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Moto Guzzi V7III Racer Tri­umph Tiger 1200 XCA

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS - Ride Im­pres­sions Bob Rosen­thal Pho­tos Colin Rose­warne

It’s been a long time since I had a ride on a Guzzi. Those mem­o­ries aren’t good. In fact, I didn’t like that Guzzi at all. The un­for­tu­nate ma­chine of my dis­af­fec­tion was a Le­mans 850 Mk3. So, when ed­i­tor Scaysbrook asked me if I’d like to road test this Guzzi for OBA, I thought I’d bet­ter put thirty-four years of prej­u­dice be­hind me and just get on with it.

The V7 111 Racer is a vari­a­tion of the cur­rent 750 V7 111 made up to look like a café racer of the day. Moto Guzzi un­der its cur­rent own­ers is ac­tu­ally build­ing some nice-look­ing bikes. What I was keen to find out was, do they work? My first im­pres­sion was of a solid, if slightly old-fash­ioned bike. Ev­ery­thing you want is there, ABS, en­gine mode con­trol, trac­tion con­trol, all se­lectable on the move by a switch on the right switch-block. Twin in­stru­ments with a dig­i­tal multi view panel in the speedo. One thing that I loved was the “feel” of that lovely vee twin en­gine. You can feel every pulse as though it was a liv­ing be­ing. At idle there is a faint rock­ing from side to side. Blip the throt­tle and you can feel the bike tilt to one side, al­though on the move you can’t. The fit and feel is good with ev­ery­thing done very well. The footrests are carved out of bil­let al­loy with mul­ti­ple ad­just­ments. It looks and feels like qual­ity stuff. Ditto for the switchgear. Wear­ing a back­pack, (hate them) is the only way to carry any­thing though.

Han­dling wise the Guzzi felt a bit slow. Front end ge­om­e­try is 26.6 de­grees rake and 106mm trail. These di­men­sions should give a rea­son­able feel. Wheel­base is a touch long at 1463mm, but that should be in the ball­park. What does af­fect the feel is, in my opin­ion, the 18-inch front wheel with a 100/90 front tyre on a 2.5-inch wide rim. There is a smaller op­tion front tyre of 110/80 that I would rec­om­mend. It’s not a huge is­sue, just no­tice­able. Oth­er­wise the Racer peels into cor­ners very well, helped by the Pirelli tyres. Grip was very good, pro­mot­ing con­fi­dence. Ground clear­ance could be bet­ter. With the en­gine pro­duc­ing 38 kW at 5200 and 60 Nm at 4900 it will pull nicely from as lit­tle as 2,500 in top gear. And all this with that lovely throb­bing that you only get from a vee twin. It re­tains the air-cooled, two-valve, pushrod, lon­gi­tu­di­nal-crank­shaft de­sign with 80 x 74mm bore and stroke, but it’s all new – cylin­ders, heads and pis­tons. The crank­case as­sem­bly has been up­dated with a new sump, crank­shaft and breath­ing sys­tem. Moto Guzzi has used a lot of black an­odised al­loy to give it a qual­ity look. This en­gine looks, feels and sounds un­burstable. Clutch ac­tion is nice and lin­ear with a light pull. Gear change is good and, whoopee, first goes in with­out that aw­ful clunk of so many mo­tor­cy­cle gear­boxes these days. Don’t ya love sin­gle plate clutches. Front sus­pen­sion com­prises 40mm con­ven­tional forks with no ad­just­ment and 130mm travel. Damp­ing rates have been well cho­sen and the forks work well. Rear end is fit­ted with Oh­lins pig­gy­back units with com­pres­sion, re­bound ad­just­ment along with spring preload ad­just­ment. They worked ex­tremely well and the stan­dard set­tings are just fine for road work. It gives the owner the scope to change set­tings for any track days or spir­ited back road fun. What is strange is that the rear drive is the old-fash- ioned shaft with­out any de­cou­pling link. It worked well though. Twin chan­nel ABS and a new ad­justable MGCT (Moto Guzzi Trac­tion Con­trol) sys­tem that can also be dis­abled are stan­dard fea­tures. The MGCT sys­tem is ad­justable with two sen­si­tiv­ity lev­els, one more con­ser­va­tive and ideal for use in poor grip sit­u­a­tions such as wet or slip­pery roads, and the other de­signed to op­ti­mise safety and sta­bil­ity on dry roads. Trac­tion con­trol set­tings (level 2 – level 1 or off) can be in­stantly se­lected on-the-fly. I found the more con­ser­va­tive set­ting a touch in­tru­sive. Ac­tu­ally, the day we did the photo shoot I had the trac­tion con­trol and rev lim­iter light blink­ing away like Christ­mas tree lights. An­other mod­ern adap­tion of the MGCT sys­tem is the abil­ity to re­cal­i­brate the rear tyre cir­cum­fer­ence, com­pen­sat­ing for tyre wear or the use of dif­fer­ent pro­files so that the trac­tion con­trol sys­tem re­mains ac­cu­rate. I en­joyed my time on the V7 111 Racer. It’s a dif­fer­ent take on mod­ern mo­tor­cy­cling with roots to the clas­sic café racer. This vari­ant is not a tourer, but day runs along your favourite back roads will end with a smile on your face.

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