There are many reasons not to buy a Moto Guzzi. They’re heavy, unrefined, not particularly reliable, the dealer network is minuscule, the aftermarket support nonexistent, and to add insult to injury, they’re expensive. So, why would anyone own one? There is no simple answer to that question. The Moto Guzzi brand casts a bewitching spell over would be, and desperately want to be Guzzi riders. Maybe it’s the allure of owning a hand crafted Italian machine that is so appealing. It could be the raspy siren song emanating from the exhaust, or the unmistakeable and iconic placement of the cylinder heads. Even the name makes you want to raise your chin when you say it––in your most flamboyant Italian accent.
The Moto Guzzi brand is now in its 92nd year, and more impressively, is still located in the original facility in Mandello del Lario, Italy on the shores of Lake Como. This is without question one of the most beautiful regions of Italy, and perhaps inspiration to the stunning aesthetic designs Moto Guzzi is known for. Not just a beautiful face, the Guzzi brand was also built on a legacy of impressive engineering firsts making performance and adventure central to the brand’s DNA. In 1928, Moto Guzzi designed a revolutionary new rear swingarm suspension system and to test it out, they drove it to Nordkapp, Norway. Such stories abound within the Guzzi brand’s ever evolving history.
The 2013 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX is one of their latest models, and would make short work of that trip to Nordkapp. Making it’s first appearance in 2009 in response to the growing adventure touring market, the Stelvio was built to devour miles whether served up as pavement, or moderately technical sections of dirt. Named after the most celebrated driving road in Italy, this is a motorcycle with a definite bias towards the tarmac, but it will not shy away from getting a little dirt in its face. The 8.5 gallon tank gives the Stelvio a healthy reach of 310 miles of potential adventure. The air-cooled, longitudinal 90-degree V-twin has been upgraded with new electronics to deliver the Stelvio’s 105hp with more refinement than Guzzi is known for. Not to gloss over the Stelvio’s other appointments, it has everything a modern adventure bike should. The selectable ABS braking and Traction Control accompany the usual list of must-haves like shaft drive, hard luggage mounts, and of course heated grips. At 598 pounds, the Stelvio is no lightweight, and will not perform off road with the same poise as some of the front runners in this category, but it has one thing those other bikes do not have––Guzziness. That’s reason enough to buy any Moto Guzzi.