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.
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.