November 11, 2007

Stelvio introduced in Milan

Img_8413 The Moto Guzzi press kit says:

With the much-anticipated Stelvio powered by an impressive "quattrovalvole" engine, Moto Guzzi offers its response to the challenge in the road-going maxi-enduro sector. This new machine is characterised by innovative technical and stylistic solutions that place it firmly in the lead in this category. Moto Guzzi has carried out a full scale development project and reconfigured the “Quattrovalvole” engine. The exhaust system was renewed, then to tuned to “balance” with the new injection and intake set-ups. These modifications kept the power output in excess of 100 CV, but, at the same time, allowed smoother, more controlled delivery at low and medium revs. Img_8644
The engine also plays an important role as a stress bearing component in the new frame. This high tensile steel tubular twin cradle has been strengthened at the steering head and at the four engine mounting points.
The machine now boasts a slimmer, more tapered profile. Moto Guzzi’s maxi-enduro is one of the most compact machines in the sector and introduces numerous technical solutions and new items of equipment. These include tubeless spoked wheels, anodised finishings, upside-down 50 mm forks with support brackets for radial caliper brakes and the magnificent satinised aluminium exhaust silencer. Riders can now enjoy a adjustable saddle, adjustable windscreen and stow small objects in a new compartment alongside the tank. This compartment can be unlocked from a button on the handlebars.
As far as looks go, the front view of the Stelvio makes it stand out immediately from other Maxi Enduros. Two powerful round headlamps that are embedded in the nosecone dominate the front that tapers gracefully back to blend perfectly with the lines of the tank. The Stelvio will be available from the end of the year in white and red and black colour schemes. A version with ABS will also be available.

Technical specs can be uploaded by clicking this link.

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There are a lot of other Guzzi pictures from Milan exhibition in my photography site, album is HERE, CLICK CLICK!!

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June 25, 2007

Riding now: Ducati Monster S4R

Img_6695_2 Now that the summer has really hits these shores, the Norge has become too hot to ride: I'm just too well protected against any air stream, even when riding on fast country roads. I hate the idea of riding without any protective gear, so basically I had three options: 1) stop riding on summer or 2) change the bike or 3) buy a separate summer bike.

Buying a summer bike is not that simple when you have a limited budget and an odd restricted set of mind: no bike within my budget seems to be a perfect fit for my criteria. Finally, as I'm a big fan of Italian motors, I restricted my decision between Griso, Monster and Brutale, rejecting Brutale because of too far-away dealer support, then eliminated Griso because of recent arguing at my local Guzzi dealer: they declined to use the Agip 10W60 oil (which I supplied, and which is THE recommended grade in the manual) and insisted on using their Silkolene 15W40 oil instead. That was so amazing attitude, that it was bye-bye to Griso. That leaves Ducati Monster then. I found a red 2005 S4R with 14000 km on the clock for sale at Maison de la Moto and after two test rides I bought it.

To be honest, it (the S4R) felt almost scary on my first test ride - the front end was running wide  in corners and the engine was like crazy. It turned out that the tire pressures were low and that the suspension settings were really strange to my liking: a bit hard front end combined with soft and low rear, where rebound damping was nevertheless fully tightened. Odd mixture! Now she's back to factory settings (almost, I have not been able adjust the rear preload as I don't have the required tool) and already behaves pretty well. Even the engine feels less crazy now - fresh fuel makes wonders. Fast and beautiful she is!

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More photos with higher resolution at

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June 13, 2007

World's toughest riders - not me, not this time

Saddle Sore 1000 - one thousand miles in 24 hours. It's the beginner level of the iron butt rides ( and I thought it's peanuts. Norge eats miles and I like riding, so I decided to ride the SS1000 and see how things go. Well, it didn't go so well, I didn't manage it: exactly 500 km from the start the Norge refused to co-operate so badly that I needed towing assistance... and even though the problem "disappeared" by itself and I was able to continue after few hours, I had lost too much time with the hassle and worse, I had lost confidence on the bike - so I replanned my route and headed back home.

