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Guzzi V7 Classic test

Discussion in 'Older / Classic Bikes' started by duncan_bayne, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. So I test-rode a Guzzi V7 Classic last Thursday, courtesy Brady at A1 Motorcycles in Ringwood.

    (To get an idea of the types of bike I usually ride, you can see my bike ownership history, to which I've recently added a 1982 Suzuki GS1100G.)

    My first thought was that it was the weirdest bike I've ever ridden; the power delivery was the opposite of what I'm used to (starts out strong then flattens off), first gear selection is almost undetectable (feels like pushing onto a rubber stop, rather than the positive "CLUNK" on the GS), and the whole bike rolls with application of throttle (only detectable when stationary, in my experience). That plus the sit-on feel (as opposed to sit-in) and unexpectedly quick turn in made for an altogether alien experience that I didn't much enjoy for the first few minutes.

    Trust me on this, though: the more I rode the V7, the better it got. I wound up loving the whole experience, and feeling quite reluctant to give the bike back. As I rode her, the whole package suddenly made sense, and I started having a ball.

    She's definitely more of a 'sit on' bike than I'm used to, but this was brilliant when filtering through traffic and performing low-speed maneuvers like U-turns. Power delivery was absolutely perfect for road riding, and sufficient to see off any cars I encountered at the lights. The mirrors - what a revelation! They shook at idle, but quickly smoothed out to be the best-working mirrors on any motorcycle I've ridden.

    Suspension is okay, firmer than the GS (which has rebuilt forks and new shocks) but still comfy. The riding position is excellent, seemingly perfectly tailored for my 5'11". The clutch was heavier than I'd expected (cable operated) but still a lot lighter and smoother than my GS. I found the brakes to be quite acceptable. I've read reviews that panned them relative to others in the class, but I didn't find them to be a problem at all.

    The sound, while a bit muted on stock pipes, was addictive - the sort of bike you enjoy listening to, where the sound track is part of the joy. And the looks - elegant, beautiful, friendly, even ... dare I say it ... cute? ... sprung to mind. Character-wise she felt a little like a much-scaled-up CG125, very easy to ride, friendly, safe ... I'm unsure whether the V7 is LAMS approved but I couldn't imagine a better first or second bike. Or only bike for that matter ... all the power you'll ever need on the road.

    In terms of suitability for my purposes, I still have a bit of thinking to do. The V7 definitely checks all the boxes, especially with the separate gearbox and engine oil (a feature I discovered through talking with Brady). I think the absolutely perfect model would be the 2013 Special, which has alloy wheels (I hate chrome!), fitted with the fork gaiters from the Stone.

    The one thing the V7 doesn't have is the mean streak the GS possesses ... hard to express, that ... maybe that both bikes will commute and tour, but the GS can be asked to be a hooligan bike from time to time :)

    Perhaps this means the final decision might be between an overhaul & (tasteful, retro-styled) streetfighter of the GS, vs. a big-block Guzzi. I've asked Mototecnic for a quote on the former option, to be done in stages.

    Decisions, decisions ...

    Anyhow, if you're even remotely curious about a Guzzi, I strongly advise test-riding one. They're fantastic bikes. If I didn't already have a classic ride that I loved, I think I'd be a Guzzi owner in short order.
  2. A nice little real world review - thanks for posting. Interesting that you say that the riding position worked for you. I've heard it described as cramped for anyone above middling height.

    One thing did stand out, though. From your bike history posting you've owned a good number of strokers and a reasonably recent 600 sportsbike. Yet your hooligan bike is a rather porky old shaftie? o_O
  3. Well, I'm middling height - 5'11" with short legs for my height. So YMMV ... but I did find it very comfy.

    My idea of hooligan bike has changed as I've aged :) These days what I want is a fun, quick track bike (hence the Mito) and something comfortable and grunty for the road (hence the GS).

    By hooligan I mean - can growl and take off when necessary or when fun :) Entertaining to ride without doing go-direct-to-jail speeds.

    Fun to work around the limitations of the early-80s weight, suspension & frame, so 120km/h around a corner is fun (lean, weave, uh-oh ...) whereas my old 600 (last of the carby models) or TZR wouldn't even be awake at the same speed on the same corner.