Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 i
…what you make of it.
For 75 years now M.oto Guzzi rely on fans who swear unconditional loyalty to the brand. That is good news. It is less gratifying that the number of newcomers to this group has been lower for years than the number of those who have left it for reasons of age. So it’s no wonder that the traditional brand has been trying for some time to rejuvenate its customers by focusing more on sportiness and Italian chic. Undoubtedly the right approach, but so far it has not really paid off. Now a new beacon of hope is coming onto the market: already known from the outside, but technically revamped. The new one is called the Sport 1100 i and is the further development of the well-known two-valve model Sport 1100 with a carburettor engine with an injection system. The Moto Guzzi technicians also gave the transmission a makeover, and an oil cooler mounted in front of the mighty oil pan should protect against thermal weaknesses. On the chassis side, the Marzocchi M1R telescopic fork gave way to an upside-down version from the Dutch company White Power, and the 1100 i rolls on beautifully designed three-spoke wheels. That there has long been a desire for a better chassis even among the very tough Guzzi fans and powerful engines, as shown by two guests of honor who were invited especially for this first test of the new Sport 1100 i. As early as 1986, the Swabian inventor Norbert Kienzler set about making Moto Guzzi a suggestion on the subject of »better driving«. With its self-built, lightweight chassis and the then only 949 cubic centimeter thick two-valve engine, the Noki-Guzzi knew how to inspire the MOTORRAD testers ten years ago. Unfortunately, it took a while before Moto Guzzi presented an improved model themselves. It wasn’t until 1992 that the Italians brought the first modern athlete onto the market: the Daytona. The chassis of the 1000 series marked a significant step forward, finally the usual unpleasant gimbal reactions were a thing of the past. The Italians also worked on the engine. The most striking feature: four instead of just two valves. On the basis of this nominally 93 hp four-valve engine, the Kramer company in Hattersheim-Okriftel set out to show that not only the new chassis is a strength of the Guzzi, but that the engine is also capable of real heroic deeds. After all, the Kramer-Guzzi developed 114 hp on the MOTORRAD test bench and caused astonishment among many testers during acceleration measurements from zero to 100 km / h in 3.2 seconds. By the way, but only marginally: the series Daytona has also recently been revised. It is now supposed to produce 102 hp, which MOTORRAD has not yet been able to verify due to the lack of a test machine, but let’s stick with the main character of this story. Although the Sport 1100 i impresses with its elegant design, it does not make it easy for the interested Guzzi newbie to convince himself of its positive properties. The ergonomics are somewhat disturbed by the extremely long tank. The hands have to support the upper body, especially when driving slowly, and cannot guide the two handlebars as loosely as would be necessary for a good balance. The beefy V-engine also takes some time to get used to. Below 3000 rpm, it shakes with every throttle and tries to tip the entire load around its longitudinal axis. Of course, due to the mass moment of inertia of the rotating parts, this cannot be avoided with a longitudinal crankshaft, but this knowledge is of little help to the inexperienced newbie. The stiff clutch doesn’t make handling the Guzzi any more pleasant either, and if you don’t forcefully pull or push the gearshift lever, you can find yourself between two gears – despite the overhauled gearbox. Because if you break off your first contact with the Sport 1100 i, you will never experience the fascination of Moto Guzzi. Only those who disregard the Italian’s weaknesses in stop-and-go traffic or in the tight crowd of overcrowded main roads will also get to know her strengths. This Guzzi just needs space. Only on open country roads, regardless of the nature, can it show what it is made of. With every kilometer, respect for the massive appearance gives way. Despite its proverbial stubbornness when it comes to straight-line stability, the 1100 turns out to be a real shocker on bends. It doesn’t fall from one lean angle to the other by itself, but if the pressure on the handlebars is right, it won’t be asked twice. After the somewhat sluggish turn-in phase, the sport convinces with an imperturbable line fidelity, from which it does not deviate even on undulating ground. At this stage of cornering, steering corrections require significantly less force than you would expect due to their generous dimensions, and the suspension elements of the sport are extremely sensitive. The basic set-up of the new fork goes perfectly with the rear shock absorber. Fine enough to smooth out even small waves and edges, and tight enough not to go too tight even when riding with a passenger. In short: the Sport 1100 i no longer offers a large field of activity for chassis tuners, and there is less to do for engine tuners than before. Because with the injection system, the sport has got rid of a large part of its negative properties. Gone are the days of stiff, long-stroke throttle handles that could not be opened at all without a laborious touch. Everything runs easily and can be precisely dosed, whether when accelerating or in pushing mode. And although the changes to the 1996 unit were limited to the use of a Weber-Marelli injection and the installation of a small oil cooler, the 95 hp “i” was ten more horsepower than the last Sport 1100 tested in MOTORRAD the classic 40cc Dellorto carburetors, but the weakness in the lower speed range has remained. Despite the 1064 cubic centimeter displacement, the thick Vau looks a bit weak on the chest. Only from 3000 rpm does he show himself willing to work, and from 5000 rpm you can also see a certain enthusiasm for this work. He pounds hard on the crankshaft. Rattling is part of the trade, in other words: The two-valve valve is not stingy with mechanical noises or vibrations. Despite all based on traditional values, Mandello has provided a few everyday facilities and, in addition to new switches, created options for fine adjustment of the brake and clutch levers. However, the side stand is still in a position inaccessible from a sitting position. It means: first get off, then unfold the stand. An unnecessary balancing act, especially for smaller guzzists. Surprisingly, the test motorcycle had problems with the braking system. Contrary to the experiences at the driving presentation in Mugello, this Brembo system lacks both bite and stamina. The doughy, constantly shifting pressure point suggests air in the system. After the two front four-piston pliers have been vented, the generously dimensioned system is in top condition. A leak on the gimbal housing is not that easy to fix. Despite a workshop visit, the Guzzi does not want to hold the oil on faster stretches of the motorway. The lubricant constantly drips onto the rim and migrates to the tire wall due to centrifugal forces. However, Guzzi specialists claim to get this evil under control with another cardan shaft seal. Because, they are convinced, the basis is right, it just depends on what you make of it.
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Moto Guzzi Sport 1100 i
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