Back in 1977, Moto Guzzi struck upon a winning formula with the V750 cruiser/tour bike. The original V7 was a hit with riders, and the evolution of that line leads us through the ’08 V7 Classic up to the current V7 II lineup. This lineup includes three sub-models: the 2016 V7 II Stone meant to succeed the V7 Classic, the Special “Scrambler” built to resemble the old-school scramblers from back in the ’70s and the Racer “America” that captures the essence of the cafe’ racer culture from the same era.

Since these markets are once again booming, as if it were their turn again on some great, cosmic wheel of recurring fashions, this line from MG seems to be right on time.

Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi V7 II Stone, V7 II Racer and V7 II Scrambler.

  • 2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Displacement:
    744 cc
  • Price:
    8990
  • Price:

Design

2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
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All the models show classic Italian design elements, as they should, given MG’s long history and deep roots. The line retains the traditional 90-degree, transverse-mount V-twin engine configuration so familiar to MG fans the world over, and the lump clearly identifies the brand. Even if you are nearsighted and looking at a distance, you could probably identify one of these bikes without digging out your eyeglasses.

V7 II Stone

2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
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Each model displays vintage design features from distinct eras and niches. First, we have the Stone that displays a classic, ’70s Italian cruiser stance — clean and rather minimal in its appointments. Exposed instruments keep the front end simple, and the upper lines are somewhat blocky because of the abrupt tank design. Nothing particularly fancy, just solid, basic transportation.

V7 II Scrambler

2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
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MG decided to get a little jiggy with it when it designed the Stone’s siblings by harkening back to the days of home-job scramblers and cafe’ racers, both of which are some of my personal favorites as far as mid-size, 70’s-style bikes are concerned. The V7 II Scrambler Special sports a teensy fairing over the headlight can that is more of a wind deflector for the instrument cluster than anything for the rider, and it does lend the bike a sporty look that gets boosted by the race-number ovals on the side covers that bring to mind the old scrambler-class racing.

Dual-purpose tires round out the chassis, but my favorite detail has to be the raised exhaust system similar to the old scrambler style, though it could bear to be a little more upswept if they really wanted to nail it.

V7 II Racer

2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
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The sweep of the exhaust on the cafe’ racer-esque V7 II Racer “America” is more nearly correct for an old scrambler than an old cafe’, though I concede that shotguns would probably not work as well on a transverse-mount V-twin, and they do have an appropriately sporty look. Race ID plates on the classic cafe’ racer tail fairing add to that impression, though I am a little disappointed in the lack of a bullet fairing, and much like with the Scrambler, the Racer’s front wind deflector is more of an instrument housing than a proper fairing.

Though there are a few bones to pick, I have to give MG props for bothering to completely redesign the exhaust systems to resemble the historical ones, more or less, and was not content to simply throw a different muffler on each and be done with it. Research, development and production tooling costs money, but I feel like the investment was worth it, because it’s a feature that jumped right out at me.

V7 II Stornello

2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
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Moto Guzzi added to the V7 II lineup last year with a special edition tribute piece for a bike that originally saw the light of day all the way back in 1967 – the Stornello. Though the name translates to “street song,” the Stornello is actually set up more for the softer surfaces found off-road. As neat as that is, the factory doubles down on that historical connection with a Pastel White tank with red graphics over a red frame, just like the original, and the model comes in with some built-in exclusivity by nature of its limited and numbered, thousand-unit run.

The Stornello boasts a handful of factory-custom details, to include blackout treatment on the engine covers, handlebars, fork sliders and rims, with a high-and-tight and well-guarded exhaust system that is sure to keep itself clear of the terrain. Dual-purpose tires maintain some usefulness on the street, but really shine on loose-pack soil and sand. Aluminum number plates are a not-too-subtle nod to MG’s racing history, a look reinforced by the bellowed fork gaiters and flyscreen above the single-can headlight.

While the Stornello has many features that make it an exclusive ride, price isn’t one of them. At only $11,190, you can score yourself a piece of this action and grab an extra ration of bragging rights to boot while you ride around on your quasi-historical sled.

Chassis

2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
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MG started out with a double-downtube, double-cradle frame made from ALS steel tubing, and gave it a removable subframe to make it easier to remove the rear tire, I suppose. The factory opted for die-cast aluminum swingarm to help keep unsprung weight low at the rear end, and gave it two, coil-over rear shocks to work with. Up front, 40 mm forks come with fixed responses and 5.11 inches of wheel travel, but the rear shocks come with dual preload adjustments and 4.37 inches of travel. Overall, the chassis leaves the seat at 31.1 inches high, a reasonable height, and one that should cover all but the tallest, or shortest, riders.

The difference in styles within the family calls for different wheel selections. The Stone comes with contemporary, black-anodized, cast-aluminum rims that fit the overall look just fine. Necessarily, the other two get retro-looking aluminum rims with steel laces. The Scrambler and Racer both run with blackout outer rims that fit with their custom heritage. All three models run 18-inch front hoops, and 17-inch rears, and their tire design reflects their intended use, with on-off-road tires on the Scrambler, and pure-street hoops on the other two.

As the “ABS” tag in the model names suggest, the family comes with ABS as standard equipment. You don’t get a choice as to whether it comes on the bike, but at least you can turn the thing off if you aren’t down with electronic gadgetry interfering with your brake responses and feedback. The brake system operates a four-pot, opposed-piston, Brembo caliper to bind the single, 320 mm front disc, and a twin-pot caliper pinches the 260 mm disc in back.

