Recently I was lucky enough to have an hour long test ride today on a base specification Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello. It looked great in white with gold wheels.
It’s a handsome beast in my opinion
For once this ‘summer’ the weather was playing ball: Dry and cool at 15c with a high overcast cloud cover. Later it got sunny close to the end of the hour. I trundled my Yamaha R7 the hour’s journey from my home in Wymondham down to Stowmarket in Suffolk.
Here I was greeted by the Mototechniks Aprilia/Guzzi/Piaggio salesman and a quick sign up to provide my licence and NI number before a demo of the controls. Always good to be given a run through as modern bikes do tend to have so many toys these days
Formalities Over Let’s Get on With it!
Heading out onto the A14. I did an 18-19 mile loop a couple of times that took in fast A road, a sweeping B road and a twisty B road with sharp bends. I also mixed in some 30mph village and light traffic through the middle of Stowmarket.
Just under 40 miles in about 58 minutes of riding provided a reasonable overview of the bike. First impressions on moving away from the shop is a little disorientation from the polar opposite riding position and weight/balance from the R7 I’d just stepped off: The V100 is taller and the higher bars with lower, more forward pegs made manoeuvring the increased weight tricky initially. By the time I’d got the bike out onto the road and rolled up to the A14 slip road roundabout I’d acclimatised enough to give it some berries onto the dual carriageway.
It picks up very cleanly from low revs with a good shove of grunt. Then at about 5k rpm it begins to bellow nicely from the airbox and takes off with an impressive surge. The base spec bike doesn’t have the Quick-shifter that is standard on the S model. Another thing to adjust to having just been riding the R7 with its Yamaha optional fit Q shifter.
The Guzzi isn’t too keen on clutch-less changes unless the throttle is dipped well. So I find myself dipping the clutch for as clean a change as I can to match the smoothness of the engine. Turning off the A14 onto the A140 I press on through some long corners with reasonable elevation changes. Then past the Stonham Barns turning and onto the Stowupland junction. Here I turn onto the B road running through the rolling Suffolk countryside with a selection of S bends and sharp turns with occasional 30 and 40 limit villages.
Getting Into the feel of the Mandello Now
I’m getting the flow of the bike and starting to throw it into the turns a little more. The leverage of the bars and the excellent suspension and brakes mean it’s an easy bike to press on with: Nimble without ever getting twitchy. The Guzzi pulling up well for the tighter turns and lunging forward away from them with little effort and grin inducing noise. Returning through the outskirts of Stowmarket it’s an easy bike to manoeuvre through traffic and 30mph limits. Often balancing at standstill for a few seconds before pulling away and only then realising you’d not put a foot down.
Lets Go Round Again…
I begin the loop again, pressing on more this time and swapping the riding mode from Road to Sport. There’s a Tour and Rain mode too, but I didn’t bother with them. I even lowered the electrically adjusted screen. I let the bike rev out as I head down the slip road onto the dual carriageway again and it is mere moments until the speedo is reading high enough that I have to roll off to preserve my licence and click the cruise control on!
Time for a chill
The cruise and other functions work well: Easy to operate and the TFT dash is clear and informative. Not only that but it’s also very pretty. Anyone with a modern Aprilia is aware how good this set of electronic equipment is. Therefore it came as no surprise that the application here is as effective as those stable-mates.
It’s my first experience of it and I’m very impressed. Back onto the twisties after another blast along the Single Carriageway stretch of the A140 and I’m able to press on more, pushing as hard as I had on the R7 on the way through earlier. Once you get used to the balance and how quickly it turns with the leverage the bars give you it’s possible to string together a lovely flowing rhythm and the response of the engine in sport mode is just a little crisper to back this up. I trundle back into the dealers after filling the bike back up in the BP station next door, before handing back the keys. Incidentally the big V Twin ‘s used just over 3 litres of fuel in the hour I was out.
Overall I have to say that it’s a hell of a thing. It’s a physically large bike and you can feel it’s a heavy one too. Particularly stepping straight off an R7. However, it’s been really well thought out and just works whatever you throw at it. It feels a teeny bit more top heavy than my old V11: The engine is a taller. Still a 90° V twin it’s the overhead cams making it taller when compared to Guzzis of old. In addition moving the Fuel Injection etc to between the cylinders has put more weight higher there too. However, as soon as the bike is rolling it just flows along effortlessly.
They’ve really put effort into the build quality and components and the base spec suspension feels as good as anything I’ve ridden on the road. Certainly on a par with the Ktech kitted R7 and miles better than the stock R7 fit.
God knows how good the S model is with the Ohlins kit. Brakes are brilliant, being decent specification Brembos you’d expect that. The clutch is light yet positive: Another brembo master cylinder.
Love the Meaty V Twin and Intuitive Tech
That all new engine is an absolute hoot too. OK so 100hp isn’t setting the world alight but it’s enough to outpace regular traffic comfortably. Just as importantly the way it does it is hilarious: The Mandello sounds amazing.
The electronics and dash, along with the fun little things like the electric screen and winglets just make it fun without being gimmicky.
Can it Take Life on UK Roads?
The test bike has been in use since December and has covered over 1000 miles in all weathers and road conditions, through the months of salt and ice. Whilst benefiting from a good cleaning regimen and ACF50 it’s held up very impressively and still looks like new. I’m testing a Ducati Supersport 950S next weekend, so will decide between the Guzzi, the Ducati or another sports car after that. Currently a Mandello S in green is top of the list.
Words and Pictures: Dave Court