Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 10,000, ahhh, I mean, 11,000 mile report!

There we were, Fitz and I, at Frank Lloyd Wright’s family chapel across from Taliesin near the Wisconsin River. Pat is an architect and was giving me the most wonderful lecture on all of the graves and events around the area with respect to Mr Wright, and in turn we were slapping each other silly as the squadrons of mosquitoes descended upon us to extract the toll for our visit. I’m thinking “Three Stooges meets Architecture 101.”

Patrick Fitzgerald has become a good friend. I met “everyone calls him Fitz” the same day I met Jim Barron, one cold, cold day in December 2008. I had just moved to town, and decided that hanging out alone was less fun that going to introduce myself to the local Guzzi dealer in Woodstock. Rose Farm Classics was never an easy place to find, and in the dead of winter to a guy that is used to Southern California, everything just looked like tundra.  After my arrival, Jim and I shared a few smokes and decided that we “might” like each other. After about an hour of motorcycle talk, Jim gets a call and starts talking to Fitz. After hanging up, he says, “you have to stay long enough to meet this guy. He’s headed down here now. He’s got a lot of Guzzis, including that Falcone in the showroom.” I decided right then that it would take a nuclear event to get me out of there. Jim brewed me another espresso.

Fitz’ arrival triggered a gathering at Jim’s desk in his “upstairs office”. I don’t remember the whole conversation, but we talked about bikes and did the usual general conversation that “men of a certain age” do when they have a lot in common and decide that the people that they are talking to are “friend worthy”.

So time marches on. It’s well past 18 months now in Chicago for me. I’m living in Detroit and working at GM’s OnStar Division in the Advanced R&D department. I’ve purchased two Guzzis from Jim at Rose Farm, and Fitz and I have ridden together a couple of times, including the maiden voyage of the V7 Classic I now own to the Rockerbox meeting in Milwaukee last year.  I now have eclipsed 10,000 miles, which, like the maiden voyage, incorporates a pleasure trip with Fitz.

10,000 miles eclipsed in the UP

Rockerbox for 2010 was planned the same day as the Wisconsin Moto Guzzi Rally near Mineral Point, roughly 40 miles from Dubuque Iowa in the southwestern part of the state. After negotiations with my lovely bride, I decided to leave Detroit late Thursday, and ride up to Mackinac City, with the intent of crossing the Mackinac Bridge and riding down form the UP to the Rally – a total of 731 miles.

7am, on the Yoop. Mackinac Bridge in background

I left Detroit with roughly 9500 miles on the odometer, and crossed 10,000 miles just north of the Wisconsin border on Saturday in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I thought it fitting that I was on new road, riding for nothing but pleasure and cruising at 80mph without a care in the world. By 10,005 miles I had explored the top speed of the bike on a nice empty straight. I settled back down to my cruise soon after.

I arrived at the rally without event. I want to thank everyone that met me when I got there, and those that complimented me on my writing, as I think that telling stories to people is just about the best thing you can do, and if they like them and tell you, it’s just extra cream on the pie for me.

Fitz was there. I felt a little extra joy knowing that in this mix of 270 Guzzisti that I truly enjoyed being with, there was one guy that I “knew” as a good friend and connection to the events of my first moving to the Midwest, and the first ride I had on this very machine parked next to me. We exchanged greetings, and I met his lovely wife, son and hilarious Bull Terrier, “shooter”. This man is truly blessed with good things in this family, his choice of dog, and the wonderful SPIII that he rides all over the place. I have to admit a little disappointment that he didn’t bring a Falcone or “Big Red” which is a 1000cc V7 Sport “clone” that I have had the pleasure of riding.

shooter

shooter

We spent the evening around a campfire, sharing the great beer served by the Wisconsin Rally organizers and some nice bottles of wine. Fitz said to meet up for breakfast and we’d take a run through the twisties that the hills and dales of Southwestern Wisconsin offer.

One Hundred Forty miles, two pasties, one beer and 3 pounds of cheese later, we returned back to the rally headquarters. I had promised my wife that I would leave for home at three o’clock, and it was close to that. We said our goodbyes, and I made the 180 mile trip back to Oak Park in a decent time, thinking about how this man, 10 years my senior, could ride my wheels into the ground on his well-built and modified SP Guzzi. I can only wonder what he would have done to me on his 1000cc Cloner…

The Wisconsin Rally

With more than 270 bikes, almost all Guzzis, this is the MOTHER of all Guzzi Rallies. The Nationals should have so many people! If it were up to me I would call this the National Meet and have a roving venue for those that can’t make it. I hope I never miss another one. The roads, people, food, organizers and attitudes there can’t be beat.

