Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport
Recently Motoaus had the opportunity to sample Moto Guzzis impressive looking 1200 Sport.
Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport
Way back in the 70s I first rode a Moto Guzzi – a roaring red and orange 850 Le Mans – the pride and joy of a riding buddy. I remember how different it was from the Japanese inline 4s I was used to, but how unexpectedly capable and pleasing it was to ride, if a bit agricultural after my new silky smooth Z1000 Kawasaki.
Recently Motoaus had the opportunity to sample Moto Guzzis impressive looking 1200 Sport, and surprisingly the same feelings recovered memories of that long forgotten ride. The marketing blurb from Moto Guzzi waxes lyrical about form and function combining, and the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I pondered this as I looked over the Sport 1200.
Based on the Breva 1100, the 1200 Sport has added some race oriented features, the most noticable being the white number panels on the small nose fairing and tail and the 320mm Braking wave disc rotors. A 2 into 1 carbon covered exhaust completes the sports look.
The bike retains all the usual Guzzi features in the transverse V-twin, shaft drive and distinctive Italian styling.
The specification sheet on the bike mentions a 95 hp (70kw) 1151cc fuel injected motor, with twin spark ignition, and better flowing ports and injection. Internal massaging includes lighter pistons and rods, and a high volume oil pump.
But sitting on the big black beast, a very comfortable seat 800mm from the ground -around the same as a GSXR1000 for example- a very fat 23 litre tank, and high wide bars, gave it a feel almost like a big adventure dual purpose machine.
So in a market filled with every increasing “niches” where does this bike fit in? After a very enjoyable weekend on the 1200 Sport, Id have to say, it fits in a niche all off its own.
If you are used to an inline 4 Japanese motorcycle, either sport or tour, you will notice, as I did, a lot of new sensations on the big machine from Mandello del Lario. The transverse twin is the first noticeable difference. A blip of the throttle will produce a mild torque reaction, a slight push of the bike to the right when standing still. Left to idle, the bike takes a pleasing shimmy in time to the big 525cc cylinders loping over. Gear selection is heavier than you’d expect and the dry clutch take up different to other bikes.There is a slight driveline backlash that can be pronounced -or totally removed – depending on riding style. Whilst hard to pin down exactly all the differences, Moto Guzzi calls them “character”.
Like other Italian motorcycles, small things like having the indicator and horn button positions reversed to what I’m used to, brought out some of my own “character” as I repeatedly blew the horn whilst approaching a turn. And after being cut off in traffic by a blind fool in a Smart Car, all I could do was shout in my helmet and flash the right hand indicator at them. But these little niggles soon paled after a run out into the winding bumpy tarmac that spiders through the mountains and valleys of Northern NSW. The comfortable seat, wide bars and bass rumble of the V twin, combined with the awesome Braking/Brembo stopping combo and confidence inspiring “on rails” type handling made for a very pleasurable ride.
The small bikini style screen offered a reasonable degree of wind deflection. At anything up to legal road limits, the lack of a full fairing was not really noticeable. Id “guess” that once you got over 140 odd kmh, you’d want to start thinking about getting into a tuck position if you intended to run it up anywhere near a 200kmh plus speed. The higher non-standard Pro Taper MX bars fitted to this particular bike didn’t help that either. They did however allow this bike to flicked effortlessly thru low speed hairpins, or cranked over on higher speed left right sweeper combinations.
And the brakes! To my mind almost perfect for the road, predictable, but massive performance with minimal lever pressure required. Combine that with the torquey motor – and the beautiful V-twin roar from the 2 into 1 exhaust – and running from one hairpin to the next was sheer joy. No doubt, on a racetrack things would feel different, but I doubt many of these bikes would see more than a track day. Whilst not razor sharp like a race rep, the more I rode it, the more I liked it.
The instruments are a very appealing design, with white faces and a multi function LCD screen. A couple of little minor personal dislikes here:,the tacho lacks a redline, instead an adjustable red light flashes as redline is reached. The speedo is in 30kmh increments, a little time is needed to get used to exactly where 100kmh for example lays on the dial in a quick glance.
Both things youd get used to I’d imagine.
The big Guzzi is available in Black or Red,(pic of the red right at bottom of story) both with the white “race number panels” on the nose cone and each side of the tailpiece. Either colour seems to suit the bike well.
