V7 Classic with Norman Hyde “M” Bar Conversion

So I have been looking for more aggressive handlebars to put on my V7 Classic.  The stock ones were nice but I wanted a better “look” and also a little more weight on the front tires.  My Parilla 250 has VERY aggressive clip-ons that are fine for such a light bike; for the V7C I thought that something that was a little more upright but lower than stock might be the ticket.

I posted on a few forums, and many chimed in and recommended the Laverda “Jota” replica bars available from numerous places on the web.  They are fabulous looking setups, but I wanted to see exactly how little I could spend and actually get some really decent bars.  The other choices were “swan neck” styles, and I did consider them, and finally dropped them when I’d have to take the triple trees apart to get them on the forks.  Well within my mechanical skills.  Still, I want to make it cheap and easy.

A good friend recommended Norman Hyde “M” bars.  I didn’t have pictures, and I’d ridden and written about Triumphs, for which these bars were actually made.  The clearance for the M bars is a substitute for the “Clubman” bars on other cafe bikes.  I bought my bars on eBay for about $45 bucks, and a set of cheap, nice bar-end mirrors from Amazon for another $19 plus shipping.

Fit and finish were awesome.  Installed in about an hour.  The cables were a little crowded, but everything ended up fitting nice.  I discarded the bar end weights that came with the original bars, and I saved them to install on a friend’s Aermacchi project that I’m completing.  The bar end mirrors installed quickly, and the adjustability and quality were damned nice.  Allen bolts in two different sizes do the clamping and holding.

I gave it a short ride around the block.  Everything was tight, but it’s Detroit, it was February and it was dark and cold.  I pulled in knowing that the install was sound and everything worked well when riding around the block.

And then it rained and froze for two days.

When the weather finally broke, I pulled the bike out of my man cave and threw a leg over.  First thing I noticed was the narrower bars caused me to twist the throttle and rev the engine, which is uncomfortable, to say the least.  Glad to say that after a few days this has completely disappeared.

It’s been a few days’ riding now, and I have over 100 miles with my hands on the new setup.  In a word, delightful.  Slightly less wind blast than the standard posture, and waaaaayyyy more feel.  The front wheels dance under my direction like they have never done before.  Fast and slow corners are much more comfortable to set up and navigate through.  The new position and the bars’ size and shape compliment this bike so well that the first thing I’d do is ditch the stock ones and put these on.

Comfort is another area.  I ride big miles on the Guzzi.  It’s over 20K miles since I purchased it in August of 2009, with a couple of really miserable Midwest winters to keep me off the road for extended periods.  I require bars that are comfortable on my arms and keep my back in a nice straight posture.  The Norman Hyde “M” bars are exactly what the doctor ordered.

Oh, and bar-end mirrors for me and my new setup?

For the first time ever I can actually see exactly what’s behind me.  I don’t have to move my shoulders around to see traffic.  I don’t have to squint to make out what the size, density and speed of things approaching from the rear are.  No vibration, no wiggle, nothing at any speed or RPM range.

So I can see everything behind me, ride comfortably with even greater confidence, and rock a nice cafe bike look for about $75.  What’s not to like?

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V7 Classic with Norman Hyde "M" Bar Conversion

So I have been looking for more aggressive handlebars to put on my V7 Classic.  The stock ones were nice but I wanted a better “look” and also a little more weight on the front tires.  My Parilla 250 has VERY aggressive clip-ons that are fine for such a light bike; for the V7C I thought that something that was a little more upright but lower than stock might be the ticket.

I posted on a few forums, and many chimed in and recommended the Laverda “Jota” replica bars available from numerous places on the web.  They are fabulous looking setups, but I wanted to see exactly how little I could spend and actually get some really decent bars.  The other choices were “swan neck” styles, and I did consider them, and finally dropped them when I’d have to take the triple trees apart to get them on the forks.  Well within my mechanical skills.  Still, I want to make it cheap and easy.

A good friend recommended Norman Hyde “M” bars.  I didn’t have pictures, and I’d ridden and written about Triumphs, for which these bars were actually made.  The clearance for the M bars is a substitute for the “Clubman” bars on other cafe bikes.  I bought my bars on eBay for about $45 bucks, and a set of cheap, nice bar-end mirrors from Amazon for another $19 plus shipping.

Fit and finish were awesome.  Installed in about an hour.  The cables were a little crowded, but everything ended up fitting nice.  I discarded the bar end weights that came with the original bars, and I saved them to install on a friend’s Aermacchi project that I’m completing.  The bar end mirrors installed quickly, and the adjustability and quality were damned nice.  Allen bolts in two different sizes do the clamping and holding.

I gave it a short ride around the block.  Everything was tight, but it’s Detroit, it was February and it was dark and cold.  I pulled in knowing that the install was sound and everything worked well when riding around the block.

And then it rained and froze for two days.

When the weather finally broke, I pulled the bike out of my man cave and threw a leg over.  First thing I noticed was the narrower bars caused me to twist the throttle and rev the engine, which is uncomfortable, to say the least.  Glad to say that after a few days this has completely disappeared.

It’s been a few days’ riding now, and I have over 100 miles with my hands on the new setup.  In a word, delightful.  Slightly less wind blast than the standard posture, and waaaaayyyy more feel.  The front wheels dance under my direction like they have never done before.  Fast and slow corners are much more comfortable to set up and navigate through.  The new position and the bars’ size and shape compliment this bike so well that the first thing I’d do is ditch the stock ones and put these on.

