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Old 02-18-2012, 08:17 AM   #1
Scott12180 OP
Joined: Jul 2010
Oddometer: 7
Moto Guzzi Stelvio --- reliability

Hi --- Got a bug to get a Moto Guzzi Stelvio. It's a right-brained thing becasuse there is a BMW dealer about two miles away, so an R1200GS is certainly the most logical choice.

My problem with a Stelvio is there is no Moto Guzzi dealer around here. Closest seems to be about three hours away. So that's the concern:

Can anyone give me some advice on the reliability of these bikes? The one I'm looking at is a 2009 with 5000 miles. No issues as being sold. So could most maintenance be done by myself? Or like some Italian machines should you plan on frequent visits to the MG dealer? Is the electronics good and reliable? That's something I certainly can't fix myself.

Any advice or experience with these bikes?

Thanks --- Scott
Troy, NY
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:35 AM   #2
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I'll just lurk here and watch the responses. Just today I mentally decided that I'd get a Stelvio. Then changed my mind and decided on a KTM 990 SMT. Then changed my mind again and decided to screw with my Aprilia it into a very sporty version of a very road-biased adv bike. And then changed my mind again....

Stelvio is my dream bike though...they are just friggin' beautiful. Like you, I'm very curious about reliability.

'13 Yamaha Super Tenere - my dream bike
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:08 AM   #3
Chuck in Indiana
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There is a Stelvio (Merged) Threadfest a bit further down on this page at the present time. It has tons of info on the Stelvio that may answer your questions.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:24 PM   #4
Scott12180 OP
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Stelvio Reliability

Thanks for the reference , but man ! that Stelvio thread ought to be broken up. 139 pages??

Well, let's let this be a thread for mechanical reliability.

Anyone care to chime in?

Basically is the Stelvio about as reliable and robust of design as a BMW 1200GS? Probably not, but I don't want to ride the thing to Nome, Alaska or through the Darien gap. I just don't want a bike which needs to see the dealer frequently or let me down on the road side 100 miles from home.

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Old 02-18-2012, 02:54 PM   #5
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A friend had a Guzzi LeMans 850; it was as reliable as an anvil.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:54 PM   #6
Sock Monkey
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Originally Posted by Scott12180 View Post
Thanks for the reference , but man ! that Stelvio thread ought to be broken up. 139 pages??

Well, let's let this be a thread for mechanical reliability.

Anyone care to chime in?

Basically is the Stelvio about as reliable and robust of design as a BMW 1200GS? Probably not, but I don't want to ride the thing to Nome, Alaska or through the Darien gap. I just don't want a bike which needs to see the dealer frequently or let me down on the road side 100 miles from home.

I would argue the Stelvio is MORE robust than a BMW. I've owned a R12GS and a Norge, the Norge having the same "internals" as the Stelvio. First, there's the CARC (Cardan shaft drive). I don't know that I've ever read of one failing. BMW's Paralever? Umm.....yeah, I've heard of them imploding, igniting, and drooling like a Mastiff.

I think block-wise, both the BMW and MG are quite robust. Ease of maintenance? Tie. Both have their heads out in the breeze and at least the older versions (don't know about the 2012's) had screw-type valve adjustment. Dead simple to do in your spare time. No Bearing issues (just grease them really well when you bring her home....Luigi tried to save money by keeping his grease gun mostly empty). Electrics seem robust once any early problems are dealt with. Parts are pretty easy to get from MI in Seattle or MPH in Houston, so unless you have a warranty issue, you really never need to see a dealer.

One "complaint" I've heard about the Guzzi's are they're heavy....and they are. That's because they're over-built (think Italian version of a Harley). Sure, they could be lighter, but they're made to go the distance.

Go ride one and see if it's for you. I LOVED the motor, but couldn't get my Norge ergos to work for me. Too many years of off-road riding have beaten my hands and wrists so they can't take any pressure on them or my hands go numb. On the Norge, after a 3-400 mile day, I'd have numbness in my hands for days. Not good. I thought about a Stelvio (more upright riding position), but then I test rode a Ducati Multistrada 1200 and it was all over. Fit me like a glove, great comfort, and OMG the power is just insane.....

aka NoVector
Current: 2012 Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX, 2008 Yamaha WR250R
Gone: Ducati Multistrada, Moto Guzzi Norge, BMW R1200GS, BMW F650 GS Dakar, KTM 520 EXC, Suzuki DRZ400E, and the list goes on.......
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:19 AM   #7
Adam R
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I have a fairly unique view of this - I worked in the Piaggio after sales dept in the UK until the end of 2009 as the technical training guy, I bought my Stelvio new in 2008. So I have the experience of owning one, the experience of training dealers how they work and listening to dealers talk about them and comparing them to other bikes. Obviously, that doesn't make me omnipotent on the subject - but I think it should help.

