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  • April 9, 2013
  • Dirck Edge
  • Dirck Edge and Willy Ivins
  • 75 Comments

2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone: MD Ride Review

When Piaggio purchased Moto Guzzi several years ago, it pledged to invest all the money necessary to bring this storied brand back to the top of the Italian motorcycle manufacturing industry. Before developing the first Moto Guzzi as a ground-up, total redesign (we are referring to the California 1400), Piaggio made efforts to refine and invigorate the existing engineering found in bikes like the V7 line.  One of those bikes is the V7 Stone we recently tested.

The V7 Stone is powered by a 90 degree v-twin displacing 744cc.  This air/oil cooled engine has been around for quite some time, and features a five speed gearbox.

As we reported, for 2013 the United States market gets the entire line of V7 models, including the Special (at $8,990), the Racer (at $9,990) and the Stone (at $8,390) with a newly developed version of the fuel injected 744cc motor.  That motor now has increased compression, refined fuel injection and engine management systems and more than 200 new or redesigned parts (roughly 70% of the total engine components).

These changes bring increases in every type of performance, including a 12% increase in horsepower (now claimed to be 50 hp at the crank), a 10% increase in torque (up to 43 foot pounds), together with significant improvements in fuel consumption and emissions.

When we last sampled a Moto Guzzi with the previous iteration of this motor, we found it quaint but underwhelming.  Frankly, we weren’t expecting much when we tested the V7 Stone alongside the latest Triumph Bonneville, but were surprised when it was not immediately obvious which of the two bike had more power.  Of course, the Bonneville wins in this category, but the newly designed engine in the Stone is very impressive nonetheless.

With two-valve heads, the relatively large v-twin not surprisingly makes most of its power in the low end and mid-range.  The fuel injection is dialed in nicely, and the bike pulls well from a stop and keeps pulling sharply if you short shift it at the top of the mid-range.  The power-band is not a mile wide like that found on the Triumph, but it is very satisfying, nonetheless, and brings the V7 models up to a performance level that makes them a practical alternative for just about any rider looking for a retro steed.

What the Guzzi has in spades over the Triumph, however, is that difficult-to-define quality . . . character.  The vibration from this engine embraces you in the way that only a Moto Guzzi engine can.  From the rocking motion induced by the longitudinal crank, to the characteristic pulse of the “heart” of this bike, you just might fall in love.  You certainly wouldn’t be the first.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, a Moto Guzzi is no Honda Accord.  It is not refined to the point that it lacks any discernible personality.  Quite the opposite.  It has more personality than you might expect, or even want.  But if you find it appealing, passion ensues.

The V7 Stone handles quite well.  It is very light . . . 70 pounds or so lighter than a Triumph Bonneville, for instance.  The claimed curb weight of 390 pounds puts the Stone in 600cc supersport territory in terms of weight.

The 18″ front wheel has a narrow 100 section tire, and the 17″ rear features a 130 section.  Like the Triumph Bonneville, this bike has small lightweight tires on light cast aluminum rims, and it features a single front disc brake.  This means very low unsprung weight, which compliments the low overall weight of the machine.  The Stone feels almost like a light dirt bike if you step aboard it after piloting some of the heavier machines available on the market today (I recall riding the Stone immediately after the Honda F6B, for instance).

Despite the nimble nature of the bike, it is stable in a straight line at high speeds.  Handling is difficult to fault, but the suspension is another matter.  While the shocks did their job admirably, the 40mm fork has springs which are far too soft.  I occasionally bottomed the fork and at 190 pounds, I am probably not outside the range of normal American riders.

The transmission feels somewhat crude in comparison to other modern bikes with a long throw and some clunky engagements.  Nevertheless, the bike never missed a shift.

The large 5.8 gallon gas tank provides plenty of range given the 49 mpg we experienced during testing.

The ergonomics are comfortable and upright, although like many Moto Guzzis, the pegs are slightly forward from where you might expect them.  The seat height is taller than the seat on the Bonneville, but still reasonable when compared with some of the modern adventure bikes, for instance.

