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Bike Profile - Posted 30th November 2009

2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic - Part 2
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MZ Mark has had a chance to get to know his Italian 750 V-Twin. So what's life like with a 'modern classic' bike then?...

I have owned my Guzzi V7 Classic for three months now and in that time I have covered over 3500 miles, mostly in the first two months. So I've had ample time to gain long term impressions of the machine and take a longer view based on real use, as opposed to a short test ride.

MZ Mark's Guzzi V7 Classic working for its living 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

I picked the bike up from the dealers on a fine and warm day, so a good start there. What was not so good was having one of the mirrors work loose after only four miles -- only to discover that the tool kit supplied with the bike does not contain the spanner required to re-tighten it. Oh how I laughed...

The bike is really great to ride, better handling than I ever dare try to exceed, with good grip from the Metzeler tyres, although the rear one is starting to white line very slightly now as it is now more than half worn. The seat is rather hard but nevertheless very comfortable and the bike is very good on fuel, a shade under 60 miles to the gallon being the norm. This is just as well as the petrol tank is quite small. I can get about 160 miles to the tank full, which is OK by me, it's time to stop for a rest and stretch by then anyway. The bike is really light at about 400lb (about 180kg) and this is a great help to someone who is very short like me. I have discovered that I can ride up little lanes strewn with mud and gravel with no more concern than if I was on a 250. It really is that easy to ride.

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

The engine characteristics are just right for me. The motor pulls hard from tickover right round to 7000 revs, by which time I am shifting a fair bit. I have been told by the mechanic at the dealer that I can take it to 8000 but I see no point, peak power being at 6800 revs and peak torque at just over half that figure. What this means in practice is that the bike can be left in top gear except for really tight bends or slow town work, throttle response being immediate and power delivery seamless. The exhaust note, although fairly quiet, is very pleasant indeed. A good old fashioned thump changes to an exhilarating roar as the revs rise, with a lovely burble on the over-run. I have no idea how Guzzi got this through the noise regulations, I reckon they must have fitted some special quiet silencers for the test and in production fitted something much better!

The brakes are quite staggering, very powerful yet totally progressive even in the wet. I had no idea such things had improved so much in the last 20 years or so. My previous yardstick was the older type Brembo brakes as fitted to older Guzzis, Ducatis, BMWs etc. These are very good brakes but wooden in comparison. I am also amazed how light a cable-operated clutch can be, it can pulled in with one finger if desired. No more gorilla clutches then, another nice change.

I am very impressed with the finish. The frame appears to have been powder coated rather than painted, all the cables have nice clips to keep them in place, the wheel spokes and rims and exhaust system are all stainless steel and chromed with the exception of the spokes. All in all, it's a far cry from the Italian standard of fit and finish of old. A good thing too.

Spoked wheels, beefy brakes. 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

The V7 is not a perfect bike, the mirrors give a good view of my elbows and shoulders but not so much of the road, and the low fuel light comes on way to early at about 120 miles from fill up. This is really irritating as it resets the milometer to zero and starts counting up the miles on the equivalent of reserve. This would be OK but if you go up a hill or accelerate sharply it goes back to normal only for the light to come on again and start counting from zero again shortly after. Thus I have no idea how far I am really in to the virtual reserve and I tend to just make sure I get petrol before 160 miles have been travelled.

I have been on some really long runs, all without drama. A tour of southern England over six days was undertaken, a weekend in Scotland and a long day trip to mid-Wales have already provided me with lots of happy experiences with the bike. Riding it never fails to provide enjoyment, even just looking at it in my garage is nice, it's a really pretty bike which looks fabulous polished up. Other folk seem to like it just as much, several complete strangers have complimented me on the bike's good looks while I have been out on my travels.

There have a couple of minor faults. The clutch started dragging which turned out to be a loose cable adjuster and rather more worryingly the fuel injection fault light came on one evening just after I had washed the bike. I was really concerned as I was supposed to be going away on it the following day, but after 10 minutes the fault light disappeared and the bike ran perfectly all the while.

I can only think I had been a little too liberal with the rinsing water and had got moisture on one of the many sensors. This has never happened again and I have covered about 1400 miles in all weathers since so I guess it is OK.

Do I regret my purchase at all? Not a bit of it, I still enjoy riding my old bikes just as much but now I have something I can set off on at any time with greater comfort and higher average speed. I have the best of both worlds. I intend to keep the bike a long time and would like to think I can get 100,000 miles out of it or maybe more.

Will MZ Mark put his MZs on eBay now?

As mentioned, there are a couple of niggles but overall I think this is probably the best bike for me I have ever owned. I would heartily recommend one to anybody who doesn't want mega performance but a capable, fun and characterful modern machine.

I reckon Moto Guzzi are on to a real winner with this bike, they deserve to sell loads of them.

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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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