MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

  • November 17, 2017
  • Dirck Edge
  • Chris Rubino
  • 90 Comments

2017 Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone: MD Ride Review

If you read MD, you know that the Moto Guzzi brand is near and dear to our hearts. This was true from the first time we started testing Moto Guzzi motorcycles, when they were decidedly unrefined and quirky.

After Piaggio purchased Moto Guzzi, new investment resulted in the refinement of many models, including the venerable V7. Now called the V7 III, many changes have occurred in this motorcycle’s design since we last tested a V7 in 2013.

Beginning with the engine, the 744cc transverse 90° twin sees a 10% increase in power after numerous changes brought it into compliance with Euro 4 emission standards, while remaining air-cooled. This is not a lightly modded engine, it is almost entirely new.

A stiffer aluminum crankcase includes a new oil sump and a lighter crank, while a new ventilation system reduces engine pumping losses, for increased power and efficiency. Even the oil pump was redesigned to reduce parasitic drag. Power is up, but, according to Moto Guzzi, fuel efficiency is also up.

The motor gets new aluminum heads, pistons and cylinders, but maintains the same bore and stroke. In addition to air cooling, the motor continues with a traditional pushrod and rocker system with two valves per cylinder. Electronic fuel injection and a new exhaust system also increase performance and efficiency, according to Moto Guzzi.

The upshot of all these changes is a claimed 52 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 44.2 foot pounds of torque at 4,900 rpm. The 6-speed transmission has altered gear ratios from the earlier V7, and clutch pull effort has been reduced.

The chassis has been revised as well, and gets new steering geometry for quicker handling. New Kayaba shocks with adjustable spring preload also feature, and the ergonomics for both the rider and passenger have been altered to improve comfort. The seat height is even lower this year at 30.3 in.

This air-cooled, decidedly retro looking machine now has both ABS and adjustable traction control. The styling gets some tweaks, as well, and you will notice the new cylinder heads and dual pipe exhaust manifold, together with a new aluminum fuel cap, injector covers and redesigned side fairings. The mirrors are much larger this year, the seat shape has changed, and the instrument panel is new.

When I first picked up our V7 III Stone test unit, I negotiated some side streets before jumping straight onto the highway. A couple of things were immediately apparent, including a new, more comfortable seat and riding position, more nimble, sure-footed handling, and an engine with a much more refined, powerful response.

With a smooth and easy clutch pull, and the latest six-speed gearbox, this new version of the V7 pulled away from a stop and changed gears almost as seamlessly as the latest from Japan. Trust me, this is a big change from Moto Guzzis of the past.

The engine is the real difference this year. It hardly feels like it is based on the same 744cc unit found in the earlier V7. It is much smoother, and revs out with far less vibration. It also feels a lot faster. No, this still isn’t a particularly fast motorcycle, but it has plenty of performance at higher speeds on Southern California freeways, something I couldn’t say about the prior engine.

In fact, the new Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone, overall, feels almost nothing like earlier V7s. Sure, it still has that V7 rumble, and the side-torque when reving the bike in neutral at a stop. It has much of the same feel you expect from a Moto Guzzi, but a new higher performance capability. Dare I say it, it almost feels like a “normal” motorcycle, rather than a rough, character-rich original Guzzi. Almost.

The brakes (single disc in front) are generally up to the task, and more than adequate for normal riding. The new chassis encourages you to push the bike, however, and here the front brake can feel a bit taxed, and even fade mildly.

The more aggressive steering geometry, refined suspension response, and much more willing motor make the new V7 III feel fantastic on twisty roads. Good fuel injection tuning allows you to open the throttle at any rpm level without upsetting the chassis, and the relatively light machine (460 pounds wet) changes direction with little effort. You will be wishing for more ground clearance, however, as a good rider will have run out without much trouble.

The Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone is a joy to ride, attractive to look at, and even economical. With a U.S. MSRP of $7,990, and mpg in the mid-50s (don’t forget the generous 5.5 gallon fuel tank), this is a Moto Guzzi that potentially will appeal to a much broader audience. It has all the requisite style and character presently popular (and mimicked, so some extent, by new models from competing manufacturers), now coupled with relatively modern engine and chassis performance.

