And so it was, upon the demise of my 1200 Sport and State Farm Insurance completely taking care of me, I took a hard look at what and how I would be riding over the next couple of years. The 1200 was a great bike and I fully expected to replace it. I purchased it because I wanted it for the long distance tours I had planned to get to this year and the next few.
I realized that my new job and just-outside-the-city lifestyle really meant that for the next couple of years, 99+ percent of my riding would be within a 150mi radius, with many, many days of riding through the streets of Chicago at 30-ish miles per hour. This is not the venue, mission or best possible circumstances with which to operate a 1200 Sport. This mustang needs road. I need a bike that is a better choice for these distances, light on its feet and able to make me grin while I tackle the third-world roads of Chicago and surrounding cities.
You already figured that I’m getting a Guzzi? Well I looked hard at the Ducati 1000GT, the Triumph Bonneville and even considered a maxi-scoot. I hit the forums and asked more and more about the V7C. The more I heard from the people that actually owned it, the more I started warming up to the idea. Finally, I read a Wall Street Journal Comparison of the Bonneville, Sportster and V7 Classic.
So I now own one purchased from Rose Farm Classics. Buying two bikes in three months, I’ve become their best customer! I think without the accidents I’d still rock them. Jim’s a super guy that is all straight talk and thinks pretty much the same way I do, except he knows more about bikes than I ever will.
If you don’t know too much about the V7 Classic, you haven’t been following Guzzi that much. If that’s the case, I’m glad you’re reading this. The V7 is Guzzi’s best-selling bike at the moment. It’s a city-dweller. 400lbs, 48 hp and a beautiful retro look with just pristine fit and finish. It has a low 31″ seat, and is a standard motorcycle, looking like a throwback from the 70′s, but with fuel injection, modern brakes and tires, and a full warranty.
Here’s the simple facts:
- Fuel Tank: 4.5 Gal, .7Gal res (figure 50+mpg on a very bad day)
- Motor: 90° air/oil cooled transvers v-twin with 2 valves per cylinder.
- Weight: 401lbs (about 100 lbs more than the typical MSF training bike!)
- Horsepower: 48
- Seat Height: 31.7 in.
- Price: $8490
I’ve already written that I thought it was a great bike for women, but why should they get all the fun? Frankly, I practically need a muscle-relaxer to get the smile off my face after riding this bike. I haven’t had this much plain, honest fun on a bike since I was a kid. Even before I depart on my commute to work, I feel like an 11-year old kid getting on his bike knowing that he was going to ride it to his friend’s house and have the best summer day of his life. Mounting up for a trip from Chicago to Milwaukee and back or from Oak Park to Lake Geneva and back, forgettaboutit! In the week that I’ve owned this bike, I’ve already DONE all of this! 500 miles in a week, and tomorrow I’ll rack up another 200. I don’t want to get off the bike, park it, leave it while I sleep.
It goes through corners in a way that is much better than you’d expect from a rudimentary-suspended bike. The frame, geometry and suspension work together in harmony, allowing the torquey 750cc V-Twin to just pull you around effortlessly. You feel like the first day you got on a bike and knew that you had enough experience to have fun and not get hurt. Riding it around the city, you just want to move this bike with your body around turns and corners. It does what you want, when you want it.
A lot of reviewers have poo-pooed the single-disc front brake. Riding in the City, I’ve had the chance to use them hard a few times. They pull the bike down just fine, in a linear manner, within extremely acceptable distances. An extra disk would be there for looks only. I wouldn’t call that overkill, but the braking matches the character of the bike, and it’s mission:
Have fun and ride.
Streets are one thing, and the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic is a great city bike. What about out of town? I’ve had the chance to do the country lane roads, the Interstates and also secondary highways. Trucks don’t blow me around at all. No wind blast to speak of, I’m abandoning the idea of getting a windscreen (I ride with a full-face helmet). I can easily attain highway speeeds and if I wanted to, cruise at a level that would get me more than a speeding ticket.
I’ve already ridden it in the rain, on crappy roads, ruts, grooves, construction zones and some dirt. No problem. This bike is well-behaved, competent and comfortable. On city-highway cycles, I’m getting almost exactly 50mpg during break-in.
I’m going to add two accessories. Guzzi-Tech’s Small-Block Sump Spacer, which adds an extra Litre-plus of lubricant in the engine. I like this for cooler running and to make sure that there’s plenty of oil in the sump. $300 bucks shipped is a bargain, and the part is super-well made. I’m also adding a set of Hepco-Becker 30L Junior bags on the mounts that are made for the V7 Classic.
Guzzi has been building the small-blocks for decades, and the formula has become more and more refined. As I pull the V7 into my back yard in the evenings, I look at all the pretty chrome, the slightly blued exhaust pipes and the pearlescent white paint.
I’d grin, but I’m already grinning, and I’ve got no extra grin left. Great bike. It fits me well and makes me damned happy.