The front disc brake is a single 320 mm floating unit, and the Brembo caliper has four pistons.  In the rear, a single 260 mm disc resides with a single piston caliper.  Braking was adequate, if not exceptional.  In comparison with the Triumph Bonneville, for instance, the front brake lacked some power (although feedback was good).

The V7 Stone has quite a bit of ground clearance for aggressive cornering (note the pictures of Evan with the bike on its side).  The handling is really confidence inspiring.

We always note that styling is subjective, but in our personal opinion, the V7 Stone is a timeless beauty, either in the White version we tested, or in the Matte Black version available as an option.

The 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone will give you a full dose of Moto Guzzi character and personality.  Many riders will find that irresistible, and now they have adequate engine performance to erase any doubts about the practical capabilities of this machine.  This is a fun bike that you can fall in love with.  Given the age of the basic engine architecture, reliability should not be a significant issue, and the Stone should prove to be a faithful friend.

For additional details and specifications, visit the Moto Guzzi web site.

75 Comments

  1. pete rasmussen says:

    So whats it like 2 up? Is the seat good for a long distance without the dreaded monkey bum? It s a touring bike but does not sound like you went far on it at all!
    2 up on this type of machine is really important to know and I find it hard to believe you did not try it out!

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  2. Dave Kent says:

    Got to see and sit on a white one of these in the flesh today. I don’t care how under powered it is, it has to be one of the classiest, best integrated production bikes I’ve ever laid eyes on. I’m retired, on a budget, and all my bikes are paid for. I swore I’d never finance another new one. Man, I hate to do this. My wife is gonna be so pissed….

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  3. Yoyodyne says:

    “The ergonomics are comfortable and upright, although like many Moto Guzzis, the pegs are slightly forward from where you might expect them.”

    That’s a shame, I noticed that on the V7 of a few years ago and it’s a bit of a deal-breaker for me. I like to feel my feet more underneath my body weight for maximum bike control.

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  4. Hoshiko says:

    If you really want a retro bike, get the Honda CB1100, cost around the same, it’s a Honda, looks way better, performs better, COST AROUND THE SAME, it’s more reliable, for the ones who 50hp are not enough, then the CB1100 87hp will do, and you have an ABS option.
    I don’t own it, but if I was on the market for a classic motorcycle around $10k, I’ll get the CB

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    • Gary says:

      I agree. The pics are pretty bland, but I saw the CB in a dealership, and it’s a good looking bike. Back in the day, it would qualify as a superbike.

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      • mickey says:

        I did buy one. Picked it up March 29. It is a very nice motorcycle.The specs are virtually the same as my (then superbike) 1977 KZ 1000, which at the time took the motorcycle world by storm.

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    • 70's Kid says:

      I bought one as well and am really digging it. By far my top choice in this segment. But I still like the the Guzzi V7s, and the Triumph Bonnevilles and the Kawasaki W800. I’m hoping that we’ll see even more standards in the coming years. My favorite style of street bike by far.

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      • Hoshiko says:

        The Kawasaki W800 it’s my favorite looking classic bike, right after the CB, the V7 looks “cool” I’ll buy it for $5k but nothing more then that. The same goes for the Royal Einfield, or Ural, good looking retro/classic bikes, they haven’t change that much except the price.

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  5. GS1100GK says:

    Nice looking retro. It would be a tough choice between this bike and the Triumph T100 for sure. Way to go MG!

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  6. GuyLR says:

    I like this bike and have to wonder at the commenters who feel that 50hp is not enough. My favorite bikes of all time have had around that much or less. It just means that you have to actively ride them instead of counting on outrageous and mostly unusable amounts of horsepower to get you there.

    I think I may be to the point where I’m ready to sell off my beloved but bulky TDM850 and get one of these. If I do it will probably be a Stone in black to get the cast wheels. I’m not a fan of flat black paint that the hipsters seem to love so much but a top coat of clear gloss over it will solve that problem.