In the end I rode 1360 km during that day. The weather was nice in the morning and "variable" in the afternoon - I think I swapped my rain gear on and off at least two million times.

Oh yes, what exactly was the problem? It was the curse of the 13th day, red light on dashboard, oil pressure symbol on. Engine off immediately, checking... all looks fine, so try to restart... and it runs fine! Great, helmet and gloves on... and it dies and wont' start again. Until after towing and after two hours it starts again nicely and runs me home without any more problems. Maybe, just maybe, it was just a bad connection to battery, but it's a wild guess. Nothing unusual was diagnosed in the 10000 km service (later). Mystery.

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June 10, 2007

New tires

7500 km with the set of Metzeler Z6. It's not exactly bad, but not good either. I've read and heard people complaining that the middle section of the Z6 wears too suddenly, so that the parts of the rubber with the TWI markings are still in a good shape, but this wasn't my case: the wear is quite "balanced". I've always been pretty happy with the Z6 (two sets in Breva 1100 already), but anyway, this time I went for a set of Michelin Pilot Road2, mainly because I just wanted to test something else.

New tires always feel much better than the old ones and even though the profile of the rear tire was still quite round, the new set has now returned the lost cornering stability.

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April 13, 2007

Easter ride to Camargues and Provence

These pictures are from our trip to Camargue and West-Provence (village is Cornillon-Confoux):

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April 12, 2007

Norge goes down

Have you ever wondered what happens to all that plastic fairing stuff when you drop the Norge? Well, I had to rode to west, all the way to Camargue to find out that Norge survives quite well.

After an "interesting" stop in a bar which would give inspiration to Stephen King's next bestseller, we were about to continue our over-night road trip, when the sky fell and knocked me and Norge down. A local peasant had reversed his white van from a parking lot, hitting Norge's top box from rear right and pushing the bike to the left. It was a total surprise to me, I couldn't even hear his approach beforehands. Only thought that flashed in my brains was "WTF, need to get away from the falling bike". Luckily missus was not yet mounted on the bike.

I guess we were lucky, no real harm for me and even Norge survived pretty well, just some scratches. An inspector from insurance company will check the damages next Wednesday, let's see then.

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March 13, 2007

Mountains high

Mountainshigh This short 1 min video is from last Sunday. The day was a bit windy but stunningly beautiful, even the temperature was almost perfect for riding. A lo-fi YouTube version should be visible as an embedded flash video down below. 

A much better quality .mpg file (23 MB) can be downloaded from here.

Turn the sound and bass on - Guzzi V-twin talks here.

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March 05, 2007

TechnoResearch VDSTS

Img_6073 Vehicle Diagnostic ScanTool Software (VDSTS) and interface cable from TechnoResearch finally arrived last week. So far I've had not much time to play with it, but it seems to be a tool well worth the money: in addition to normal diagnostics (error codes etc) you can reset the TPS, adjust the idle fuel trim and perform active tests on injectors and fuel pump.

I did reset the TPS on Norge, even though there was no real need - idle position was 4.0° before the reset, now it is 4.7°. Odd thing is that the reset had a bigger effect on max throttle: 82.3° changed to 85.0°. Update: 4.7° (+/- 0.2) and 85° are manufacturer specified figures for min and max TPS.

Before reset:

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and after:

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February 18, 2007

For a Few Rides More

I've always been a big fan of Sergio Leone, so here you go: a totally different motorcycle movie, 2 min 30 secs:

Spaghettis_1 Spaghetti5s

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February 13, 2007

Ground clearance - in action

Disclaimer: I made these videos just to see how much the centre stand really limits the left hand leaning angle - so, I'm riding here like a wooden block, not moving my body and not trying to go as fast as possible. Anyway, the ground clearance is now quite good for my riding style - I can touch the ground if I try, but it hardly happens unexpectedly anymore.

