Each year, the international motorcycle show in Milan known as EICMA introduces both excitement and anticipation for the new riding year yet to come. Taking place in November helps, because that's when the days are getting colder and drearier in much of the northern hemisphere. In addition, its placement just before the start of the busy holiday season in many cultures only serves to heighten anticipation of the models revealed at the show.
It's no coincidence that EICMA 2023 was where both Moto Guzzi and Suzuki wheeled the Stelvio and the GSX-S1000GX into public view for the very first time.
Both bikes are meant to lead the charge in demonstrating an impressive sport tourer for each OEM, but one that's lightly dusted with just a hint of ADV for seasoning. In Suzuki's case, the brand even sticks the bike into its own special "Crossover" category on its website to further differentiate it from the rest of the range.
Both bikes feature the introductions of some seriously impressive technological advancements for both brands. The Moto Guzzi Stelvio features the very first instance of the Piaggio Fast Forward Rider Assistance Solution electronic radar-assisted rider aids package, while the Suzuki GSX-S1000GX is the introduction of Suzuki Advanced Electronic Suspension to the world.
How do these two flagships compare on paper? Let's find out. Note: All specs provided here are sourced from their respective manufacturers.
Engine, Power, and Torque
|Moto Guzzi Stelvio
|Liquid-cooled, double overhead camshaft 90-degree V-twin
|Liquid-cooled, double overhead camshaft inline four-cylinder
|113.45 horsepower at 8,700 rpm
|150 horsepower at 11,000 rpm
|77.4 pound-feet at 6,750 rpm
|78.2 pound-feet at 9,250 rpm
|6-speed gearbox and shaft final drive
|6-speed gearbox with assist and slipper clutch and a bidirectional quickshifter; chain final drive
The Moto Guzzi Stelvio takes the 90-degree V-twin powerplant first used in the V100 Mandello and sticks it in a completely new chassis. According to Guzzi, this bike was developed in tandem with the V100 Mandello, and incorporates this engine into the Stelvio frame in a stressed member design.
How you feel about engine configurations is often a personal matter, and frequently has to do with how their characteristics make you feel in the saddle. Some of that has to do with how they sound, as well as how they perform. Power and torque do play a role, but they're very rarely the entire story.
The same can also be said of final drive choices. The Moto Guzzi Stelvio is shaft driven, while the Suzuki GSX-S1000GX is chain driven. Rider feelings about both final drive solutions are often subjective, and not necessarily quantifiable in any meaningful way.
Since the purpose of a spec showdown is to stick to things we can quantify, here's what we see. Although the Moto Guzzi Stelvio has slightly larger displacement than the Suzuki GSX-S1000GX, the GSX-S1000GX produces significantly more power and a tiny bit more torque. In both instances, peak power and torque come higher in the rev range, which makes sense given the engine configurations involved.
Round One Winner: Suzuki GSX-S1000GX
|Moto Guzzi Stelvio
|Tubular steel trellis frame
|Aluminum twin spar frame
|46mm upside-down Sachs front fork offering rebound and preload adjustability
|Showa Separate Function Fork with electronic adjustability
|KYB monoshock with rebound and preload adjustability
|Showa BFRC-lite rear monoshock; fully and electronically adjustable
|Wheels and Tires
|19-inch front and 17-inch rear spoked tubeless wheels shod in Michelin Anakee Adventure rubber
|17-inch front and rear alloys shod in Dunlop Sportmax Roadsport 2 tires
|Two Brembo four-piston front calipers paired with 320mm floating brake discs up front; a single Brembo two-piston rear caliper with a 280mm brake disc in the rear. ABS at both ends.
|Two Brembo monobloc four-piston front calipers paired with 310mm brake discs up front; a single Nissin one-piston caliper and brake disc of undisclosed measurement in the rear. ABS at both ends.
The choice of a steel frame vs. an aluminum frame often involves weight considerations. Aluminum can be both lightweight and strong, which are desirable characteristics when constructing a new model of motorcycle. For riders, it's often a matter of personal preference, and one which may also change by bike. In most cases, the choice of steel or aluminum for a frame isn't going to be a dealbreaker on its own.
Suspension-wise, the Suzuki GSX-S1000GX clearly takes the crown here. Regarding wheels and tires, it's probably a draw here. The Stelvio has a slightly more adventurous bent to its stock wheel and tire selection, while the GSX-S1000GX has a more on-road character in the wheel and tire department. Which one riders prefer will likely depend on their intentions for either bike.
Brake-wise, the Stelvio has a slight edge over the GSX-S1000GX, but that's not to say that the GSX-S1000GX should be counted out.
Round Two Winner: On paper, it's difficult to argue with that fully electronically adjustable suspension. The Suzuki GSX-S1000GX wins this round as well.
|Moto Guzzi Stelvio
|511 pounds, not including side cases
|Fuel tank capacity
The Suzuki GSX-S1000GX has a wheelbase that's nearly two inches shorter than the Moto Guzzi Stelvio, which suggests that it should have quicker steering. The proof of this will clearly be in the riding, but that's what the figures imply on paper.
