Review of 2012 Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Discussion in 'Moto Bellissima: All Other Dualsports' started by leafman60, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. leafman60

    leafman60 Long timer

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    Not trying to act like some big expert (that Im not) but, since I started this review thread a while back, I thought I'd include this cross-post from another forum is response to a gent who is selling his Stelvio in favor of a BMW.

    _________________

    I have a few things to say about the topic of Stelvio v GS. Sorry for the length.

    First of all, I am about as strong a proponent of the Guzzi brand in general and the Stelvio model in particular as anyone. I helped a long-time friend buy one of the first Stelvio models when they were first imported into the US and I purchased an NTX when they first arrived last year.

    I posted a review that's still around someplace. I have 3 Moto Guzzi bikes.

    On top of that, I am also, I guess you'd say, a BMW man. I have 4 of them now and one is a 1200GS. Ive owned 4 GS models and I do a lot of off-road running. I am saying these things not to brag about the bikes I have but to give some idea of my direct experience with both brands.

    As far as the originator of this thread saying he is selling his NTX in favor of a BMW GS, I can understand it. I'm not saying I agree with it for me but I can accept that someone would do that.

    I think I said in my Stelvo review that the BMW GS is a more-refined machine than the Guzzi. It is significantly smoother running, has better controls and switchgear, and a host of added features not offered by Guzzi.

    I prefer the NTX, however. It is dramatically much better in off-road conditions than any of the GS models I've owned, most particularly the huge and top-heavy Adventure that I had.

    On-road the Guzzi is a tad faster than the GS and sportier handling. The Stelvio feels lighter than the GS. I also like the visceral appeal of the Guzzi. I like a little engine feel in my machinery. ( I'm also a long-time Harley rider and continue to enjoy a Shovelhead I bought 35 years ago.)

    I am also not fond of sissy-bikes with electronic controls for suspension and all those gadgets. Sorry for the "sissy" reference. Devil made me say that. It felt good too.

    The Stelvio is louder, it shakes, it has too much heat from the left cylinder, it's a little more crude than the BMW but that's what I like.

    I can easily see why someone with a different perspective would prefer the BMW and I would never ridicule them or try to convince them to like what I like. Good lord.

    I even have friends with Gold Wings. I just … well, nevermind. Devil coming around again.

    Now, problems.

    I've had two problems with my Stelvio. I was stung by the much-publicized aux light short-out and popping the main fuse that caused me to be stranded. I knew about the problem and had worked on it but there was a misunderstanding of where the damn fuse was located. I know all that now. I also had one of my sparkplug caps go bad and cause a cylinder to misfire. These are not major issues and I hope my problems are worked-out from now on.

    Now, the BMW. Those pictures posted earlier are inappropriate and do not reflect the problems associated with BMW’s.

    Shown there are unusual incidents. I’m sure such catastrophic, isolated occurrences could be shown with any brand. We do not have to resort to that sort of stuff to make a point about BMW issues which are legion.

    Most of the BMW problems that I can think of affect models from about year model 2000 and up. First and foremost is the final drive failure issue. But there is much, much more.

    ABS pump failures, electronic security system failures that leave your bike stranded, fuel pump controller issues, brake reservoir issues, switchgear failures, ECU problems, CANBUS wiring complications and many, many more come to mind.

    I hate to say it but BMW is the absolute, absolute most problem-prone motorcycle brand on the market. I hate to say it.

    If anyone thinks these issues are minimal and isolated and simply blown out of proportion on the internet, they should regularly attend the national and regional BMW rallies as I do. Mix and mingle with The Faithful and you will see that all the issues I enumerated are much too widespread to be acceptable happenstance.

    Not long ago, at a national BMW rally, BMW sent a PR man, Mr. Larry Kuykendall, to give a rare appearance. He held a seminar at 8 am one morning and it was packed. He went through the expected promo talk about how good BMW was and how they wanted to enforce a premium image etc.

    When he opened up for some questions, I was first up and brought up the final drive failure issue and he responded that they knew nothing about such an issue.

