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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

What Is New Is Old

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At a recent Piaggio open house here in Southern California, journalists had an opportunity to ride a number of motorcycles that fall under the umbrella of this conglomerate, including Aprilias, Vespas and Moto Guzzis. I had ridden most of the product available for our testing, so I focused on a couple of air-cooled Moto Guzzis, including the V7 Classic and the Griso.

What struck me about these bikes arose, in part, from my realization that old bikes are becoming more popular. With unlimited funds, there are plenty of enthusiasts out there who would buy an old Norton, for example, and restore it and/or modify it to include modern disc brakes and suspension pieces. When you think about the cost of doing something like this, buying a brand new motorcycle that already has modern brakes and suspension, not to mention a more modern, typically stiffer frame, might make sense. Particularly, if that brand new, modern bike has all the retro look and charm of a much older machine, and would be cheaper to buy without having to spend money on the restoring/updating.

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As I tooled around Costa Mesa and Newport Beach on the V7 Classic, I had an older guy in a Toyota Camery roll his window down at a stop light and say, simply, “nice bike”. It is a nice bike… changes directions effortlessly with it’s narrow tires and stops adequately (certainly better than an oldie with a drum brake up front). The styling of the V7 is totally retro, as well, and virtually indistinguishable from a typical 20 or 30 year old Moto Guzzi. It also has brand new paint, no rust, and has assuredly never missed an oil change.

If you want something with more performance, but still want that retro look and feel, the Griso with it’s four-valve heads might be the ticket. We did review the Griso here, so take a look.

There are other bikes out there that fulfill a similar purpose, such as a modern Triumph Bonneville, so think twice before you pay 6 grand for that 30+ year old Norton with the rust, the oil leak, the questionable service history and the lousy brakes and suspension (by modern standards). If you want to do more than stare at that old Norton, i.e., repaint, rechrome, rebuild and modernize it with decent brakes and suspension, take a look around at the brand new stuff first. Unlike that Bonneville, these two Guzzis can trace their air-cooled engine straight back to their roots, which is something a Hinkley Triumph cannot. Take a look at Moto Guzzi’s websitefor additional details and specifications on the V7, Grisso and other air-cooled Moto Guzzis.

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38 Comments

  1. Mary says:

    I simply wanted to say your website is one of the nicely laid out, most inspirational I have come across in quite a while. Thx! :)

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  2. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

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  3. Really enjoyed this blog article.Much thanks again. Cool.

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  4. I am so grateful for your blog.

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  5. BoxerFanatic says:

    About the motorcycles…

    I love the clean lines of the V7 Cafe Racer/basic bike look. I liked it on the Bonnie, and I loved it on the Ducati Sport Classics. The Moto-Guzzi seems like the most standard looking… the least stylistically embellished to “advertise” it’s classic status.

    It looks like M-G just never stopped building that sort of bike.

    However, the Griso… There is just something menacing about that bike. The V-twin across the bike just looks like a bold, solid, forearms-folded stance.

    However, after riding a nice V11 LeMans a couple years ago, I can’t help but wonder what that bike’s bullet fairing would look like mounted on a new 8-valve Griso.

    Seems like it would be relatively easy to modify the side-panel parts of the bullet fairing to replace the plastic trim between the valve covers and the frame spars… and put that bullet fairing on the newer Griso bike, with the fixed headlight. Perhaps even the Breva Sport’s multi-element round headlight with a projector in it, instead.

    Ohlins R&T USD forks, and similar rear damper/spring… and maybe a revised tail secion with a cowl over the pillion seat, something like the LeMans had, but updated for the Griso’s subframe and seat style…

    That would make for a nice next-gen Griso-based LeMans, and with lower footpegs than the V11 version, would be a fun bike to ride. I really enjoyed the V11, except the very tight knee bend for me, but it wasn’t my bike… :D

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  6. Doug says:

    I like the new look of the site. Very easy to navigate. Keep up the good work.

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  7. mark says:

    As mentioned, your previous site design was a clean communication tool, no fluff. It was appreciated, as many a blog suffers from busy, amateur design aesthetics. However, you’ve probably paid for it so there you go. Too bad. If anything, consider ditching the faux-asphalt background tiles, it’s reeeally bad. Hey, I at least I still enjoy the writing!

