The V7 III Lineup Gets A Black Sheep

Moto Guzzi expands its third-generation V7 family with the new-for-2018 V7 III Carbon Dark. The “Dark” straddles two worlds with design aspects that hail back to the original V7s while touching on the custom culture as well for an interesting blend of the nostalgic and the new. For power, the factory stuck with “the seven-fifty from Mandello” to drive the Dark with 44 pounds of grunt on tap with a traction-control system and ABS brakes to aid the rider in maintaining control, just the kind of stuff you want for an entry-level ride. Manageable power with a solid pedigree and good looks to boot, the V7 III Carbon Dark seems to have a lot to offer for under 10 grand.

Continue reading for my look at the Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon Dark.

Design

2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon Dark
- image 773162
Cut-down fender and bellows gaiters that give the Dark a vibe that's a little bit bobber, a little bit gasser and a whole lot of fun.

Carbon-fiber components have a tendency to lend the vehicles they’re attached to a certain exclusivity, and MG compounds that quality with a limited-edition run of only 1,921 units; a number of significance as it’s the year Moto Guzzi was founded. Fenders and side covers both come in carbon fiber with the typical dark resin that lets the light-colored cloth shine through for that top-shelf look. Red splashes at the calipers, saddle stitching, tank badge and rocker covers are a nice interruption to what is otherwise an achromatic, and very dark ride.

Mag wheels fit right in with the modern looks of the Dark with a cut-down fender and bellows gaiters that give the Dark a vibe that’s a little bit bobber, a little bit gasser and a whole lot of fun. The blackout treatment starts at the front fork lowers and encompasses nearly the whole bike, but the most noticeable components are right up front with a black headlight can, tripletree, all-inclusive instrument gauge, handlebar and mirrors; the rest of the darkness just blends right in with the blackened engine and the matte black paint on the fuel tank.

A pair of bump-outs on the 5.5-gallon fuel tank may form a bit of a pocket so you can pull you knees in and streamline your posture, but their main purpose is to visually offset the heads and rocker boxes that stick out each side due to the transverse V-twin engine configuration. The Dark gets its own unique bench seat made from Alcantara (some sort of pleather) with a nice diamond-tuft finish on the pilot’s section. A smooth p-pad, grabstrap and fold-out, subframe-mount aluminum footpegs make up the entirety of the passenger’s amenities, but that’s OK, you wouldn’t want a sissybar to ruin those clean lines at the rear end anyway. This here is a classic standard motorcycle folks; essential and lean with nothing of a superfluous nature in evidence.

Chassis

2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon Dark
- image 773153
Stiffening the forward frame section should help prevent excessive flex and further increase stability under the stresses of cornering; that's good news for you fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there.

Tubular-steel members make up the downtube/cradle-type frame that has the distinction of being based on the 1970 V7 police version. The weight balance falls out at 46-percent up front and 54-percent with a 26.4-degree rake and 4.17-inch trail for an eager demeanor in the curves and a stable nature on the straights. Stiffness was increased in the forward frame section as well, which should help prevent excessive flex in the frame and further increase stability under the stresses of cornering, and that’s good news for you fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there.

Rwu front forks run 40 mm fork tubes that float the front end on 5.11 inches of travel but offer nothing in the way of adjustability, and the rear coil-over shocks give up 3.66 inches of travel with only an adjustable spring-preload feature for ride control. Simple but effective, and a great way to keep costs down.

With 460 pounds of bike (wet) to control plus rider, there’s a fair amount of potential energy to manage, and the factory has your back with a pair of 320 mm discs up front and some serious four-pot Brembo anchors to bind them. A twin-piston caliper bites the 260 mm disc to slow the rear wheel with a two-channel Continental ABS on overwatch for both ends. The ABS makes the Carbon somewhat newbie friendly, but if your skillset is beyond needing such protections you can turn the system off entirely.

Frame: double cradle tubular frame in ALS steel with detachable elements.
Trail: 106 mm
Headstock angle: 26.4°
Front suspension/Travel: 40 mm diameter hydraulic telescopic fork/ 130 mm
Rear suspension/ Travel: die cast light alloy swingarm with 2 shock absorbers with adjustable spring preload/ 93 mm
Front Brake: 320 mm, stainless steel floating disc, Brembo calipers with 4 opposed pistons
Rear brake: 260 mm, stainless steel disc, floating caliper with 2 pistons
Front wheel : 18" in lightweight alloy 100/90 R18 (110/80 R18 as alternative)
Rear wheel: 17" in lightweight alloy 130/80

Drivetrain

2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon Dark
- image 773164
MG has always marketed this family as their entry-level ride, and it seems like they've succeeded in making a sled that even a Noobie McNewberson should be able to make friends with.

The funny sideways V-twin that sticks out both sides has ever been a distinguishing feature of the V7 family, and this particular engine is the third generation of “seven-fifty” to power the range. Air- and oil-cooling manages the waste heat with a dual-wall exhaust manifold that keeps the heat in the pipe and helps to minimize the thermal radiation from that hottest part of the system.

Steps were taken to minimize power losses, which includes reducing the oil pump volume so it soaks up less horsepower, and the case vents in a manner that reduces pumping action as the piston bottoms push the air back and forth around the bottom end. A pushrod-actuated valvetrain times the dual-valve heads with some tweaks of their own meant to increase the efficiency of the system along with some new aluminum heads, jugs and pistons for this new mill.

