Those who want classic motorcycle looks without the hassle are a bit spoiled for choice right now. Almost every manufacturer offers a vintage-looking bike. Honda has the Monkey and Super Cub, Triumph the Thruxton café racer and Bonneville, and Royal Enfield’s developing a scrambler. There’s one retro motorcycle, though, which deserves some more attention: the Moto Guzzi V7.
The Moto Guzzi V7’s history
Although today Ducati is a successful motorcycle company, fellow Italian marque Moto Guzzi has been making bikes for longer. Ducati didn’t start making bikes until after WWII. Moto Guzzi, meanwhile, has been in business since 1921, Maxim reports. It would win the prestigious Targa de Florio later that same year.
By the 1970s, Moto Guzzi had several significant developments under its belt. It was the first company to build a wind tunnel specifically for motorcycles, Thrillist reports. And about 60 years before Lazareth, it had a V8-powered bike, the Otto Cilindri. However, it needed something to compete with bikes like the Norton Commando and the Kawasaki Z1.
The result, Silodrome reports, was the 1971 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. The outgoing V7 was the first to feature Moto Guzzi’s now-signature transverse V-twin, and the marque’s first shaft-driven bike. The V7 Sport, though, had a larger 748cc version of the original 703cc motor, rated at 70 hp, Motorcycle Classics reports. It also had a redesigned and stiffer frame, larger drum brakes, and a 5-speed transmission, Classic Driver reports.
Although the Moto Guzzi V7 Sport was expensive in its day, it was a genuine match for 70s superbikes like the Honda CB750. Not only was it fast—with a top speed of over 120 mph—but it also had excellent handling. Unfortunately, because of the company’s financial troubles, Moto Guzzi discontinued the V7 in 1973.
However, in 2008, the Moto Guzzi V7 returned, Bennetts reports and has since been majorly updated twice. Currently, the modern V7 is in its 3rd generation and is available in several trims.
The 2020 Moto Guzzi V7 lineup
Every 2020 Moto Guzzi V7 III has a 744cc air-cooled transverse V-twin and shaft-drive, Motorcycle Cruiser reports. The engine develops 52 hp and 44 lb-ft and is linked to a 6-speed manual. And unlike the vintage bike, the modern V7 has fuel injection, Brembo disc brakes, and ABS.
The base V7 III model is the Stone, which comes standard with traction control and adjustable Kayaba shocks. It only has one dial, an analog speedometer with a digital display—including gear indicator—and warning lights, Motorcycling.com reports.
As an option, it can be fitted with Moto Guzzi’s multimedia system, which lets your iPhone or Android smartphone connect to the bike via a dedicated app. Plus, for 2020 Moto Guzzi is offering V7 III café racer kits, RideApart reports, which feature special paint colors, headlight cowlings, fairings, and side panels.
But each V7 trim has its unique features. The V7 III Rough, for example, has a passenger grab handle, knobby tires, and wire-spoke wheels, Ultimate Motorcycling reports. The Stone Night Pack has LED lights and a slimmer rear fender. The Special adds chrome trim, a chrome passenger grab handle, and a tachometer.
Regardless of which trim you choose, though, the Moto Guzzi V7 III is a great modern vintage bike. The ergonomics are excellent, and the brakes are easy to modulate. At 470 pounds, it’s about 50 pounds heavier than the Honda Rebel 500. But it’s only slightly heavier than the Triumph Street Twin and lighter than the Bonneville T100. Motorcycling.com reports even smaller riders should have little difficulty controlling it.
Plus, the engine is smooth, with good low-end torque for easy traffic light take-offs. And for newer riders, the lower output compared to bikes like the Bonneville is beneficial.
Pricing and availability
Vintage Moto Guzzi V7 bikes aren’t too far off in price from modern ones. As of this writing, there’s a 1973 V7 Sport listed on Bring a Trailer for $8000. But another sold in 2018 on BaT for $13,500. The limited-edition Telaio Rosso (‘red frame’) models, which have lighter red-painted frames, are even more expensive. Bonhams auctioned one in 2016 for $27,184.
A 2020 Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone starts at $8490, while the Rough starts at $9190. And for 2020, Moto Guzzi has a few limited-edition V7 III models available. One is the 1-of-750 $9490 Stone S, which comes with an Alcantara seat, bar-end mirrors, and sportier tires. It also combines the Night Pack’s LEDs and fender with several aluminum pieces and a leather tank strap, Motorcyclist reports.
And for the café racer fans, there are 2 V7 III Racer models available. The $9990 Racer LE has adjustable Ohlins shocks, clip-on bars, rear-set foot controls, and a lighter steering system, Motorcyclist reports. Though it looks like it has a solo seat, the pillion cover is removable in case you have a passenger. And, just like the vintage Sport bikes, it has a red frame and swingarm.
Meanwhile, the $9990 Racer 10th Anniversary Edition is mechanically identical to the Racer LE, Motorcyclist reports. But it comes with a few visual upgrades, including an all-chrome fuel tank and a red-and-black leather tank strap. It also has a larger fairing than the Racer LE, complete with a windscreen.
The base Moto Guzzi V7 III isn’t exactly a café racer. And even with its tires, the Rough isn’t a scrambler. But if you’re after a bike with vintage looks that works for commuting and weekend fun, it’s definitely worth a look.
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