Drivetrain

2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
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The exposed jugs of the transverse-mount, 90-degree V-twin lump form the most dominant visual feature in this family line. It concerns me a little having exposed engine components like that, but there is no denying that they are in a good position to present their cooling fins to the wind, and the “shoulders” formed by the heads lends the line a muscular look.

At only 744 cc, this is rather small mill that falls well below the 900 cc insurance break. Still, it manages to churn out 48 ponies, and 44.2 pounds of grunt, plenty for a line that weighs in just under 420 pounds. A Weber-Marelli fuel-injection system manages the induction, and a catalytic converter handles emissions compliance.

Honestly, the engine is fairly unremarkable until you consider the crown jewel: the Moto Guzzi Controllo Trazione, or traction-control system. Normally we see top-shelf features like this on performance or touring bikes in higher price brackets, but I can’t immediately call to mind any other mainstream rides with traction control under the 10-grand mark, and it’s nice to see such things making it into the lower price brackets.

A six-speed transmission crunches the ratios with a single-plate, dry clutch coupling it to engine power. The final drive is also typical MG, with a drive shaft and bevel gear contained within housings in the swingarm for a neat and clean appearance.

Price

2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
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At only $8,990, the Stone offers some good features to a lower price bracket, and it comes in Nero Ruvido (black), Grigio Intenso (gray) or Rosso Impetuoso (red). The other two both sell for $10,990. The Scrambler Special comes in the Azzuro Essetre (blue) or Rosso Essetre (red) paint with white graphics, and the Racer sports a fetching black and gray palette with red trim.

Competitor

2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II
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November: Classic Bike Appreciation Month?
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Italians certainly have a flair for motorcycle design and development, and even though there are plenty of competitors for each of these bikes, I decided to focus on the V7 II Scrambler Special and stay on “The Boot” with the Ducati Scrambler.

Both companies experienced and influenced the original scramblers, and they both offer their own modern interpretation on what was originally just modified UJMs. The Ducati displays a much more graceful top line with a nice sweep to the tank and seat, not as blocky-looking as the ’Guzzi. Duc also hid the rear monoshock under the subframe, rather than use external chrome shocks to add to the bling. Frame design marks another visual difference, with MG running a fairly traditional, and mostly hidden, chassis while Duc uses an exposed trellis frame that contributes to its naked look.

MG takes a beating in the engine performance department. Admittedly, at 744 cc the MG line gives up a few cubes to the Duc with its 803 cc mill, but that doesn’t explain the discrepancy in the power figures. Both mills are 90-degree V-twins, though the Duc calls theirs an “L-Twin” and it comes in the more common fore-and-aft orientation. The desmodromic Ducati mill cranks out 75 ponies and 50 pound-feet of torque, quite a bit more than the MG at only 48 horsepower and 44.2 pounds of grunt, and this may hurt ’Guzzi with more performance-driven buyers.

The V7 II Scrambler rolls for $10,990, just a skosh more than the Ducati Scrambler at $10,495, and even though the Special surrenders some ground to Ducati in the performance department, the traction-control system makes up for a lot in my book.

He Said

“MG is an old name with a long history, and I love seeing them borrow from their own past to re-invent old styles. Sure, the Racer could be a little more cafe’-tastic, but overall I think the factory at least captured the spirit of the bygone era, sans slavish adherence to a particular model. As cool as they are, I can’t get over the vulnerable position of the heads and jugs, and I can see a little slide costing a whole lot of money, though that’s true enough for plenty other bikes out there. I wouldn’t want to own any of them, either.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "So the horsepower and torque seem a little low compared to what we’re used to, but don’t overlook the fact that the torque comes in really low in the rev range — 2,800 rpm — so you have enough grunt early on. Even though they won’t hold a candle to sportbikes, they’re not meant to and these V7 II bikes like to play hard."

Specifications

ENGINE:
Type: 90° V-twin 4-stroke
Capacity: 744 cc
Maximum power: 35 kW (48HP) at 6,200 rpm
Maximum torque: 60/Nm at 2,800 rpm
Fuel system: Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection.
Exhaust system: Three-way catalytic converter with double lambda probe
TRANSMISSION :
Gearbox: 6-speed
Lubrication: forced circulation with lobe pump - circuit capacity: 1.78 Kg
Final drive: Shaft Drive
Clutch: Dry single plate with flexible couplings
CHASSIS / SUSPENSION / BRAKES:
Frame: Double cradle tubular frame in ALS steel with detachable rear subframe
Front suspension: Telescopic hydraulic fork with 40 mm stanchions, 130 mm wheel travel
Rear suspension: Die-cast light alloy swing arm with 2 preload adjustable shock absorbers, 111 mm wheel travel
Brake system: Brembo
Front brake: 320 mm Ø stainless steel disc, Brembo caliper with 4 differentiated pistons (ABS can be disengaged)
Rear brake: 260 mm stainless steel disc, floating 2 piston caliper
Wheels: Cast aluminum alloy black anodized rims
Front wheel: 18", 100/90
Rear wheel: 17", 130/80
ABS: Standard
DIMENSIONS :
Wheelbase: 1.449 mm
Length: 86.7 in. (2,203 mm)
Height: 43.8 in. (1115 mm)
Saddle height: 31.1 in (790mm)
Curb weight: 189 kg/ 417 lbs
Fuel tank capacity: 5.8 gallons - 22 liters
Reserve: .66 Gallons (2.5 liters)

Source: Moto Guzzi Sales Brochure

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended.

Image Source: motoguzzi-us.com, ducati.com

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