Seat height on the Stelvio is slightly more accessible to shorter riders than the GSX-S1000GX, but not by much. For taller riders, clearly a taller seat height will be more welcome. This is another area where the choices will largely be subjective (and will also depend on things like how the seat feels, reach to controls, and so on).
The difference in fuel tank capacity is minimal, but the curb weight between the two bikes is more significant. The side cases on the GSX-S1000GX offer 25.7 liters of storage space and can handle up to 11 pounds of weight. Suzuki also specifically calls out that they should fit most full-face motorcycle helmets, which is a definite plus when touring. The Stelvio, by contrast, does not come with side cases as standard. They may be purchased as accessories, though.
Round Three Winner: Suzuki GSX-S1000GX
Electronics and Other Features
|Moto Guzzi Stelvio
|Five ride modes, traction control, ABS as standard. Two versions of the Stelvio are available, and only the top of the line version comes with Moto Guzzi's cool PFF radar-assisted rider aid package for an additional charge.
|Cornering ABS and traction control, low RPM assist, electronic suspension, ride modes, Suzuki slope-dependent control system,
|LED all around, with Moto Guzzi's "bending light" system to help you see better around corners in low visibility conditions
|LED all around
|5-inch TFT dash with Piaggio MIA smartphone connectivity
|6.5-inch TFT dash with smartphone connectivity
How these two bikes stack up ultimately depends on which trim level of Moto Guzzi Stelvio you're comparing with the Suzuki GSX-S1000GX. Moto Guzzi plans to offer both a base and an up-spec version of the Stelvio to riders, and the cool radar-assisted Piaggio Fast Forward rider aids (radar-adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and so on) will only be available on the up-spec variant. The base Stelvio does not have those features.
While the Suzuki GSX-S1000GX has a slightly larger TFT display, it's not always size that matters on your dash. How the information is displayed, how easy it is to navigate, and how well it adapts to ambient lighting conditions so that it's easily visible to riders tends to matter more.
Round Four Winner: Suzuki GSX-S1000GX if we're comparing it against the base Stelvio; Moto Guzzi Stelvio if we're comparing the top-spec version with all the bells and whistles to the only version of the GSX-S1000GX.
|Moto Guzzi Stelvio
|MSRP (US market; if you live outside the US, check with your local Moto Guzzi and Suzuki dealers for the most accurate information in your region.)
|The base model starts at $16,390; pricing for the up-spec version with radar-assisted rider aids is not yet available at the time of writing.
On the face of it, how willing riders are to justify a $2,000 price difference between the base Moto Guzzi Stelvio and the Suzuki GSX-S1000GX depends on their feelings about features and preferences.
The Stelvio has a shaft drive. The GSX-S1000GX has a chain drive.
The Stelvio doesn't come with hard side cases. The GSX-S1000GX does.
The Stelvio doesn't come with an electronic suspension, or even one that's fully adjustable. The GSX-S1000GX has both.
Is it worth $2,000 more to riders, though? It probably depends on the rider.
It will be interesting to see how Piaggio prices the up-spec version of the Stelvio, and how that compares to the GSX-S1000GX once that figure is available. For now, though, we can only go with the information available at the time of writing.
Round Five Winner: Draw. The Stelvio is $2,000 less expensive than the GSX-S1000GX, but it also doesn't have luggage or an electronic suspension included in that cost. $2,000 doesn't seem like an unreasonable price to pay for those upgrades in 2024.
2024 Suzuki GSX-S1000GX wins our Spec Showdown this time around!
Suzuki came out of the gate swinging with the GSX-S1000GX, landing body blows against plenty of its competition. Other bikes might also offer electronic suspensions, but the value proposition on offer with this package is tough to ignore. There's a lot to appreciate here; at least, on paper.
Depending on how it's priced, the Moto Guzzi Stelvio with the radar-assisted tech will likely pose a bigger challenge. We certainly wouldn't count it out, especially when you consider that things like styling and ergonomics aren't really covered by spec sheets.
We Ride Bikes, Not Specs
That leads us neatly to our next point, with which we always like to close our Spec Showdowns. Riders are passionate people. We ride bikes; we don't ride spec sheets. Just because something looks good on paper doesn't always mean that it's the right choice for you once you're in the saddle.
Riders are also all different people. For example, as I've discussed here in the past, I'm not only a rider who is somewhat vertically challenged (height around 5-foot-3.5 inches, give or take). I'm also a rider with a shorter inseam than most. Since that's the case, I have to work a little harder to get my feet on the ground sometimes.
Other riders are taller, or at least have longer legs; other riders might have shorter or longer arms, or larger or smaller hands. All of these things affect how comfortably bikes fit us, and thus, how much we each enjoy riding individual motorcycle models.
Since we're all built so differently, the absolute best thing you can do to find the right bike for you is to test ride any and all bikes that you're considering as your next machine. While specs on paper might help you start to make a list of bikes you want to cross-shop, specs alone can't tell you how you'll feel about a bike once you ride it. Only riding the bikes in question can do that.