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    • VLJ says:

      It doesn’t really make 50 hp. That’s the manufacturer’s listed crank hp number. Its real output at the rear wheel is right around 40 hp. That’s enough for some things but not for others, such as riding two up at elevation or on a grade and still having immediate passing power. Long-distance work becomes rather taxing when the motor feels strained at normal 80 mph freeway speeds. Most people prefer to have a surfeit of torque so there’s extra power in hand when needed.

      Is 175 hp neccessary for street work? Of course not. 65 rwhp (or thereabouts) is, though, for many situations.

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      • GuyLR says:

        No manufacturers that I know of advertise rear wheel net horsepower so 50 it is. Rule of thumb that works pretty well is multiply the manufacturers advertised crank horsepower by 0.85 and you’ll get really close to what you see at the rear wheel.

        If you don’t do much two up or long haul riding 40RWHP is plenty and will get the bike to over 100 mph and cruise at 75. If you need to ride two up coast to coast on the superslabs there are plenty of bikes that will do that but at my age, over 60, that’s not something I’ll be doing.

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    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I think you are alluding to the old adage that is it more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow. I agree, but it is more fun to ride a fast bike fast than either of those scenarios. And 40-ish RWHP doesn’t quite cut it. The fine line between joy and frustration on any 400 – 450 lb bike begins around the 55 – 60 RWHP mark for my personal preferences.

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  7. PN says:

    I like the Stone(d) but still wish it had more hp. What happened to the 1100 Breva? I loved those.

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  8. Michael H says:

    I’d like to own one. Actually, I’d like to own a Stone, a Norge and a Stelvio, based only on the glowing praise of those motorcycles from people who already own them. Quite the passionate group.

    The problem is: Nearest reliable dealer is 100 miles from home. Closest dealer is a very small shop that still has leftover 2007 models on the floor, and no new units. They mostly do tune-ups on foreign cars. So there’s that. I don’t want to trailer a non-running bike 100 miles to a dealer when something goes wrong.

    C’mon Piaggio. You can do better.

    • 70's Kid says:

      The local high end dealership of Italian bikes dropped the Aprilia line last year. Apparently Piaggio was too much of a pain to deal with. A short while later, I noticed that the local Moto Guzzi dealer dropped the brand. I assumed for similar reasons. Drag.

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  9. Geoff of NV says:

    My last (and only) Guzzi was a 1969 Ambassador with the Wixom Fairain & bags on it. I only had it for one year but I put 35,000 miles on it with an unending grin on my face. I’ve wanted another ever since and this Stone is very tempting.

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  10. Gary says:

    I’m sure it’s a fine bike. But I gotta think the “Stone” product name lost something in translation. Is it the Chevy Nova of Italy?

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  11. denny says:

    Regardless of the “character” Guzzi is known for, I’d be especially interested to own one after reading this. The hard part to overcome would be to sell my 900 Hornet which I thoroughly enjoy and plan my 8th season on. But, with age come different tastes and on top of it there is practicality of shaft drive. Thanks for well written test piece!

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  12. Mike Simmons says:

    Surely Guzzi could have picked a better name. When I was a pup the name “stone’ was assigned to vehicles which didn’t have enough power to get out of their own way.

    Mike

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  13. Phil Allen says:

    I bought my Stone in September 12. 5000 miles later it’s become my favourite bike to ride ever.
    I ride 20 miles through gridlocked central London then hit the motorway for another 120 miles and get 53 Uk mpg.
    While in Leicestershire/Nottinghamshire I enjoy thrapping it round the empty country lanes where it’s as quick or quicker than many bikes i’ve owned.
    It’s also perfectly capable of a couple of hours of 90+ motorway work, though it will need a flyscreen for that.
    To me it looks fantastic, sounds good on factory pipes, handles great and is huge fun!
    Best 59mpg on a stately nimble keeping it under 75mph.
    Worst 38mpg commuting in central London’s endless 30mph limits, solid traffic and traffic lights.
    I love it.

