Moto Guzzi V7 Classic — Exactly Enough Power

The Moto Guzzi V7 Classic has been a resounding success for this company that is now approaching 90 years of continuous production.  It is a comfortable, good-handling and very stylish ride.  I’ve found it to be extremely reliable, a great 500-mile per day bike, and perfectly adequate on power.

In fact, that’s the number one topic of questions and comments about the V7 that I’ve answered.  Further, if one surfs the many Moto Guzzi Forums, whenever the topic revolves around the V7 Classic, there’s always a group that says “I’d get one if it had 80hp”, or “it’s a nice, beginner’s bike”, or “what were they thinking with only 48 hp?”

2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

The V7 Classic is all about balance.  Balance in riding position.  Balance in handling.  Balance in power-to-weight.  The V7C is about 100lbs lighter than anything else in the Guzzi Inventory.  Putting a bigger engine into it would mean bigger frame, CARC rear-end, different wheels and tires, longer wheelbase — a different bike that is NOT a V7C  (perhaps it’s a Bellagio?).  The V7C is a very integrated design.  It is light, great handling, super for the city, more than adequate for the highway and definitely fast enough, especially with the torque characteristics of the wonderful small-block V-Twin.

The zero-to-sixty times for the V7 Classic are better than the mid-70’s Porsche 911 that I owned.  I never heard anyone complain about its speed.  I’ve never had any issues with passing, on-ramps and getting around slow traffic on two-lanes.  The motor’s torque characteristics are so flexible that I don’t think about power at all. I can stay up with the groups that I ride in, albeit some ride more quickly over public highways than I’m willing to do since I have a couple of tickets…

So I don’t get it.  I am 6’1″ and weigh in at 245 (I lost 10lbs!!!). I regularly ride with 40L bags with stuff in them, and I ride hard, and long distances.  The V7C will cruise at 80mph all day long.  It will easily top 100mph, but definitely not 110.  I’ve done over 110 on a bike, and frankly I’m just not “into it” like I used to be.  I”m not a cruiser, but an enthusiast that can ride rain or shine, day or night and rack up miles in mountains, interstates and cities.

I don’t need a 300km-governed superliterbike.  I need a bike that I meld into, that responds as I think.  I don’t like unpredictability and I don’t want to ride hard and long on a bike that contains surprises or that are really above my skill levels.  It’s nice to have that MV Agusta, 1098, Tricked-out Griso or 1200 for the weekend blast or occasional mount. For the guy like me that rides almost every day that they possibly can, thinking that if a trip is good, it is better on two wheels, power is a secondary concern to the riding environment.

I chose the V7C because I live in the city.  I get out on 500 mile days about three times a year, plus a couple of 1500 mile weekends.  about 90% of my time is going to be spent dodging cars in the city of Chicago.  Light, quick and well-balanced is the bike you want here.  The V7 Classic is like a Mini Cooper or even a small Lotus.  Power isn’t everything — funny thing, with 48 horsepower and all of the great attributes that the V7 Classic has, power is a secondary concern.

37 thoughts on “Moto Guzzi V7 Classic — Exactly Enough Power

  1. Americans are trained/brainwashed to always want BIGGER and by implication better. I have owned some unrealistic rides myself but I have come to the conclusion that if I can’t ride it all day why would I own it! My biggest is problem is that my wife prefers “comfort” over anything else and I would like it if she rode behind me more. So instead of something that makes total sense like the V7 I still own a BMW R1200RT. I wished wives appreciated motorcycles more!

  2. I sat on a V7 and liked it but it did feel a bit small to me…very narrow. Just my personal preference. Once I have my Cal Vin however, I would love to pick up a Nevada Classic. I think that is a spectacular bike and really beautiful. Unfortunate that they are not going to be available in the states anymore.

  3. I have a 2004 BMW R1150R that I like a lot. I have also wanted a Moto Guzzi for years and the V7 Classic looks like it would fit the bill perfectly, although I wish they offered other colors besides white and black.