I love my bike - I have test ridden a 1200Gs since and been around the trade a while so have ridden other stuff - and I couldn't be happier with mine (well - maybe a slightly bigger tank!! But I may try and convert the front of the bike to the new design :) )...

Reliability. It's not bad at all, mine has given some issues but by '09 all the glitches should be pretty much sorted. They are pretty straight forward to work on for servicing (although a bit silly if you ever need to take the tank off, that's about 15-20 minutes, more on your first time if you don't have a manual - the whole fairing comes off) but they compare well to other things - lots of dealers said that they were more reliable than the GS. This makes sense to me, I have always felt that BMW's reputation for reliability is built on smoke. BMW's strength is their excellent after sales care, for that they can be hard to rival.

On the plus side again with Guzzi - dealers and owners alike tend to be Guzzi enthusiasts - so help and support can come from all sorts of directions!

BUT (and this is really important) It's a motorcycle - bikes are about following your heart - if you love them, buy one - reliability is good enough to put it up there with the rest of the mainstream so your head need not worry.

As a general rule (purely subjective opinion here) the smaller European companies don't have the R&D budgets of the bigger Japanese/Asian companies so the first production runs are more likely to give homes to gremlins (that is true of all motorcycle manufacturers to some extent - it stands to reason!) - but then they jump on issues and develop the models - get into the subsequent years of manufacture and you are onto a winner!

Just buy the damn thing though - they are a great bike - and the sound as you ease on the gas out of a bend is utterly addictive - still makes my tingle 3 and a half years on!!

Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 2008
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:24 AM   #8
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I have an 09 Stelvio. 40K plus on her as she waits for spring.
Only issues have been a speed sensor that got wet and died. I used a GPS for speed till the new one came in and I put it on. I also had staining on the carc from the final drive fluid. The "local" shop... 3 hours away... re-sealed it and no more issues.
Stone reliable. At least as good as the BMW.
GSA / Stelvio... Both EU. air-oil cooled... transverse 1200 twins real close numbers on paper. VERY different riding experience.

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Old 02-19-2012, 04:18 AM   #9
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I DON'T have a Stelvio - but what I DO have, is 5 Guzzis. I've owned at least Guzzi every single day and night since about 1977; at times there were up to 14 Moto Guzzis in my garage at the same time.
Of probably 50 or 60 that I've owned, only 2 were bought new - and only 1 was what I'd call a real lemon - and that was butchered by previous owners - the last owner is now a former friend.
Am I a one-eyed bigot? Only if we're taking about Bimotas!
Are Guzzis utterly reliable? No.
But can you fix them with a length of fence-wire, a band-aid and a rock? Generally, yes.
They are a rugged, simple design occasionally let down by flakey Quality Control and some accountant-afflicted purchase orders - so stuff like switches might not be as good as they ought to be. Each model has had its quirks but the consensus seems to be that the Stelvio is one of the best bikes the factory has built in the last 90-odd years - can't vouch for earlier than that.
Each model year has seen alterations & upgrades, so the older they are, the more issues you might face - though enthusiastic POs might have attended to those themselves.
Buy the bike - in the unlikely event you either don't like it or find a problem, you'll get a host of knowledgeable suggestions from hi-mileage Stelvio owners.
"I would like to die on Mars; just not on impact." Elon Musk
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:58 PM   #10
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I've got an 09. Bought it as a left over a little over a year ago. It's been rock solid reliable. I put over 20,000 miles on it last year and it's only been in the shop for its 600 mile break in, and for tire changes. It has never missed a beat. I'll be taking it to Alaska this summer and then 6000 miles or so home to north of Boston, MA and am not worried about it in the slightest.

I have 5 other Guzzi's in the garage and have never been stranded by any of them. My 04 Ballabio has nearly 70,000 miles on it and has never been down for anything other than a clutch, and from what I can tell, the 09 Stelvio is a higher quality machine.

Just make sure the cam/follower recall was done and you're good to go.

Good luck with your decision. If you test ride it, you'll be hooked.