If you haven’t ridden a Moto Guzzi in the past, you owe it to yourself to take a close look at the new V7 III Stone. Colors available include Nero Ruvido (black), Azzurro Elettrico (the matte blue tested, and pictured), Verde Camouflage (matte dark green) and Giallo Energico (matte orange/gold). You can find more details and specifications on the Moto Guzzi web site.


See more of MD’s great photography:

Instagram


90 Comments

  1. EGS says:

    The Special version is so much better looking than the Stone. Cast wheels and matte paint don’t suit this bike…
    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/bv5gfHNsv4c/maxresdefault.jpg

  2. Ed says:

    If you’re a journey kind of guy you totally get this bike.(make mine a blue or black special) But if you’re a destination guy or worse a video gamer you wouldn’t understand.

  3. joe b says:

    Beat with the ugly stick, is putting it nice. What a mess! Ugly is being kind. Heavy, slow, looking like a bike taken out of a dumpster, painted flat black so the cops cant tell what it is, deep rear, tiny front, fenders from different planets? Anyone that likes the look of this bike needs help, psych help. Exhaust system, tank, seat, all disconnected, like different departments made them in a separate building bringing them to a child to bolt on, what gives with that? None of it makes sense, what a hideous mousetrap of disconnect. Anyone that likes this, needs their head examined. I do like the new RE, well thought out, pretty bike. I don’t just hate old stuff, but this is completely ridiculous. There is no style shown here.

  4. Curly says:

    As much as I like the V7, I wish they would bring back the Breva version with this engine. That would be a more modern looking standard with improved performance over the original Breva 750. A bit more front brake would be good for it too.

  5. rider33 says:

    let’s see: under 500 pounds, shaft drive, air cooled, 5.5 gallon tank- that alone would get my interest. Sprinkle in the heritage bits like the chrome fenders, tank, spoke wheels and twin clocks of the up-market edition and you get a stunning modern machine that hasn’t lost track of its sole. And for those who don’t like the way they look not to worry, Japan has a broad range of plastic-dipped alternatives for you, all sanitized for your protection. Guzzi’s are like Harley’s, you either get it or you don’t. If you have to think about it, you’re not doing it right.

  6. drbyers says:

    Beat with the ugly tree…

  7. Bubba Blue says:

    As I read the review, this one, the Stone, is the first (and only) one with the new engine changes. The Special and other models do not have them.

    Is that right?

  8. Jim says:

    Do people really want matte paint??? This bike would be so much more appealing aesthetically in
    glossy colors.

    • MGNorge says:

      Doesn’t appeal to me at all but it seems the industry went for the “Rat Bike” type motif so there must be some demographic that is attracted to it. Perhaps to make them less attractive to thieves? :/

      • Selecter says:

        I’m also not a matte finish guy. I’m kinda wondering if it’s a “cost-cutting measure disguised as a style” sort of thing. It’s everywhere these days, not only on motorcycles… you can get matte and satin finishes on cars, and musical instruments (guitars and basses) as well.

  9. Grover says:

    Seems to be a step in the right direction for MG. Flat Black sucks, tho.

  10. bmbktmracer says:

    I think the Stone is the ugly-duckling of the bunch. The Special is nice. However, all the V7 models are too low in the back and look like they’re going uphill. It just completely ruins the bike for me. I guess they’re trying to get the low seat height to attract…uh…people with shorter legs than the average-sized male.

    • Curly says:

      Look at photos of the original V7 Sport. It was long and low. It really is not hard to bolt on some longer shocks if you need more ride height. This is a simple motorcycle to work on and that along with the cast wheels and new lower pricing is one of its main attractions. Even the flat paint doesn’t bother me because it can be fixed with a can of gloss clear.

