Moto Guzzi V7 Classic — 2500 mi Review

I purchased my V7Classic from Rose Farm Classics on August 8 of this year.  About 8th I passed through my first 2500 miles as the weather in Chicago begins to close out the 2009 Riding Season.  I think I could have cranked another 1000 miles out of the bike this year, but family and work prevented my riding on the Labor Day weekend and all day last week.  We can probably blame precipitation for a few more lost days.  That’s the way it is, balancing good riding days with happily accepted family responsibilities and work.

It's colder than it looks.  Motionless at 44°.

It's colder than it looks. Motionless at 44°.

So far the V7 Classic hasn’t used one stinkin’ drop of oil.  Nada, nothing. I made a journey to Rose Farm Classics two weeks ago to get an ECU update for the V7C, and we found a loose screw holding the fuel vapor cannister line clamp in place.  it had stripped, but I’ll just put a bigger screw in it.  That loose screw represents all of the problems I have seen with 2500 miles of hard riding.  The log so far:

  • I’ve done two 500+ mile days on it.
  • One 800+ mile weekend.
  • Coldest temp during a ride so far – 44°
  • Hottest temp during a ride so far – 95°
  • Best gas mileage – 48mpg
  • Worst mileage – 37mpg
  • Longest stretch at 80mph (5000 rpm) – 70 min.

I remain convinced that the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic is the very best mid-sized standard bike that money can buy.  It’s solid, maintenance-free and it gets looks and compliments that I’ve never had on any other bike I’ve owned.  I’ve even had attendants at toll booths give me a free ride because they simply dug my bike and wanted to compliment me on it (I’m NOT KIDDING!

This bike seems to have no real flaws for a “mid sized” standard.  It handles like a scooter in the city, and out in the twisties of Wisconsin it settles wonderfully on the bends at speed.  It’s better than my Ducati when it comes to turns with too much dirt on them — I don’t have myself quite as puckered up — That may be because I’m not going as fast?  Frankly, I don’t look at the speedo when I’m twistin’ the afternoon away — there’s too much to do.  My “meter” is the smile under my helmet, and the V7C puts it past “eleven” even in the city.  I find that I’ve been able to plot a course to work with some nice bends in the road, and if the traffic is clear, they can be a lot of fun (Pulaski between Armitage and Fullerton is a fave).  Working late, I can take the freeways home, the V7C just keeps up wonderfully.  the lights and stance of the bike make me feel visible and safe.  I’m likin’ the white bike in the city.

Going out to Rose Farm a few weeks back I started to feel the cold for the first time.  The ECU update that Moto Guzzi has released is supposed to take care of an intermittent “engine light” problem that occurs with some bikes.  The voltage threshold was originally set too low in a sensor (I don’t remember which one), and the ECU update addresses this.  I’ll also tell you that the update seems to have a different fuel mapping as I noticed a very different feeling of the bike, especially through the lower/mid ranges.  It had the same linearity of my old 1200 Sport but there’s absolutely no backfire when I dump the throttle.   I’m very wary of the “it feels better” statement when modifications are done to a bike, car or anything.  Sometimes it’s hard to separate the “want” for something different with the actuality of true difference.  I’ve tried to remain indifferent to the ECU update, but I do believe that Guzzi snuck a new mapping in, even though they aren’t advertising it. The V7C’s cold starts are remarkably better, but you still need to use the throttle/choke lever.  Don’t know for sure, but “I’m just sayin…”

I write this, ensconced in my Oak Park bungalow as a crisp, clear 44° day floats past my windows.  It’s rained here most of the week.  I need to get on my bike, but my daughter’s room needs more paint, my daughter needs some attention and my wife wants me to make dinner.  Hmm.  maybe I can squeeze in a few miles around the neighborhood this afternoon…

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10 thoughts on “Moto Guzzi V7 Classic — 2500 mi Review

  1. Dan-
    Thanks for your comment on my blog. You still didn’t leave your email so I hope it’s OK to respond here and say it would be great if you post more recipes from the Old Copper Hills. I will be happy to link to them.
    Thanks again.
    Roland Foster

  2. I’m an American ex-pat living in Lugano (about an hour from Mandello del Lario) and plan to purchase the V7 in black rather than the pearl white. I like the classy gold decal on the black version as well as its black beauty appearance. I currently use a Vespa 125 in the city, but look forward to crossing the Alps with the V7 with some Hepko Becker bags, although the standard leather bags are quite nice and roomy. Any tips for long-distance mountain trips as well as inner city commutes would be greatly appreciated.