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  14. Chaz says:

    A few years ago there was an 850 version of the Breva, which was a significant improvement over the 750 Breva. I’m not sure that bike ever came to the U.S., but somewhere in Italy there should be pieces that would bolt on.

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  15. powermad says:

    I love how it looks, but i want more than ‘adequate power’. My 1400 Concours has twisted my brain.

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  16. Joe Bogusheimer says:

    Great looking bike, especially in the white (and I can’t believe I’m saying that). Very simple and clean looking. And kudos to MG for keeping the weight down to a reasonable level. Considering that this one has shaft drive, the much heavier weight of the Bonneville seems inexcusable and inexplicable.

    Too bad they don’t have 1100 cc versions of these bikes anymore (what happened to them?). I think this same bike, slightly scaled up and with a 1,000-1,100 cc engine would be very desirable.

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    • VLJ says:

      Absolutely. An 1100cc version of this bike would be a perfect all-arounder. It would need to weigh a decent bit more in order to handle the extra hp and torque (larger motor, stouter transmission and shaft drive, heavier-duty frame, dual front disc brakes, etc.), at which point it would come in fairly close to the Bonnieville. That would be a beautiful thing.

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    • Azi says:

      I think the Griso fills the large-capacity standard style niche nicely.

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      • VLJ says:

        Except that its seating position is much more aggressive and its styling is the very antithesis of ‘retro.’ It’s much more of a niche bike than a basic 1100cc naked standard.

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        • Azi says:

          In retrospect I think you’re right – there’s a gap in air cooled naked bikes in the 80-100hp range that let you do everything. That means a large fuel tank and reasonable ground clearance. At the moment there’s the Yamaha XJR1300, Honda CB1100, BMW R1200R, and… I think that’s about it. The Ducati GT1000 slotted in there too but it’s been discontinued. Same with the Breva. A lot of the other 100hp airheads seem to have disappeared after Euro3 compliance kicked in (ZRX1200, GSX1400 etc).

          Monsters and Grisos have pretty small fuel tanks. In fact fuel tank shrinkage seems to be a general trend across the board now.

          I’ve ridden the Bonneville and, although a nice bike, does feel slightly asthmatic on the open road when touring. Having the extra power does help reduce fatigue to some degree.

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  17. Carl Allison says:

    I had a MG 2010 V7 Café and traded that in on a 2013 V7 Racer. The engine is noticeably more powerful but only to the extent that you can gain speed (slowly) on an uphill 6% grade where the earlier engine lost speed (slowly). Around town though, the new mill is a vast improvement over the earlier one because of the improved torque and the move down in rpm where the power band has been re-positioned. MPG is much improved as well, I’ve hit 56mpg once and 52+mpg several times. I’ve made a bunch of 400+ mile days on the 2010 bike and wouldn’t hesitate to do so on the 2013 one. It’s a tad cramped but tolerable. Seating position is more tolerable with the rider position of the Racer but that’s also subjective. I probably wouldn’t opt to ride two-up on one of these bikes because the extra power for a safe pass really isn’t there. However, on a good twisty road, these little bikes don’t give up all that much on their larger brethren in the hands of the good rider. FWIW, if you can’t ride to take full advantage of 42 rear wheel horsepower, you likely can’t ride to take full advantage of 100+ rear wheel horsepower either. I wouldn’t mind having a Thruxton or a Sportser either but these days I prefer a shaft drive.

  18. Jeremy in TX says:

    The Stone looks pretty good, but I think the V7 Racer is one of the best looking bikes currently or ever produced. And a 5.8 Gallons tank! Ergonomically, the Racer also fits me better than any other bike I sat on.

    However, while I haven’t ridden the newest iteration, last year’s model was unacceptably slow with horrible brakes and suspension. I really wanted the bike and tried hard to convince myself that I could live with scooter power and shouldn’t be so concerned about stopping or maintaining control. But I just couldn’t get over it. Wonder how hard it would be to fit a Ducati 796 Engine in there sideways. :-)

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  19. mk says:

    So how does this compare to the sportster 883?

