ADV Pulse

NEWSLETTER
Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly

Newsletter

Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly

Connect With Us

Follow On Facebook:

ADV News2024 Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride Review

2024 Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride Review

The reinvented Stelvio returns lighter, stronger, smarter and more compact.

Published on 03.18.2024

Despite its discontinuation in 2017, the Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 left a lasting impression. While it never became a major player in the competitive Adventure Touring segment,  in the shoot-outs and reviews of that era it always managed to get praise for the big 8.5-gallon fuel tank, smooth throttle, highway touring comfort, and of course the Moto Guzzi character. The ole’ air/oil-cooled 1,151cc 8-valve V-twin-powered motorcycle was a unique bike, but by 2017 the Stelvio was getting behind the times in the ADV Market. Even today though, owners of the Stelvio 1200 NTX (and I know a few) always seem to speak highly of them and truly enjoy riding them.

Moto Guzzi builds motorcycles for their riders. Best known for their iconic V-Twin engine configuration with valve covers protruding out of either side of the motorcycle, Moto Guzzi developed their first V-Twin way back in 1933. Being true to oneself and keeping up with times can be an impossible task but 90 years later, Guzzi engineers haven’t lost their sense of heritage with the release of the all-new Stelvio.

What You Get

Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review
The Stelvio comes back for 2024 boasting more power, significantly less weight and the latest tech.

Powered now by a liquid-cooled 1042cc engine recently introduced in the V100 Mandello, the all-new powerplant maintains the traditional Moto Guzzi longitudinal (MG calls it transverse based on the cylinder arrangement) 90° V-Twin layout in a ‘compact block’ design. The new compact block is 4 inches shorter than the smaller-displacement V85TT unit and is tilted forward some 5°. The cylinder heads are also turned around 90° with the exhaust exiting from the side instead of the front — all to improve legroom while maintaining a shorter wheelbase (59.8 inches) for sharper handling. 

Despite the handguards, aluminum skidplate and spoked wheelset, Moto Guzzi has tempered any expectations for the 2024 Stelvio taking an off-road slant by calling it a ‘Sport-Touring’ Adventure motorcycle. Not to spoil the surprise, but they nailed the category it slots into. With a $16,390 MSRP, the Stelvio puts out a spicy 115 horsepower and 77 ft-lbs of torque, transferred through a low-maintenance shaft drive. Moreover, at 542 pounds wet, the new Stelvio is 56 pounds lighter than its predecessor with a 10 horsepower advantage, while the price tag has gone up only $200 since 2017. 

Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review
The new Stelvio’s liquid-cooled 1042cc engine pumps out 115 hp and 77 ft-lbs of torque, transferred through a low-maintenance shaft drive.
Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review
The new powerplant is tuned for low-end grunt with 82% of the peak torque available at just 3,500 rpm.

ADVERTISEMENT

But there’s more to the new Stelvio. For starters, it’s a more compact motorcycle overall, with a modern design packed with the latest tech, along with all the iconic styling you’d expect from Moto Guzzi. The revised engine has been tuned for low-end, with 82% of the peak torque available at just 3500 rpm, and it comes standard with travel equipment such as a rear luggage rack, and 5.5-gallon fuel tank, as well as an electronically-adjustable wind tunnel-refined windscreen.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review

As for the chassis, you get a 46mm Sachs USD fork up front with 6.7 inches of travel, adjustable preload, along with rebound damping. The rear suspension uses a KYB shock on a single-sided swingarm, featuring 6.7 inches of travel with preload and rebound adjustability. The seat height is short-inseam friendly at 32.7 inches and the bike rides on a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear tubeless wheelset, all stopped by dual 320mm discs with 4-piston Brembo monobloc radial calipers up front and a single 280mm disc with a 2-piston Brembo floating caliper in the rear.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review
Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review

The new Stelvio is also packed with new tech like switchable ABS and 4-level adjustable Traction Control (both lean-angle sensing), and a 5” color-TFT with optional Bluetooth connectivity to get Turn-by-Turn directions on the dash. Cruise Control is standard, along with 5 selectable ride modes (Sport, Road, Tour, Rain, Off-Road). As far as optional rider aids, there’s a quick shifter and a suite of radar-enabled features called the Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF) Advanced Rider Assistance System.

