Moto Guzzi V7 Café Classic REVISITED
Can the classic V7 still cut it in the ultra-competitive retro class?
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.
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.