In the past, I’ve been critical of earlier versions of the Moto Guzzi V7. Last year a friend lent me his 2014 V7 for a month and to me the bike felt unfinished. So this week, I have a brand new 2023 Moto Guzzi V7 to test, and three questions in mind that I want to answer:
- Does the V7 stay true to it’s roots as a classic motorcycle?
- Can it still keep up with today’s modern motorcycle options?
- And did Moto Guzzi improve the V7 enough over the last 9 years to turn me into a fan?
I’m Adrian from YouMotorcycle. I make videos that help motorcyclists, including some pretty detailed, pretty critical motorcycle reviews, and this is my review of the 2023 Moto Guzzi V7.
About this review
In this review I’ll be covering design and styling, engine and performance, handling and ride quality, technology and features, ergonomics and comfort, fuel economy and range, maintenance and reliability, and price and value for your dollar of this bike.
This review would not be possible without the participation of Studio Cycle, one of the biggest Moto Guzzi, Aprilia, and Husqvarna dealers in Toronto. If you’re in or around Toronto and are interested in any of those three brands, go see them, they’re good and knowledgeable people.
EXTERIOR DESIGN AND STYLING
Let’s start with taking a look at the 2023 Moto Guzzi V7. This is a motorcycle that is meant to replicate the original V7 of the late 1960s. This year I visited the Moto Guzzi factory museum, in Mandello Del Lario, Italy, and seeing so many of the original V7s I can tell you that the current V7 remains true to the original design.
The bike features the V7’s iconic air-cooled transverse-mounted V-twin engine. I love the aesthetics of it as much as I love the long, flat topped gas tank, and the minimalist tail section.
I also love that the V7’s fit and finish and attention to detail is always top notch. Sure, some people will point out that Moto Guzzi has mastered changing the paint here and there to charge the customers more money for the same thing. When you do really good paint and finish, you can get away with doing that.
There is one part of the design that I wish was different, but still isn’t, and it makes me sad. It’s the overall size of the motorcycle. I wouldn’t call the V7 small, but I’d definitely call it compact. If you plan on doing a lot of two-up riding, you better hope your passenger is on the petite side.
The styling hasn’t changed too much in 10 years. A new headlight and dash are the most noticeable features, both of which I’ll get into more later on.
In conclusion, aesthetically, the V7 is a retro looking motorcycle that visually stays true to its roots. If you’re shopping for a motorcycle in this segment, your eyes will either instantly love it… or you’ll just buy a Triumph like everyone else.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
The 2014 Moto Guzzi V7‘s engine and performance left me… underwhelmed. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then! Within the next few years Moto Guzzi added a much needed sixth gear. They gave the V7 a new clutch, a higher rev limit, and they even lowered the engine by a centimeter to bring the center of gravity a little lower for better stability and cornering.
In the 2020s is when Moto Guzzi really started shaking things up. There were some minor but significant improvements that helped with the V7’s performance, including new front and rear suspension. There were also some ergonomic improvements as well.
The biggest improvement was obviously the upgrade to the 853cc motor from the V85 adventure bike. The new motor brings the V7’s power up from 52 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, to 65 horsepower at 6,800 rpm. The new motor also takes the torque from 44 lb ft at 4,250, to 54 lb ft at 5,000 rpm. That’s a 25% horsepower increase, and a 22% increase in torque. Guess what? You notice the difference. The bike doesn’t feel so stressed or in constant need of shifting.
In my opinion, if you’re looking for a used V7, if you can save a lot of money buying the 750cc motor, do it. On the other hand, if the savings aren’t very significant, you should spend a little extra and get the newer 850cc motor. You’ll be happy you did.
The last time I reviewed a V7 I complained about some whirring sounds coming from the motorcycle, and unfortunately, that’s still the case in 2023. The electronic-like whirr is a bit of a distraction from the nostalgia of riding a motorcycle that’s supposed to be paying homage to a classic.
I also pointed out that the V7 might be one of the best sounding stock motorcycles available, but, in this 2023 model I think some of that has been lost. Emissions requirements stifle motorcycles more and more unfortunately. On the plus side, I had a customer with the same motorcycle with a stage 1 kit and some Mystral exhaust pipes and his V7 sounded amazing. If you want to bring some really throaty, really good sound to your V7, it’s good to know that you have that option.
