2013 Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V Test
Moto Guzzi has been working the air-cooled, transversely mounted, 90-degree V-twin mine since the 1960s, and the latest nugget out of that rich vein is lustrous. Now sporting an overhead cam and four-valves, the latest version of the venerable powerplant puts out over 100-horsepower at 7000 rpm, making it a compelling motor for a sport-touring platform.
All of Moto Guzzi’s R&D has not gone into the engine, of course, and the Norge GT 8V’s chassis flawlessly represents the gran turismo ethos, which focuses on sporting capabilities, complemented by comfort you require on long expeditions.
With its protruding cylinder heads and massive headpipe establishing its masculine persona, the Norge GT puts out an equally rugged thump with its 95mm pistons. There are sweet spots where the vibe is less pronounced on the open highway, so only those who are testing the limits of the Guzzi’s generous sporting abilities are likely to be bothered. Ride it as a touring-accented bike and you will likely find the big twin’s rumble to have a solidly appealing personality.
In any case, the powerband is long and thick. There is a six-speed transmission for optimizing the power, but many riders will happily let the torquey motor, which hits its pulling peak at 5500 rpm, do the work, rather than their left feet.
With wheels that allow you to fit either pure-sport tires or touring rubber, the Norge GT can run marathons on the Interstate or sprints through the canyons. The bike likes to establish a line through corners, yet it is more lithe than the large fairing and saddlebags might intimate. Wet weight hovers around 600 pounds, which is about right for a bike of this displacement and intention, and the suspension is plush without being pillowy.
The ergonomics are outstanding, so you can ride all day without your body rebelling. Heated grips are nice, and once you learn the operation of the complex dashboard readout (typical for a Piaggio product), you will be quite informed.
Italian flair and performance are mixed with a strong sense of heritage and practicality on the Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V, a truly unique sport-touring mount.