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    • VLJ says:

      Over a hundred lbs lighter despite having shaft drive, much better handling, way smoother, far more comfortable, and just infinitely cooler in nearly every regard.

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      • goose says:

        Just curious how extensive your knowledge of Sportsters would be. Based on your comment I’m guessing your’ve never ridden one, at least not is the last decade. Please correctly me if I’m wrong.

        Post 2004 Sporties are rubber mounted and have a fairly stiff frame, the vibration at cruising speed (especially the 883) is very close to zero. It isn’t possible for the Guzzi to be more than slightly smoother because the Harley barley vibrates. They are also fairly comfortable and handle pretty well, like the Guzzi they are limited by poor suspension.

        I should note I’m not talking about fashion slave Sporties like the “48″. A standard Sporster is a fun ride. Get over your preconceptions and try one, you may be surprised.

        Goose

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        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I have ridden both, and the Guzzi is MUCH lighter, has much better suspension and brakes (relatively speaking) and is no slower than the 883. It is highly subjective, but I think the Guzzi has a much more comfortable riding position. They no longer make a “standard” Sportster that I know of in either the 883 or 1200 flavors. The Harley could shake a filling loose at idle, but it is very smooth at cruising RPM. You will scrape metal parts just turning out into the street on most of the 883 models, so you’ll never learn how to ride at a fast clip on the 883 like you could on the Guzzi if that is a skill you wish to develop.

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        • VLJ says:

          My experience with them is extensive. I was a motorcycle dealer for many years and have most certainly ridden many a Sportster, including recent models. In terms of comfort and handling there is simply no contest. Sporties are reasonably smooth on the freeway but the Guzzi is still smoother practically everywhere, often by quite a decent margin. The basic geometry of the 883 precludes much in the way of handling (never mind the primitive running gear), and now that there’s no true standard Sportster equivalent to the Guzzi the comfort and handling chasm between the two bikes has only grown that much wider.

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    • allworld says:

      It doesn’t.

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      • Fred M. says:

        I totally agree. The Sportster is a pig compared to the Moto Guzzi, with heavy weight, poor handling, and bargain-bin suspension and brakes. The Moto Guzzi V7 has much better looks. Plus, the Sportster has all of the individuality of a Toyota Corolla — it’s a boring bike built for conformists.

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  20. allworld says:

    Beautiful bike, what it needs is a bit more performance. I personally prefer a V-twin to a parallel twin as used by Triumph in the Bonneville.
    For the tinkerer both the V7 and Bonneville would be a great place to start.

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  21. Ben says:

    Happy to hear of a lightweight shaft drive standard. This is what the market has been missing.

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    • blackcayman says:

      Those are eaxctly the points that stood out to me. I’m almost ready for an “Old Guys Rule” patch and then this might be the trick as a second bike for cruising around. After all, I’ll need a bike that goes with my Gasolina Boots!!!
      Maybe in a few years they’ll pump up the power a bit more. The Grisso still calls to me, with its bigger motor and lusty thrust coefficient

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  22. Artem says:

    Americans are lucky. Guzzi for that price.

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  23. stinkywheels says:

    I’m still gonna hold out for more power. That Guzzi motor is absolutely bulletproop and it wouldn’t cost any more to put in some compression, better flow from heads, proper springs on suspenders. I’m really glad to see a REAL gas tank, for once, on a new bike. The price has always been a sticking point, they’ve gotten closer, but the used market with two up power isn’t met with this one. I’ve always wanted a Guzzi, not this one, not yet. I really appreciate not having to deal with reCapcha MD!

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    • SausageCreature says:

      It’s a beautiful bike and pulls off the retro trick better than Triumphs do. Were it not for two-up riding, I juuuuuust might consider the Guzzi. As it stands now though, I’m leaning toward a CB1100 for the extra power and torque, even though it’s not the most convincing retro out there.