    I took the mic back and asked everyone of the 300-400 people there to raise their hands if they’d ever had a final drive failure. Seriously, about half the room raised their hands ! You could hear a loud rustle of all those Aerostich cordura sleeves rising in unison. Lol. No other questions were accepted and the session was quickly ended.

    Anyway, these problems are real. I’ve had several of them plague me. I’ve been stranded more than once on a new BMW model. It may happen again too.

    Let me try to clear up the final drive issue. There are two problems.

    First and foremost is the main crown or hub bearing failure. As it fails, the metal bearing cage disintegrates and cuts the final drive oil seal to pieces causing the final drive oil to quickly blow out.

    As bad as this sounds, in many cases, a new bearing and seal will fix the problem if caught soon enough. If you are in the middle of nowhere, however, this can ruin a nice trip. I always carry a pack of spare parts on my BMWs. It includes the final drive bearing and seal. I carry the tools and I know how to fix it.

    By the way, Guzzi uses the same bearing in the CARC drive unless they’ve recently changed it. I remember when they introduced the CARC and I discovered this. I was very concerned but, aside from a few initial problems, Guzzi has not been experiencing final drive issues that I know about.

    The second BMW final drive issue that gets confused with the bearing failure issue relates to the oil seal alone. BMW does not a have a vent on the final drive unit. As it heats up, significant pressure builds up inside. In some cases, this pressure causes oil to blow by the oil seal onto the ground.

    BMW has addressed this problem by reducing the amount of oil recommended to fill the final drive. This increases the air cavity in the final drive and reduces the overall heat pressure inside that causes the blow-by leak.

    These final drive issues became serious about year model 2000 with the 1100-1150 series. Then, the final drive was completely re-designed in 05 with introduction of the 1200 series and the “see-through” axle.

    Originally, these final drives did not include a drain plug and were said to be permanently oil filled. Although BMW never acknowledged any final drive failure issue, they hinted that anything that went wrong would surely be the fault of improper service by the owners. Well, the final drive issues became worse with the 1200 series than with the prior series.

    I’m not sure if they’ve worked the issues out now or not. Apparently, from all my contacts, the problems seem to possibly have been an assembly or engineering error that allowed improper shimming of the bearing.

    Enough. There are many, many other things. I think the thing with the germans is that they like to cram all sorts of gadgets and technological designs onto their products. They like to answer a lot of questions that nobody is asking. They like to fix a lot of things that aren’t broken.

    The more complicated things you add to a piece of machinery, the more things you have that can go wrong. That’s what scares me about the latest new water-cooled BMW bikes that feature many new designs and features.

    Does all this mean that all BMW’s have problems ? No. I know people with over 100,000 miles on their bikes with no final drive or other problems. However, the likelihood of encountering some issue with a BMW is, I think, greater than with any other brand. There’s just more things there to give you problems.

    I like the bikes. They have a wonderful suspension and the bikes perform very well. My R1200S is the finest sport bike I’ve ever ridden. My advice on having a BMW is this. Be sure to keep it in some sort of warranty coverage and then enjoy the bike.

    So, back to the original post. I wish the original poster well. I understand his preference for the BMW. It is a very refined and polished machine. I hope he is in the group of many BMW riders who have no problems. I do advise keeping it in warranty and carrying a few critical spare parts on long trips just in case.

    If BMW gets their quality control better, I may have another new one in the future.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  2. Sock Monkey

    Sock Monkey 99% bullshitter...the other 1% is just lies

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    You're likely right on that.

    I just checked my bike and to access the ATC setting, just turn the key to switch the brains on and scroll either left or right with the Mode button. ATC is right there at the top menu. Very smart. Set it to On or Off. Done. :D

    -SM
  3. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

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    Thanks guys!!!

    It sounds like it's very reasonable to deal with, a wahoo for easy navigation of menus with important stuff located on a top level! I didn't get the chance to muck with the menus on the demo bike but I could probably go back and play with it if need be.

