Launch: Moto Guzzi V7s

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The V7 Sport is a natural choice for a twisty mountain road.
Words: Nicole Karlis Photos: Courtesy Nicole Karlis, Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi recently released updated V7 range of motorcycles, which are available in three versions built on the same platform; the Stone, Special and Racer.

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The main changes to the V7 are based around styling and to the motors, which see a total of 200 new parts with a higher compression and a 10% increase in torque.

Engine efficiency is improved too and the emissions have been reduced by 12%, thanks to double oxygen sensors, high efficiency pistons, new intake manifolds and single 38mm throttle bodies with built in ECU.

CMG’s Nicole Karlis was at Moto Guzzi’s 2012 V7 launch last week in sunny Mandello del Lario, the headquarters of the historical brand on the shores of Lake Como in Northern Italy. Here’s what she had to say about the new Stone, Special, and Café Racer.

V7 RACER

Moto Guzzi’s even included some numberplates for you racer types out there. Trouble is, unless you’re handy with a paintbrush, it seems you’ll be perpetually stuck in 7th place.

First up, was the most striking of the trio; the Racer. Sporting drop bars and that characteristic chrome finish, complimented by a set of number boards at the rear and a windscreen up front, the Racer exudes the classic café racer look.

Moto Guzzi’s V7 Racer is their modern take on the classic cafe-style machine.

A push of the ignition and the bike vibrates to life, though it’s a torquey air cooled 744 cc engine it takes a little extra twisting on the throttle to get moving, but then you can choose a gear and leave it for as long as you want.

Brash stop-and-go riding doesn’t suit the character of the motorcycle although the single 320mm, 4 piston Brembo front brake had no problem slowing down the V7 during some bold riding. The shaft final drive will protest a little on aggressive downshifting but makes for a smooth ride in normal riding conditions.

The gear selector is new for this model and was actually so smooth that sometimes from neutral to first gear it was necessary to slip the clutch a little to check the gear was engaged. There are five gears; however the improved engine’s power range (60Nm of torque at 2800 rpm) allows you to ride in higher gears at low speeds without any hiccups.

Moto Guzzi’s V-twin engine might not be in the superbike class, but it still produces enough power to help you lose your licence.

After some cruising through the peaceful towns around Mandello del Lario, the ride took us up into some narrow mountainous curves where the bike could start to show its potential, all 50 horsepower of it!

The Racer’s riding stance encourages more agressive handling than the Stone or Special V7 models.

The bike drops nicely into the curves, although the drop handlebars make for heavier steering, they provide accuracy and are high enough to keep you sitting comfortably, while in a sportier position than the Stone or Special.

The new suspension setup for the V7 is reasonably soft, more so on the V7 Special and the V7 Stone than on the sportier Racer. However a couple of clicks stiffer on the two fully-adjustable Bitubo shock absorbers had it set up better for a sportier ride.

New for 2012 are the lightweight alloy wheels, which reduce gyroscopic inertia by a claimed 30% making the V7 more agile and allowing better corner speeds as well as faster flicking of the bike in alternating curves. Also new is the redesigned tank has an increased capacity of 22 litres, which makes for a range around 500 kms.

The footrests are also positioned a little further back to make the rider part of the bike and the bike is happiest with the rider’s body position and weight steering, rather than with handlebar maneuvers. In contrast, the Stone and Special have conventional footrests a bit further forward for a more relaxed cruise, and the higher handlebars are sensitive to the touch in direction changes, making tight hairpin curves seem effortless.

The V7 Special offers a more laid-back cruiser experience than the Racer.

The new V7 Racer stands out from some of its rivals where the classic look is usually combined with heavier bikes that don’t handle so well. Moto Guzzi have improved the handling and reduced the weight in order to address many younger riders who want the classic style without compromising the confidence of a new rider who is still getting the hang of two-wheeled life.

V7 SPECIAL & STONE

If you want to go two-up touring, you’re probably better off spending your money on the V7 Special.

And briefly onto the other two variants. The V7 Special is the touring option and comes equipped on request with two side cases for some handy storage space and a glossy two-tone paint finish for a luxurious sparkle.

