I spent some time on the phone with Jim Barron at Rose Farm Classics yesterday. I’m thinking about buying a bike from him right now (unless the right V7 Sport falls into my lap, which just doesn’t happen), and the subject turned around to the V7 Classic. I’ve yet to plant my butt on one and ride it, but I know that will be happening in the future.
As we talked about the V7, we also talked about how much we liked Maxi Scooters. The thing is, in Chicago, there are pot hole that will swallow you up. I barely missed one last Saturday on Wacker that was more than 2 feet wide and at least as deep. Had I hit that on the Eldorado I was riding, let alone a scooter, I do believe that would have made a spectacular mess. Maxi-Scoots also aren’t getting any lighter, either. Still love the scoots, and I’ve even looked at a couple recently for my jaunts around Oak Park.
So the question came up. Maxi-Scoot or V7 Classic? The Maxi-Scoot gives a lot of storage and weather protection, park-ability and style. They are reliable, get great mileage and allow you to zoom just about anywhere you want, including freeways, with ease. How does it compare with the lightweight Guzzi?
The V7 has style all over it, since Guzzi basically pulled every classic goodie out of their refrigerator and made a perfect Dagwood Sandwich of style with this bike. Even the white color just fits it. This bike is all style and all bike, without having a sinister bone in it’s body.
Is it reliable? Reliability is a Guzzi hallmark. I think there were a few years, pre-Piaggio, that might have been troubling, but I also believe that time is long past. Even the latest recall on the Stelvio/Grisos was more for caution and getting things absolutely right for the customer, instead of fixing a potential disaster in the field. A couple of the new V7 owners on the mailing lists that I subscribe to have had some niggling issues, but this bike is built on a well-evolved, solid platform.
I keep hearing that the V7 is “under-powered”. My Eldorado has about the same amount with at least an extra hundred pounds to haul around. I’m just buying that argument unless you’re comparing it to a 750cc hot-rod bike. This bike doesn’t fill that role. This bike is about enough of everything — a typical Guzzi with nothing to prove to anyone — the right-minded owner will bond with this bike completely. It’s a great first bike, a great retro-bike, and I predict that it’s a great “Eastern City” bike, where there’s lots of stop-and-go, potholes, and openings that must be quickly exploited.
I have no dog in the hunt. I haven’t ridden the V7 Classic yet. I’ve been on a bunch of scooters, thanks to Piaggio, and I believe them to be superior products that are a blast to ride. I think for me the V7 Classic would edge out the Maxi Scoot on three things:
- I ride mostly with motorcyclists at the moment since I haven’t had a scoot in Chicago.
- I take a lot of rides out in the wilderness.
- I ride at night, and the potholes in this city come out of nowhere in the pitch.
- Jim thinks the Guzzi is lighter than the biggest Maxis
- Jim sells only Guzzi, and I’m pretty much of a completely biased homer in that department.
- I would love a scooter, seriously love one, but I don’t have enough Motorcycles yet for the amount of money that I currently have to spend. The sad fact is that if I had a scooter, I would probably ride it more than the bikes. I’m just not ready to be so damned pragmatic in my life.
While I’m waiting for my V7 to test and ride around, I’ve been reading the reviews, and in doing so, I’ve decided to give out the links that I’ve found and share them. Please feel free to comment with your experiences on the V7, good or bad, if you have one and if you find more reviews feel free to add them to your comments:
- motorcycle.com 7/1/2008
- Motorcycle Classics Sept/Oct 2008
- TopSpeed.com 5/2/2008
- London Telegraph 7/11/2008
- Motorcycle news (UK) 2/2009
- MSN cars (UK) 10/17/2008
- VisorDown.com 12/19/2008
- BikePoint.com (Aus) 4/2009
- PowersportsNetwork.com 2008
- WebBikeWorld 2008
- CycleWorld 5/2009
- Autoblog.com 9/30/09
- Squadra Guzzista
- Wall Street Journal compares Harley Sportster, Triumph Bonneville and V7 Classic — Guess who wins?
(There’s a lot of UK in here, simply because the bike was available for almost a year in Europe before they were brought into the US).