  11. Martin B says:

    One of my clearest and dearest memories is of a Guzzi 850T3 revving up out of a bike shop and heeling over all the way, to go down a lane behind the bike shop. It was a beautiful metalflake gold, with shiny chrome on mudguards and exhaust pipes. We were riding Japanese two strokes, and the sound was like the wrath of God. I was transfixed at the sight, and vowed one day to have my very own Guzzi. That never happened. Maybe the Lotto Gods are listening (distant thunder of sacrilege causing grievous offense).

  12. todd says:

    To me, the Special is the best compromise; a little more thought towards style but not quite as garish as the Racer or expensive as the Anniversario. Plus you actually get a tachometer! I just need to test ride one. The last guzzi I rode (admittedly a couple decades ago) wasn’t all that great, running out of steam at what I thought was a very low rpm. I don’t like to short shift and lug an engine but prefer the light-revving feeling from maybe overhead cams(?) But even a BMW airhead seemed to rev easier and higher than the Guzzi. I’m hoping, like you suggest, that this is a thing of the past.

    • Selecter says:

      Your comments on the characteristic of the Guzzi engine are interesting. Which model was it you had ridden? I had a V11 LeMans, and I’d test-ridden a Nevada 750, Breva 1100, and a Norge 1200 (2-valve) all in the mid-late 2000s timeframe. To a bike, each had what felt like decent power off the bottom, but really didn’t come alive until about 6000rpm. I would have described any of them as revvy, as opposed to stump-pullers, more like my V-Star 1300 was.

      • todd says:

        It was an 850. Eldorado? I didn’t say it was a stump puller, I’ve ridden many smaller bikes that would pull harder, just that it had a real narrow power band. It was “lub, lub, lub, clunk. lub, lub, lub, clunk” four times in no hurry. The bike was heavy and not smooth but it was much better than a 883 Harley. The BMW R75/5 that I bought instead was much nicer and quicker than both. Accelerated better turned easier, everything. These bikes were no match for bikes like my Seca 650 and it’s amazingly smooth and w-i-d-e power band and so much stronger acceleration.

        The styling on these Guzzis though, (well, not the Stone) would bring me back to push rods. Hopefully the engine characteristics won’t leave me regretting.

        • mickey says:

          my younger brother bought an 850 Eldorado new in 73. It looked bloated but was actually a pretty nice bike. Only left us stranded once in an all day rain in Georgia and the distributor got wet and quit firing. Pretty easy fix if you knew what to look for.

          I test road a 750 breva because I had fond memories of my brothers Eldorado. My first thought was where’s the power? Once I got going, my next thought was where’s the brakes? lol.Ended up buying an T-100 Bonneville, which I eventually sold to buy a CB1100.

          Last year I rode a Griso. The thing hated to be below 4000 rpms. Once you got above 4K it ran pretty nicely. A little too crunched up riding position for me, but would have made a nice solo tourer I think. But yea, I would say more peaky than torquey, like most of the Euro bikes I’ve ridden.

  13. David Owen says:

    Why oh why did you test the Stone? It’s the only ugly one in the range. I have a V7 III Special in black, and yes it’s a matter of taste, but to me it’s classically good-looking, beautifully detailed, and “just right” in every way. And it has soul. The NC750X and such are very good at what they set out to so, but life is too short to ride dull motorcycles.

  14. Charlie M. says:

    Funny – about the time that Guzzis started becoming refined and less quirky, I lost all interest in buying a new one. The most modern Guzzi I’ve owned was a ’98 Centauro – what a beast that was! But even that was a bit too refined in certain aspects for my liking. I’ll stick with my ’69 V750 Ambassador and ’76 V1000 I-Convert, thank you very much.

  15. Tim C says:

    I think the thing looks fantastic, one of the best in a long time, just right. So it’s interesting how polarizing this is…. That said, with rider it looks like it sure needs less sag/higher unladen height.

  16. Norm G. says:

    it’s just begging the new owner to take a rattle can of black primer to the tank…

    PRESTO CHANGE-O, full “rat bike”…!!!

    yes, it’s a thing.

  17. Scotty says:

    Nice bike, if my 2004 Breva 750 needs replacing I’ll get one but not the blue. The red or the yellow look much nicer.