The ride is quite comfortable with the plush seat, higher handlebars than the Racer and the neutrally-positioned footrests.

Like the Racer, the Special has spoked wheels that accentuate the bike’s vintage look. Apart from the side cases, you can buy other touring accessories to aid comfort and practicality such as a windshield.

And lastly the Stone, which is the basic model of the V7 range. It’s directed at a wider audience, with its lower price and modern touches. It’s less flashy than the Special and unlike the other two models it is equipped with cast aluminum wheels, a first for the V7. It’s not going to be imported to Canada for 2012.

The Stone is Moto Guzzi’s plain Jane version of the V7.

The Stone and Special will accommodate a passenger relatively comfortably, although it is not comparable to touring category motorcycles. Being 5’7”, I found the rear footrests a little high, placing me in a position that concentrated my weight on one point rather than distributing it evenly on the rear section of the seat.

Moto Guzzi offers a wide selection of factory accessories for the V7 lineup, including touring accessories and performance parts.

For a passenger of average height however this may not be the case. The luggage brackets interfered a little with the grab rail; however it is perfectly fine to use the luggage bracket to hold onto instead.

The Racer has a single seat due to the sportier styling, but it is possible to convert it to a two-seater with the aftermarket parts Moto Guzzi provides for the V7 range.

Rounding it all up …

The group of Guzzis going through the mountain towns around Como created quite a commotion. The V7 is just loud enough to turn heads without creating a racket that provokes tomatoes being thrown in our general direction. It shouldn’t be tiresome on longer rides as the engine purrs more than it roars.

After dinner,  the ride back to Mandello del Lario took us to a long stretch of fast road, opening the door to some higher speeds. The V7 handled the speed well and overtaking was easy thanks to the spread of torque.

Forgot your sidestand? You could always lean your bike against the wall …

Pulling into the factory at Mandello del Lario was a bittersweet moment as the area had provided the perfect location for this style of riding. A superbike could not have done the job better and sometimes power needs to make way for style.

There’s nothing like cruising along on a vintage-styled bike through the countryside.


SPECIFICATIONS

Bike  V7 Racer  V7 Special  V7 Stone
MSRP  $TBA  $TBA  $TBA
Displacement  744 cc
Engine type  Air-cooled, 90° V-twin engine, 4-stroke
Power (crank)*  37 kW (50 HP) at 6,200 rpm
Torque*  60 Nm at 2800 rpm
Tank Capacity  22 litres (including 4 litre reserve)
Carburetion  Fuel Injection
Final drive  Shaft
Wheels & Tires, fr  18″ polished aluminium, spoked, 100/90
Wheels & Tires, rr  17″ polished aluminium, spoked, 130/80
Brakes, front  320 mm Ø stainless steel disc and Brembo calliper with 4 differentiated and horizontally opposed pistons
Brakes, rear  260 mm floating stainless steel disc, floating 2 piston calliper
Seat height  805 mm (with 785mm option)
Wheelbase  1449 mm
Kerb weight*  179 kg
Colours  Racer  Bianco/Rosso Astore; Giallo/Nero metallizzato  Nero Ruvido; Bianco Puro
Warranty
* claimed

Gallery

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1 COMMENT

  1. If I had $10,000 to spend on a new bike right now, the V7 Racer would definitely be at the top of my list.  The last bike that caught my attention this much was also a MG; the ’01 V11 Rosso Mandello. Ooooh how I lusted for those lovely machines.

  2. e-mailed Piaggio North America 2 weeks ago to ask about these bikes and was told they would not be available until 3/4 of 2012. This makes them essentialy 2013 models in my book as we don’t ride much in Alberta come October. The local dealer didn’t know anything about the new engine/style mods as their 2012 models have old engine and colours. Nice bikes but owning one still doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy as far dealer and factory support. Pity.

  3. Doesn’t it just figure that the Stone, which I actually like the most, is the one that isn’t going to be imported. Jeeze.

    Actually, what I’d TRULY like is a 1000 Daytona or a road-going MGS-01. Alas …

  4. The Special does *not* come with side cases; you have to order those as options.  Additionally, she’s not holding a purse, she’s holding a Moto Guzzi helmet.  Sheesh.

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