2009 Sportster XR1200 vs 2009 Griso 8v Conclusion

Adam Waheed | April 20, 2009
Harley-Davidson Sportster XR1200 vs. Moto Guzzi Griso 1200 8V
We agree to disagree. Waheed says he’d pick the Griso 8V, while Hutchison maintains that the XR1200 is the bike for him. Looks like they both win.

So what do you get for the extra $3500 it costs to own a Moto Guzzi Griso 1200 8V over the Harley-Davidson Sportster XR1200? Well, if you think its quality, you’ll be sadly mistaken, as both motorcycles feature a fit and finish that is on a level commensurate with their price tags. They’re also equally matched in terms of manufacturer-provided warranties, with both standing behind their product with a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

Although on paper, the Guzzi’s hard numbers best the Harley’s, in the real world these bikes are well matched in terms of outright performance. Sure the Guzzi’s got more ‘oomph in the engine department, as long as you rev it out that is; with its low rpm torque curve the XR definitely gets a jump on it off the line. The Guzzi’s higher-spec suspension components deliver a smoother more controlled ride which gives it the nod in the suspension department; however the XR is more agile and composed in turns as compared to its Italian competitor.

So what bike should you choose? Well that rests more than anything on the type of motorcycle rider you are, but here is what we’d pick if it was our dollar bills:

Adam Waheed, Road Test Editor:

Here at Motorcycle USA we’re fortunate enough to ride most every new motorcycle in existence. And it’s truly a great time to be a motorcycle rider as the number of amazing new machines on the market is mind boggling.

If you think about it for a moment, in way motorcycles have become narrowly focused in terms of design, almost becoming niche-specific tools for certain riding applications. Look at a new sportbike for example as they are designed predominantly for use on the racetrack. Same goes for a cruiser as it is engineered specifically for hitting the boulevard. And this is why I love the Griso because it’s such a versatile motorcycle.

First off it looks awesome. Its styling manages to synergize the best of a retro classic yet at the same time uses contemporary performance components. Sure it’s not as insane as a 400-pound sportbike but it still has enough performance to keep my mind occupied plus it’s comfortable enough to ride around every day. If there were one street bike I had to ride for the rest of my life the Griso 8V would be it.

Ken Hutchison, VP Motorcycle USA:

With its powerful engine and nimble handling manners the Griso 1200 certainly impressed me. In fact the new Griso represents Moto Guzzi’s best effort to date and I’m really surprised at just how good of a motorcycle it is. However, for me I just really dig the Harley-Davidson. Not only does it look and sound the part, but for once this Harley has the cornering prowess to back it up. I’ll take mine in Mirage Orange Pearl please.


Adam Waheed

Road Test Editor | Articles | Adam's insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

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