Moreover, the Stelvio is the first radar-enabled Moto Guzzi model, and the PFF factory option consists of front and rear sensing devices to give the rider front collision warnings, blind spot detection and lane change assistance. Following Cruise Control (FCC) is also part of the package (for US and Canada), which automatically adjusts the bike’s speed to match the vehicle in front of you. Adding the radar upgrade puts the Stelvio on a short list of flagship adventure touring models with this technology, which typically cost well over $20k.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review
The optional 4D imaging radar system gives the rider front collision warnings, blind spot detection and lane change assistance. You also get adaptive Cruise Control included as part of the package.

Looks and Feelings

With its sculpted lines and unique styling the revised Stelvio offers an inviting vintage flair. And, let’s face it, if you want a Moto Guzzi, you also want that Guzzi heritage and some of the distinctive character that goes with the brand.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review
Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review
The Stelvio is draped with unique Moto Guzzi stylistic elements like the LED headlight which echoes the brand’s iconic eagle emblem in its DRL design.

From the brand’s eagle emblem built into the headlight to the engine’s remnant cooling fins on the cylinder walls that are also cast into the oil pan like the air-cooled models have, the new Stelvio not only exudes a classic-inspired design but is also charming to look at.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review

I never say “charming,” but looking down at the slotted side panels below the seat, I’m reminded that sometimes objects can pull on our heartstrings. Similarly, looking at how the 6-speed transmission is bolted to the engine block in a very “Moto Guzzi” type of industrious way, the Stelvio feels true to its predecessors and the brand.

What’s in the name?

By now, most readers know where the name “Stelvio” comes from. If you don’t, that’s okay. Stelvio Pass is an epic 29.08-mile road in Northern Italy with 60 hairpin turns. It is one of the most photographed roads in the world and the second-highest pass in the Alps.

Moto Guzzi opted for Southern Spain instead of Northern Italy for our test ride of the Stelvio. Still, after carving up and down multiple mountain passes with countless, and I mean numerous, second-gear hairpins, the press launch might as well have been from my dreams. 

Initial Impressions

When keying on the Stelvio, the dash displays a quick start-up animation, and then it’s go time. The Guzzi makes a little rumble on start-up, which shakes the bike left to right for only a moment. I crack a little smile every time I start the Stelvio because the twisting engine is part of the charm Moto Guzzi brings to the table.

The Stelvio powerplant feels refined and powerful yet muffled between the liquid cooling and the Euro 5+ compliant exhaust system. With a compression ratio of 12.6:1, it’s not quite a race motor, but the torque figures are 63 ft-lbs at 3500 rpm and it maxes out at 77 ft-lbs by 6500 rpm. At idle, the Stelvio is quiet and surprisingly refined.

Going from neutral to first gear, there’s a bit of a chuck like most bikes, but it’s more mechanical, reminding you again that this motorcycle is different and that’s just part of its “charm.”Clutch actuation is handled by a higher-spec Brembo hydraulic clutch master cylinder that provides enough feel and hydraulic advantage to give it the nod of approval.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review
The shaft drive makes use of an aluminum single-sided arm which has been reinforced to be more suitable for off-road use. 

Moto Guzzi was not shy about how they addressed a shaft-drive motorcycle’s known shortcomings, like surging, shuddering, juddering, and anything else the comments section on the forums could conjure up. The Stelvio comes with a clutch package that leaves no room for question. 