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  8. vonlein says:

    Oh well, another motorcycle site ‘redesigned’ for the worse. I made this site my main read after the Motorcycle.com change, now both are cluttered and hard to read. Yes, I’m a professional web designer, yes the old design needed some work, but this is not an improvement. I wish either management had been able to find a designer who understood how to update without adding stuff for the sake of having stuff, keeping the character of the original site. I could go on about line-height, length of paragraphs, the background! and many other things that are issues, but oh well.

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  9. RAD says:

    It sure takes getting use to .
    I like the old site better , but I am sure this one will grow on me .

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  10. Dave Kent says:

    I’m an old school guy who appreciates these bikes for the same reason I appreciated the old school website you guys just abandoned. Both are easy to understand and have a classic functionality that doesn’t cater to change for the sake of change.

    First time your new site came up, I instantly looked for the X button. I thought it was a popup.

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  11. Matt says:

    I like both the old and new website formats. And I’d keep this one. The old one was just too dated. This one’s great. Least worse of the two, by far.

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  12. Alex Fleury says:

    I think I’m with the majority on this. The new website design is not an improvement. I realize people don’t like change, but the new design is just too cluttered and not user friendly.

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  13. Mark says:

    Guys,

    Go back to the old website already! This new one sucks! The old one loaded fast. It was also simple; it was easy and intuitive to find what I was looking for. Now, I get this crap?!

    MarkyMark

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  14. Jim says:

    I don’t like the new format. I used to refer to your bike views on a regular basis. and now it is just a pain to try and find reviews quickly. For the life of me I can’t understand the mentality in this world of constant change for change’s sake, because it is considered an “improvement”. This new format looks like all the rest now, generic!

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  15. BergDonk says:

    Been looking at the updated site for a week or so now and still prefer the older version because it loads heaps faster. Here downunder I have to wait, and wait, before I can get readable text. Black text on what, a road surface?, is just impossible to read. It takes for ever to finish loading. Frustrating! The old site was tidy, clean and fast enough, although not as fast as most, and suited for the purpose, its not a printed magazine.

    Steve

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  16. Scott in the UK says:

    I have ridden a modern Guzzi (Breva 750) for 6 years and could not want for more. As a one bike guy coming from 2 previous thumper cafe racers, the Breva with hard luggage is a fantastic all day solo touring bike. The V7 Classic is the same bike in retro clothes, and looks great, the Cafe looks good too. No these bikes are not at the cutting edge of performance, but for the honest rider who likes to have a relationship with a bike over the years (and not buy a new one every 2 years or less) Guzzis are the way to go.

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  17. pkrockit says:

    Unfortunately I agree with a number of the comments here re new website. Very pretty, but less functional. I need a quick fix of latest motorcycle news every morning when I start my work day. The ‘old’ web design was perfect for my needs. Now it’s just another a cluttered, over-designed, me-too website. Sorry, you’ve lost me as a reader … been nice over the years, but I’ll have to find another site like your old one.

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  18. Paramveer says:

    with your site for 5 years now, guess the change is gonna take time to get used to, the only thing permanent is change, so be it……looks good though.

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  19. bill says:

    Your new site isn’t iphone friendly!

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  20. oldtwinsracer says:

    For the most part I agree with you, the old bikes handle good but are short of brakes and require a lot ofa attention. but there is an exception to the rule. I had a new Bonneville and liked it but it just wasn’t as sharp as I remembered the late Bonneviles I raced and sold. So I found a ’78 which has a single disk on each end, no electric starter and only weighs in at around 400 lbs. And just as I thought. It changes directions crisply stops like you have thrown out an anchor and when properly timed and carb well synched is pretty smooth. New Bonnie has a new owner and the ’78, she’s parked between the Nighthawk S and the FZ-1. Not leaking oil and always ready to go.

