Guzzis vs Ducatis

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Moronic, May 16, 2012.

  1. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

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    Okay, I know Guzzis are alleged to be much, much cheaper to run and possibly even more reliable ... :huh

    ... and that Ducatis these days tend to be faster.

    BUT, which feel the best to ride?

    I am talking mainly engine feel - you know that heartbeat thing that Ducatis have. Do Guzzis do that too?

    Nevertheless, what about the chassis side? Guzzis used to handle. Do they still?

    Are they capable of that same precision and near magically rewarding steering you can get from a Duc?

    I suppose this should be in Beasts as my primary interest is in whether this:


    [​IMG]

    (Pic, ashonbikes.com)

    Could feel as good to ride as this:

    [​IMG]

    (Pic: ashonbikes.com)

    But as neither manufacturer has much of a following among Beasty types, I thought I'd get more input here.

    For reference, I ride this:

    [​IMG]


    ... which feels fabulous in both respects but you can see why I am looking at panniers. Especially as I have an enthusiastic pillion, who likes camping.

    [​IMG]

    I have ridden Guzzis, but a long time ago. On the two bikes in question, I know the Multi is sportier, the Guzzi more toury and dirty.

    Can a Guzzi generate that same excitement some Ducs can offer even when just tooling down the road near the speed limit?

    Thoughts invited from the cognoscenti. :ear
    #1
  2. 40cu.in.of.furey

    40cu.in.of.furey Something clever

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    I would say the big difference is Maintenance. Do you do your own or take it to the dealer? That would be a deciding factor. shaft versus chain, lock nut and screw type valves vs desmo valves, obviously your familiar with the later. I'm sure you have thought of this as well, I to have been drooling over Guzzi's as well for quite some time.


    Ben
    #2
  3. devildogg

    devildogg Been here awhile

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    Good luck on that one, I love my Multi but the Guzzi is a real differnt experience the Guzzi feels better in faster corners (maybe becasuse of the Ohlins) or maybe just because it sounds so cool with the Ti. pipes. THe Multi may have the advantage in the tighter (shrugs shoulders)
    I couldn't decide so I kept both. Granted these are not real modern bikes but if I was forced to sell one it would be the Duc, the comparison between a 1200s and a Stelvio I would have to hang my hat on the Multi 150 HP :evil
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. healeyblue

    healeyblue Old and Cunning

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    I currently own both. A Guzzi Norge and a Ducati Multistrada (air-cooled).

    They both have a unique personality and provide an "involving" experience that most other bikes simply can't accomplish.

    However, they are on opposite ends of the spectrum from each other.

    Guzzis, in general, appeal to an older demographic. Many Guzzisiti have multiple motorcycles and many years of ownership. The great majority enjoy working on their own machines. A Guzzi engine sings a song that stirs the soul. It has a bass throb unlike any other.



    Ducatis are more sporting and youth oriented. The new Multistrada is exceptionally sophisticated, very powerful and full of electronic technology. Not having spent enough time riding the new liquid cooled machine I can't speak to the level of "involvement" one has with the bike but the air cooled bikes are certainly on par with the Guzzis. Ducatis are higher revving machines with lighter flywheels and quicker response to throttle inputs.


    If you don't do your own wrenching the Guzzi will probably cost less to maintain. However, there are fewer Guzzi dealers in the US and proximity to one (a good one) is valuable if you are not a DIYer.

    Guzzis are updated tradition, Ducatis are leading edge technology.

    I enjoy both of my Italians. They have a character unique to themselves yet, at the same time, wonderfully Italian.
    #4
  5. Mifune

    Mifune Been here awhile

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    I can only speak from my own limited experience of owning, both from new, a 2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Scura and a 2007 Ducati 1098S. It's probably not a fair comparison, but here goes...

    The Guzzi was a pretty bike. Even my wife liked the way it looked. But it was a heavy beast that made you feel the age of its technology. Loads of torque in the curves, a deep and reassuring grumble down below, but a handful to coax around them. Then one day the oil stopped flowing, a washing machine full of rocks started tumbling inside the bottom end, followed by silence. Biggest mistake I made was to buy a new engine for this bike. It had lost the will to live in the 21st century and I should have just listened to it.

    [​IMG]

    The Ducati is a completely different sort of creature with no real point of comparison with the Guzzi. Everything about it says, "I'm sexy and you are going to pay heavily for the privlige of riding me." But it has never given me the tiniest bit of trouble, feels as light as a feather when you're whipping her around, excudes technical innovation and is all around just too much fun. My only complaint is that I'm not skilled enough to do her justice and feel vaguely embarassed for her to be seen with me in public.

    [​IMG]

    I'm sure I must have been in love with the Moto Guzzi to have held onto it as long as I did, but I have never been tempted in the slightest to return to the brand.
    #5
  6. JamesG

    JamesG Rabid Poster

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    Totally different character and feel. The only thing they have in common is that both are Italian companies (oh and they share generators :evil ).
    #6
  7. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Been here awhile

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    I have a multistrada 1200s, with all tricky ohlins and stuff, and I have ridden the new stelvio. I think they are both great bikes and I may still have a stelvio one day. The main difference is how the engines make power and how you like to ride. The Multi is a superbike motor and rewards being driven like one with breathtaking speed and acceleration. The problem is that puts you well into triple digits in a heartbeat and isn't really usable much of the time. It will putt around fine, but its not really happy below 4k rpm. The stelvio has a motor that pulls easier from lower revs and seems happier at legal speeds. The stelvio weighs more, and that is noticeable at low speeds, but seems unimportant once up to speed. I wouldn't attempt to adjust the valves on the ducati, but the recommended valve interval is 15k miles and mine were in spec at that time. I now have 28k miles and have not had any issues other than the well known early recalls. I plan to keep the ducati a long time, but I still lust after the new Stelvio NTX with the 8 gallon tank.
    #7
  8. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

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    i think HealeyBlue offered the best response thus far. i've owned the Stelvio, both air/water cooled Multistradas, and to me, the feeling and vibe that the Guzzi motor gives off is like no other.....they truly are one of a kind. and what is more surprising is how well the bigger Stelvio handles, one would not think so given its size, but fast they are not.

    if you're going to compare air cooled Ducatis motors to the Guzzi's, the question becomes more difficult for me, but i think i would still choose the Guzzi as being the more "feely" of the two.
    #8
  9. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    The engines have different personalities, but if one appeals the other probably will.

    Weird to compare the new Multistrada with the Stelvio. The Multi is more pavement oriented and has a shit-tonne more horsepower. The Stelvio has more suspension travel, the newest ones more fuel, and an air-cooled engine.

    Guzzis are easy to maintain and make power in a satisfying way.

    The Stelvio compares favorably with the R-GS. I would think the newest Multistrada is more in line with a 1050 Tiger. :dunno
    #9
  10. BUZZARD II

    BUZZARD II Old Geezer

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    Had a Ducati and it was indeed the best handling bike I ever owned. But, it was designed for a smooth track. In the real world of potholes and tarsnakes it beat the snot out of you. And how fast do you really need to go?

    That Guzzi V7 cafe racer looks like it might fit my needs. Yeah, I'm an old geezer.
    #10
  11. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

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    Honestly, I don't think it makes much difference. IF you appreciate Italic design and execution, they both converge on that point of artful understanding.
    Guzzi people get labeled as weirdos by the mainstream of motorcycling, but really so do the Ducati fanciers. Both camps try to explain the mystique of their brand to people til it exhausts them.

    You can love both. You probably already do. It's okay.

    Speed limit tooling, they both do the same thing in singing a unique song and portaging you across mother Earth.

    If it were me, I'd take the plunge and buy the Guzzi, just to go full on weirdo for once. :freaky
    #11
  12. Josephvman

    Josephvman I'm the Decider

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    My 1098 was absolutely flawless over the 7k miles I put on it. It literally never needed a thing other than the 600 mile service and one oil change. I would buy it back today for what I sold it for if I could.



    #12
  13. devildogg

    devildogg Been here awhile

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    Well said and totally accurate
    #13
  14. JJGeo

    JJGeo Been here awhile

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    I've owned a bunch of Ducs, as well as a Guzzi 1200Sport and Griso (only bike I've ever regretted selling).

    Both motors are great. If you like torque, and aren't as concerned about revs, then the Guzzi is the motor for you. Both sound great, but the new Ducs don't sound like they used to IMO. With a nice exhaust on new models from both manufacturers, I prefer the sound of the Guzzi. I also think the Guzzi motors look cooler. But again, both are great.

    Ducati wins the chassis battle hands down. Guzzis are heavier bikes and don't feel as sporty. They'll do what you ask, but not as easily as the Duc. That said, they are very stable, and they don't feel as heavy as they are.