Clutch dampers, anti-judder springs, a hydraulic slave cylinder, and a slipper/assist clutch basket do their best to refine the clutch’s actuation. For me, it works, and I don’t have any complaints. The rest of the transmission is better than any air-cooled Guzzi I’ve ridden. A compliment to the transmission is the optional quickshifter at $249.99, and I wouldn’t leave the dealership without one! The transmission for most test riders lived on a scale from fine to less than satisfactory. I felt it was fine, even charming.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review

Shifting from second to every other gear up or down was nearly flawless for me. Each gear is nicely spaced and not a ratio too close to the one above or below. With the quick shifter and electronic throttle, the sound coming from the 1042cc compact block just feels good, especially that 3rd to 4th gear shift. Chefs Kisses*

First to second gear shifts felt abrupt though when using the quick shifter. It’s not the end of the world as a bit of clutch work between first and second or vice versa smoothed the Stelvio out, but it could have been better. I’d recon getting familiar with the bike would solve the harshness between first and second and strengthen the bond between the Stelvio’s owner and the bike itself.

On Road Experience

It’s time to shine, as they say. If you’re named after one of the most iconic twisty roads on the planet, you better be able to deliver, and the Stelvio feels right at home on the curvy backroads most of us dream about. Imagine a Sunday morning ride. You could get coffee at an obscure shop 50 miles from your home, but you logged 80 miles and two hours to get there.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride

The Stelvio slices around bends with its taut suspension and Michelin Anakee Adventure tires. It feels planted and neutral on the road, where some bikes require some suspension tweaking to get the bike to countersteer through turns. The Stelvio reacts with confidence-inspiring characteristics as you apply pressure to the inside grip. I could even feel the front end scrubbing for traction as I leaned into apexes under heavy front trail braking.

On turns this tight, I preferred to trail brake and leave the transmission in second. Braking up front is provided by Brembo Monoblock M4.32s, which had good initial bite and stopping power for my taste. Other riders noted that they enjoyed trailing the rear brake heavily as it helps with “squat” and can be beneficial to implement on shaft-driven bikes. Again, the Stelvio shows character and charm unapologetically.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride

I was hoping for more suspension adjustment options for the Sachs 46mm front forks and the KYB rear shock, but both the front and rear are only adjustable for preload and rebound. While this might be a make-or-break point for the aggressive off-road rider, it isn’t for the Stelvio. We’re only lacking a compression adjustment, but with only (6.7) 170mm travel on an Adventure bike, I didn’t want to be picky with settings.

I also had no complaints about the Stelvio’s suspension on any road sections other than the harsh rear shock on high-speed hits like potholes. Third-gear sweepers are usually where I can feel a motorcycle’s suspension telling me it’s under-sprung for my 240 pounds, and the rebound damping is enough to stop any wallowing.

While the springs may be too soft and too deep in the stroke with me on it, attributing to the harshness from the rear shock, I never ran a turn wide, and the Stelvio never bounced or felt compromised while pushing in faster hairpin turns, showing the rebound damping to be highly effective. The Stelvio wouldn’t even drag a footpeg in the tightest of turns, living up to its name as a hairpin-loving, Italian alp carving, Sport Touring Adventure Motorcycle.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride

A speedo reading of 230 kilometers per hour is roughly 142 miles per hour. While I didn’t try to set the cruise control at that speed, I did look down at the tachometer, and the Moto Guzzi pulled that up to the 9,000 RPM redline in sixth! Impressive legs for a motorcycle whose engines were initially designed to “catch air” for cooling.

At more civil speeds, the Stelvio is very slippery through the air, as Moto Guzzi engineered it with over 1500 computational hours in a virtual wind tunnel. The on-the-fly electronically adjustable windshield isn’t just a parlor trick; it’s fun to use and effective as long as you’re under 6’2″ and not wearing a dirt bike helmet like I was. If you are, consider looking into a taller windscreen.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride

Equipped standard with plastic wrap-around hand guards and a tank/bodywork shaped to direct air pressure around the rider, touring on the Stelvio might be the task it’s suited best for, and with roughly 250 miles of range per tank of gas, you should be stopping for hydration and a bathroom break in unison with gas stops.