    The more I find out the better it gets. :clap
  4. kirb

    kirb should be out riding

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    The menus are easy to deal with. The ABS is a button on the handlebar on the NTX. Easy as pie.

    I liked my bike so much that I bought another after a deer took out my first at 5k miles. Easy bike to love.
  5. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

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    Where's the best place to read up on the service intervals for the Stelvio?

    I'd really like to find a copy of the owner's manual in PDF, but I haven't found one on line.

    I'm also looking for any detail changes between 2012 and 2013. I know they changed the paint on the plastic below the headlight, but what else?
  6. fortrider

    fortrider Been here awhile Supporter

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    Wow, leafman couldn't have said it better. Both myself and my wife, who is a longtime BMW rider(35+ years) have sold our BMW's in favor of the Stelvio NTX. She got tired of her 09 leaving her stranded for the 3rd time. I got tired of fixing oil leaks and rear ends. I have had several GS's over the years and none can hold with the Stelvio in any way. It handles better, shifts better, brakes better and feels like a real motorcycle. Easy to turn off the ABS which I like as I live on a 5 mile sometimes nasty dirt road. BMW doesn't acknowledge any problems just continue making new problems.
    Moto Guzzi service, simple and easy. Change some fluids, adjust valves and ride. That simple.
    I do not say these things lightly, I am a BMW Master Tech.
  7. MoToad

    MoToad Been here awhile

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    When accessing the dash menus with the button, think slooooooow. It doesn't like jabby people.:lol3
  8. MoToad

    MoToad Been here awhile

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    I went looking cause obviously I am curious.
    Googled 2013 Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX and found this familiar review.
    http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/motorcycles/2013models/2013-MotoGuzzi-Stelvio1200NTX.htm
    When I Googled 2012 I got a very similiar review without the additional ECU talk. The refer to the tweaking of the 2013 model but the proof will be in the pudding. As we all know Piaggio is just a bunch of Pirates, thieves and liars....(Is that too extreme? OK. Scratch that.):zilla
    As it's hard to find out at this point what the diff is I would like to offer a suggestion.
    I have recently spent a good deal of time with Todd Egan and he is as curious as I am. I was told by Steve at Tuscon Guzzi that the 2013s do not have roller tappets. Todd thinks they do but can't swear by it. Todd is also able to read (and fix) ECUs. So if there is anyone in the Malibu area who is the proud owner of a new 2013 NTX I suggest you contact Todd at GuzziTech and get yerself treated to a free exam. He would like to see the difference.
    Warning: Getting to Todd's may cause injury or death.:evil
  9. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

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    Thanks Toadride.

    I read the review in the link plus the others I've found. It's hard to dissect what's new for 2013 vs what was new in 2012 from 2009 and before.

    I sure like the front paintwork better on the 2012, but that can be fixed pretty easy and cheaply.

    If the sophistication of the ECU got better that's most likely a good thing. The only reason cars run so good these days on EPA approved settings is uber sophistication of the engine management systems.

    All I see regarding the valve train is "decreased valve control noise level", no mention of specifics.

    I see reference to a new stiffer shock spring, probably a good thing based on Larryboy's comments. They also mention a new set of progressive fork springs on the Guzzi website.

    I see new windshield design but I'm having a bit of a time picking up the difference based on the pix on here.

    I tried to log onto GuzziTech and got severe malware warnings from Google. Have you all found the same?

    I did find a shop manual online, major help in understanding the service work and a few design details.
  10. MoToad

    MoToad Been here awhile

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    Todd's site was attacked about a week ago. Did some bad damage. I have a text into him so I'll let you know.
  11. MoToad

    MoToad Been here awhile

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  12. leafman60

    leafman60 Long timer

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    From what Ive seen regarding ECU and springs etc, that's all boilerplate stuff that applied to the 2012 models too.
  13. fortrider

    fortrider Been here awhile Supporter

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    I have had a 2013 head apart and the lifters are roller with a small floating pad on top to keep them center in the rocker arm. It helps prevent any binding. Noticeable difference in top end noise from the 2009 to the 2012/13.
  14. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

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    That's what I was trying to figure out. I was thinking the same thing but it very hard to pin down.

