2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - Quick Test Ride and Review

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totalmotorcycle
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2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - Quick Test Ride and Review

Unread post by totalmotorcycle » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:53 pm

2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - Quick Test Ride and Review

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2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - Quick Test Ride and Review

My wife and I had the opportunity to ride the very first 2013 Moto Guzzi Stone V7 (new model this year) out of MPH Cycles of Houston (http://www.mphcycles.com/ tell Mike that TMW sent you, he loves bikes as much as I do) on the weekend and while it was fresh in my mind I thought I'd write a little review of it.

Moto Guzzi is doing a big "Come try the V7 Stone demo ride" promotion this year and after getting the email from Moto Guzzi we thought I'd take it out. It isn't a very big bike in stature and I really didn't think before hand I'd be able to really ride it comfortably (I am 6'4") but after sitting on it at the dealership I was quite surprised to find I fit quite well on it and so did my wife (5'8"). The only issue I had with the comfort was my right knee rested on the gas tank hump a little, but wasn't a big issue while riding).

The demo loop you can follow (on your own) is a 9 mile "square" with a nice mix of regular roads, tight roads, tight corners, high speed straights and some highway (65mph+).

Sitting on the bike I noticed how high quality everything felt and looked, there isn't much skimping here at all and the quality is on par with any Ducati or Aprilia if not more so. The seat was a bench type and I could move right back on it, the handlebars were just a little sporty and the tank looked quite narrow (but it holds 22L!).

Starting the bike the first think you notice that because the engine is a transverse mounted V-Twin it vibrates to the left when started up. But what a beautiful sounding small V-Twin from stock pipes! Put it in gear and the bike takes very little throttle to move and the gearing is very smooth (like butter) with no issues finding neutral, although it doesn't have a 1st gear or 5th gear stop (ie, feels like you can still go down or up).

Riding along I found 1st gear to be quite good, but the 2nd and 3rd gears are just awesome. The salesman said 3-4000 rpm was the sweet spot, but I found it more to be 6-7000rpm where at wide open throttle felt like a true bull (stump ripper) and you really had to hold on to the bike from all that torque. Now, the day before I rode a ZRX1200R with K&N pods & D&D pipe (gobs of torque and more of it than the V7), but the V7 felt even stronger than the ZRX off the start (I'm shocked at that), and vs the ZRX, the V7 was much more fun to ride, in fact, no, there are no words for it other than "massive grin factor". I've even rode a 103 cu-in Harley-Davidson and a 110 cu-in CVO and somehow the V7 felt more in those lower gears. Could be the V7's light weight.

In town under 55mph the V7 is the most fun bike I've ever rode to date, period. You just can't help yourself but gun the engine all the time and revv it till you hit red-line (10000 rpm). I couldn't scrape the pegs (even doing 90° corners at 15mph), and even the mirrors were "pretty good". At stops the engine would just feel and sound pretty awesome and I got waves from all types of riders.

On the highways (65mph+), the bike's lower horsepower (50hp) was starting to show. I felt it was fine up to 70mph, and after 70mph you needed a down shift or two to do a quick (80mph) pass. I didn't have a lot of highway time (about 10 mins) so I'll have to re-test this later. The bike wasn't really as happy going fast (75mph) as it was going 55mph or under for sure. But this isn't the type of bike to see the world as fast as possible on, it's a very unique bike, one with charater and style that doesn't need speed to impress.

Over all, the ride was a real awakening for me. I pushed the bike 100% and the bike rewarded me with 110%. I still think the bike could use another 10-15hp to make it that much more comfortable at 75mph, but what an amazing bike around town and on secondary roads.

Another nice thing is the price, $8990. While nets you a very good deal if you like the rims and the matte black or white color scheme.

I intend to take out a Bonneville now and compare that to the V7.

Mike
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Re: 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - Quick Test Ride and Review

Unread post by High_Side » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:04 pm

Now all you need is the crazy-frog helmet and goggles and you're all set! Great review Mike - thanks.

