• Wheels24's bike writer Dries Van der Walt rides the limited-edition V7 Carbon.
• Only 1 921 were made.
• The V7 III bears a striking resemblance to its 1967 progenitor.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
One of the main reasons why people buy retro bikes is to stand out from the crowd of sport and adventure bikes that adorn our roads. And if non-conformity is what you're after, you would be hard pushed to find a bike that stands out further than the Moto Guzzi V7.
Moto Guzzi, locally probably known more for its legend than its presence, recently made a comeback to South Africa at the hands of Italian Motorcycle Importers (IMI), who currently offer two models: the naked V7 and the V85 mid-size adventure bike.
Image: Moto Guzzi / Dries Van der Walt
We were fortunate enough to lay our hands on the limited-edition V7 Carbon, of which only 1 921 were made – that number was chosen as a homage to Moto Guzzi's founding in 1921. The bike we tested was number 1 173, which was attested to by a tidy plaque mounted on the handlebar.
The V7 III, the current iteration, bears a striking resemblance to its 1967 progenitor, with the cross-mounted V-twin motor (a signature of Moto Guzzi bikes) having grown by only 41 cm³ over the decades. In Carbon guise the V7 sports a matt black finish to contrast with a smattering of red, found on the Brembo front disk brake calliper, the logos on the side and the Eagle on the fuel tank. Red was also used on the cylinder head covers to emphasise the "made in Mandello" mechanics.
The instrument panel consists of a single circular analogue speedometer with a small LCD panel that conveys most of the information you would look for while riding. The V7 offers a two-channel Continental anti-lock braking system and adjustable traction control, which can be disabled. An unusual feature of the traction control system is the fact that it allows you to recalibrate the rear tyre's circumference to compensate for wear or use a tyre with a different profile so that the traction control system will still be accurate.
Moto Guzzi's brochure says that with its genuine charisma, the V7 has an original, innovative personality, and I couldn't agree more. The bike looks and feels unique, and while Moto Guzzis generally attract attention with their unusual engine layout, the Carbon version turned out to be a veritable crowd magnet during the review period.
Typical of torque-focussed bikes, the Guzzi performs better than the specs will have you believe. Being a naked, wind becomes an issue at highway speed, so the V7 probably won't win any accolades in the touring department. Still, it is an urban bike par excellence, offering ample punch accompanied by a reasonably addictive soundtrack.
And while it's good in town, the Guzzi positively shines in the twisties. The classic double-cradle frame has a reinforced front with a steering configuration biased towards hard riding without sacrificing manageability, and the suspension system seemed unruffled by anything the road threw at it.
MotoGuzzi were as well-known for their historical prominence in racing as for industry innovations. They introduced the first motorcycle centre stand, they were the first bike manufacturer to use a wind tunnel, and they gave the world the first V8-engined bike in the shape of 1955's 500 cm³ Grand Prix V8.
It comes as no surprise that a company that has consistently marched to their own tune over the years has been able to create a bike that takes the best of the past and blends it with a dollop of latter-day safety and performance.
That's exactly what the V7 Carbon does, and it is all the better for it.
Manufacturer: Motor Guzzi
Model: V7 Carbon
Type: Four-stroke, V twin, longitudinally-mounted, OHV, two valves with light alloy pushrods and rockers.
Displacement: 744 cm³
Maximum Power: 38kW @ 6 200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 60 Nm @ 4 900 rpm
Fuel supply system: Weber- Marelli electronic injection
Fuel type: Petrol, premium unleaded
Type: 6-speed sequential
Final drive: Shaft
Overall length x width: 2 148 mm X 1 110 mm
Kerb weight: 209 kg
Fuel tank: 21 L
Front: Single 320mm disc two piston caliper
Rear: Single 260mm disc two piston caliper
Front: Marzocchi Ø 40 mm telescopic front forks
Rear: Die-cast alloy swing arm with two shocks with adjustable spring preload
WHEELS & TYRES
Wheel, front: 18" lightweight alloy
Wheel, rear: 17" in lightweight alloy
Tyre, front: 100/90 R18 (110/80 R18 as alternative)
Tyre, rear: 130/80-17