Moto Guzzi V7 II Stornello
Moto Guzzi have entered the Scrambler fray, and there are only 1,000 units up for grabs
IT WAS SURELY only a matter of time before Moto Guzzi created a scrambler-style model to join their V7 II family of middleweight V-twins. Apart from the obvious high-profile example set by their old rival from down the road in Bologna, Guzzi have already seen their existing trio of 744-cc roadster models (Stone, Special and Racer) customised with an off-road look by numerous owners, and have assisted this process via their Garage programme of accessories.
So the Stornello’s arrival is timely, especially given that the existing V7s have been selling well in many markets, benefiting from the current popularity of rider-friendly, customisable twins, especially ones with some heritage. Italy’s oldest and most traditional manufacturers have essentially kept on building modestly powered, not very high-tech, transverse V-twins for year after year, and have recently found increasing number of riders interested in just that kind of bike.
Guzzi’s marketing people know that they are on to a good thing. Hence last year’s revamp to create the V7 II trio of models, with their updated engine and transmission. And now the latest addition to the family, the Stornello: a limited-edition, off-road styled derivative designed to take on the similarly themed Scrambler models from Triumph and BMW, as well as Ducati.
In the Stornello’s case, as with Ducati’s Scrambler, there’s a strong historical link with the name, which means ‘Starling’ in Italian. The original Stornello was a small-capacity single that was popular in the home market in the 1960s and ‘70s, and was produced in dual-purpose form with distinctive white paintwork and red frame.
The new V7 II Stornello gets similar treatment and, as the first part of its name suggests, it’s heavily based on the existing base-model Stone, upmarket Special and sporty Racer. There’s no change in the pushrod-operated, shaftdrive V-twin motor, whose sticking-out cylinders were angled forward in last year’s redesign, to give some additional leg-room.
All three existing V7s are attractive bikes with a distinctive Moto Guzzi look, and the Stornello fits in well. Its most obvious change is a new high-level Arrow exhaust, which doesn’t affect the motor’s modest maximum output of 48 PS. Gaitered front forks and wirespoked wheels with heavily pattered tyres contribute to the rugged image.
In reality, the Stornello isn’t designed for remotely serious off-roading, but Guzzi have incorporated some fresh details to make it seem a bit special. A numbered plaque on the top yoke, below the chrome-rimmed clocks, confirms it is one of a limited run of 1,000 units. Its oval, competition-style number boards and both mud-guards are made from aluminium; the dual-seat has a neatly stitched Moto Guzzi logo on its rear.
The Stornello’s wide, slightly raised one-piece handlebar and a marginally taller, thicker dual-seat give a bit more leg-room, in combination with unchanged foot-rests. But with an unchanged tubular steel frame and conventional road-going suspension travel the Stornello is no lanky adventure bike. Its seat is a relatively restrained 798 millimetres off the ground and, at 186 kg without fuel, the Guzzi is light enough to be easily
This plaque announces that this is the first of the 1000 units that will be made
manageable even for relatively short or inexperienced riders.
Provided you’re not hoping for storming performance or all-terrain versatility, you’re unlikely to be disappointed by the Stornello. It rides much like it looks, assuming those competition plates don’t hint at raceready performance. On the contrary, the softly-tuned V-twin accelerated gently and without drama from low revs, stayed sweet through the mid-range, and didn’t vibrate too much even when revved hard.
There was enough power to put 150 km/h or a bit more on the speedo, but few riders are likely to bother. The Stornello prefers a more relaxed pace. It was happy being short-shifted through the six-speed gearbox, which was updated to good effect last year in Guzzi’s V7 II revamp, and worked efficiently, the shaft-drive transmission’s traditional crudeness thankfully gone.
Provided you stick to the road, the chassis is up to the job, too. The gaitered forks and twin rear shocks were reasonably compliant yet wellcontrolled, combining good ride quality with fairly light, neutral steering that helped make the Stornello entertaining on twisty roads. The shocks give only 111 millimetres of rear-wheel travel, confirming that they’re not designed for anything rougher than a gravel drive. It’s a shame Guzzi didn’t fit the superior, damping-adjustable units from the Racer, but even so I didn’t have too much complaint.
The tyres, from Italian supermoto specialist GoldenTyre, gripped fine on
tarmac, while providing a suitably chunky look. There’s only a single Brembo disc at the front, as well as the rear, but that was enough for respectable stopping power, aided by a decent ABS system. The simple traction control system might occasionally earn its keep, especially in the wet.
Like the Stone and Special, the Stornello should make a reasonably practical roadster. That softly-tuned V-twin is pretty economical, giving a 300 km-plus range from the big 21-litre tank. The generously sized and well-padded seat should let most owners cover that distance in reasonable comfort, too, at least one-up. (Like the other V7s, the Stornello is a bit small and underpowered for carrying a pillion.) The shaft-drive transmission minimises maintenance.
It all adds up to an attractive, reasonably versatile roadster that is pleasant rather than exciting to ride, but works sufficiently well to entertain experienced riders as well as novices. Those neat details mean that it’s priced at the level of the glitzy Racer rather than the more competitive Stone and Special, so it’s expensive for a bike of such modest performance.
Perhaps, Guzzi will introduce a slightly less fancy model with a similar look and a lower price when the Stornello’s 1,000-strong run is finished. But until then, given its limited-edition status and feel of genuine quality, that price seems reasonable for an enjoyable, rider-friendly bike that adds a touch of off-road style, if not true riding ability, to its V7 siblings’ timeless V-twin appeal.
There was enough power to put 150 km/h or a bit more on the speedo, but the Stornello prefers a more relaxed pace
Thicker dual seat provides more leg room while looking utterly retro
Special Arrow exhaust system more for style rather than boost in power
The crudeness of the shaft-drive is now gone thanks to last year’s transmission revamp
Big 21-litre fuel tank means 300+ km between fuel stops
Gaitered forks with wire wheels provide the period look No major engine update apart from last year’s forwardangled pots