An 80 mm bore and 74 mm stroke gives it a 744 cc displacement with a Marelli fuel-injection system to meter the dinosaur juice. A total of 44 pounds of torque come on by 4,900 rpm with 52 ponies at 6,200 rpm, and that torque curve comes with a flat profile for easy-to-control power that won’t sneak up and surprise you. If you manage to overdo it anyway, the factory catches your slack once again with its proprietary traction control system that monitors wheels speeds and intervenes as necessary to protect the contact-patch integrity for yet another layer of protection. MG has always marketed this family as their entry-level ride, and it seems like they’ve succeeded in making a sled that even a Noobie McNewberson should be able to make friends with. (Gadgets are not an alternative to careful riding and a proper skillset. Take a safe-riding course, people.)

Displacement: 744 cc
Bore x Stroke: 80 mm x 74 mm
Valvetrain: 2 valves with light alloy pushrods and rockers
Max Power : 51 HP (38 kW) @ 6,200 rpm
Maximum torque at crankshaft: 44 fl lb (60 Nm) @ 4,900 rpm
Exhaust system: 3-way catalytic converter with double lambda probe
Cooling: Air / Oil

Price

2018 Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon Dark
- image 773159
MSRP hangs under $10k and puts it about mid-way in the V7 III price range.

The V7 III Carbon Dark rolls for under 10 grand, but only just with a $9,690 MSRP. This price gets you a shiny (figuratively speaking) new Carbon Dark in any color you want, as long as you want Carbon black with some red sprinkled about.

Color: Carbon Black
Price: $9,690

Competitor

2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Rod
- image 765569
2016 - 2018 Yamaha Bolt
- image 735144
Moto Guzzi alone hits the electronic engine-control high points with its traction control system to which H-D has no answer and probably won't for the foreseeable future.

Yep, it’s a standard with a midsize engine and it’s headed to the U.S. market, so that puts it up against a handful of possible rides. First I considered Yamaha’s Star Bolt for its similar stature and I figured it would appeal to the same sort of buyer, but the greater displacement (942 cc) and power (59.3 pound-feet) with a lower sticker ($7,999) gives the Bolt an edge right out of the gate. I think I found my Huckleberry in the Harley-Davidson Street kick that gives the SR an extra bit of curb appeal with a bullet fairing and mildly race-tastic rear end.

Bar-end mirrors and a tough-as-balls, inverted front suspension steer the look into more aggressive territory than the simply sinister Carbon Dark. Both have a nice look about them, but both ultimately fall face first in the suspension department with nothing beyond the obligatory spring-preload adjustment in the way of ride-quality control.

Harley mounts the engine fore-and-aft rather than sideways, and that has a profound effect on vehicle width and overall look, but not as much as the fact that the SR runs with water cooling and has an ugly-ass radiator mucking up the front end, so it’s a trade off there. The High-Output Revolution X V-Twin powerplant churns out 47.9 pound-feet of torque — a skosh more than the ’Guzzi’s 44 — but that’s the only advantage Harley gets.

MG alone hits the electronic engine-control high points with its traction control system to which H-D has no answer and probably won’t for the foreseeable future. H-D gets some back at the checkout with an $8,699 tag on its Vivid Black model and $8,994 for the color options.

He Said

“Both of the competitors would also make good entry-level rides, but MG alone shows enough concern for its riders to throw on the TC to go with the ABS so you’re protected whether stopping or going. The looks are classic MG, as is the peculiar powerplant arrangement, but I expect this ride to perform well against the above rides as well as the Sportsters and multitude of mid-size Standards.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This V7 III line is really a good example of bikes to have fun with that don’t have to go particularly fast. They’re eager to rev and chomp at the bit to hit redline, so you can have that thrilling feeling of going all out, but stay within (or at least close) to the speed limit. It’s a numbered limited edition in the sinister black-out look, but really there isn’t sinister about it. It is very approachable with an upright rider position, so daily commuter or fun weekender, yeah, it’s all there.”

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Displacement: 744 cc
Bore x Stroke: 80 mm x 74 mm
Valvetrain: 2 valves with light alloy pushrods and rockers
Max Power : 51 HP (38 kW) @ 6,200 rpm
Maximum torque at crankshaft: 44 fl lb (60 Nm) @ 4,900 rpm
Exhaust system: 3-way catalytic converter with double lambda probe
Cooling: Air / Oil
Chassis:
Frame: double cradle tubular frame in ALS steel with detachable elements.
Trail: 106 mm
Headstock angle: 26.4°
Front suspension/Travel: 40 mm diameter hydraulic telescopic fork/ 130 mm
Rear suspension/ Travel: die cast light alloy swingarm with 2 shock absorbers with adjustable spring preload/ 93 mm
Front Brake: 320 mm, stainless steel floating disc, Brembo calipers with 4 opposed pistons
Rear brake: 260 mm, stainless steel disc, floating caliper with 2 pistons
Front wheel : 18" in lightweight alloy 100/90 R18 (110/80 R18 as alternative)
Rear wheel: 17" in lightweight alloy 130/80
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 56.9 in (1,445 mm)
Saddle height: 30.3 in (770 mm)
Length: 86 in (2,185 mm)
Height: 43.3 in (1,100 mm)
Minimum ground clearance: 5.9 in (150 mm)
Fuel tank capacity: 5.5 Gal Including 1 Gal reserve (21 liters Including 4 liter reserve)
Dry weight: 189 kg
Curb weight: 209 kg
Consumption (WMTC cycle): 51 mpg (5.5 L/100 km)
Details:
Color: Carbon Black
Price: $9,690

References

Yamaha Bolt

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Bolt
- image 735075

See our review of the Yamaha Bolt.

Harley-Davidson Street Rod

2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Street Rod
- image 765556

See our review of the Harley-Davidson Street Rod.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: motoguzzi-us.com, yamaha-motor.com, harley-davidson.com

Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: