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

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