It happens that my mechanic is a lovely guy. That's why he is my mechanic of course:) So he decided to give me his Moto Guzzi Stelvio for a ride. Ok I bribed him with a bottle of my Raki from Crete but still it was a nice offer especially since he proposed me to keep the bike for a day or two! Ok I had other commitments otherwise I would accept. So I rode it for a few km around Athens including a bit of highway.
The bike is nice in general. The saddle is very spacious and comfy and low enough for the shorties. Felt noticeably lower than my (raised by an inch) V-Strom and the short guys will love the front narrow part that allows feet to reach the ground easier. Mirrors are too small for my taste but good looking. Instrument panel is not bad but I am old school and prefer the full analog ones. The windscreen does wonders in keeping the air out while being kinda discreet. Liked it. Engine is (as expected) quite torquey and responsive but the most impressive about it is the consumption. If we trust the numbers the panel reads this thing consumes almost as much as my V-strom (which is already quite efficient!). I was impressed. 4.6 lt/100km average? Wow. Of course you have the shakes and rattles these engines generously offer. Not my cup of tea. I am also afraid that in long trips it will make palms suffer a bit. The rest of the bike (suspension included) offers great comfort. Handlebar is really wide and offers control to the bike which feels stiff and kinda agile for its size. Clutch is typical dry type with the noise and the feel these things offer. Not my kind of party. Front brake is strong enough to make the large front UD fork say "ouch!" Rear is OKish.
All in all a nice bike if you tolerate (or like) that kind of engines and clutches. The problem is that...it is going to give you problems sooner or later. Lots of them. But you do know it on the first place when you decide for a thing like that don't ya? :)
So after this ride I got back to my V-Strom. And...you know what? That thing from Japan put a smile on my face once more. I happily got rid of Guzzi's weight, shakes, rattles and clutch noises and now that the new chain took off all the noise the old one made, it literally feels and sounds like when I bought it new back in 2007.
Long live the Japs :)