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2008 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic: MD First Ride

Moto Guzzi has pulled another classic model name out of its hat. The V7 Classic is a 70′s inspired roadster that means the same to Moto Guzzi as the Bonnie does to Triumph. I had a very pleasant experience with the small 750 in the Italian Alps.

In 1967 Moto Guzzi launched its now famous transverse V90 for the first time. The model was a 703cc (then the largest capacity Italian motorcycle) that Moto Guzzi called the V7. A classic was born, and in 2008it is revived with a 744cc 2-valve V90.

To put the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic into perspective, it can be compared to the Triumph Bonneville and Harley-Davidson XL883R Sportster, but with a smaller, less powerful engine. The V7 Classic has been tuned for low down torque and nothing else. As such it resembles the Harley, but 70 kilos lighter… Compared to the standard Bonneville the Guzzi lacks around 17 horsepower and some torque too, but no one buys any of these three motorcycles for its outright engine performance. With its 182 kilo dry weight (400 lbs.) the V7 Classic is the lightest of the bunch.

The main appeal of the 2008 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic is the styling. It’s all 70′s retro, naked-sports styling, and Moto Guzzi is just as much in tune with its heritage when it comes to putting out such a model as Triumph and H-D are. Three companies with a whole lot of heritage and 70′s credibility. The V7 Classic is an absolutely stunning little motorcycle and refreshingly different from the styling of the Bonnie and Sportster.

It strikes me at first how physically small the V7 Classic is. It looks short and sporty in a classic way. The 70′s style double seat with a very correct Moto Guzzi logo in white looks inviting. There’s nothing intimidating at all about the V7 and as such it suits the beginner just as much as the biking veterans out there.

I’m at the Moto Guzzi factory in Mandello with the V7 Classic keys in my hand. It’s a gorgeous day and I start riding around Lake Como before heading up into the mountains surrounding the glorious Italian Lake. The torque surge hits directly after releasing the light clutch in first gear and the launch is hence very easy. Through a limited but pleasing rev range I reach 6,800rpm where the 48.8 max horsepower is reached. Max torque (54.7Nm) happens down at 3,600rpm so I only use the whole power band a couple of times to see how it feels. Most of the time I’m happy to just short-shift through the five-speed gearbox riding the torque.

The small, air-cooled 744cc transverse V90 sounds great underneath me. I’m very comfortable cruising around the lake as the ergonomics work well. When heading up the steep hills and into the tight corners, I can just lean my upper body forwards a bit and I’m in sports mode.

The V7 Classic handles the transition from cruising to sport riding easily. The V7 is short with a classic double rear shock and a 40mm Marzocchi fork. An eighteen-inch spoked wheel with a single brake disc graces the front while a seventeen-inch is found at the back. The tires fitted are high profile Metzeler Lasertecs. They provide enough grip for the friendly and docile engine performance. The single 320mm brake disc gripped by a 4-piston Brembo caliper provides enough stopping power coupled with the 260mm rear disc.

Being such a small and light motorcycle, the V7 tackles the tight Alpine corners with great ease. The classic twin-cradle frame is the perfect match for Moto Guzzi’s small-block V90. If you wondered why Guzzi hasn’t used the 850 V90, it’s because it’s too big. The small size and easy handling also make the V7 Classic one of my favorite choices for town riding.

Conclusion

It’s difficult to imagine a more relaxing and pleasant way to ride around Lake Como on a hot summer day than on the Guzzi V7. When I stopped to collect my impressions at the lakeside, I couldn’t take my eyes off the cool looking Guzzi in white. I had a busy schedule on this visit to Italy, and the V7 Classic was just the bike to take the edge off things. I relaxed and that’s just what you want on a motorcycle like this. There’s not a thing that I would add or that I miss on this motorcycle. Just a shame that I haven’t got a clue where the nearest Moto Guzzi dealership is.

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The perfect engine for this bike
It’s got the cool 70′s look and the heritage . . . classic perfection
The price is as right as everything else is

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Dealers are few and far between