    I'm very happy to read the 2013 still uses rollers in the valve train.
  15. leafman60

    leafman60 Long timer

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    Yeah, luv dem rollers.
  16. vivo

    vivo Adventurer

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    My new 13 NTX engine is much quieter than my 09 1100 Griso, which I traded in. The isolation of valve train noise is very noticeable. I loved the 1100 engine, this new one has way more puff in reserve, still breaking it in but hit 103 indicated and it's not breaking a sweat in the least.

    I owned a Speedtriple and loved the engine but never cared for the sounds it made when just laying back. The Guzzi twin does that chilling out thing that no triple can match and the Guzzi lets it rip too. After 7 years on the Triumph I was ready for a big change, it took two more years to change over to the Guzzi twin in the Griso. It was ownership of the Griso that convinced me to stay with that Guzzi twin. The new 1200 is better still. I also traded my Kawasaki Concours14 while still under warranty. The bike is fast but I love the feel of the twin..

    Vivo
  17. yazata

    yazata Contra os canhões...

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    I was (well, I still am) a fan of the BMW GS1200, and I went to see it in an exclusive event before it was available... but this Stelvio NTX makes me shiver. I love the style, and the fact that you can't find it in every corner.

    I had some doubts about the reliability, but after everything commented in this post (yes, I've read all the post) I believe that it is a very reliable and exciting motorcycle.
  18. vivo

    vivo Adventurer

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    Yaz..

    The Stelvio, I have a 2013 with the narrow rear tire is a great handling bike. It is very dependable and has a very robust character about the build. It isn't a smooth refined sterile type of bike. Its much coarser. That's what I like about the bike. It is a thumping twin that never lets you forget it's there.

    My last three bikes were Triumph Speed Triple followed by Moto Griso and a Kawasaki Concours14 and a Caponord. The Capo didn't stay too long, a season, never much felt like a twin but was a nice bike. The Concours was fast and too fast. Only by revving did it explode and then you were going too fast. After two seasons I was bored with it. The Griso made me want the Stelvio. The Griso just lacked the touring package of the Capo and Connie but it's engine made me smile and so I traded both the Griso and Connie for a Stelvio. The Stelvio does what the Griso did for me but also can high speed tour two up like the Connie. The Speed Triple I kept for 9 years until I just felt a change was needed and being a naked it wasn't a bike to tour on, 250 miles made my ass hurt

    Test rides are hard to come by where I live. If you find one ,or even a Griso, take a ride.

    Vivo
  19. stevie99

    stevie99 That's gotta hurt Super Supporter

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    Vivo :clap:clap:clap

    I fell in lust with the Tenni green Griso when I saw one on the cover of a magazine in late 2011. I ordered one and patiently waited, finally took delivery in April of last year. Man, what a blast to ride, so much fun and so eager. It really made the 08 GSA I kept for touring seem boring. So it took another leap and ordered a Stelvio NTX in July, sold the GSA in September and picked up the Stelvio a few weeks before Christmas. What a hoot both bikes are. There's really nothing the GSA did better than the Stelvio and there are a lot of things that the Stelvio does better than the GSA.

    [​IMG]
  20. vivo

    vivo Adventurer

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    88...

    You sir have two great bikes and superb taste! Man I loved my Griso! You just don't love every bike but the Griso gets under your skin.

    I was checking out the matt silver Griso when I picked up my Stelvio. Love it and wanted it, especially since the MSRP has been lowered. Not yet though....

    Enjoy your Stelvio, I first ordered the burnt orange but switched to the Lava. I have not seen the orange yet, looks stunning in pictures. I couldn't decide and although I think the flat black is drab, it's growing on me, easy to clean the reason.

    I'm breaking mine in, 480 miles now and by the end of this weekend it should be ready for service, assuming it doesn't rain both days...

    I didn't even sit on the Stelvio before I ordered mine. The Griso was good enough that I knew I would love the Stelvio too.

    Two very good bikes for sure...

    Vivo