  18. Rennie says:

    In Europe we have a “special” version that will satis
    fy the call for better looks. Quite pretty.

  19. Bill says:

    Logically it’s a great bike. Emotionally, it’s not very exciting. But you are right; they do keep getting better.

  20. Frank says:

    I agree the blue and black don’t look very good in the pic’s. Will wait to see it in person. Color aside, it should make for a competent and fun everyday street bike that doesn’t look anything like any other bike on the road.

  21. Jim W says:

    The flat black ruins the look of the bike-needs some shiny stuff!

    • MGNorge says:

      My first impression when I first saw it was dull. To me the blacked-out engine and matte paint speak eco-version. Nothing wrong with that if you like it. I guess I just prefer some shiny bits.

  22. bmbktmracer says:

    As a Moto Guzzi owner, I get it. But this bike is just downright ugly. The shocks are too short which completely ruins the stance of the bike. Painting the engine black was a terrible mistake to my eye, especially combined with matte paint. The engine performance is definitely a step in the right direction, so I’ll give them points for that. I guess the market will be the judge, but I’d certainly never spend money on something that hideous.

  23. mickey says:

    I believe that’s about the same hp and torque as an NC700, gets 20 less mpg, and costs $1K more. It does have shaft drive though…oh yea…and “charachter” lol

    I think in that top pic and the third one down that it might be burning a hole in the shins on that fancy $1100 riding suit.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Sort of like a CB1100.

    • Dreadphysicist says:

      Ahh, but the nc700 is covered in miles of plastic.

    • Dan says:

      the nc700 is like riding a piece of tupperware

      • BMS says:

        Well in a word, no. You’ve owned an NC? But with the same hp and torque numbers, similar weight, better clearance, very simple easy maintenance, and way better mpg; I’ll keep my NC.

    • John K says:

      NC700 is a nice bike if you like UJMs. Same for CB1100. Comparing to Guzzi is apples to oranges. I have an Anniversario and have ridden an NC700. There is really no comparison in the two, they are very different in character.

    • Sentinel says:

      That is if you don’t mind that the CCT on the Honda may fail on you at any time.

      • BMS says:

        Perhaps DCT? Since I happen to own the standard version, which has been excellent thus far, based upon the articles comments ref lack of ground clearance, I would not swap if given the opportunity.

        • Sentinel says:

          Unfortunately that has only been specified in one of the cases, and in that case, it was the manual version. Check out the NC700 forum for more info. It clearly doens’t happen to all, let alone even most of these bikes, but it has happened to some. I came across this info doing research as I’ve been interested in the NC myself. Also, the new 750 version has the rev ceiling raised, so I wonder how that may play out as well.

      • mickey says:

        or in the case of the V7 Guzzi the factory forgot to put in thrust washers at the crankshaft and the whole engine fails which seems to be a common issue per the GuzziTech forum rather than an isolated one.

        • Sentinel says:

          Actually that was only one particular production run at one particular time, which when discovered was fully addressed by Moto Guzzi. So in fact it was a very small number of bikes that were affected. And that was some time ago. On the other hand, the issues with the Hondas have not been addressed and are still in their production bikes after years of having issues. At least Guzzi stepped up and did the right thing my their customers, unlike Honda.

  24. gary t says:

    Very unique bike at that price point. Nice write up. Some laced up excell rims would be to my liking. I would like to see a comparo between this and an 883 sportster. Let the slow and slower comments begin!

  25. Mick says:

    I feel a little bit better about a world that has this motorcycle. Particularly that it is also an Italian motorcycle. Wow.

    You almost have to be an old guy to identify this bike as being new. Normally I would think that is a bad thing to say about a motorcycle. But not this one. There should be bike racks in convenient locations that are full of these things. You walk up, throw a leg, and ride away. Your mom’s brother’s name is Robert right?

  26. DP says:

    If you tell me it is to get to work and is Russian made I would believe you. Not attractive enough to be worth of second look. But I understand they have better looking versions.

