2010 Moto Morini Granpasso 1200

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Granpasso Euro Review

Not many people get to ride a Moto Morini, which is a shame as the 2010 Granpasso 1200 features the most macho V-twin since Suzuki’s TL1000S. The angry grunt exiting the exhaust placed on the left side gave me an early indication of the fun ahead. Granpasso is fun, fast and comfortable. How did they do that?

Moto Morini launched its Bialbero CorsaCorte engine into the adventure segment last year with the Granpasso 1200. Already now a year later, Morini has launched an upgraded version. 1.2-liter V-twin engines are versatile beasts, and the Moto Morini line-up features a naked sport (Corsaro), the Scrambler, and now the Granpasso adventure bike.

The 2010 Moto Morini Granpasso 1200 changes include new Excel wheels, capable to roll with both more weight and knobby tires. Improved ergonomics include a lower seat height and new handlebar that can be adjusted more easily for a wider range of riders. The footpegs are new as well, featuring removable rubber inserts making it easier for off-road riders when extra grip is needed for the boot soles. The fuel injection has received updated software for an even smoother ride and the Lambda sensor has been moved to the front cylinder exhaust. The next generation Moto Morinis will also receive a second Lambda probe for even more efficiency. Finally, Morini has added heat protection to the exhaust pipes exiting on the left protecting legs for comfort and the rear shock for performance.

When I first take a seat in the roomy and comfortable XL seat typical for these big adventure beasts, there’s not as much sag as I would have expected. Out on the road there is no significant rocking chair movement from the suspension, which speaks of a sportier package. Whilst firm, the 50mm adjustable Marzocchi fork (7.5-inches of travel) and the high-quality quick-adjust Öhlins rear shock (almost eight inches of wheel travel) is soft enough for comfortable touring. The Öhlins shock is mounted laterally, like on the Aprilia Shiver. I can easily apply the double front brakes fairly aggressively with confidence and they don’t bite too aggressively which make them suitable for the rough roads. The front wheel is a 110/80 R19 and the rear a 150/70 R17 with decent Metzeler Tourance tires fitted. The new tubeless and spoked Excel rims allow for a total weight of almost 950 pounds, taking care of your pillion and luggage needs.

The 2010 Granpasso 1200 handlebar is within easy and comfortable reach. The mechanically adjustable windscreen is tall enough to avoid the worst of the wind turbulence, and worked well in conjunction with my off-road helmet. Below the windscreen, Moto Morini has designed a very peculiar looking lip flanked by two menacing round headlamps. In Morini’s accessory catalogue, you will find two additional lights to be mounted on each side of the front side that will add lighting similar to a car. Alberto Strada, the Morini Vehicle Development Manager, told me that the design team wanted to achieve the image of an ugly bird from the front end. Perhaps they have achieved that Vulture look, and the Granpasso front undoubtedly looks distinctive. The lip is a design element, as there is a separate mudguard hugging the front wheel.

Moto Morini claims a 463-pound wet weight, excluding fuel. In the big adventure segment, this is very light. That big fuel tank houses over seven gallons of fuel, which should be enough for plenty of touring miles in between fill-ups. Due to the wide handlebars and fairly low unsprung weight, I can lean and ride the Granpasso almost like a big sport bike, and I have no problems keeping up with my riding mate on the Corsaro Veloce 1200. I really like how the Granpasso 1200 drives out of the tight corners, as the engine response is immediate and smooth.

The Metzeler Tourance rear tire digs in and the front wheel is slightly up in the air almost without me noticing most of the time. Through the power range and the 2010 Moto Morini Granpasso 1200 acceleration is hefty to say it mildly for this type of motorcycle. With a set of knobbies the Granpasso should steam through deep sand like a train with all that torque and power. The steering is precise helped by a high strength Verlicchi steel tube trellis frame and lightweight aluminum swingarm. The ground clearance is very good, considering the comfortably placed footpegs. The 59.25-inch wheelbase causes no problems in the corners and contributes to stability at high speed. Keep the revs around the 3-4,000 mark, and you can ride the Granpasso 1200 in sixth gear all day for low fuel consumption and a pleasant ride for the pillion passenger. The minimalist instrument panel is all-digital, and shows a graph for the revs and digital speedometer. The LCD features several functions, but it is a little on the small side for a big touring bike like this. I am confident in both the touring and sporting abilities after my day in the saddle.

What impressed me the most is that stonking torque-laden 1187cc 87-degree V-twin engine. The drive and feel is mighty and overpowers all other initial impressions. Moto Morini has produced one of the lightest and most powerful adventure bikes in the world with the Granpasso. The spec sheet tells us about the 118 horsepower @ 8500 rpm and 76 ft/lbs @7000 rpm engine. The CorsaCorta engine is a detuned version of the original full 140 horsepower Corsaro engine where smooth and powerful acceleration is available from as early as 3000 and all the way up to 8500 rpm. The torque curve has been moved down as low as possible in the powerband and it is a pure delight to control the output with the throttle.

The front wheel lifts surprisingly early in a completely natural way with no drama. The Granpasso is a monumental wheelie tool, should you be inclined that way, and I must say it really kicks in this area. Neither the KTM 990 Adventure, BMW R 1200 GS nor Moto Guzzi Stelvio behave as naturally as the Granpasso in this area. The Granpasso oozes power and the 1200 engine is as macho as they come. I have pleasant flashbacks to the great Suzuki TL1000S engine whilst riding, and I hail Moto Morini for it. There is no harshness to be felt from the engine like is the case with several modern liquid-cooled V-twin engines. All I feel is a super smooth drive, and all I hear is a fantastic warm burbling twin sound from the exhaust.

2010 Moto Morini Granpasso 1200 Conclusion

I hadn’t expected the 1187cc Granpasso engine to be as smooth and as powerful as it was. It was a true delight to ride around the Bolognese hills with such a flexible powertrain underneath me. The seat and ergonomics are as comfortable as you like, and the bike doesn’t feel too heavy, even with a full fuel tank. Uncertainties around the company, and whether you’ll be able to get spare parts in five years time or not, is pretty much the only minus. I’d say that the Granpasso is one of the most exciting grand adventures out there and, if you can, you really should try one.

Photos by Alberto Strada