The V7 series accounts for more than 50 percent of Moto Guzzi's sales, so it's logical for the folks in Mandello del Lario to continue investing in that particular model, polishing and refining it year after year. For 2018, Moto Guzzi went even further by introducing three new versions of the current V7 III.

The V7 III keeps sailing in a difficult market thanks to its sober but solid functionality and classic styling, the latter based on the original V7 Sport designed by Lino Tonti that debuted in 1971 and quickly became an instant classic. In fact, the legendary machine remains a top choice for many Moto Guzzi collectors.

Moto Guzzi’s V7 III Carbon Dark
Moto Guzzi’s V7 III Carbon Dark ($9,690) is the toughest-looking of this midsize V-twin lot thanks to its carbon fenders and well-placed touches of Mandello Red that create an attractively arrogant graphics package, led by the flaming valve covers.Courtesy of Moto Guzzi

For its recent media day at the factory in Italy, Moto Guzzi rolled out examples of the new V7 III Carbon Dark, Milano, and Rough. Basic technical specifications are the same for the entire V7 III series, with the Racer sporting a pair of Öhlins shocks in place of the Kayabas that are standard issue across the rest of the range.

The two-valve-per-cylinder, 744cc (80 x 74mm) “small-block” V-twin underwent a major modification when its original Heron-type combustion chambers were swapped for a set of hemi heads to comply with stringent Euro 4 emissions. This produced a claimed increase in power from 48 to 52 hp while torque peaks at 44.2 pound-feet at 4,900 rpm.

Moto Guzzi’s V7 III Carbon Dark
The V7 III series is now equipped with a six-speed gearbox while the chassis uses modified steering geometry—26.4 degrees of rake, 106mm trail—for slightly improved weight distribution on a wheelbase spanning 56.9 inches. The front brake comprises a 320mm disc with a four-piston Brembo caliper.Courtesy of Moto Guzzi

For the ride, I selected the Carbon Dark—only 1921 examples will be produced, celebrating the year Moto Guzzi was founded. The weather was far from perfect for a spirited spin through the twisty mountain roads around Lake Como, with a cold wind and scattered rain chasing us over a ridge and into the next valley, but it was still a good ride.

The fuel-injected “hemi” version of the V7 is a well-mannered engine that will never overwhelm one’s riding ability or its dual-downtube steel chassis’ dynamic qualities. The new six-speed transmission, however, shifts quickly and smoothly, and is a big improvement over the previous five-speed gearbox.

Moto Guzzi’s V7 III Carbon Dark
The Milano is the richest-looking with plenty of chrome, instrumentation complete with a tachometer (absent on the other two models), and cast wheels wearing 110/80-18 front and 130/80-17 rear bias-ply Pirelli Sport Demons.Courtesy of Moto Guzzi

I definitely missed the tachometer that is only available on the Milano; I would rather go without a speedometer. A red warning light starts flickering as engine revs approach rewarding heights. I ignored it since the engine responds so nicely and upshifted by ear, and that seemed to work with no risk to the good health of the pistons.

The seat is set at a sensible 30.3 inches and that makes the bike feel friendly to newcomers and shorter-legged riders alike. The location of the footpegs and the mid-height touring-style handlebar are well-coordinated with the seat and forward reach, resulting in a riding posture that proved very comfortable.

The fact that the V7 III continues to roll on bias-ply tires robs the Carbon Dark and its siblings of their ultimate dynamic ability. Radials would get the best out of what is already a fairly well-balanced chassis that in my opinion only needs a bit less steering-head angle, which is currently 26.4 degrees across the board.

Moto Guzzi’s V7 III Carbon Dark
The Rough features more sober graphics, a black exhaust system, and wire-spoke wheels shod with 100/90-18 front and 130/80-17 semi-knobbed bias-ply tires.Courtesy of Moto Guzzi

The front end may be a little slow to find its line, but the V7 III Carbon Dark is a friendly, comfortable daily runabout with a smooth, reliable engine. That V7 Sport styling still looks clean and elegant, but I believe an 80-plus-hp V85—not the disappointing V9 Roamer and Bobber—is the real machine Moto Guzzi has been missing for far too long.