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Bike Profile - Posted 3rd August 2009

2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic
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This retro-styled V-twin 750 gets a lukewarm reception from the mainstream press. MZ Mark took a spin and found himself pleasantly impressed with the machine in the metal...

I recently took a 50 mile road test on a new Moto Guzzi V7 Classic, mostly in pouring rain. I had read reports of it being not very powerful, only a little bike by today's standard, OK for commuting, a good beginners bike etc. etc. so I was prepared to be underwhelmed by the whole experience.

V7 Classic is based on the smaller Guzzis 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

Setting off from the dealers I was struck by the smoothness of all the controls, and the fact that being EFI, the engine idled perfectly from cold. We rode through Bradford then threaded through the heavy traffic and out on to the motorway. Terrible weather, so the surface water and poor visibility prevented much exploration of the performance, but 60mph came up very easily with just a whiff of throttle. Braking was smooth, progressive and predictable and very powerful. The bike only has a single front disc, and that really is all it needs. The callipers are multi-piston Brembos, and appear similar to those on a friend's BMW. I have worked on those and can vouch for the build quality of them.

Spoked wheels, beefy brakes. 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

Getting off the M62 at Huddersfield, I set off up to Buckstones. Once past a lorry I was able to open up a bit as the rain had eased a bit. The V7 seemed to go well enough, and the handling was excellent as far as I was able to ascertain on a wet road. Unfortunately I had to slow right down again as I disappeared into the clouds!

Heading towards Elland on a nice B-road I soon regained good visibility and was able to start getting used to the feel of the Guzzi. I am not used to riding such a civilised machine and I thought it was perhaps a little bland, but nevertheless, there was plenty of V-twin grunt and feel, with enough noise even in these modern times to make listening a pleasure. The bike is certainly very light at around 400lb, and I was amazed at the flexibility of the engine, it would pull without hesitation from 1800rpm in top gear.

Next I cut off into the narrow, twisty and hilly lanes which abound in this part of Pennine Yorkshire. Potholes, bumps, bad cambers and surfaces caused me no problems whatsoever, although the bigger bumps do give you a bit of a jar, as the rear suspension is quite firm. I actually like this in a bike, it keeps the handling taut.

I pulled into a pub car park and switched the engine off to have a good look round the machine. It pinged in a pleasing fashion as it started to cool down. it really is a very pretty bike, harking back to the 1970s naked Guzzis but with a modern twist.

In my opinion it makes the new Triumph Bonneville look lardy and tacky in comparison, although the Bonnie will undoubtedly be a bit quicker. Contrary to popular legend regarding Italian motorcycles, everything appears to be well finished and the switches, etc, seem to be of very good quality.

Will MZ Mark put his MZs on eBay now?

I undid the lock on one of the side panels and the seat lifted off. Most of the electrical gubbins are under the seat, but I was concerned that some splashes of water had reached the compartment. Researching on the internet has revealed owners finding the same and discovering two small holes in the rear mudguard which would appear to be the source of this ingress. Goodness knows why Moto Guzzi would want to do this, but I guess it wouldn't be an Italian bike without some sort of design glitch!

The seat latched back into place beautifully with a soft click and I fired the bike up again. Blipping the throttle makes a very pleasing noise and I was struck by the thought that this is really a full sized bike, despite what the magazines state.

Anti-gravity devices replace side and centre-stands. 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

Time to head back to the dealer in Shipley then. It was just a short hop back to the motorway via some more nice lanes and it was on the return down the M62 that I really started to bond with the bike. Top gear throttle response is excellent, peak torque being at a mere 3300rpm, peak power coming in at about twice that number of revs. 70 to 80mph cruising was a doddle and the bike really is comfortable. Travelling back up the M606 to Bradford I opened her up to see what she would do. 90mph came up very quickly, but there did not seem to be a lot more to come. This was uphill however, and the bike does only produce 49bhp. This is plenty though, how fast do you really want to go, especially when the bike feels so nice to ride at sane speeds?

Back at the dealers, I was asked what I thought. I told him the mirrors are poor, but otherwise everything is OK.I wasn't letting on that I thought the bike was quite wonderful.

Black crankcases fro added blackness. 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

To cut a long story short, I was sufficiently impressed to want to buy one. A deal could not be agreed on at the time and I left the shop, amicably but without a sale. The salesman's hard sell had left me cold. Within an hour they were back on the phone giving me what I wanted. So, I am putting 20% down, I am paying list price with finance over two years at 2.9%. However, the centre stand (why doesn't this come as standard?), luggage rack and crash bars are thrown in for free.

I'm well pleased and pick it up soon. Black and gold is my choice, everyone's got a white one after all. I just hope the electronics are reliable, that's the only down side for me.

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Coming Soon: We've asked MZ Mark to let us know how his Guzzi shakes down, so pop back in a few weeks to find out if the reality lives up to the test ride…

There's a full road test of the 2009 Moto Guzzi Café Classic in the Jun09 issue (RC62) of the monthly magazine, together with a retrospective about the original 1971 V7 Sport. Order a copy here.


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