TouchThe centre stand hits the tarmac on left hand curve - short slow motion on board video (mpeg, 2.3 MB, 10 seconds).

There are minor pumps on the road and you'll hear the scratch (if not, right click to download the movie and watch it locally) and if you watch carefully, you'll see that the gear lever is in danger too.

Another touch here, slow motion too - the centre stand and my foot jump upwards and the sound follows a bit later...

These on-board bullet cameras are lots of fun!

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February 01, 2007

Ground clearance

Cantrestand1_ani Limited ground clearance. This a regular phrase in almost every Norge test report I've seen and it's quite a common complaint for Breva 1100, too. They share the same frame and suspension, but Norge is 15 kg heavier, which may make it a bit more prone to grounding. The actual problem is the centre stand - Moto Guzzi did remove the centre stand totally from the 1200 Sport, for saving some weight, but obviously also giving it more leaning angle. So, the problem is real, but can it be cured?

There are not many things that can be done without removing the centre stand, but luckily they make a big difference:

1. Adjust the suspension. Factory settings are soft (actually dealer settings, IMHO), but that's why the adjustment knobs are there! Owners Manual says that at rear, and counting from from completely discharged, the std settings are 8 clicks and medium load is 35 clicks. Front fork as std is 8.5 turns open from totally closed. I weight 70 kg, and have tightened one full turn at front fork (this has hardly anything to do with the ground clearance, though) and usually ride with 12-14 clicks at rear. I've also tightened the rear rebound for one click. Like that the bike is still VERY comfortable, so I can only imagine what happens if a 100 kg (220 lbs) guy sits on the std settings bike and starts leaning... steel sparks look cool in the darkness of the night!

2. Modify the centre stand stop rubber. There are two sizes available from factory, a long one for bikes without rear panniers and a shorter one for the bikes with them. The reasoning here is that when the rear panniers are installed, the muffler needs to go lower. The centre stand stop rubber is resting at a flange on the muffler, so when the muffler drops lower, the centre stand rest-position is compensated with a shorter stop rubber. Anyway, even the shorter stop rubber is unnecessary long! First picture below shows original long one and the modified one on my Norge. If you'll click on the starting picture, you'll see an animation of the effect this mod has.

That's it. Takes five minutes (or half an hour if you set-up the suspension more meticulously) and after that you can't anymore grind the centre stand on the right hand turns, as the fairing and foot peg will ground first (pic 2 below). Left hand leaning angle is still a bit limited by the centre stand, but not much - the foot peg, muffler and gear change are getting pretty close to the ground too (pics 3 and 4 below).

Centrestandstop Leanright Leanleft2 Leanleft

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January 30, 2007

1200 vs. 1100 revisited

Both 1100 and 1200 engines on the same chart:


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January 29, 2007

Life's Pretty Straight without Motorcycling, part II

This one is with a Moto Guzzi soundtrack ...

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January 27, 2007

Cold weather with Norge

It's been uncomfortably cold over here for couple of days now, but luckily today the sky was clear and the sun was as bright as it ever can be. So, not surprisingly, I went for a late afternoon ride to the mountains of Pre-Alpes de Grasse. Heated grips on max, but still comfortably wearing my summer riding gloves - no cold at all! On the northern side of the mountain the thermometer went down to +1 °C and I chickened out, made a demi-turn as the road started to look somewhat icy.

(images are clickable, but you'll find better quality pictures in my smugmug site.)

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January 23, 2007

Life's Pretty Straight without Motorcycling

6 minutes:

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January 21, 2007

Two videos in YouTube

These are a bit long and dark, almost 20 minutes totally, but at the end of the second part the scenery is somewhat cool. Last rays of the sun: Part I and Part II

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January 19, 2007

Best wishes for 2007

Better late than never (it's clickable):


(I found this gorgeous piece of art from the net - I do not know the origin or artist. If you are the author, I hope you don't mind me publishing the pic here - if you do, just let me know.)

