Moto Guzzi Griso 1200 8V

moto guzzi griso smallMotoaus takes a ride on Moto Guzzi’s 8 valve brute, the Griso.

moto guzzi griso

Moto Guzzi Griso 8V

All great bikes should have names. I don’t mean names like TS350H. I’m talking Katana, Black Shadow, Fireblade or Bonneville.

Some manufacturers seem to make more of an effort than others naming their bikes.That becomes apparent when you look at the meaning of the name.

Hayabusa – fastest bird on Earth. Rune – mystical and magical. Or in this case the Moto Guzzi “Griso”. Now, I can’t read Italian, but from what I can gather Griso was some kind of Italian tough guy in a novel. And why you’d name a bike after a muscular thug becomes apparent after riding the Griso.

moto guzzi griso rear

Rugged and powerful, the Griso exudes a rough charm. A deep V8 sounding note rumbles from its massive 2 into 1 exhaust. You could find yourself heading out to the garage just to start this bike and listen to its lumpy idle. And in typical Guzzi fashion there’s an accompanying array of strangely pleasant mechanical noises. It shimmies like a cammed big block Chev at idle, and has a gear whine not unlike a supercharger.

A closer look at the Griso’s power plant reveals why. This is no ordinary Moto Guzzi twin. The highest horsepower motor ever offered in a production Guzzi, its fuel injected 1151cc motor pumps out 110 horsepower, courtesy of an extra 2 valves in each head. The 4 valve heads also sport a revised camshaft arrangement. A flatter combustion chamber due to valve angle changes allows a higher 11 to 1 compression ratio.

moto guzzi griso front
Scroll to the bottom of the page for a link to wallpaper size versions of the above image.

That certainly isn’t the limit of changes, Moto Guzzi claim 563 all new components in the 8V engine. The biggest change of course is what happens after the tacho passes the 5000rpm mark. Whilst it feels normal Guzzi-ish torque below this, once the higher flowing heads start to show their benefit, the Griso really rips its way up to the 8000 rpm redline. This combination of healthy low end torque – but with a strong rush of top end power – certainly suits this hard to classify style of bike. Moto Guzzi label it a “sportsbike in muscle-cruiser clothing” which is pretty close.

moto guzzi griso detailsA longish cruiser-like 1554mm wheelbase – longer than a B-King- is matched with a decent set of suspenders and brakes. Combined with the wide bars and a fast steering front end, the Griso is a decent thing in the curves. But by far the most outstanding feature of the Griso is its looks. Dominated by the big transverse vee twin cylinders protruding from each side of the bike, the chrome 2 into 1 exhaust snakes its way down the left side of the bike, finishing in a near abstract art design muffler.

On the other side, the large oil cooler dominates the right hand side of the motor. The fuel tank profile is low, and the comfortable seat backed by a slim tailpiece. Lots of blacked out components are offset with a sprinkling of chrome. High quality components abound, Marchesini badged wheels, Brembo calipers, Braking wave discs.

Griso on the Road

Out on the road, the Griso offers up the usual Moto Guzzi riding experience, perhaps with the volume turned up on this model. The higher state of tune meant it wasn’t quite as smooth on an even throttle at low revs, and the effects of the transverse crank, single plate clutch and shaft drive feel more noticeable with the extra power.

But you soon fall into the Guzzi way. Gear shifting is slightly different to that on an typical in-line 4 cylinder bike, clutch feel is different and the noticeable shake at idle from the big cylinders loping over was in my mind a pleasant feature of the bike.

Handling was nimble and predictable, the brakes powerful without being overly sensitive. Higher speeds on the Griso remind you there is no wind protection, but sensible highway speeds wont be a problem. Steering is precise, and the long wheelbase meant higher speed curves and sweepers were its forte, although the wide tapered bars meant it could be muscled through hairpins comfortably.

The controls and instruments were typical Guzzi/Aprilia fare, with the horn button in the wrong place as usual. The instruments are dominated by the tacho, with a smaller LCD screen to the side with the digital speedo, and the usual slew of computerised features and trip meters. The ignition switch is located front and centre of the fuel tank.

The top triple clamp and bar mounts have the same appearance as the beautiful parts found on Aprilia’s Tuono, the Griso sporting Black taper bars differing from the Tuono’s Gold. The seat was comfortable without being too bulky,with four neat aluminium hooking points mounted underneath.

In all a very unique bike, the Griso will never leave you lonely. Every time it was stopped it would draw admirers and questions, with most drawn to the bikes brawny mechanical appearance. More than one onlooker asked if it was a V8.

moto guzzi griso overhead

All of this uniqueness and Italian-ness comes at a price of course, and with a $22,990 RRP, more than a few potential buyers may be swayed to a cheaper alternative if the wallet isn’t fully operational.

But it was all put into perspective for me during a conversation with an obviously well heeled older gent who stopped to admire the Griso during a photo shoot. He was really taken by the Griso’s appearance and we chatted about the bike, and its price. As he left he stopped and turned back to me to offer one last comment, perhaps remembering past exploits.

“One thing I’ve learned”, he said, “with beauty, the price is always unimportant”.

moto guzzi griso 8v

moto guzzi griso river

Griso 8V Specifications


Four-stroke V 90 twin with four valves per cylinder
Cooling Air and oil cooled with independent cooling pump
Capacity 1,151cc
Bore and stroke 95 x 81.2 mm
Compression ratio 11 : 1
Maximum power output Over 80.8 kW (110 CV) at 7,500 rpm
Max Torque Over 108 Nm at 6,400 rpm
Fuel supply/ignition Multipoint sequential electronic injection, Magneti Marelli IAW 5A phmm throttle bodies with Weber IWP 189 injectors, Lambda probe.
Exhaust system Stainless steel two-into-one 3-way catalysed with Lambda probe.
Homologation Euro 3
Gearbox 6 speed
Lubrication Oil bath
Primary drive Helicoidal gears, ratio 26/35 = 1 : 1.346
Final drive CA.R.C reactive drive; double universal joint with floating bevel gear, ratio 12/44 = 1 : 3,666
Clutch Single plate with integrated flexible couplings


High tensile steel tubular twin cradle
Wheelbase 1,554 mm
Rake 108 mm
Steering rake 26.30°
Front suspension Upside down 43 mm fully adjustable forks mounting for radial calipers.
Rear suspension Progressive single swingarm, fully adjustable monoshock with separate gas reservoir


Front Twin floating 320mm wave rotor discs with Brembo four-piston radial calipers.
Rear  Single 282mm disc with a twin-piston caliper
Front Wheels / Tyres 3.50” x 17” / 120/70ZR17”
Rear Wheels / Tyres 5.50” x 17” / 180/55ZR17”


Length 2260mm
Width 840mm
Height 1040mm
Seat height 800mm
Ground clearance 185mm
Dry weight  222kg
Fuel capacity 16.7 litres
Fuel reserve 3.3

Click here for Wallpaper images of the Moto Guzzi Griso in various sizes

moto guzzi griso wallpapers

moto guzzi moto gp tickets griso

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