  4. I spoke to my dealer about this. He says since the bodywork is so clean and easily removed, you’re about $600 from just about anything that you want. They also have green from the V7 Cafe — I don’t think it would be too hard to swap all that out — I have the Cafe seat on my bike now, and it was only $160 and a complete snap in replacement!

  5. Hi Danilo, Nice review. It got re-posted on the Pro Italia facebook page today. Hope you’re doing well.

  6. Glen!

    Great to hear from you. I’ve been living in a topographically-challenged area. I miss that long desert stretch on Highway 62, and the Santa Monica Mountains. Here you have to ride 70+ miles to see a hill!

    Hope you and your quota are doing well. I was thrilled to see Pro-Italia pick up Moto Guzzi again. They were the only ones that I would let touch my Ducati in LA. Fantastic service, great sales department, super people. I wish them nothing but the very best.

    Thanks for getting in touch. Next time I get out there I’ll see if I can get Guzzi to give me something to ride and we’ll have a day of it.

  7. Hi Danilo,
    Discovering your blog was a godsend. Originally I was debating between a Triumph and a Harley. Having read several reviews along with your blog I decided to go with a Moto Guzzi V7 Classic.

    I purchased a black one yesterday. Looking forward to winter ending someday soon here in Germany.

    Thanks for the informative updates.

  8. We have a proclivity toward improving something good until it no longer works as well as it once did. Examples: the Mac Classic, the VW Beetle, the US Congress, and now, sadly, Toyotas. (!) The over-increase in horsepower in most motorcycles is another example of this. Recalling great days on an ’82 R65, I want me one o’ these V-7s.

  9. Danilo,

    Much like Silvano above, discovery of your blog was a godsend. I fell prey to the ‘typical American sport rider’ curse last spring, and have an oh-so-gorgeous Ducati 848 Superbike sitting in my garage. The Sargent seat is nice, but, unfortunately, it is not the most comfortable mount around. A blast to ride on twisty roads, but living in suburban Maryland, there aren’t many of those. So, I was in my local Ducati/Moto Guzzi dealer (Speed’s Cycle in Elkridge, MD) the other day gandering at the V7 Cafe Classic and was thoroughly impressed. The shop manager mentioned that he wasn’t sure if the V7 would have enough power for me, especially coming off my 100+hp “super”bike, and seemed to push the Ducati GT1000. While likewise a very nice bike, the GT1000 just doesn’t seem to suit me. This post came at the right time for me to put the V7 Classic at the top of my list. Now, if only I can find a MG dealer that participates in Demo Days in the Mid-Atlantic region so I can test ride one of these beauties!!

    Thanks much for a great blog!

  10. I don’t know how much the Demo Days trailers are going to be rolling this year — I would suggest asking the dealer for a Test Ride — If you’re ever in Chicago look me up and I’ll let you rip around the block a bit.

    It’s got just enough power, especially for the city. All those cafe racers of the late 50’s early 60’s were less powerful than the V7 (except for maybe the odd HRD), and the Guzzi is a thousand times more reliable and a great mount, especially if you’re going to be spending 90% of your time in the City.

  11. I recently purchased a V7 classic and was thinking about getting the sump spacer from guzzi tech. My only concern is painting it black to match the rest of the engine. I was hoping you could tell me how you painted yours. If all else fails I’ll just have it painted professionally and then have it installed at the bikes first service.

    I can attest to how much it cost to have the V7C painted. My dealer hooked me up with their go to paint guy and it’s costing me $700 to have it painted black with orange stripes like the Corsa Italiana Special in London. Hopefully it stops raining before I get it back!

  12. I never painted mine, but you should be able to get crinkle black or satin black paint from any good industrial paint store (anyone that sells car paint will have this) or places like Eastwood. Just sand the exterior places that are exposed, tape everything off and trim, then paint and let it dry nicely, then install.