2011 Moto Guzzi Griso SE, 2009 Moto Guzzi Stelvio
2004 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport Ballabio, 1979 Moto Guzzi V1000 Roadster Cafe
1970 Moto Guzzi Ambassador
1966 Moto Guzzi Stornello
IBA # 35648
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:38 PM   #11
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Recently ex large BMW motorcycle dealer foreman chiming in here!

I have been researching this same topic for some time. While working for BMW, I owned all BMW's as to do otherwise would be bad form.

I am not currently attached to any brand, so free to do and say as I like.

I will always love BMW but everything I am discovering on Moto Guzzi is positive!

Guzzi Stelvio throttle body

See the rod going across from throttle body to throttle body. THAT is how you sync throttle bodies. The fiddley system BMW uses is a pain to get spot on. On the GS you loosen a cable adjuster, get the vacuum the same, tighten the locknut which changes everything, back off the adjustment, tweak, tighten, tweak tighten, tweak tighter, ahh, perfect. Bump the cable housing, damn, back to tweaking. It's not the end of the world, but BMW's fiddley system is so prone to going out of adjustment that everyone just considers slightly rough idle and low throttle a characteristic of the bike which it should not be. MG uses the same system employed by multi throttle bodies on cars for the last 50 years! A solid rod that does not stretch and go out of sync all the time.

Thats how you do brake lines for adventure bikes

Thats how you do brake lines, separate and up each side. F800GS crosses over which n accession can get sucked into the knobs if you pick up a sizable rock.

It happened to me and I went from 30 to zero with a non rotating front tire. Actually I went from 30 to 10 that way and the rest on my side. It happened to another rider, much publicized and he went down at very high speed. It's a fluke and rare, but I am digging Moto Guzzi's attention to detail in avoiding many of these rare happenings with a solid thought out design.

On the R1200GS/GSA you won't catch a brake line cause theres a solid piece of aluminum just above the tread. I have never heard of a rock blocking the tire, but have seen one tear out knobs when it went between. Weird things happen, kudos to MG for not putting anything hard right about the tread.

Every other time an R1200GS/GSA came into the shop on a flatbed, it was because the damn Bosch fuel injectors plugged or got stuck. MG chose Weber fuel injectors. I have much experience with Weber fuel injectors with both motorcycles and autos. 10X more robust. They click louder then the Bosch injectors, but they actually keep working.

The more I research by asking riders questions and the more I explore the Stelvio hands on, the more I am becoming convinced this is THE adventure bike for round the world reliability.

And yes, it might be easier to get parts for a KLR or the like of small bike, but so would be to get parts for a red rider wagon which on my funness scale, is about the same.
Owned to date. Honda Aero 50, Honda Elite 80, Honda Elite 250x2, Suzuki Katana, Suzuki RF600, Yamaha YZF1000R, Kymco Xciting 500, Suzuki GS500, Suzuki Burgman 650, BMW F800GSx2, BMW S1000RR, Aprilia Scarabeo 200, Aprilia Caponord, Aprilia Sportcity 250
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:48 PM   #12
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Be sure to do a little research on fork leg pinch bolts.
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by safetywire View Post
Be sure to do a little research on fork leg pinch bolts.
Too loose and ... whereditgo?
Too tight and!...Damn?
"I would like to die on Mars; just not on impact." Elon Musk
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:39 AM   #14
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I own one, and I stand firmly in saying it's one of the best bikes Guzzi has built. Does it have issues? A couple. '09s had a cam recall, and a few fell victim to ham-fisted folks when tightening the (over-sized) axle pinch bolts. All were replaced under warranty unless they have never been broken (like mine). Does the fueling need addressed? IMO, YES. Does it need a rear shock replacement? If you weigh much over 160 lbs., absolutely. Do most people buy and ride them, absolutely. See; -- his bike is in my garage awaiting his return.

If you want a MUCH lower S/N ratio for your question, see;

Just be forewarned, it is an addiction that rivals every drug. I bought my first new in '99, and have owned more then a dozen now, and put in well over 300k miles to date. My first is still with me, and still does track day time.
Todd at - GT-Rx®.com
Fan of Carlo Guzzi's work? Ride it/Wrench it; Forum
Come ride with us;
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:06 PM   #15
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^ listen to him, he knows, especially when it comes to Guzzi fueling and suspension work. Todd worked on mine and the difference was transformative.
2016 Aprilia Tuono Factory | 2012 Vespa 300 Super
past: Ducatis, Aprilias, Moto Guzzis, a Husky, KTM 1290 SDR, and some BMWs as well
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