11,000 miles

I spent the next 24 hours at home uneventfully enjoying my family and preparing to ride back up to Detroit late Sunday. And so I did, also in an unevenful manner. I pulled into my apartment in Grosse Pointe at 11pm, too tired to note the mileage. The nexts morning I parked at work, looking down at my odometer at 11,001 miles. I had just done a 1500 mile loop in 3 days, with nothing to remember but grins and good times.

Outside of Jackson, MI

Outside of Jackson, MI

In fact, except for a kick stand spring and one 6000 mile maintenance, the V7 Classic has been the same. Nothing remarkable but grins and good times. It hasn’t used a drop of oil, not one hiccup in the engine, and I’ve only had to replace the tires with Pirelli Sport Demons (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!) and that inner sidestand spring with a stainless steel one after I found fault in the metallurgy (Moose Racing M7712). Other than that, I have enjoyed this Guzzi more than I thought I would, and I had high expectations.

Stuck under an overpass outside of Toledo

Stuck under an overpass outside of Toledo

From city riding, to long trips on the road and romps through country twisties, the V7 has never let me down or not been up to the task. It’s like a scooter in the city, a Road King on the Highway, and a petite blaster when the pavement turns to ribbons. If “Standard” means “great all ’round bike,” then this is the “true” standard. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.

11001 mi

11001 mi

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43 thoughts on “Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 10,000, ahhh, I mean, 11,000 mile report!

  1. Great write-up!
    People who keep on nagging about the lack of power do not know the bike or haven’t ridden one long enough to feel what it’s all about.
    Keep us posted
    keep it safe

    Christiaan

  2. I’ll be picking up my (new to me) SPIII this weekend, Danilo, and felt a quiver when you mentioned Jim’s bike, hoping you (or he) might make mention of some likes/dislikes of the bike. Other than the fact that the engine is mostly covered, I’m pleased as Hell with the looks of the bike.
    The present owner has warned the tires are only 40%, so I’ll be lookin’ at replacing them soon and was interested in your comment about the Sport Demons. Yours is the second recommendation I’ve seen pointing others toward the Pirellis.

    I watched this week as a V50 sold for less than $2500 on eBay and salivated. Having just bought the SPIII I’m pretty sure my wife would have sent me to the doghouse had I bid on the little Guzzi, but I’m sure it would have been perfect for my 32 mile commute to work! If I like the SPIII as much as I expect, I may be watching eBay this winter for a small block to fill that bill.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts here. If you ever decide to head downstate, mi casa es su casa…
    We’ve got some good twisty, smooth roads down here.

  3. I am a ” man of certain tonnage” and I got the bike over the Ton easily. I would imagine the more “average” rider would see around 110.

    I’m satisfied. I cruised for hours at 80 on multiple occasions. That’s fine for me!

  4. “A man of certain tonnage”.
    I like that and may use it myself. Right now I tell others I have more avoirdupois than I would like. That gets me funny looks.

  5. Pingback: Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 10,000, ahhh, I mean, 11,000 mile report! « As the Dude Abides… « Tiny Goose

  6. Pingback: Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 10,000, ahhh, I mean, 11,000 mile report! « As the Dude Abides… « Tiny Goose

  7. More advice please, Danilo…
    My SPIII came with no tool kit and no owner’s manual. It’s a ’93, so I suspect the Operator’s manual may be very hard to come by, but is the tool kit a standard item in Guzzis?
    I’d appreciate any advice you can give on acquiring both.

  8. Hey: You guys that have these wonderful bikes: Our Sacramento area Guzzi dealership has been very weak until three weeks ago when a dealer opened up in Elk Grove. I tootled over there and sat on a V-7, hoping beyond hope that one day, one of these would be mine. However, I have a 34″ inseam, and it seems from my initial impression, that I may be too long-of-leg to be comfortable on one. Dang!!! Question: If you have a V-7, how are you finding the comfort / cramped factor, especially if you have a long inseam?

    Thanks! I really want one of these based upon Danillo’s posts!

  9. Hi Danilo,

    Are those official Guzzi hard panniers and if so whats your experience of them so far on the V7 re their performance and how much they affect the handling of the bike.
    I am thinking of purchasing a set of panniers myself, I have seen various manufacturers with various reviews but nothing on the the Guzzi range.
    I use my V7C everyday but it is becoming a bit of a bind lugging a rucksack around everywhere.

