The year was 2015 (or was it 2016? it all bleeds together) After 8 years and 40-60K miles on an FJR, my love for riding was all but sapped. I think I rode MAYBE 500 miles the last year. It was a sad time for me, forcing myself to ride, and thinking that at 50 I had lost the bug. I had two much loved Old Yamaha XS bikes, but they were in Storage 3000 miles away. I decided it was time to sell the FJR, and look for something back in the XS1100 style naked sportish standard. No fairing, or saddlebags, just a clean motorcycle. After 4 months of riding everything from cruisers to sport cruisers, to standards of many brands, including what I thought would be a slam dunk VMax, nothing bit me.
Then one day, I put in a search for ANY motorcycle in the 3000-5000 range into Craigslist, and saw an AD for a GRiSO. Found out there was a Moto Guzzi Dealer in Seattle. As a lifetime enthusiast, I knew about and had high regard for Moto Guzzi, but never had a chance to see one other than maybe a couple old Eldo's well ridden by an even older and well ridden bloke.... Never saw a Guzzi dealer, never rode one.
So one Saturday, off I rode the FJR to Moto International to see this 2007 GRiSO. Met and was oriented to Moto Guzzi by the great Dave Richardson, was tempted by his $9999 deal on NEW Norges, but as I thought I was done riding, and wanted to downsize to something cool I could tuck into the corner of the garage, I went over to the GRiSO.
The looks were unique, and had many of the things I had read about and always wanted. Reverse Forks, Single Sided Swing Arm, big Brembo Brakes, plus it was a clean, unique style. It also had what I consider MUSTHAVES, Air Cooled, and Shaft Drive. The heads and headers sticking out the sides and long lean lithe looks were impressive. Then Dave started it, oriented me to some of the oddities like reversed turnsignal/horn controls, digital dash, etc. He shut it off, invited me to mount the bike and take my test ride.
I will never forget the odd agricultural sound and feel when I started it up, and the racket it made when you pulled in the clutch. I immediately let go in shock, and Dave, waiting for this explained the dual clutch, and that this was normal. "Guzzi's make odd noises, you only need to worry when the stop"
So off I went.... Nice engine and exhaust noises, very tight and responsive controls and switch gear, tight chassis.... YES.... I turned out of the MI lot with permission to ride as long as I wanted. I dont think I had gone 200 feet before I exclaimed "Holy $#!t how the hell have I gone this long in my life and never ridden one of these...." It was instant addiction, instant connection.
Sure it was down on power from the FJR, but everything was so right. Smooth power, but not dull. This bike is ALIVE. Excellent brakes, chassi stiffness, response, and torque to bring home to momma.... Traded the FJR and 2 days later was taking it home...
What happened next was a revelation. I couldnt wait to ride. I rode every day. In the first two moths I had ridden 4000 miles, more than I had in years, and loved every second. The passion was back. I was in love with my XS 11 which I bought in 1984 and had ridden exclusively until 1998(?) when I bought a Concours, then after 5-6 bikes ended up on the FJR. At 134K miles, I turned the XS into a garage queen, restored it to near showroom condition and kept pristine. But I never connected with any of those until the GRiSO. It is the perfect motorcycle.
Yes, I needed to lower the pegs, and added a Beetle Map, and an Agostini Pipe, but it is otherwise unmolested, and though it has gained some stablemates that I also love, is still WHAT A MOTORCYCLE SHOULD BE..... Of all my Guzzi's, the 11004V in the GRiSO is my favorite. I also have a 1200 Sport, and though it may make more power, in the GRiSO chassis the motor feels sharper, as does the rest of the bike. Everything is sharp, tight spot on. Comfortable to ride all day, carve canyons, thug around, it is just about perfect. Even now laying on my couch, filled with narcotics (why this rambles likely) the thought of the off throttle 'brrpt' of the exhaust between shifts gives me chills, and the wail of the motor on full throttle redline shifts is one of the most satisfying I have ever had on a motorcycle.
After acquiring the 1200S last summer, I toyed with the functional idea of parting with the GRiSO, as the 12S fills the "sport standard' niche, with a softer edge for LD touring, but there is just NO WAY... GRiSO is a keeper....[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]