  13. I picked out the Quota mostly to handle my long inseam, 36″+ and the machine works pretty good for me but I’d like a smaller city bike. My last bike was a Kaswasaki 550Ltd with about 50hp and that thing got into more trouble. sigh. Naturally inline fours, and that in line four in particular, like to rev and rev now which was part of the problem. The other half was a very young guy. :^)

    I find that the young guy is still not too far away so he must me watched but this is easier to do now.

    So the ergo’s are more important to me than the hp, and a cool colour scheme would be nice too (the white in the photographs don’t do it for me and the green even less so).

    If you have not discovered them yet there are some nice roads north of LaCross along the river – Minnesota Wisconsin border. Very pretty country too. I need to get back some day to explore them on two wheels.


  14. As always a nice article Danilo! I have had a Breva750 with hard luggage, a centrestand, and I have just bought Eds sump spacer. The bike was bought new in March 2004 and apart from the screen cracking (replaced 6 years ago) and a need to keep the battery in perfect fettle, its been a brilliant bike and a great light tourer for a 1 bike, never carry a passenger, hate motorways, guy like me.

    If it ever ceases to proceed for a final time, a V7 Classic will replace it for sure.

  15. Danilo,

    How is the V7 treating you? I haven’t seen any updates or articles on her all summer. I hope its because you’ve been riding the whole time!


  16. Danilo,
    I just discovered this site and have been reading through it at a terrific pace.
    Would you say that you prefer the V7 to the 1200 Sport?

  17. Just wanted to say I’ve been reading your blog and I am looking at buying a V7C myself soon hopefully….

    I was in Chicago for the Roger Waters concert at the United Center on the 21st, and I saw a white V7C riding down the road. Wouldn’t have been you right? Love the exhaust note on the Guzzis too.

    We need more updates!

  18. Depends on what you want to do. If you fit a Griso, I love the lower CG with all that power over the 1200. If you are going to eat up the highway on long distances, I think the 1200 is a blast, especially when you get to the twisties. It is also a good all-rounder, but not my favorite for city use, because it is so very powerful.

    The V7? It’s a great city bike. Just awesome. Completely trouble-free, too. I have no trouble racking it through twisty roads and over long distances, but I do miss the weight when there’s any wind or I just want to go faster. For the most part, the V7C is one of the best bikes you can own for a long period of time if you ride every day.

  19. At last a motorcycle blog for the real world!

    I have followed your adventures via your narratives in “As the Dude Abides”.Your experiences with the Breva Sport was my reference point for keeping my Guzzi lust alive. Alas my 69 year, increasingly arthritic frame, rebels every time I try to mold myself onto one.

    Enter the V7C. Specifically a Black Beauty that I saw at a dealership last summer. Your experiences with your V7 has convinced me that this is a bike I could live with. I too am 6’1″ and 245 +/-. I had a BMW R65 several years ago that met 90% of my needs. Sadly I sold it (temporary insanity). The V7C could well be a worthy replacement with the added bonus of comfort.

  20. Hello Danilo, am looking buying a V7 cafe not the classic. Can you say your opinion about how comfortable woulb be riding 100 miles per day with a bike with clip ons compared to the low bar of the v7 classic?

  21. I easily have run through 1500 mile (~2500km) weekends on the standard bars. I’ve ridden a V7 Sport for some distance with clip-ons with no problem, and I have a Parilla 250 with Motobi-like clip-ons that I’ve easily put more than 200km on with no problem. I’ve also had a Ducati ST2 which had shorter bars, and a Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport with a forward-lean perch. Both of them required some “getting used to” for long distance trips.

    So I guess it depends. If you plan on touring long distances, get the Standard set-up. You can easily put clip-ons and get the cafe seat, and you can still bag-up and take it on trips. If your goal is to rock and roll through the mountain passes, hit the cafes and keep your days under 400km, the Cafe would be my choice, too!