The ergonomics of the Stelvio feel natural and not overwhelmingly large for a bike in this class, while leaving little to nitpick about. The handlebars are wide and just the right height for sitting comfortably for my 6’2″ frame. Seat-to-peg distance feels natural, and the width of the bike between your feet and knees is narrow, allowing you to move around on the large, flat, two-section seat. The shape, size, and density of the Stelvio’s seat worked great for me during our test day, which consisted of six hours directly in the saddle, and I feel like a nine-hour day on the Guzzi’s stock seat would be just as comfortable.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride

Also, canting the engine forward 5° allows for extra knee room between your kneecaps and the cylinder heads. I never made contact with the cylinder heads during the press launch, which was a relief because I was worried about it.

Horsepower figures are always great talking points, but the Stelvio’s 115 HPs don’t feel like they’ll outrun some of the other 100-plus horsepower middleweights in the ADV segment. From a “feeling” perspective, the Moto Guzzi feels very on par with my personal 94hp 2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro.

I bring up the Rally Pro from 2020 because, on the press launch for the 2020 Tiger Rally Pro, I spent most of the test with the traction control off and the rear ABS disabled. For 2024, the 900 Rally Pro makes 106hp, and while pushing the bike on the road, I felt much more comfortable with the rider aids on. For the Moto Guzzi Stelvio experience, I also left the traction control off for most of the test.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride

This is to say that the Moto Guzzi makes 115hp, but it does it before driveline power loss as all manufacturers do and a shaft drive is always going to eat up more of the engine’s horsepower than a chain drive. The Stelvio does it mellowly with tons of torque and good tires that build confidence and provide a delightful riding experience that doesn’t overpower the limits of available traction. The bike also does wheelies just fine, if you enjoy those too.

Electronics

What was once top-of-the-line tech and required great detail to explain has now become the norm, making this part a lot easier as most of us are familiar with rider modes and aids. The Stelvio has a 5″ TFT display and five rider modes (Sport, Road, Tour, Rain, and Offroad) all with their own Throttle Response, Traction Control, and ABS settings.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride

Getting used to diving into the menu and setting will take longer than some bikes as it’s not as intuitive as other ADV motorcycles on the market, but if you own a Moto Guzzi Stelvio, you’ll be like a kid with a smartphone in no time.

You can shut off the ABS (rear wheel only) for doing skids and the traction control for off-road use, as well as customize other modes as you’d expect. When shutting off the key on the Stelvio and “keying” it back on the bike, it will remain in the mode you left it in! I’ve only seen that from two Italian manufacturers: Ducati and Moto Guzzi. Bravo.

The ABS and Traction control are governed by the latest generation 6-axis Inertial Measuring Unit (IMU), which adjusts for speed, lean angle, and wheel speed differential to help prevent crashes caused by abrupt rider inputs when braking and accelerating.

For those of you who may want your Stelvio radar-enabled, the PFF option costs an extra thousand dollars and gives you front—and rear-facing radars for blind spot and lane change assisted warning lights on the mirrors and adds features like forward collision warning, which gives a visual and audible warning to the rider.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride
If you want your Stelvio radar-enabled, the PFF option costs an extra thousand dollars and gives you front—and rear-facing radars for blind spot and lane change assisted warning lights on the mirrors, and adds features like forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control.

Forward collision warning may sound a bit like overkill, but it’s forward-thinking and progress towards safety. Getting the PFF radar system also adds the Follow Cruise Control (FCC) feature at no extra charge in the US and Canada. While we didn’t get much time to test this system during this launch, I’ve used a similar system on the Ducati Multistrada V4S (which starts at an eye-watering $27,195), and it’s ability to constantly adjust your speed to match the vehicle in front of you really takes a lot of “stress” off the rider during longer highway journeys.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride
The blind spot system alerts the rider of vehicles approaching from the back via visual warnings on the instrument and rearview mirrors.

I know many readers and riders will say, “I don’t need adaptive cruise control,” but how many people cried their eyes out and proclaimed, “No cruise control on a Yamaha T7 is a deal breaker for me!”? Well, one day, we may all be saying the same thing about adaptive cruise control systems because I find them much more useful than standard cruise control. The best part is that if you don’t want the radar system, you can get a Stelvio without it, and it still comes with a standard switch-operated cruise control. A lil something for everyone.

