Manufacturers approach the sport-touring segment from a variety of angles. Some adapt existing sport bike and ADV platforms for long-distance travel. Others build new sport-tourers from the ground up. Moto Guzzi falls in the latter category with its all-new V100 Mandello model.
The recently-hatched Goose is both Moto Guzzi’s million-dollar baby and it’s the Italian firm’s first crack at a liquid-cooled engine. That 1,042cc, transverse V-twin isn’t the lone star in this production, either. The V100 also champions the first active aerodynamic winglets. While Mandello Del Lario’s latest sport-tourer sides with novelty, Honda’s NT1100 favors the tried-and-true track.
Based heavily on Big Red’s successful Africa Twin, the practical tourer repurposes the adventurer’s steel semi-double-cradle frame, bolt-on aluminum subframe, and 1,084cc parallel-twin engine. Slap a pair of 17-inch die-cast aluminum wheels onto that proven package and you have a competent sport-tourer.
While Honda and Moto Guzzi take different routes, they share the same destination. The question is: who gets there fastest? For that answer, we turn to the spec sheet.
|2023 Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello
|2023 Honda NT1100
|Liquid-cooled, DOHC 1,042cc, transverse V-twin
|Liquid-cooled 1,084cc, SOHC, Parallel Twin
|Bore and Stroke:
|96mm x 72mm
|92mm x 81.5mm
|115 hp / 77.4 lb-ft
|101 hp / 76.7 lb-ft
|£12,999 (~$15,700 USD)
Moto Guzzi dropped jaws when it finally unveiled its compact-block mill. Maintaining the OEM’s signature transverse orientation, the eight-valve, DOHC, 1,042cc V-twin puts Guzzi’s engineering might to good use with 115 horsepower and 77.4 lb-ft of torque. The powerplant’s oversquare layout (96mm bore and 72mm stroke) along with its 12.6:1 compression ratio boost the V100 Mandello to those performance heights.
Conversely, the NT1100 exudes an easygoing disposition. The Unicam parallel twin’s 1,084cc volume may eclipse the Guzzi’s displacement, but Team Red plays the long game with its 92mm bore, 81.5mm stroke, and 10.1:1 compression ratio. Those parameters produce 101 horsepower and 76.7 lb-ft of torque. Respectable numbers by most measurements, except when compared to the Mandello.
In addition to its power advantage, the V100 also benefits from its smaller figure. The Goose tips the scales at 514 pounds, which equates to a 10-pound difference to the NT1100’s 524-pound curb weight. Pairing that athletic build with a potent powerplant only falls in Moto Guzzi’s favor. As a result, the V100 Mandello takes the first round in convincing fashion.
Dancing Around the Ring
The NT1100’s steel semi-double-cradle frame may take responsibility for some of that extra weight. The construction certainly suits off-roading adventure bikes of the Africa Twin’s ilk, but many sport tourers don’t require such protection. Nevertheless, Honda surrounds that robust framework with a responsive 43mm cartridge-type inverted front end and a single-tube pressurized rear shock from Showa.
The NT1100 also finds a happy medium between agility and stability with its 26.5-degree rake and 60.4-inch wheelbase. With safety top of mind, Big Red equips the sport-tourer with twin four-pot clampers biting 310mm discs at the front and a single-piston binder mated to a 256mm rotor out back.
Predictably, Moto Guzzi prioritizes performance with the Mandello. The model’s steel tube frame enlists the liquid-cooled V-twin as a load-bearing element. A KYB 41 mm fork and KYB monoshock bolster the lot with rebound and preload adjustability. Following in that vein, the V100 practically turns on a dime (by sport-tourer standards) with a 24.7-degree rake and 58.1-inch wheelbase.
Up front, a pair of Brembo four-piston calipers and dual 320 mm provide deft stopping power while the two-piston binder and 280 mm rotor steady the rear. With such a setup, we have no choice but to award the Mandello yet another victory.
Thus far, Honda’s played it safe, but that’s the preferred approach when it comes to technology. The NT1100 covers all its bases with three levels of traction control, three-setting wheelie control, and multi-tiered power and engine braking settings. If that isn’t enough high-end tech for you, the five-inch TFT touchscreen display also boasts Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity. Team Red even tosses in heated grips, cruise control, and panniers (65L) as standard, making the NT1100 road trip-ready straight out of the box.
Meanwhile, Moto Guzzi arms the V100 with a Marelli 11MP ECU and six-axis IMU that governs cornering ABS and four ride modes (Travel, Sport, Rain and Road). Each mode automatically sets the multi-level traction control, engine map, and engine braking. When tailoring those options, the five-inch TFT display goes easy on the eyes too.
While those features position the Mandello as a contender, the active aerodynamics push it over the top. As the first model to tout such tech, we can’t wait to see how other manufacturers adopt the shapeshifting winglets. Yet again, Moto Guzzi and Honda sit at opposite ends of the performance/practicality spectrum. Both achieve their ends with efficiency, but that doesn’t lend to direct comparison. For that reason, this round ends in a draw.
The Honda NT1100 and Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello may enrich the same sport-touring community, but the two models don’t share the same language. The Goose upholds the ‘sport’ side of sport-touring, while the Honda focuses on the ‘touring’ part of the phrase. Those characteristics will appeal to different customers, making both a winner in the market. Still, we have to declare a winner.
Honda has yet to announce whether the NT1100 will make it to U.S. shores, but based on the model’s £12,999 U.K. price tag, we would expect an MSRP north of $15,500 (should it make landfall). That ballpark figure also aligns with the V100 Mandello’s $15,490 price point. With costs nearly equal, it all comes down to the spec sheet.
For our purposes—which usually side with performance—there’s no other choice than the Moto Guzzi. The Honda certainly brings its fair share of pragmatism and reliability to the sport-touring party. However, with the V100 Mandello, Moto Guzzi ushers its brand and the category into the future.