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Re: 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - Quick Test Ride and Review

Unread post by totalmotorcycle » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:27 pm

High_Side wrote:Now all you need is the crazy-frog helmet and goggles and you're all set! Great review Mike - thanks.
You mean this guy?



Man, I haven't thought about "The Crazy Frog" in years!

Mike
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totalmotorcycle
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Re: 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - Quick Test Ride and Review

Unread post by totalmotorcycle » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:32 pm

But I think I'd be more like this:



Mike
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Re: 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone - Quick Test Ride and Review

Unread post by totalmotorcycle » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:33 am

A very good review from Kevin Ash over at http://www.ashonbikes.com/content/moto-guzzi-v7-special

New Engined Moto Guzzi V7 Special Review
By Kevin Ash



Moto Guzzi’s thoroughly revised V7 Special is hardly lacking in authenticity. Not only is it built in the same factory as the original V7 machines of the 1970s, its engine is directly developed from the V50 of the same decade.

Stronger still, that was a product of one of the great motorcycle designers, Lino Tonti, the man responsible for the famous V7 Sport Telaio Rosso. The new bike still retains the crankcase and crankshaft of the previous V7 model introduced in 2008, the Classic, but Guzzi says around 70 per cent of the Moto Guzzi V7 Special’s components are new or modified. The aim was to improve the power output, considered feeble by many at just 42bhp, although the engine was still lively enough to be interesting, and broaden the spread of torque.

The main changes have been made to the cylinder heads, intake system and pistons, which on this family of small block Guzzis, unusually contain the combustion chambers. The design is called a Heron head, also used in the 1970s and 1980s by Moto Morini on its V-twins, and is characterised by parallel inlet and exhaust valves set into a flat cylinder head surface.

The design is associated with high efficiency because Heron head engines are generally more economical than average, but it’s not quite as simple as that. In fact, the gas flow in and out of these engines is less efficient, making them reluctant to rev high (and the heavy pistons preclude this anyway) so they’re economical more because they’re low powered and won’t rev hard than through any efficiency advantages.

The real motive is low production cost, although the cylinder heads tend to be more compact too, an additional advantage on a layout such as the Guzzi’s. Even so, Guzzi’s modern day engineers have managed to boost power to 50bhp, and the torque is stretched wide across the rev band, so much so that although the company claims the 43lb.ft (5.9kg.m, 58Nm) torque peak is at a subterranean 2,800rpm, it admits it could be even higher below this level, it’s just that the factory dyno can’t measure torque accurately at any lower revs!

The Moto Guzzi V7 Special’s fuel efficiency has been improved too, by a claimed 10 per cent, leading to a claim of 64mpg (22.7km/l, 4.4l/100km, 53.3mpg US) in mixed riding conditions, although there’s no real way to compare this with other bikes. But the old model was very good on fuel so this might well be reasonably realistic, which in turn means the 4.8 gallon (22 litre, 5.8 gallon US) will be good for an astonishing 300 miles (480km).

A factor in the torque and economy gains is the new intake layout, which comprises a central, single throttle body feeding both cylinders via long intake tracts. It’s helped by the replacement of the previous single lambda probe by a twin lambda set up, which means the fuel mixture in each cylinder can be monitored and modified independently. It’s this which has allowed the compression ratio increase from 9.2:1 to 10.2:1, a key element of the overall efficiency hike.

While they were at it, the design team changed the styling of the cooling fins to a more rounded, slightly wider spaced design, more reminiscent of bikes of the 1970s, if a little ironically reversing the modernisation of the V50 carried out by Tonti at the end of that decade.

The rest of the Moto Guzzi V7 Special has been subjected to less change. The shaft drive transmission is unaltered aside from improvements to the gear selector mechanism, and apart from the wheels, the chassis has been left alone. These are substantially lighter than the previous model’s (that includes the cast ones of the lower priced V7 Stone, also distinguished by its matt black or white paint) and the wire-spoked ones of the V7 Special.