  27. ABQ says:

    What is there to not like? It is beautiful.
    52hp, 6 speed, 5.5 gallon gas tank, not tall, standard bench seat…
    it is made for me.

    • Tony says:

      No doubt, right? What a beautiful bike. Pretty much everything I like in a bike, bigger fuel tank, good HP and fuel mileage, standard bench seat. I really need to go and test ride one of these.. Or maybe not, as I’d probably want to take it home.

    • beasty says:

      Really nice looking standard. Not crazy about the paint combo( bruises are black and blue ), but with a different color on the tank this would be stellar.

  28. austin zzr 1200 says:

    Looks like a winner, I’d take this over a Bonneville any day.

  29. Dino says:

    Nice bike, but we gotta get this Matt guy out of the paint booth. Enough already! Give us shiny things to clean and wax. One of my favorite vacation photos is one of my action shots of the road ahead, equally reflected in the shiny paint of my tank and front fairing.

    Let the rebels go out of their way to matte things out.

  30. Tony says:

    Desperately needs upside down forks.
    Clock too busy
    Otherwise a tasty machine

  31. Gham says:

    I hope they sell well.This seems like the kind of machine to help put MG back in showrooms across the US.I would love an intermediate sized twin with good manners,relaxed ergo’s, simple access to everyday maintenance bits and just quirky enough to be unique.

  32. MGNorge says:

    Just noticed the headlight pointing upward, toward the sky. 🙂

  33. Tom R says:

    Has traction control, eh? Seems like traction control would be a “default” item on a bike with 52-hp, with no electronic nannies needed.

    Kinda like “aerodynamically-limited” top speed.

  34. Tank says:

    Nice bike, too bad the colors are ugly.

  35. xLaYN says:

    Your riding gear for this review is *overall* nice.

    Seems like the purring sound, it’s CB1100 level or refinement.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtBA0U7zLqg

    • Roadrash1 says:

      That riding gear is an Aerostich Roadcrafter.
      Made (very well) in Minnesota, and the most practical thing an everyday, all-weather rider can buy.
      I prefer mine in the extra dorky hi-viz color, to wake-up car drivers. (Hopefully)

      • Tim C says:

        Thankfully, fans of the Dumpybutt Leakingcrotch Riding Costume have a pretty good sense of humor about it.

        • mickey says:

          hey..apparently only SOME of them leak in the crotch.

          • Tim C says:

            Ha. In all fairness/disclosure, I kid re Aerostich Rider Sensitivity Syndrome (ARSS). I’d get one myself (and I find it hilarious that critics are worried about what they look like standing, how the hell could a one-piece be designed otherwise?) other than even with custom fit when I called and gave my beanpole dimensions they said they didn’t think it would work.

            Next spring (this year was the plan but when I emailed they were off in Asia riding around for like months) I plan to get a Teiz actually, since they come in tall sizes that don’t also require a “I should hang out in bear bars” midsection.

      • todd says:

        I feel that, if you have family and other financial obligations, it’s irresponsible to spend the kind of money they want for the middle of the road quality you get in the Aerostich. I understand that it’s “iconic”, people wondering why I don’t wear a matching one for my BMW, but there are much better alternatives out there – that don’t leave you wet in the rain and in as much debt on your credit card.

        • Tim C says:

          You had me at “family and other financial obligations” but lost me at “my BMW”

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            This is Todd we are talking about. I’m sure it is a very old, cheap (but we’ll cared for!) BMW.

          • Tim C says:

            Heh, yeah I’m just being ornery. Of course, I know how “old cheap* and well cared for” works out with Ze Germans as I had that in the form of a 944…but anyway much like “ARSS” I’m just joking around here

            * “forget it” usually

          • todd says:

            Yes. Old, cheap, and very well cared for. That’s me to a “T”.

        • Loplop says:

          I’ve been thinking about a new riding suit. Always thought I’d get an Aerostich, but never seem to want to spend that much. Suggestions welcome!

      • Sentinel says:

        “the most practical thing an everyday, all-weather rider can buy”

        No way would that thing be tolerable in a hot climate area.

Add a Comment