Comfort is another area.  I ride big miles on the Guzzi.  It’s over 20K miles since I purchased it in August of 2009, with a couple of really miserable Midwest winters to keep me off the road for extended periods.  I require bars that are comfortable on my arms and keep my back in a nice straight posture.  The Norman Hyde “M” bars are exactly what the doctor ordered.

Oh, and bar-end mirrors for me and my new setup?

For the first time ever I can actually see exactly what’s behind me.  I don’t have to move my shoulders around to see traffic.  I don’t have to squint to make out what the size, density and speed of things approaching from the rear are.  No vibration, no wiggle, nothing at any speed or RPM range.

So I can see everything behind me, ride comfortably with even greater confidence, and rock a nice cafe bike look for about $75.  What’s not to like?

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 20,010 Miles and Time for some Mods

Where has time gone?  I haven’t written anything about my V7 Classic in more than a year.  I guess life and the enjoyment of life kinda get in the way, plus just actually getting down to business and writing something out can involve a little mental effort.  Funny thing, life may have gotten in the way of writing more articles about this wonderful Moto Guzzi small block, but it definitely wove itself around it!

A long weekly commute for 18 months.

I took a position as an Enterprise Architect Consultant in Detroit mid 2010, and started an 18 month long period of living in an apartment in Grosse Pointe Park, MI, for 4 nights a week.  Weekends were spent at home after making the 300 mile journey back to my home in Oak Park, IL.

I started work around May 1 2010, and, until the riding season ended in Mid October, I never drove a car in Detroit.  Most of the commutes were made on the V7 Classic, so I was making two 300 mile trips a week on the bike, and then 30 miles a day commuting, along with some very fun trips, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Outside of Jackson, MI

Outside of Jackson, MI

The Little Guzzi was awesome.  I only had to take the train back to Chicago on a few occasional weekends when the weather was too rough to ride, and even then I had a couple of episodes when I got caught in a downpour anyway. Continue reading

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 20,010 Miles and Time for some Mods

Where has time gone?  I haven’t written anything about my V7 Classic in more than a year.  I guess life and the enjoyment of life kinda get in the way, plus just actually getting down to business and writing something out can involve a little mental effort.  Funny thing, life may have gotten in the way of writing more articles about this wonderful Moto Guzzi small block, but it definitely wove itself around it!

A long weekly commute for 18 months.

I took a position as an Enterprise Architect Consultant in Detroit mid 2010, and started an 18 month long period of living in an apartment in Grosse Pointe Park, MI, for 4 nights a week.  Weekends were spent at home after making the 300 mile journey back to my home in Oak Park, IL.

I started work around May 1 2010, and, until the riding season ended in Mid October, I never drove a car in Detroit.  Most of the commutes were made on the V7 Classic, so I was making two 300 mile trips a week on the bike, and then 30 miles a day commuting, along with some very fun trips, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Outside of Jackson, MI

Outside of Jackson, MI

The Little Guzzi was awesome.  I only had to take the train back to Chicago on a few occasional weekends when the weather was too rough to ride, and even then I had a couple of episodes when I got caught in a downpour anyway. Continue reading

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 20,010 Miles and Time for some Mods

Where has time gone?  I haven’t written anything about my V7 Classic in more than a year.  I guess life and the enjoyment of life kinda get in the way, plus just actually getting down to business and writing something out can involve a little mental effort.  Funny thing, life may have gotten in the way of writing more articles about this wonderful Moto Guzzi small block, but it definitely wove itself around it!

A long weekly commute for 18 months.

I took a position as an Enterprise Architect Consultant in Detroit mid 2010, and started an 18 month long period of living in an apartment in Grosse Pointe Park, MI, for 4 nights a week.  Weekends were spent at home after making the 300 mile journey back to my home in Oak Park, IL.

I started work around May 1 2010, and, until the riding season ended in Mid October, I never drove a car in Detroit.  Most of the commutes were made on the V7 Classic, so I was making two 300 mile trips a week on the bike, and then 30 miles a day commuting, along with some very fun trips, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Outside of Jackson, MI

Outside of Jackson, MI

The Little Guzzi was awesome.  I only had to take the train back to Chicago on a few occasional weekends when the weather was too rough to ride, and even then I had a couple of episodes when I got caught in a downpour anyway. Continue reading

Moto Guzzi V7 Classic – 20,010 Miles and Time for some Mods

Where has time gone?  I haven’t written anything about my V7 Classic in more than a year.  I guess life and the enjoyment of life kinda get in the way, plus just actually getting down to business and writing something out can involve a little mental effort.  Funny thing, life may have gotten in the way of writing more articles about this wonderful Moto Guzzi small block, but it definitely wove itself around it!

A long weekly commute for 18 months.

I took a position as an Enterprise Architect Consultant in Detroit mid 2010, and started an 18 month long period of living in an apartment in Grosse Pointe Park, MI, for 4 nights a week.  Weekends were spent at home after making the 300 mile journey back to my home in Oak Park, IL.

I started work around May 1 2010, and, until the riding season ended in Mid October, I never drove a car in Detroit.  Most of the commutes were made on the V7 Classic, so I was making two 300 mile trips a week on the bike, and then 30 miles a day commuting, along with some very fun trips, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Outside of Jackson, MI

Outside of Jackson, MI

The Little Guzzi was awesome.  I only had to take the train back to Chicago on a few occasional weekends when the weather was too rough to ride, and even then I had a couple of episodes when I got caught in a downpour anyway. Continue reading

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