Those looking for something different to the usual would be well served to take a ride on this bike, its not for everyone, but in the real world of road riding rather than on track performance numbers, you may just agree with Moto Guzzis idea of a sports bike.
Second Impression: Bec
My first impression of the 1200 sport before riding it was of a huge beast of a touring bike with more emphasis on touring than sport. I soon found out that underneath the contoured seat and upright bar position lurked a dual personality. A Moto Guzzi certainly exudes a character of its own, both with its unique Italian styling and engine design. The 1200 Sport is no exception, a bold and imposing motorcycle that hides its nimble side exceedingly well.
For someone of my small build and stature, the Sport is a daunting proposition, tall in seat height and a big stretch in the arms with the standard bar position, although perfect for the taller species. You can’t always judge a book by its cover and this is certainly true for the 1200 Sport. The bike offers an exceedingly comfortable ride and excellent suspension that ironed out the rougher, pot holed single lane country roads of the hinterland. The upright riding position adds to the ease and feel of this bike leaving the impression that it closer resembles a dirt bike on steroids. The torque and top end is there, with smooth delivery and more useable power than a pure sports bike.
But the biggest surprise package is that it handles exceptionally well. The Sport was made for fast sweepers. Its smooth and direct line inspires confidence and predictability. For such a big bike, it can go a lot harder and faster into tight twisties than its bulky frame would suggest. Weight feels down low and doesn’t seem a concern on the open road. The Braking wave discs all round and Brembo caliper setup will pull this bike up with the agility of a African Springbok deer.
The Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport is an underestimated dark horse in the line up of sports tourers. While first impressions may well be different to what you are used to riding, more time on this bike will likely result in a love affair. I loved it!
Test bike provided by Gold Coast Aprilia
Type : 90° V-Twin, 4 stroke
Cooling system : air cooling
Displacement : 1,151 cc
Bore and stroke : 95 x 81.2 mm
Compression ratio : 9.8 : 1
Timing system : intake open 24° BTDC. intake close 52° ABDC. exhaust open 54° BBDC
exhaust close 22° ATD. with valve clearance 1.5 mm
Maximum power : over 70 kW (95 HP) at 7,800 rpm
Maximum torque : over 100 Nm at 6,000 rpm
Fuel injection system / Ignition : Magneti Marelli IAW5A, a-n type; 2 Ø 45 mm throttle bodies,
Weber IWP 162 injectors,
Lambda control, twin spark ignition.
Spark plug : internal NGK PMR8B (Long Life)
Spark plug : external NGK BPR6ES
Starting : electric
Exhaust system : stainless steel, 2 into 1 type with catalytic converter, height-adjustable muffler
Homologation : Euro 3
Gears : 6 speed
Lubrication : splash
Primary drive : helical teeth, ratio 24/35 = 1 : 1.458
Secondary drive : Compact Reactive Shaft Drive CA.R.C.; double universal joint with floating bevel gear,
ratio 12/44 = 1 : 3.666
Clutch : double disk, dry
Frame : tubular cradle, high tensile steel
Wheelbase : 1,485 mm
Trail : 120 mm
Rake : 25°
Steering angle : 32°
Front suspension : telescopic hydraulic fork with Ø 45 mm and TIN surface treatment, preload adjustable
Front wheel travel : 120 mm
Rear suspension : single arm suspension with prog. linkage, rear shock absorber adjustable in rebound and pre-load (hydraulic)
Rear wheel travel : 140 mm
Front brake : twin stainless steel floating disc, wave type, Ø 320 mm, 4 opposed pistons
Rear brake : single steel fixed disc, Ø 282 mm, floating caliper with 2 parallel pistons
Wheels : three spokes, light alloy wheels, gravity die-casting
Front wheel : 3.50” x 17”
Rear wheel : 5.50” x 17”
Front tyre : 120/70 ZR17”
Rear tyre : 180/55 ZR17”
Voltage : 12 V
Battery : 12 V – 18 Ah
Alternator : 12 V – 550 W
Length : 2,195 mm
Width (handlebars) : 840 mm
Height (windshield) : 1,160 mm
Seat height : 800 mm
Minimum ground clearance : 185 mm
Dry weight : 229 kg
Fuel tank capacity : 23 litres
Reserve : 4 litres