Moto Guzzi V7
Great design never goes out of style.
By Bill Heald

Moto Guzzi’s 1971 V7 Sport was a true bellwether for the Italian marque, incorporating lessons learned from the Café Racer Guzzis from the fifties and sixties, and boasting a new frame design that emphasized handling over horsepower (making the bike competitive against much brawnier machines). Unfortunately, riders accessorized with pudding bowls: crude motorcycle racing helmets that appeared when the machinery itself was no less experimental, distinctive, and even a bit iconoclastic. In those days a bike’s form followed function, and the true beauty of innovative engineering was apparent for all to see, rather than concealed beneath acres of bodywork.

Over time, manufacturers of rolling things have happily embraced new technology, but when it comes to motorcycles there exists a strong design bond to the past, especially with models that have marked true turning points in a company’s history.

The new V7 Racer is a fitting tribute to these classic bikes, and mixes meticulously executed Moto Guzzi–detail touches with some more contemporary hardware to deliver the performance and reliability the modern motorcyclist requires. The 90-degree air-cooled V-twin “Flying V” engine architecture of the original V7 is intact, modernized with Weber Marelli fuel injection. In case you’re not a Guzziphile, the term “Flying V” refers to the transverse mounting of the cylinders so they’re in front of your knees and in the breeze. The Racer’s unique paint treatment starts with the frame, swingarm, and hubs, which—like the original race bikes—are a brilliant red hue that flaunts the then innovative lightweight double-cradle backbone design.

The suede solo saddle terminates in a cool aerodynamic tail fairing (a passenger pillion is an available accessory). You’ll find drilledaluminum components all over the bike, which were the carbon fiber of their day, for by drilling holes you lighten the weight yet still have a suitably strong part. Suspension bits include a pair of fully adjustable Bitubo rear shocks, and powerful Brembo brakes handle the stopping chores. This gentleman racer also has Guzzi’s famed shaft drive, which won’t sling chain lube on your riding gear.

It certainly isn’t the latest crotch rocket on the market, but it lures in admirers with discerning tastes. If you’re not in the mood to socialize, the Flying V is but a twist of the wrist away, and you can let the timeless cadence of the exhaust take you to a simpler era. I’d pass on the pudding bowl, though.

Engine type Air-cooled, 90-degree V-twin
Bore x stroke 80 mm x 74 mm
Displacement 744 cc
Fuel system Weber Marelli electronic fuel injection
Ignition Electronic
Transmission Five speed
Front suspension 40-mm Marzocchi hydraulic forks
Rear suspension Twin Bitubo shock absorbers, fully adjustable
Front brakes Single 320-mm
Rear brake Single 260-mm
Front tire 100/90 18 Pirelli Sport Demon
Rear tire 130/80 17 Pirelli Sport Demon
Fuel tank 4.49-gallon capacity
Wheelbase 60.18 inches
Seat height 31.7 inches
Dry weight 436.5 pounds
Base price $9,790
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