In announcing the coming of the V7 lineup to the U.S., the marketing guys for the company said they were “incredibly pleased” to have the bikes here, claiming that the latest iterations of the now-iconic 90-degree V-Twin represent craftsmanship, Italian spirit, legendary heritage and technological progress. “Every V7,” they write, “is dashing to the eye and thrilling to the heart,” making the “V7 lineup the most unique among today’s modern retro motorcycles.”
But there are, in fact, quantitative differences between the models in the 2012 and 2013 V7 range: The claimed increased power (50 hp vs. 48.8) and torque (44.0 ft.-lb. vs. 40.3) produced by the 744cc air-cooled engine come at significantly lower rpm; weight is reduced by about seven pounds to a claimed no-fuel 394 lb.; and 1.3 extra gallons in the now-5.8-gallon fuel tanks extends range, according to Guzzi, to a potential 310 miles. In CW’s recent evaluation of the 2012 V7 Racer [link Retrograde comparison], we noted that “39 hp [at the rear wheel] isn’t much” so the claimed 12 percent more power and torque could substantially improve the grunt of the whole V7 lineup, and not just the Racer. Equally attractive numbers are the prices: the Stone MSRP is $8390; the Special is $8990; and the Racer is $9990. The Stone and Racer are expected to be in dealerships in early October and the Special in the first quarter of 2013.
The V7 Stone is aimed at the youth market, and thus is claimed to be “trendy, agile, and easy to customize with an array of accessories.” Colors are matte black or white. The V7 Special is meant to evoke the 1969 special designed by Lino Tonti, a “touring bike with a sophisticated fit and finish and uniquely ‘Guzzi’ engine character.” Colors are white/red metallic or yellow/black metallic and key accessories are a windshield and bags. The V7 Racer “is an ode to café racer motorcycles from the ’50s and ’60s with the performance of a modern machine.” The V7 Racer comes with a chromed fuel tank topped by a leather strap, as well as a suede leather seat “with an aerodynamic seat cowl” and “’70s-style racer number plates.” “All three V7s have the same saddle height of 31.7 inches.
In a 2002 interview, Guilio Cesare Carcano, designer of the original 90-degree V-Twin and shaft drive that became the signature Guzzi powertrain, expressed surprise that the type became iconic and came to mean “Guzzi” to enthusiasts worldwide. Told by the interviewer that guzzisti even wore tee-shirts with a line drawing of “his” engine, 93-year-old Carcano reportedly laughed. Ten years later, and seven years after his death, in the 90th year of Moto Guzzi’s corporate life (making it Europe’s oldest continuously operating motorcycle manufacturer), his concept is still with us in the V7 range. Full tests will disclose the extent to which the mechanical changes to the 2013 V7s might improve the motorcycles from Mandello del Lario on Lake Como, but for anyone seeking alternatives to today’s niche-bikes and the other “iconic” motorcycles, these Moto Guzzis bear serious scrutiny.