    Between an MTS1200 and a Stelvio, I personally would choose the Guzzi. I love the looks of the Stelvio, and the ease of motor maintenance. I'm not a big fan of all of the gizmos on the MTS. BUT, I live in an are where good twisties are at least a couple hours away, and the cops hate motos. Based on that, the more relaxed ride of the Stelvio is appealing. If I lived in N. California with superb twisties all around I'd get the MTS (or actually the SMT).

    For whatever inexplicable reason, I like Guzzis though. :huh
    #14
  15. stevie88

    stevie88 That's gotta hurt

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    I own an 08 Monster Tri Colour, an 08 GSA, an 05 Boxercup Replica and a brand new Grisso SE in tenni green. At 70 miles, the monster is coasting to a stop in need of fuel, the Grisso looks like its good for at least 100 miles so for me neither of them would be touring bikes at all. That being said, the Grisso motor does have a sweet sound and character by the bucket full. The fit a finish of the Moto Guzzi is several notches above the monster too. One thing it won't do as well as the monster though, is scare the hell out of you. :deal
    #15
  16. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

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    I can't believe how on-topic these replies have been, given I am asking about such intangible and elusive qualities.

    Lots of really helpful stuff here, guys, thank you very much. :thumb

    Obviously, I need to get out and ride a modern Guzzi. But a typical dealer test-ride is not going to answer my questions in a reliable way.

    I am impressed with the support for the Guzzi harmonics, a bit perturbed by the fainter praise for the dynamics.

    Rocker, the choice might look weird but it makes sense to me. Explained partly by the possibility that the lower price in Oz of the Guzzi might allow me to keep my S4Rs Duc.

    As for my preferences output wise: I do love the 8V Duc motor for its headroom, that sense that there is always more go, if I need it.

    But I am also aware I very rarely do need it, preferring to short-shift and torque along in tall gears. :rayof
    #16
  17. kirb

    kirb should be out riding

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    Guzzis have to be ridden to understand. The numbers don't make sense, but the bikes just work. My first and only Guzzi is a Griso. The same frame as the Stelvio. It's a 4V version (not 8V), but the basics are there-
    Torque is king, 6 speed gear box has close ratios with 80mph around 5k RPM, 90deg V-twin has great primary balance with just enough vibes going on to know you are on a twin (my fav eng orientation).

    handle? The bike is long and heavy when comparied to the 'strada. My Griso is OK to flog around the corners, but won't win any races. I had to drop the forks to the bottom line and mess with the settings to get it to stop 'wallowing' through corners. Now it is very stable and predictable, but it's still heavy for bikes of this ilk. (My previous 'local' bikes were Buells, so my expectations are a little high) Suspenders are very good and fully adjustable. Brakes are very good.

    Cons- heavy, slight dealer network, value drops like a stone (then flatlines), aftermarket is either not there or expensive
    Pros- built like tanks, shaft drive, easy to work on, rare, sound fantastic with Mistral pipes, 8 gallons of 'round the world' greatness, more 'adventury', get to say 'rare hand built Italian motorcycle' or 'second oldest MFG behind Harley' at gas station.

    Ducs are sport bikes. The 'strada is a superbike motor in a sport bike/touring frame. It's an amazing chunck of tech that combines light weight and high horsepower. I would compare this more to a Motus than a NTX. It's costly, but you get the best Ducati has to offer in a very comfortable (for ducs) package. Everyone I talk to can't touch it's potential. Not a bike I would flog down a gravel road as it has a bunch of fragile plastic bits (at least it looks that way when you stand there).

    Cons- more money, higher cost to maintain, harder to maintain at home, bags are plastic
    Pros- light, fast, more dealers, can make squids cry in their helmets, get to say 150hp at the gas station

    I'm considering my next ride and which bikes in the stable I will boot when I pull the trigger. Right now I'm thinking NTX and sell the Griso and FJR. I've thought about the Duc many times (and more now that Motus is too much $$), but it's just not calling me like the NTX does. I'm not going to kid myself that this will go far off road (keep the KTM), but it sounds like a great touring platform.
    #17
  18. page62

    page62 Been here awhile

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    These are great replies...but personally I would have thought a closer comparison would be the Guzzis vs. the BMW R-bikes. Air-cooled twins, German vs. Italian.

    To me, Ducatis and Guzzis are apples and oranges.

    Now, if you want to discuss Aprilia vs. Ducati. Well, there's a line of discussion! :ear
    #18
  19. kirb

    kirb should be out riding

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    I've never been able to discuss BMW vs anything to any BMW owner I know. Not quite as bad as HD owners, but close.
    #19
  20. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

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    Amen, Kirb.

    It always turns into a slapfight or a dick measuring contest.
    #20