Off-Road Experience

Armed with a 19/17 inch tubeless cross-spoked wheelset and 6.7″ (170mm) of suspension travel front and rear, the Sport Touring Adventure Stelvio can cross over to the gravel road side of things, but I wouldn’t do it regularly. I’d do it out of curiosity, for the occasional shortcut or long-cut, following friends, or for some accidental reason you might end up on an unmaintained road.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride
Compared to the V100 Mandello, the front-end has undergone a redesign making it stronger and better suited for adventure riding. 

The suspension is pretty tight, but it certainly isn’t plush or compliant when off-road. I rode it up a rocky trail to the top of a mountain while waiting for other riders during one of our photo stops, mostly to keep warm at 39° Fahrenheit and because the Stelvio doesn’t come with heated hand grips ($330 optional accessory plus installation).

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride

The Stelvio can handle some off-piste action if you ride within your limits and the bikes. Picking your line will help, but ground clearance becomes an issue quickly for the Stelvio, as well as the lack of confidence it instills in the rider as the street-oriented suspension sends the harsher hits into the rider’s hands.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride

As for standing riding position off-road, the handlebars might be a little low for someone of my height. Also, the footpegs feel like they are mounted a little high and farther forward than I’d like for dirt work.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride

Lastly, the Stelvio’s sporty rake angle of 25.6 degrees is too “quick” for sand or mud. I could feel the Stelvio pushing and “knifing” the front, even in shallow sand, as we skirted some beach roads by the edge of the Alboran Sea. There were no crashes, and if you wanted to ride these coastal gravel roads, the Stelvio’s ADV worthiness would assist you in getting down to them. It’s the charm of the Guzzi to be able to do the things you want to do on an Adventure bike even though it’s not its forte. The trade-off for the steep rake is improved steering feel on the street, which is a benefit for many riders who primarily stick to asphalt.

The Bottom Line

The Stevio’s value is hard to put into words, not because it’s a fantastic motorcycle or because of a scenario like “the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.” No, that’s not the case. It’s a surprisingly good street-oriented adventure motorcycle with loads of character.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio First Ride

With a longitudinal, 90-degree V-twin, cutting-edge electronics and a real flair for Italian style/heritage it’s hard to beat the Moto Guzzi Stelvio as a truly unique statement piece of pure riding enjoyment. They’re unique, quirky, fun, and certainly not afraid to be themselves.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review

I think most Moto Guzzi owners similarly view themselves as such, and that’s not a bad thing at all. You can’t put a price on the feeling a bike gives you, but at $16,390, the Moto Guzzi does come in reasonably priced for the liter-class ADV segment. But no one is ever going to talk you ‘into’ or ‘out of’ buying a Moto Guzzi Stelvio. It’s not about the ‘whys’ or ‘why nots.’ You buy one simply because “you wanted it.’