The new V7 Racer also uses the wire-spoked wheels and features a host of other changes. (Review coming soon)

One final area worked on by Guzzi is evident as soon as you start up the bike: the sound. The previous version made a slightly incongruous gargling growl on the overrun yet was bland the rest of the time, but the new one’s careful aural tuning has resulted in a melodic idle and appealing bubbly soundtrack when putting the engine under load.

None of the old bike’s eagerness has been lost in the new engine, despite its better emissions which can often dull a motor’s response. Instead it pulls vivaciously and for much of the time has the feel of an engine with a significantly higher output than 50bhp. It’s the generous torque behind this of course, and the bike’s ability to bowl along in fourth or top gear without feeling breathless, which is exactly how most riders use their bikes most of the time.

The light weight plays an important role in the bike’s liveliness - at 395lb (179kg) it’s a hefty 99lb (45kg) lighter than the Triumph Bonneville and 82lb (37kg) less than the Kawasaki W800, its two main rivals – it makes more power than the Kawasaki too. This shows up even more in the handling, which is agile enough to be really enjoyable, yet thanks to the conservative steering geometry is plenty stable enough to inspire confidence in the many novice riders who’ll be attracted by the Moto Guzzi V7 Special. It’s noticeably more responsive to the bars than the previous model, which will be due to the new wheels – 3.2lb (1.44kg) less for the front and 1.9lb (0.86kg) for the rear - and these aid acceleration and braking too.

A disadvantage for tyro riders though is the seat height. It’s not too bad at 31.7in (805mm) but the British bike at 29.1in (740mm) has more appeal for shorter riders despite carrying so much more weight. Guzzi clearly has attempted to ameliorate this by using a minimum of seat padding, but the downside of that is comfort suffers. On my relatively short stints on board it wasn’t too bad but I’m pretty sure if you make full use of that tank range you’ll be feeling it in your backside.

The riding ergonomics otherwise are good, with a spacious seat-bars-pegs layout (where the high seat does help) that suits taller riders, although as the bike itself is compact, someone over 6 foot (1.83m) does look rather oversized on it even if they feel okay. The footrests might feel a touch too far forward for some riders though.

The steering is exceptionally good, even at very low speeds remaining completely neutral - being tested and built in a mountainous region full of hairpin bends is good motivation for this. The suspension though is less impressive as it’s underdamped, and as soon as you start to push a little harder it gets bouncy and flustered. At lower speeds it’s generally fine, although if you hit a pothole or sharp ridge it can jar right through the bike.

Generally though it’s all good so far, unless you like to really rev an engine. Spin the V-twin harder than 6,000rpm and the previously pleasing shakes and shudders which are an important element of the bike’s character and communication with the rider turn against you, vibrating nastily through all your contact points with the machine. Take it to the red line and the footrest buzz is borderline painful.

Instead, the Moto Guzzi V7 Special should be treated more like Honda’s NC700X, which has a similar lowly rev ceiling and unwillingness to rev. Ride the torque, the low and mid-range power and you’ll be rewarded by good economy and a pleasing riding experience.

It looks great too, arguably even better than before with its choice of richly applied red and white or yellow and black paint options, while the revised intake design has left a gap between the cylinders which shows them off to even greater effect.

The V7 Special is a light, wieldy and very good looking bike that trounces its rivals on weight, brings real authenticity to the class and backs that up with a fine and fun riding experience. It’s not perfect but it deserves to be the key in reviving Guzzi’s sales which the factory is hoping.

Specifications
Model tested: Moto Guzzi V7 Special
Price: £6,930
Available: now
Engine: 90-degree V-twin, air cooled, sohc 4v, 744cc
Power: 50bhp (50PS, 37kW) @ 6,200rpm
Torque: 43lb.ft (5.9kg.m, 58Nm) @ 2,800rpm
Economy: 64mpg (22.7km/l, 4.4l/100km, 53.3mpg US)
Tank/Range: 4.8 gallons (22 litres) / 310 miles (500km)
Transmission: Five gears, shaft final drive
Chassis: tubular steel
Seat height: 31.7in (805mm)
Wheelbase: 57.0in (1449mm)
Rake/trail: 27.8°/4.83in (123mm)
Weight: 395lb (179kg) without fuel
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