  22. Love this Blog, I am riding a Suzuki Boulevard C 50. Most would consider it a small bike as it is only 805 cc. It is the perfect size and has plenty of power for my daily 120 mile commute. And yes my commute is on the highway, and by the way I average 75 mph and still get 45 MPG. I have seen many riders struggle with bigger bikes, and I think they give up on riding because they are not comfortable. Thanks for being a voice of reason.
    PS I do see a Moto Guzzi California in my future. I wasn’t ready for it last purchase, still needed to improve my skills and get some more money together.

  23. I have more fun on my Parilla 250 than anything I have ever owned. It’s not even close. I see more and more small vintage Italian Singles in my future!

  24. Having recently found the Honda CBR250R (I know this is bit left of field but they are both 250cc singles) I wonder how the two would compare. If the 250R would be a classic small single someday.

    And if I would fit on it……… I mean, I stand a better chance of finding a modern 250 in good shape than a real classic!

  25. I respectfully disagree with the assertion that bumping the HP from 48 to 75 would require a bigger engine. With today’s technology Moto Guzzi could have done a better job in the department. If the V7 Classic was sporting a 75HP 750cc motor Moto Guzzi would have problems with the demand. JMHO.

  26. I think you’re ignoring what you have in the Moto Guzzi small-block head. This is essentially a flat-topped head that uses the piston as a combustion chamber. You’re severely limited on valve size and intake-exhaust shape.

  27. Nice to see these comments, Im thinking about getting the v7c too. I have a BMW r1200gs and its a great bike with plenty of leg room (6’2/34″) but I dont use it to its fullest potential, (mostly backroads and occasional freeways) and think a smaller, lighter bike might do it. Id probably add a flyscreen and go from there…

  28. The flyscreen “might” be nice. I just turned 17000 miles on the bike last night, and the 320 mile ride from Chicago to Detroit was pretty “buggy”!

  29. Hi.
    Great blog. I’m considering getting a V7 as my second bike. I live about an hour north of Madison, WI and see that Rose Farm is about 2.5 hours away. They seem like a great shop, but I was wondering if you knew of any trusted mechanics or shops in southern WI. Again, thanks for all of the great information!

  30. I don’t know any. If you call Rose Farm, they’ll be straight with you. I do know that Rose Farm has 3-4 factory bikes that have been used as demos that he’s got on sale. They’re going to have light miles, but Jim set them up which means they’ll be rock solid. I’ve just turned 17000 on mine, and have another posting coming up soon!

  31. Hi Danilo,

    I’m 67 years old now, have been riding Guzzis since 1991 and have ridden them through all the lower 48 with my wife as passenger. I currently have a ’98 EV with about 40k miles that I bought new, an ’80 SP with a big valve LeMans motor and a ’69 Ambassador that i meant to restore but never did. i live in the mountains of southern VA and yearn for a smaller bike to use for day rides and maybe the occasional trip. What do you think of the V7 as a 2 up bike? I read somewhere that the early V7s had heat problems. Is that the reason for the deep sump? In the absence of a dealer near me are there any others you can suggest closer to me than Rose Farm? Thanks for pointing out that the centerstand must replace the sidestand, I’ll have to think about that. Keep up the good work!

  32. I continue to seriously consider a V7 Classic. Man, it is a beautiful looking bike – not like a retro but more as if Guzzi had just kept making them and updating the spec since the ’70s. I do wish that the power and gas mileage was up to date though. I have a 1973 Yamaha TX750 (744cc OHC twin) which has 63bhp, 50 ft. lbs torque, and will return 55-60mpg (UK), which is 45-48mpg US. Plus a 19 litre tank which gives 200+ miles range. If a 40 year old bike can deliver these figures a modern one should be able to match, at least.

  33. Spot on Danilo. I run a V7 Racer and my wife has a V7 Classic. I traded a big bad ’82 GSX1100S Katana in on my Racer and can honestly say I have never missed the power, in any company. A perfectly balanced bike for the real world.

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