2024 Moto Guzzi Stelvio Specs

ENGINE TYPE:Liquid-cooled 90° transverse V-twin cylinder. Double overhead camshaft distribution with finger rocker arms and four valves per cylinder
DISPLACEMENT:1042 cc
BORE AND STROKE:96 x 72 mm
COMPRESSION RATIO:12.6:1
MAXIMUM POWER:115 CV (84,6 kW) at 8,700 rpm
TORQUE:105 Nm (10,7 kgm) at 6,750 rpm
FUEL:Electronic fuel injection; dual Ø 52 mm throttle bodies and Ride by wire management
FUEL TANK CAPACITY:21 liters (reserve 3.5 liters)
HOMOLOGATION:Euro 5+
FUEL CONSUMPTION (WMTC CYCLE):5.1 l/100 km
CO2 EMISSIONS (WMTC CYCLE):119 g/km
CLUTCH:Wet multi-disc clutch with slipper clutch and hydraulic control and integrated clutch slave
GEARS:6-speed gearbox 
PRIMARY TRANSMISSION:Straight-geared, gear ratio: 31/48 (1.548)
PRIMARY TRANSMISSION:Cardan shaft drive: gear ratio: 12/38 (3.166)
CONTROL MANAGEMENT:3 engine maps (MGCM), 3 levels of engine brake control (MGFM), 4 levels of traction control (MGTC), cruise control. 5 Riding modes (Touring, Rain, Road, Sport, Off-Road)
FRAME:Tubular high-strength steel frame
FRONT SUSPENSION:Front suspension Sachs telescopic hydraulic upside-down fork, Ø 46 mm, adjustable spring preload and rebound hydraulics
FRONT WHEEL TRAVEL:6.7″ (170 mm)
REAR SUSPENSION:Aluminum single-sided shock absorber left side, adjustable in spring preload with knob and rebound hydraulics
REAR WHEEL TRAVEL:6.7″ (170 mm)
FRONT BRAKES:Front: dual stainless steel floating discs, Ø 320 mm, Brembo radial-mount calipers with 4 opposed pistons and metal braided hose
REAR BRAKES:Rear: stainless steel disc, Ø 280 mm, Brembo floating 2-piston caliper. Continental ABS with cornering function
WHEELS:Aluminum alloy
FRONT RIM:Tubeless spoked 3.0″ x 19″
REAR RIM:Tubeless spoked 4.5″ x 17″
FRONT TYRE:Radial tubeless 120/70 – R19″
REAR TYRE:Radial tubeless 170/60 – R17″
A/C GENERATOR:550 W
SYSTEM VOLTAGE:12 V
BATTERY:12 V – 12 Ah
LENGTH:2.195 mm
WIDTH:945 mm
WHEELBASE:1520 mm
SEAT HEIGHT:830 mm 
STEERING HEADSTOCK TILT:25.6°
TRAIL:116.4 mm
DRY WEIGHT:489.4 lbs (222 kg)
WET WEIGHT (90% FUELED):542.3 lbs (246 kg) 

Photos by Alberto Cervetti

Author: Steve Kamrad

Steve has been labeled as a “Hired Gun” by one of the largest special interest publishing groups in America. His main focus now is video content creation as a “Shreditor” (thats shooter, producer, editor all in one nice, neat, run and gun package). If he’s not out competing in a NASA Rally Race you can find him on the East Coast leading around a rowdy group of ADV riders. Some say Steve_Kamrad has the best job in the world but he’s not in it for the money. He’s a gun for hire that can’t be bought and that’s the way we like him.

Author: Steve Kamrad
ADVERTISEMENT

Related Stories

Related Stories

Notify me of new posts via email

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

5 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Andrew
Andrew
March 18, 2024 3:22 pm

I’m thinking that this bike will look good next to my Stelvio NTX.

Steve Kamrad
Steve Kamrad
March 18, 2024 3:30 pm
Reply to  Andrew

It would also sound good too! The quick shifter is really good, when it’s good, which is most of the time. Which makes it really good! I can hear the clutchless upshifts now!

Bill
Bill
March 19, 2024 8:26 am

“When shutting off the key on the Stelvio and “keying” it back on the bike, it will remain in the mode you left it in! I’ve only seen that from two Italian manufacturers: Ducati and Moto Guzzi. Bravo.” You forgot the sibling Aprilia … it’s the same with the Tuareg as well.

Steve Kamrad
Steve Kamrad
March 20, 2024 4:26 am
Reply to  Bill

Nice! I didn’t forget, I didn’t know, but now I do!

EJ Zoom
EJ Zoom
March 20, 2024 10:01 am

I read with interest until I hit the wet weight number, oof. No I don’t expect a dirt bike weight, but 550lb? Looks nice tho.

ADVERTISEMENT

Watch: 2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro Tested

For 2024, Triumph's dirt-focused Tiger 900 — the Rally Pro — has received...

My First Time Riding Enduro, How Hard Could It Be?

Nestled between the Sierra Nevada and Inyo Mountains of California lies a l...

DoubleTake’s Popular Off-Road Mirrors Get Major Upgrade For 2024

Life always looks clearer in the rear view, that is, until you’re looking int...