Published on August 7th, 2013 | by Boris
2013 MOTO GUZZI GRISO SE
To borrow from Kevin Spacey’s brilliant new TV series, House of Cards, I love the Griso SE like a shark loves blood. Spacey was talking about his wife, but since I could easily find myself in a long-term relationship with the Griso, and because my insane lust for this impossibly brilliant bike seems to have no real rational basis, I feel very much the same way.
For the first time in ages, I have literally fallen in dire, dreamy love with a test bike. I really do not want to give it back. I sit in the garage and admire its brutal good looks with a fondness that is quite unhinged. I speed on it, not only to wallow like a feckless swine in its rich power delivery, but also to hear the utterly magnificent thunder from its Termignoni can. The Griso SE has managed to push all my buttons, hard, and if you’re expecting me to offer up some kind of dreary objective report, then you need to go read something else. There will be no objectivity here.
All objectivity began leaving three days after I picked up the bike and departed completely when the kind importers (John Sample Group) fitted it with a dedicated Termignoni can. And it has never returned.
A week into my time with it, my mate Al came over and we stood in my garage sipping whiskey and rubbing our man-parts on the Griso SE. It was like I was 20 again, all passionate and nutty about bikes.
It’s just that kinda bike and unique in so many ways, hence its appeal. It’s quirky enough to delight you, but nowhere near quirky enough to annoy you. It starts like an old brute getting outta bed in the morning, with a harsh cough and a lunge, then settles into a beautifully organic intense idle that is hugely enticing. It sounds like a bloody motorcycle should sound. And it feels like a bloody motorcycle should feel.
The ride is also unique. You can’t be mashing the throttle on and off. You need to be in sync with it when you’re banging. It responds to smooth, positive inputs from the rider. If you’re uncertain or awkward, it responds in kind. If you are smooth and assured, it is too.
Under five grand, it is purposeful but not breath-catching in its progress. After five grand it is a symphony of glory and grunt. Remember to breathe through your grin.
The gear-shifts are smooth and silent when you get it right. And as an experienced rider, you will get it right. Of course you will.
It is ergonomically divine, with a great seat and wide ’bars, but if you have legs like a giraffe, it’s gonna fold them up a touch. I don’t, so I love the riding possie.
Brother Silverback once said: “A man has to own a Guzzi once in his life”, then promptly embarked on an ill-fated, but very passionate affair with a 1200 Sport and counted himself the better man for the experience.
And it is very much like having an affair with a gorgeous, idiosyncratic hottie who does things to you that would never occur to your missus. Hell, those things didn’t even occur to you until she did them.
I truly understand why blokes fall so very deeply for Guzzis. I have fallen myself. No, please don’t help me. It’s good where I am.
Start mileage 5626km
End mileage 7425km
Fuel economy 4.6l per 100km
Price $21,990 plus $1170 for the Termignoni slip-on.
In private sales, the 8-valve Griso SE’s have been fetching between $15,700 and $18,700 for a 2010 model, while a 2011 model runs between $16,800 and $20,000.
Basic excess: $650
Comprehensive annual premium: $730.99
Comprehensive monthly premium: $66.99
This quote applies to a 50-year-old male storing his unencumbered vehicle at Gassit HQ’s Sydney-based secure parking facility with an agreed value of $22,700
I suppose it can be synthesised to the way you feel when you’re riding it. The engine, the gearbox, the ratios, the whole weird-arse way it lurches to the right when you blip the throttle…everything about it, including its impeccable handling seems perfectly designed to offer a riding experience unlike any other bike. Nothing on this earth sounds like a Guzzi with a pipe when it’s singing the song of its people. It’s just so…well, so goddamn right.
The build quality is high, the instruments are clear, the no-ABS Brembos are spot on, and the adjustable suspension is similarly disposed. The white-stitched seat is very comfy and the genius addition of four small alloy posts under the tail for strapping on luggage was very welcome. The ’bars are almost dirt-bike wide, but I had no grief lane-splitting and very much loved the extra leverage.
Not riding like you have endless points on your licence. This was seriously the biggest challenge for me. Everywhere I went I was just gunning it and wallowing in the results. The full, rich combo of noise and grunt is stupidly addictive. I also found the sidestand to be fraught with eccentricity. It is positioned forward of the footpeg and I would sometimes snag the gear lever reaching for it. Then one of the two screws holding the tang fell off. I instantly fell further in love with the whole bike.
Having to give it back was like handing your favourite dog back to the breeder. I think I’m actually mourning a little. I have changed to screensaver on my computer to a Griso SE. I am also a little offended that they make it in a sickly green colour with a brown seat. Happily, mine was the matte black-and-silver divinity. It’s like they knew…
WHAT EVERY OWNER SHOULD DO
Pipes. End of story. And then maybe some pimping. The gorgeous spoked rims might be set off with a coloured hub and I’d bin the standard mirrors and paint the chrome headlight rim matte black to match the rest of the headlight and then, like God, I would rest and behold what I had wrought. For my work would be done.
The first service is at 1500km, then at 10,000km and every 10k after that. At the first service your engine, transmission and final drive oil are changed as is the oil filter. At 10k it’s the same, but your plugs are also changed as is your fork oil and fork seals. Every four years your brake lines and fuel lines are replaced.