Moto Guzzi V7 Café Clas­sic REVISITED

Can the clas­sic V7 still cut it in the ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive retro class?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Buying & Selling - By Dan Suther­land ACT­ING CON­SUMER EDITOR

What we said then

“Pow­ered by Guzzi’s small block 750 Ne­vada V-twin pow­er­train in an old-school twin shock chas­sis, it’s a dinky, cute run-around and al­most em­bar­rass­ingly toy-like for any­one over 5ft 10in. But what makes it great is how beau­ti­fully and class­ily it’s put to­gether which el­e­vates the Café Clas­sic above its fairly pedes­trian abil­i­ties.” MCN, 2009.

What’s it like now?

I was ini­tially a lit­tle scep­ti­cal about the Guzzi V7. Is it style over sub­stance, or can it ac­tu­ally of­fer a rid­ing thrill? Within a mile we had the an­swer. The lit­tle Guzzi is quirky and full of char­ac­ter. You be­come in­stantly smit­ten with it.

Trav­el­ling along the wind­ing back roads of War­wick­shire, it be­comes ap­par­ent that the V7’s 744cc twin­cylin­der lump is hap­pi­est chug­ging along at a leisurely pace. De­spite its café racer styling, the rid­ing po­si­tion is per­fectly com­fort­able and en­cour­ages you to slow things down, to take in the scenery, or cruise to your near­est pub on a sunny Sun­day af­ter­noon.

De­spite be­ing six years old, this bike has had a rel­a­tively easy time of things and has done just shy of 4500 miles. In this time, the bike has been fit­ted with a dust­ing of af­ter­mar­ket ac­ces­sories, in­clud­ing bar-end mir­rors and a set of rather gor­geous-sound­ing Lafran­coni pipes which let out an­ti­so­cial pops and crack­les with­out warn­ing at low rpms.

The Café is very vibey and you re­ally can feel the whole en­gine rock­ing as you trun­dle along. Blip the throt­tle and the whole thing darts sud­denly from right to left. This ini­tially catches you off guard if it’s a sensation you’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore. How­ever, af­ter a few steady miles, it be­came quite nat­u­ral and very easy to pre­dict.

Han­dling on the Guzzi is also very im­pres­sive. It’s no su­per­bike, but it felt re­spon­sive and pre­dictable and there is enough ground clear­ance to en­cour­age some lean in the bends. This was com­ple­mented by its Met­zeler Lasertec tyres, which still showed plenty of life and of­fered a good level of feed­back.

The Guzzi is also good on the brakes. Up front, there’s a sin­gle Brembo fourpis­ton caliper, which has de­cent ini­tial bite and there’s more than enough ca­pa­bil­ity for the 48bhp en­gine. The ana­logue clocks are also very easy to read and com­pli­ment the bike’s clas­sic look.

Any ob­vi­ous faults?

De­spite its charm, there are a few is­sues that need to be ad­dressed. I found the gear shifter to be in­cred­i­bly low in com­par­i­son to the foot peg, which made up­shifts quite un­com­fort­able and false neu­trals be­tween first and sec­ond gear quite com­mon. On the way down the box, I also ex­pe­ri­enced a false neu­tral be­tween fifth and fourth.

The ad­di­tion of bar-end mir­rors re­ally helps to fin­ish off the café racer look of this bike; how­ever, they are com­pletely for show and vis­i­bil­ity of the road be­hind you is quite poor. They were also very stiff, which made mi­nor ad­just­ments on the move dif­fi­cult. They also make U-turns very chal­leng­ing, with the mir­ror foul­ing your knee and pre­vent­ing you from fully lock­ing the bar.

Ver­dict

The Moto Guzzi V7 Café Clas­sic is a bike I never ex­pected to like, let alone love. Its lumpy mo­tor is full of char­ac­ter and you’d never grow tired of that sound­track. As a week­end cruiser it’s a real cracker and with un­der 50bhp on tap, it is good for the longevity of your li­cence too. It is great at what it does, al­though the mod­est power may fail to pro­vide enough ex­cite­ment over time. Thanks to CMC Coleshill for the loan of the bike.

What the V7 Cafe Clas­sic lacks in bhp it makes up for by look­ing lovely Ac­ces­sories: As with many retro ma­chines, these bikes are prone to cus­tomi­sa­tion. Af­ter­mar­ket pipes are com­mon and help the thumpy en­gine to sing. Ser­vice in­ter­vals: Newer bikes need a ser­vice ev­ery 6000 miles, whereas early mod­els have in­ter­vals of 4500 miles – see how to tell which is which in sep­a­rate story, right.

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