Moto Guzzi is on the road to recovery. In 2010, the company sold slightly more than 4,000 motorcycles. But in 2013, sales jumped to almost 7,000, a big percentage gain that is still a bit lean in absolute terms. Nevertheless, the recovery is real, and it’s being led by the smallest Guzzi, the V7. When Piaggio acquired the Aprilia Group (to which Moto Guzzi belongs), the V7 started life as a refurbished Breva 750. Then someone had the bright idea of dressing it as the mythical Moto Guzzi V750 Sport. Jackpot! The V7 became an instant collectible—lean, elegant, fresh, and reminiscent of glory days past. The V7 did well because Piaggio specialists worked wonders with the scaled down and smartly compact 90-degree V-twin. The engine, with cylinders transverse across the chassis in typical Guzzi fashion, received more than just a breath of life. Thanks to a revised combustion chamber, which still uses dished Heron-style pistons, the engine has a much higher (10.2:1) compression ratio, resulting in more torque and better thermodynamic efficiency. Larger cooling fins with greater area also help make this possible. Magneti Marelli injection with a single 38mm throttle-body fed both cylinders via a Y-shaped manifold featuring very long individual runners. Peak torque arrived low in the rev range, perhaps the single biggest fact that helped the V7 propel Moto Guzzi out of its sales slump. For 2014, Piaggio has continued polishing the V7. Improved fuel injection, says Moto Guzzi, results in prompter yet more tractable throttle response, and the bike is also said to be more fuel-efficient. In European mixed-riding tests, the V7 gets 58.6 mpg. Claimed horsepower remains 48 hp at 6,200 rpm, and the peak torque (pegged at 44.2 pound-feet) is reached at only 2800 rpm. This gives the V7 has a wide, 3400-rpm band of optimal engine efficiency and performance, which is another one of the bike’s fine points. Refinements to the rolling gear focus include better response from the V7’s Brembo brakes, plus new wire wheels and Bitubo rear shock absorbers. The most obvious changes, however, relate to new graphics and paint schemes.
V7 Stone The entry-level V7, the Stone, now comes in corduroy black and corduroy green in addition to white and the traditional red. Corduroy green is super, a perfect reinterpretation of the Moto Guzzi racing green. It is so attractive that I wonder why Guzzi does not offer it as an alternative to the chromed tank and side covers on the top-line Racer edition.
V7 Special This model digs into nostalgia with a 2-tone color scheme that made the V 750 Sport S3 a bike to remember with its daring diagonal band across the side of the tank in contrasting color. The Special is available in vivid red over black, or black over silver gray, which is less classic but very elegant. New wire wheels have black rims, the color of choice for all mechanical bits except the exhaust. Even the handlebar and mirrors are black.
V7 Racer Only the Racer version indulges in a few touches of red, starting with the frame, a nod to the legendary V750 Sport. On the V7 Racer, the hubs and Moto Guzzi logo on the side of the black rims are red, just like on the big California model. For 2014, the V7 Racer has received oval side number plates and a half-moon shaped front one, and the seat is trimmed in Alcantara suede. Thanks to 6 years of constant honing, the little Moto Guzzi V7 has reached a pleasant level of efficiency, and it has become one of the most desirable modern runabouts. Not only that, but the great Moto Guzzi tradition provides the V7 with a welcome touch of class.