    Cheers

    Perky

  10. Hi Danilo, Hi All,

    I have to admit I have real mixed feelings about Moto Guzzi and my 2009 V7 Classic. It looks great. It rides great. But quality and reliability have been an issue.

    Disappointment would be an understatement to describe my experience right now I bought a Moto Guzzi thinking I would have a reliable bike but unfortunately with less than 1100km I have experienced the following:

    1. At 500 km while driving a bolt connecting my gear shifter fell off leaving me stranded – luckily close to home
    2. At 800 km I noticed an oil leak – needed to replace a seal
    3. At 1080 km while at a traffic light my clutch decide to stop working launching me forward – this one is my favorite

    So its a beautiful day here in Germany today. And instead of riding my Moto Guzzi V7. I am waiting for a tow truck.

    At this point in my experience I’m not sure I would endorse a Moto Guzzi. I’m hoping this will change sometime soon.

    Will keep you updated.

  11. I’m sorry to hear about your problems!

    I can’t emphasize enough making sure that your dealer is well-equipped to send you out the door on a bike. These bikes are low production, which means that Honda makes more bikes in a day than V7s in a year. You’re not going to get the quality control inherent in a larger organization, although with the V7 being made alongside Aprilia now, it should improve over the years.

    I’ve heard horror stories about dealers dropping their Moto Guzzi lines and “blowing them out the door” at reduced prices. What you get is a motorcycle that has been taken out of a box, charged up and running. Sometimes the sale isn’t even registered at the Moto Guzzi factory — try to get warranty work under those conditions!

    I’ve got a wonderful dealer. I just had my 12K mile service (15K Kilometers). This was all travel in one year, with three months off for Chicago’s incredibly bad winters. I think I could have gotten 20K miles in California. I haven’t had any problem except for a bad return spring on my kickstand. Hardly more than a nuisance.

    I hope this isn’t the case with you Silvano, and I hope your dealer is ready to stand by the product. I’ve had wonderful luck with Moto Guzzi’s help line in getting my problems solved. They replaced some cracked tires that I had and did covered me within a couple of weeks.

    Seems like the loose gear shifter should have been addressed by the dealer at set-up time, and the clutch (I’m thinking it’s the cable) might not have received the attention/inspection that is called for. The oil seal, well, I’ve don’t have enough information to address this, where it was or anything. I have noted that it is mandatory to replace the seals on the rocker covers every time you adjust the valves, and these WILL fail reused…

    Good luck and keep in touch, please.

  12. Enjoyed your latest report. I am a couple miles short of 9000 miles and having a blast. Just got back from a 1750 miler a ride to where ever with my 2 son’s and Joe’s father-in-law. The bike ran great in all kinds of riding conditions.

    The only thing that bothered me was that the left header pipe was getting bluer than the right as it was a nice gold color. Was advised that it was an indication that the left side was running richer than the right and to check the spark gap. Low and behold the gap was .035 instead of between the range of .23-.027. The right side was right on. The left plus was really sooty. Changed the plugs, made sure the gap was correct (NGK’s right out of the box were right on at .027. Went for a 160 miler yesterday and when I pulled the plugs there color was right on.

    I have a question for you. How do you cope with the stock seat. My old bony but is throbbing at 75miles. I have tried many combination’s for comfort. On the trip I had a sheepskin pad, a small airhawk, bicycle riding shorts, motorcycle sweat wicking undershorts. Tried all different combination’s and I am glad we stopped every hundred mile. I find the cafe seat is even worse.

    Bill

  13. The cafe seat is more uncomfortable for me. I find it to be a “90 minute” seat… After that I need to get off and stretch my legs. It does definitely change the characteristics of the bike and makes it more sporty just by the position that you ride in.

    I know that a few people have had a gel-pad put in their seats to great effect. The best thing I ever did for my ride (and I am a man of “certain tonnage” at 240-250lbs) was to actually ADD preload to the rear shocks until it had about 5mm gap on the preload ring – to- shock. The stiffness really made a difference in the ride to the point that the stock seat has become a “5 hour” seat…

    If you weigh less I would suggest the gel-pad or healthy doses of Mexican food all winter.

  14. Hello, I’m the new owner of a Guzzi V7 Classic. It is my second bike so I’m still pretty new to riding. I hope to do some touring with it through the U.S. Your blog entries about your V7 is nice, thank you. I was wondering about your Hepco Becker bags. How do you feel about the 40l size vs the 30l size? Yours do look big quite big, especially for around town, but on a long trip bringing camping and cooking gear the extra space may be necessary.