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January 18, 2007

Oh la la - today I got rear ended

Times are getting a bit rough here. I may need to stay inside, in the bed and keep the windows closed to avoid the next road surprise. Today - about an hour ago - I was waiting for the traffic lights in Promenade des Anglais, I think 5 minutes and just 500 meters away from Aigle Motos, happy to be riding again when a blonde subutex lady decided to get familiar with me... so she hit me with her Renault Clio. Ok, maybe "hit" is not the right word, it was more like a touch, but enough to get me surprised and dancing with the bike.

You can probably guess what was her reaction when I put the bike on the side stand and turned towards her. Right, inside the cage, windows closed, shoulders up and both hands nervously pointing forward to my bike, mouth moving: "there's nothing, there's nothing" (in French bien sur). Maybe she was just too scared to say "excuse moi, monsier, ca va?" or something, I don't know. Sad experience.

Left feet muscles are a bit sore now, because of the ex-tempore stretching show. Luckily no real harm, not for me and not for the bike. The rear mud guard obviously flexed and Clio's bumber hit the rear tire and then pushed me forward. Licence plate was the only one which got some minor damage. Blood pressure has come down again, too.

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January 16, 2007

Dead Norge

Last Saturday, when I was already heading back to home it happened, without any prior symptoms - it just died. I was riding on the motorway on the fastest lane, keeping steady 150 km/h, and going with the other traffic on that lane, when the engine stopped without any prior symptoms - brrrrrrrrrr-rrrrrrrrr. Guzzi's engine has quite a strong braking effect when it's swithed off on the move, and when it happens like that the speed goes down quite a lot before you understand what happened and finally grab the clutch and desperately start to look an escape route away from the road. I was lucky that the traffic was not too tense and obviously the drivers were awake and I got safely to the bank of the road.

The starter motor turned the engine normally, no odd mechanical noise or anything, it just didn't even try to start - no ECU warnings, nothing. Like there wasn't any fuel or no spark at all. So I called to Moto Guzzi Assistance... they said that they can't organize a towing service on the motorway, I have to call 112 and then they'll pay the towing. No probs, it really worked like that. After an hour or two I found myself in the town centre of Les Arcs in Var, Norge stranded in the garage - nothing to do but wait my missus to come and pick me up. Time to see the local cafes, have a bier and take some photos. In the end - unplanned, but not that bad at all.

So, today  (Tuesday) Norge was transported from Les Arcs to Aigle Motos in Nice and I just got a call from them: it's running again! The alarm/immobilizer, which was installed just 10 days ago, was broken and is now disconnected and a new one ordered. It's a Guzzi accessory for Norge, so obviously all is covered by quarantee. Anyway, if my insurance wouldn't require an electronic alarm, I wouldn't have even bough that thingy. Immobilizer.

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January 11, 2007

Oil and tappet noise

Ken asked about the oil consumption: I've only got 3300 km on the clock, so less than 2500 km after the first service. I've not added any oil, but I think that the level has dropped a bit, still being well over the middle mark though. The oil dip stick is actually quite crappy to "read", so take this as "maybe".

I'm expecting the engine to be fully break-in somewhere around 10000 km, until that I'll be checking the oil consumption pretty regularly and listening the tappet noise carefully. Almost certainly the tappet noise has increased already, and it is louder on right cylinder side than on left side.

I'll check the clearances when I reach the 5000 km pole, unless it gets too noisy before that. Which reminds me that I don't actually know the correct valve clearences, intake and exhaust... got to get them somewhere. Weekend's weather forecast looks so good that I think it's gonna be a riding weekend, so 5000 km is not far away.

17 C and sunny, perfect touring weather for a touring bike - good time to work for my allocated share of CO2 increase.

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