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      • bikerrandy says:

        We ride 2up on our `04 750 Breva Guzzi w/saddlebags, top case & tank bag. Not a lot of acceleration left but it keeps me from getting tickets. We usually run 65-70 mph getting 50-55 mpg. Guess it comes down to how big you are. I weigh 210# and the wife 150#. We put in 400-500 mile days on the stock seat.

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  24. MGNorge says:

    Having owned a Guzzi for a few years now I have sampled that intangible quality their engines impart on their riders. If you’ve never ridden one you owe yourself the opportunity. None of the Moto Guzzis will set the world on fire with rip snortin’ power but offer very satisfying rides all the same.

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    • Ken says:

      Any comments about mechanical or electrical problems with your Guzzi? Parts availability? Dealer service?

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      • bikerrandy says:

        The 750 series are bullet proof. There are a few dealers nationwide who stock parts or you can get them from an outfit in Brittain. There is also MG Cycle. I’ve been riding Guzzis for over 25 years and getting parts is no big deal now with the internet.

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      • Nick says:

        Being here in the PNW we have a dealer within half an hour in Seattle. But you know, I have yet to be back for service since the initial 600 mile. Maintenance is a snap and I have yet to have a failure of any kind. One big kicker is valve adjustments take only a short amount of alone time in the garage with some favorite tunes playing and a few beers to wash down the trail dust.

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  25. ABQ says:

    I have been looking for something lower and lighter than my dual purpose bike. I appreciate that it also has a large gas tank. the way I ride I would expect to get better milage than those that test bikes for MD. Now, what accesories are available?

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  26. cafetrash says:

    Good review. I have a V7 Classic and a Stone and I love both. I’m bailing out Italy one moto at a time. The Stone has more power, more bark out the pipes, has better rear shocks, and is even more nimble. The V7c is better looking and has a genuine mellow “old bike” engine. But the Stone’s large steel tank, new engine and cast wheels (easy flat fixes) made it irresistible. I suppose I’ve contracted the Guzzi brain worm, and this comment is an attempt to pass on the contagion. So don’t don’t ride one if you want to keep your mind.

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  27. VLJ says:

    Love the shaft drive, especially on so small and light of a bike. That motor really does feel alive. No doubt it has a lot more character than the Bonnie. It’s definitely taller too, with much more legroom for the people who are complaining in the Bonnie thread about its lack of legroom.

    The funny thing about that ‘enormous’ 10-12% hp gain vs the previous iteration is that you’re still only talking about a 3-4 hp increase when you’re only starting with 45 crank horsepower. At the wheel it’s making a tick over 40 hp. That’s fine for city riding and some backroad riding but it does start to feel a bit strained at normal California freeway speeds. Two up at elevation, trying to zip on by a line of mobile homes?

    Plan that pass carefully.

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  28. arbuz says:

    Good job Guzzi on weight, gas tank and handling.
    Mediocre job on consumption (should be above 55mpg for power/torque it is producing)
    Mediocre job on the price (should be 7.5K)
    Poor job front forks, and wheels (should be spoke wheels for the timeless character)

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    • VLJ says:

      The Stone is the only version of the V7 with cast wheels. The Special and Racer both feature spoked wheels.

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    • Dave says:

      Re: “Mediocre job on consumption (should be above 55mpg for power/torque it is producing)”

      Read some of the comments above. Owners of this and comparable bikes get the mileage that you suggest. I think media tests usually return a worst case figure with lots of aggressive riding.

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  29. HotDog says:

    Fork boots! Nice to see something from the past, that really works, make a bit of common sense today. I’ll never forget Dr. John’s Guzzi’s at Brainerd kicking arse. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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    • bikerrandy says:

      If you mean gaitors on the forks for insect protection, I did that and afterwards have never felt any bottoming of the front forks. This simple change can allow your front fork seals to last forever ! My references are to an `04 750 Breva I still ride as my sport/touring econo. bike, even 2up. 8^ )

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