    I enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the great writing.
    Best,
    Armando

  3. I really like the GuzziTech sump spacer (http://www.guzzitech.com). They’re made to order, fit beautifully and make a real difference in oil capacity and cooling. The other recommendation is get it serviced by your dealer, or ride over the hill to the factory while it’s still there! It’s a tremendous bike that will find you wondering if the scooter is redundant, but has the legs for nice trips and weekends of 800 mi or more.

    I’d love a place in Lugano. Was there a couple of times as a kid, and find myself lusting for something like that to retire. Expensive as Como?

  4. I’ll certainly include the sump spacer. Agostini or Luigi Stucchi might also be able to help me out. Locally, I have found Domenico Italo and his son Ivano to be a caring and competent dealership.

    Lugano is a beautiful city. It’s expensive but you can make a decent living here as the pay follows Swiss rather than Italian standards. As you may recall, this is the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland, so the food, culture and history as well as the beauty of the northern lake district are distinctively Italian in character. The troffie al pesto or polipo with warm potatoes – complemented by the excellent local merlot – are to die for.

    A presto –
    Armando

  5. Dan, I’ve been reading with great interest your reports on the lovely V7. I’m in the UK and plan to buy a black & gold one next year… It’ll be used for sunny rides on a Sunday and also tours into Europe which I tend to do each year.
    As it happens I have a good Guzzi/Morini/MV/Benelli dealer 3 miles from me…

    I’ve had a test ride on one, although very brief, and loved it. I didn’t have the time to test it’s ability on the motorway and to see how it could sustain touring speeds in Europe of say, 80-85mph, but I plan on a more thorough test come purchase time to confirm.

    I know many reviews always compare it to the more powerfull (and cheaper), Bonneville, and that too is a lovely bike. But I’m sorry, on looks alone this V7 wins.

    Please keep updating your ownership reports on the V7, it is excellent.

    Cheers, Andy.

  6. Thanks. I’ve just crossed 3500 miles since I bought it in August. The longest I’ve had it at 80-85 is about 50 minutes at one stretch — I did a 500 mile day in 9 hours in September, including stops for lunch and gas. I “might” have seen triple digits during that ride once or twice, but I’m more of the sustained speed type — 75-80 here.

  7. Lovely looking bike, the best of the current breed of retros, by far. I would be tempted to buy one for the looks but the power output seems low and the gas mielage disappointing. When I compare the V7 to my ancient (1980) Suzuki GSX1100ET as a touring mount, it doesn’t show much progtess for nigh on 30 years of development. The Suzuki has twice the power and is much heavier, yet it will turn in 45-50 mpg (US) giving a full tank range of nearly 300 miles. Now that is a tourer!

  8. I’m a recent owner of a V7C bought in Australia. I changed the standard mufflers for our locally built Staintunes and boy is that worth it. Not even excessively noisy with a compliance sticker provided to confirm it satisfies the local noise regulations.
    One problem I have had is difficulty starting cold and popping on overrun. I’ve heard there is a guy in the US who can ‘zap’ the ECU to cure these issues but is it simply a case of the engine running too lean? I have a richness adjusting gadget (called a fatduc I think) lent by my friendly mechanic which I’m going to tinker with tomorrow to see if that fixes it. Disappointed that a brand new bike needs ‘tinkering’ to get running properly… Brilliant bike though and always look forward to going for a cruise…

  9. BTW the truimph is more powerful but MUCH heavier – the power-to-weight comes out in the V7’s favour I think. Light is right afterall….

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