now, the Stelvio is only available in one chassis specification, equivalent to an entry level Mandello as opposed to the semi-active V100 S. The model lists for $16,390 and comes in two colors – Giallo Savana (yellow with gray) or Nero Vulcano (black with gray). An upgraded Stelvio ARAS (Advanced Rider Assistance System) will follow with intelligent cruise control, collision warning, etc., for $17,390. For comparison, a base 2024 V85 TT starts at $12,190.
A full complement of accessories is making its way into the system, such as side bags (the same as the V100), a choice of two top cases, engine guards, center stand and more.
Moto Guzzi calls the Stelvio a “contemporary adventure tourer.” No doubt, it will be even more long-legged than a V85 TT to provide “travel without limits.” It’s for a discriminating, limited few.
No, it’s not an 8.5-gallon Stelvio NTX of yore or a BMW GS competitor. Being built off the V100 Mandello, that’s something it was never intended to be. Instead, Moto Guzzi believes that it’s the right bike at the right time. It’s designed for the vast majority of real-world riding demands and to further accelerate the brand into its second century.
(Photos by Steve Rossi.)
Steve Rossi is an automotive engineer turned marketing communicator. With some 25 years in the industry, including three tours of duty in Detroit, he serves as Senior Columnist for “Antique Automobile” magazine. He’s also an avid motorcycle rider and collector, and co-chairs the annual Italian Motorcycle Owners Club meet in Sturbridge, MA.