  15. Well. The HB mounts rusted quite a bit from bad chrome, but the good people that are the US representatives sent me a new set of mounts that look perfect.

    The 40L bags are important to me in that Each one will hold a full face helmet plus other items. I ride a lot in the city and like to stash my helmet out of site. On trips it’s like having a pickup bed. It’s got tons and tons of room.

  16. Hi Guys,

    Just following on from the panniers thread, I looked at the 40ltr and 30ltr Hepco Beckers and decided upon the 30ltr ones. Both the dealer and myself that the 30ltr ones were more aesthetically pleasing than the 40ltrs and they still added up to a combined loaded carrying weight of around 20kgs which is more than enough for me. 🙂
    Took about an hour to put them on due to Swiss number plates being located quite high up to the back light cluster and forcing us to do a little bit of fiddling to make some space.
    Now that I jave them on though they are a godsend.

    Good luck and safe riding.

    Cheers

    P

  17. G’day,
    I’ve had my 7Classic since Nov, 2008, and apart from one alteration and one addition, I am completely happy.
    The alteration was a complete re-upholstering and re-covering of the seat, giving it a lower in front, slightly higher in back appearance, it looks really good and it’s now definitely a 3-5 hour seat including fuel stops.
    The addition is a centre-stand, purchased and installed by my Guzzi dealer, and gents, I have to say, the balance is beautiful!.
    No bull, I can put it ‘up’ by merely pressing my foot DOWN on the stand, and with the guidance of THREE fingers, it virtually rotates backwards by itself, this is the most perfectly balanced centre-stand I have ever known! (been riding since 1967), I strongly advise having this installed!.
    I have over 15,000Kms up now, lots of them riding from Sydney to Canberra, 610kms per ’round trip, and NO problems at all.
    My Guzzi is truly my ‘chill-out, blow the cobwebs’ ride of choice, it’s everything I could want or ask for.
    If you’re reading this and do not own one, do yourself a favour, get the ‘readys’ get to a dealer, and get one!.

  18. Stu,

    I’ve been thinking about adding a center stand to my 2010 V7C. Did the dealer need to remove the side stand to make it work?

    I’ve heard varying reports on some stands working fine and others needing to be retrofit to work properly. Do you know what the part number is for the stand that you got?

    I have just about 4k mi. on my black V7 and I ride it to work every day. Seattle rain isn’t a problem especially with the sealed shaft drive keeping things running smoothly.

    Cheers!

  19. You can’t have both. It’s either center stand or side stand. I’m leaving the side stand on for now. I don’t know the part number, but I think it’s available from MGCycle or Agostini.

  20. Hi there,

    I just discovered your blog, and I like it!
    Thank you for sharing your stories and experience.

    One question: are those cool side cases Moto Guzzi original stuff?
    Here in Europe you can just have leather bags I believe, they look good but are neither very durable nor capacious..

    Thank you in advance,

    Ciao a tutti voi!

    Stefano
    (an Italian in Paris – France, who dreams to live in the US one day.)

  21. They are Hepco-Becker Bags. Comes with mounts. I believe that these are European-made. I’m a senior software architect. you get me a job in Paris I’ll hook up up here…:D

  22. Hey Danilo!

    Thanks for your quick reply. Those bags really look good on the V7…
    As for that job in Paris, it can be easily arranged considering what you specialize in!
    You would be surprised to find out how many American people work and/or live around here.

    I go to bed now, it’s 1.36 am on this side of the world. Will check tomorrow if you’re serious about moving here 😉

  23. Follow-up to my email – mixed feelings about my Moto Guzzi…

    I am pleased to report that the dealer stepped up and looked into the issues with my V7 Classic. Since this last visit I have not had any problems. The bike continues to be fun to ride and is beginning to feel like the reliable purchase I originally intended on having for long distance trips.

    Silvano

  24. Stefano,

    I live in Zurich, Switzerland and I purchased the Hepco Beckers from a local bike shop so you should be able to do the same in Paris, alternatively go on their website and you should be able to order on line.

    On another point, just completed 1500 km in 3 rides around Zurich on 3 separate weekends, good mix of mountain passes, narrow tracks and fast sections. The bike certainly held it self against much more powerful bikes on the twisties and the pipes are loosening off nicely. Fuel economy was great but I am cheesed off at the reserve light coming on so soon.

