In general, Moto Guzzi motorcycles are an acquired taste. From cantankerous cold morning starts to hand-tingling long-ride fatigue, the Guzzi V-twin takes some time to get to know. Once acquainted, a bulletproof engine and an exceptionally comfortable ride make for a satisfying long-term relationship. The 2011 Moto Guzzi Griso is a true head-turner. Genuinely possessing Italian design (in the very best sense), the Griso is as unique looking as a cycle can get. The 2011 Griso embodies Moto Guzzi’s classic proportions united with a thoroughly modern design. Part cruiser, part standard upright, and part sportbike, the naked Griso is an unusual attention-grabbing mount. Sold only as the 2011 Moto Guzzi Griso 8V SE, and only as an Omobono Tenni special edition (one of Moto Guzzi’s most successful racers), Moto Guzzi may have made its most fetching bike yet.
The 2011 Moto Guzzi Griso encourages a riding stance somewhere between that of an upright and a sportbike. A rider’s body tends to lean over the engine, while the footpegs take a slightly set-back position much like higher, racing-style pegs.
This position is ideal for leveraging the Griso’s wide handlebars and for creating a front-end geometry perfectly suited for sweeping turns and canyon corners. As a result of its cruiser and upright design influences, the 2011 Moto Guzzi Griso is entirely suited for slow speeds as well. The wide handlebars provide excellent steering with only the slightest of touch required to shift direction. But don’t mistake the Griso for a slow-speed boulevard cruiser; this Italian steed possesses handling which would shame many sportbikes. Adding to its superb handling in canyons and back roads, the Moto Guzzi emits a continuous and distinctive sonorous growl which agreeably completes the Griso’s character.
While exceptionally comfortable to ride, low-frequency vibrations and that extended stretch to reach the bars make this a short-trip bike for all but the most dedicated riding enthusiasts. Vertically challenged riders may find the reach to the handlebars a tad too far. Older riders may find the aggressive riding position too much for their lower backs during long stints. Because the kickstand is positioned so far forward, accidental shifts while operating the stand may occur. Nevertheless, the 2011 Moto Guzzi Griso offers enough overall ability to keep the bike on the list of serious buyers. The Griso’s looks and styling alone should be enough to bring buyers.