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  21. Rick Maiman says:

    You were at the top of my rss aggregator pile. Not anymore. Your old design always gave a visual hit to the eyes in a dramatic way. Now I feel like I’m looking at a bunch of tubs on a steam table…yuch! Kindly admit your mistakes, pay the designer and have the sense to admit that what was old IS still new enough. Change for the sake of change hasn’t won you a convert here. YOUR LOSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  22. johnny says:

    congrats on the redesign! been following your site for years,and this is much nicer. the older one was quaint for its simplicity, but I much prefer the look of this. thanks for the high res pics. nice to have reader comments now, too.

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  23. Lance says:

    I like the old school Craigslist style you had before… now it just looks like any other busy website.

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  24. Ziggy says:

    The old site was faster loading, visally cleaner, and the reviews were quicker to find and scan. It was perfectly suited to the content.

    I’m not an old fuddy-duddy, I am a web professional, and I’ll say that classic site design never goes out of style. For Heaven’s sake, at least put all the reviews on one page so we don’t have to scan text and then go back page by page over the decade.

    I used to use that review section religiously. Now, it will just frustrate me. Sure, you’ll get more hits on your sub-pages, and overall site traffic, but at the cost of annoying your readers and wasting their time.

    You hired the wrong web designer.

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    • Dave Sumner says:

      I like the previous format too. This one is very busy and not as fun to visit. I guess I will get use to it. Social media seems to be the way everyone is pushing. Et tu MD, Et tu?

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    • MikeE says:

      I think this site design is far more dynamic and nicer to navigate.

      With all due respect, the statement that you’ll get more hits and site traffic at the expense of happy readers is contradictory.

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    • bittersweet says:

      Sounds like you didn’t get the job, Ziggy, and maybe you should stop using dial up. The site looks great and still loads in an instant here. Use Google to find your reviews, the ones here will be towards the top of the list.

      Oh, and did you have a comment on the article you replied to? You shouldn’t be able to look at that Guzzi and not see how beautiful it is.

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    • SJ says:

      I too like the old design better. It’s simplicity highlighted the excellent images and writing that a daily update on the world of motorcycling was lacking. The new design, while trendy and current, is really really busy. The use of the asphalt background image reduces the size of the content and ultimately detracts from the things that attracted me to your site.

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    • jesse says:

      I gotta agree with Ziggy. I appreciated the cleanliness and simplicity of the old site, and the quicker loading.

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    • Twilight says:

      I don’t like the new look either. But I usually think remakes of websites makes them much worse. I don’t like the new look of Google and it broke my heart when IMDB removed the old design. I hope the old clean designs come back in style some day.

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  25. mrsdoubtfire says:

    Can You Imagine an upright sitting position bike with a 62 inch wheel base. The handlebars should be just below shoulder level. 1100cc-1300cc Inline 4 with 5 speed trans and a shaft drive. NO foot froward controls. NO fairing or bags or unneeded plastic. A 2 up seat about 31″ high is good. Triple disks and a round headlight to top it all off. Clean comfy and fast.

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  26. John says:

    Guzzis are some of the most under appreciated bikes available. I have a 2003 V11 lemans. Whenever I let one of my riding friends try the bike, they always comment on how suprised about what a great street bike it is. Note, these are guys that I also ride at the track with, so they definately have a hankering for modern sport bike performance. Worthwhile praise.

    With todays superbikes now ready to begin racing to 200Hp (thanks to BMW’s new focus), many are returning to practival/usable levels of power for the real world.

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  27. Scott says:

    Well done on the new look to the website. Very pleasant to look at and easy to navigate.
    I love the Mg v7 Classic. The more I see it, the more I want one. If they ever get the dealer situation sorted out here in Canada, I would buy one.

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  28. Gordon says:

    Nice update on the website.From a Aprilia Caponord owner,What about Aprilia.

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  29. Sam says:

    I love the new site! Great big pictures. Oh and the Guzzi’s are beautiful too.

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  30. Ken Allhands says:

    Nice insight…dead on in my book. That direction is the reason I’d rather “resto-mod” a late-seventies UJM than buy most of what Japan puts out right now. I’d like a bit more feedback from you in regards to the V7 Classic, other than “nice bike.” A microwave is nice…did it push any buttons for you, outside of getting looks, being unobtrusive and turning well?

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  31. sliphorn says:

    Nice bikes, I just wish there were more M-G dealers. BTW, I like the looks of the new site.

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