    I thought that I would push on once it came on steadily, after going on and off about 10 times, it’s these bloody inclines that we have here, and after another half hour of “spirited” riding thought that I would fill up. Took 13ltrs before the tank was full, so did I have another 4 to go or was I pushing it?
    It would be interesting to see if anyone has got near the magic 16+ltr fill up mark 🙂

    So this weekend another 300km+ ride booked in the Alps and the 7.5k service coming up after that.
    It’s been a joy and my missus is desperate to take it off my hands, not on your nelly!!
    Cheers and safe riding.

    PerkyP

  25. Question for you Danilo.

    I love my ’09 V7 Classic, but I have had one issue with my kickstand and wanted to see how it compares with the problem you had with yours. When I’m riding at higher speeds (50-60 mph) my kickstand will start to ‘fall down’. I’m thinking it’s from the vibration from the engine as the RPM’s are revving around 4K. It happens pretty much without fail every time I ride and I haven’t taken in to the dealer yet, as they tend to take a lot of time and I don’t want to spend the summer with my bike in the shop. Anyway, was this the same or a similar issue you had with yours and if so, what did you do to correct it?

    Thanks,
    -Wade Paschall
    Colorado

  26. EXACT same thing. I ran with a bungee attached ’till the spring came in, then the fix took 5 minutes with a good pair of needle-nose pliers and a strong awl to hook things with (screwdriver would probably work, I just have lots of tools!). Don’t disconnect the kill switch —

  27. I too love my V7. At 6,500 miles still as strong as you said – but like you, my kick stand occasionally opens during rides and kills the engine. Could you explain to a non-wrench how you fixed this problem – thanks

  28. Thanks for the site Danilo. It’s helped me, along with other online articles to narrow my search down to a BonnieT100 and a V7, although the V7 seems to be going to the top. Here is Australia I can only see 2010 bikes. Does anyone know if there is a 2011 model and if there are any upgrades for this year?

    Thanks and happy riding everyone.

    Hedo OZ

  29. No new changes for the V7 Classic for 2011/2012 — There are some SWEET Arrow exhausts available now at about $1300 US retail — and the Cafe Classic seat is a direct swap if you don’t want a pillion — No changes, but a gradual increase in goodies and mods!

    I’m planning to paint mine like a 1000s over the winter.

  30. Hi ,

    re side stand vs centre stand… I have both.
    The centre stand was removed from my Breva 750 and fitted to my V7. No issues with both being on.
    Glad you all like your bikes – I love my V7c 🙂

    Regards

    Roger

  31. I will hope you keep an eye on these comments.

    A question for you: I have been studying Moto Guzzis for about a year now with an aim toward eventually pulling the trigger on a purchase. Your journal has been a godsend, thanks. I am working for a few weeks in New Hampshire, not far from National Powersports Distributors, a largely online reseller, and they have a 2008 Breva 1200 Sport, <12,000 miles, offered for slightly less than the asking price for a new V7c. A dealer not far from my home near Nashville, TN, recently picked up Moto Guzzi and has the V7 in stock. I called about the Racer, they said maybe next year – beautiful bike, though.
    So, which way would you go? I live 25 miles from Nashville and would only occasionally use the bike to commute the 80 miles to work (don't ask) so would mostly ride as a hobby through the hills of rural Tennessee. I last rode 25 years ago on a 450lb Kawasaki GPZ550. I'm your age plus a year, in good physical shape. Also, would I be insane to try and ride the Breva 1160 miles from New Hampshire to Nashville in 2 days? The idea of riding around here in New England during the last warmth of summer with trees just turning is attractive.
    Hope you see this soon.
    Thanks.

    Bobby

  32. Having ordered a centre stand and a Breva screen to go on my new V7 Classic, I am surprised to read above that this seems not to be possible. Not having a centre stand seemed bonkers to me and the dealer was happy to fit one at no extra cost. And the dealer? A brilliant gang of fellows in Haywards of Cambridge England. I just turned up one day on spec, they loaned me a helmet, gloves and jacket and a V7 and said ‘go try it’. What a lovely machine. I’ve owned many different bikes and this is, for me, the best by a long, long way. But it is ‘horses for courses’, they won’t suit everyone, happily. So go ahead and order the centre stand. It will fit alongside the side stand. Happy motorcycling everyone.

  33. So I had the same problem of a dropping kickstand at speed around 4500 mi on my V7. It became rather dangerous during night-time driving in the mountains here as when the kick stand goes down the lights go out (whoever designed that deserves a swift kick to head.) So after reading this blog I ran out and bought the Moose Racing M7712 spring only to find out that its 30mm too short compared to the inner kickstand spring that was originally on my V7 Classic kickstand. Did you really stretch out that Moose Racing spring Danilo, or was the original inner spring on your kickstand around 80-90mm in length?

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