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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Italjet Grifon: Scooter Manufacturer Enters the European Roadster Market

Italjet Grifon

The Milan motorcycle show certainly lacked the debut of significant Japanese motorcycles (see MD’s article on September 16, 1999). Nevertheless, several significant European bikes were displayed for the first time, including Italjet’s Grifon.

The Grifon is the first motorcycle from Italjet for many years. Italjet is known for its dramatically styled scooters, not for the Triumph powered 1967 Grifon motorcycle which is the ancestor of the new 900cc Grifon (also powered by a Triumph, albeit a triple rather than a twin).

Italjet wants in on the booming roadster market in Europe — a market also being entered by the French manufacturer Voxan with its 1000cc V-twin.

Like some of Italjet’s scooters, the Grifon has some truly unique design elements. Not the least of these is the 15-inch rear wheel suspended by twin shock absorbers. Combining this with a sport bike-like, steep steering head angle (24 degrees) and a relatively short wheelbase of 56.9 inches will result in handling qualities we can’t quite predict. Italjet may have to drop the rear wheel size in favor of a more conventional 17 inch wheel on the production bikes simply because 15 inch tires are largely unavailable.

According to Italjet, the Grifon contains no plastic whatsoever — consisting entirely of steel and aluminum. The 900cc triple is supplied directly by Triumph in an exclusive deal. It is the older Triple — fed by carburetors, not fuel injectors.

The 99 horsepower motor is renowned for its torque and broad powerband. I own a 1996 Triumph Trophy, and I can attest to this fact. Few people remember that Triumph’s Sprint 900 was voted Cycle World’s open class bike of the year for 1996 — primarily based on this motor’s flexibility and charm.

If Italjet’s weight figure is correct (375 pounds), this will be one fast roadster. The Sprint Cycle World fell in love with was approximately 100 pounds heavier.

Italjet is also working on a 600cc sport bike — reportedly powered by Triumph’s new 600cc, fuel injected motor. As a sport bike, we expect this model to have more conventional chassis specs.

MD welcomes a new and daring manufacturer to the motorcycle fold.