Finally, I can’t talk about performance and not mention that owners are going to love having a shaft drive motorcycle. You change the shaft drive oil once every two years, and forget about it. There is no filter, no mess, and minimal maintenance. The two main cons of shaft drive are not being able to change gear ratios, and extra weight, but honestly, Guzzi nailed the gear ratios just fine for most riders, and at 480 lbs of wet weight with a low center of gravity, this bike feels lighter than it is. The low maintenance shaft drive is likely to be a hit with the audience the V7 is intended for. Finally, this shaft drive is very smooth. You won’t notice it much like I did on the 2014 Guzzi I borrowed.
HANDLING AND RIDE QUALITY
So what’s it like to ride this thing? The V7’s tank is a little narrower than you might be used to. Once you wrap your head and legs around that, you’ll get used to it pretty quickly. The V7’s low center of gravity, neutral ergonomics, 57” wheel base, and 28 degree rake and 4.1” of trail all come together on a 100/90-18 front and a 150/70-17 rear. If none of that makes sense to you, don’t worry, just expect comfortable and easy handling.
Suspension is perfectly adequate for the job. There’s nothing spectacular about it. You have a non-adjustable front end on 40 mm forks and twin preload adjustable rear shock absorbers and together they do the job for most riders’ needs. For a better upgrade you can look at the Racer trim which comes with Ohlins suspension in some markets.
The same can be said for the brakes. The parts are all there, they all work just fine for what 90% of riders will want from this bike. They’re just not fantastic.
Through the city the V7’s nimble and svelte physique make it perfect for splitting lanes and squeezing ahead of the pack though. It’s nice to twist that throttle and unleash effortless low end torque to power ahead of pack when things are clear.
On the highway things are much improved on the new 850cc motor over the old 750cc. Having the sixth gear means you can make your long highway trips very chill if that’s what you’re into. With a 5.5 gallon fuel tank, or about 21 liters, you’ll be able to cover a lot of ground, but more on that later.
TECHNOLOGY AND FEATURES
You won’t find any mention of technology on Moto Guzzi’s official web page for the V7, or in their brochure. Studio Cycle’s webpage is a little more attentive to detail however, and it did mention that the motorcycle comes with standard double channel ABS, as well as MGCT or Moto Guzzi Controllo di Trazione. That’s how you say Traction Control in Italian, if you feel like being fancy.
You’ll get LED lights and an LCD dashboard which is easily visible both day and night, as well as a gear indicator, but if you’re looking for smart phone integration or any other gimmicky technology, you won’t find that on the V7, and to be honest, that’s just the way I like it.
ERGONOMICS AND COMFORT
The V7’s riding position is very standard, with forward lean, knee angle, and hip angle, all within a couple degrees of the Triumph Bonneville which people shopping for this bike might also be considering. Consider yourself effectively sitting at the kitchen table when you’re on this motorcycle.
Though the V7 wouldn’t be my first choice for a long distance tourer, my friend Glenda has taken hers across most of Canada a few times, and is currently riding hers from Canada down to the Tail of the Dragon. You can take a V7 anywhere, if you’re stubborn like she is.
To make touring a little more comfortable, Moto Guzzi has a very affordable Comfort Saddle available for only $275 Canadian or about $208 American. If you plan on doing a little long distance touring, investing in a good seat is always the right option, especially at that price.
A windscreen would also be a good upgrade for the V7 for those who plan on spending long hours in the saddle because, being a naked bike, you’re going to take a lot of wind to the chest and upper body.
When it comes to passenger comfort, as I mentioned in my original V7 review of the 2014 model I borrowed, this bike is just too small. Unless your passenger is within a few inches of being five foot tall, there really isn’t much room for comfortably riding two up on a V7 for any extended time.
FUEL ECONOMY AND RANGE
One of the visual strong points of the V7 is the fuel tank which takes an angular style compared to bulbous curvy gas tank you’ll find on a Bonneville. The sharp lines are a true reflection of how the original V7s looked decades ago.
The tank is 5.5 gallons, or 21 liters, and Moto Guzzi claims 48 miles per gallon. That would give a range of about 250 miles or 400 kilometers, before you’ll start to nervously look for nearby gas station. Pretty good for an air-cooled motorcycle.
MAINTENANCE AND RELIABILITY
The Moto Guzzi V7 tends to be a pretty low maintenance machine, with repairs more likely to be due to rider error. In the case of one of my subscribers, the only problem he’s had with his V7 is when a neighbour drove into it while trying to park. Yay for Toronto drivers!
There’s one exception to this though. Valve clearance intervals are every 6,000 miles or 10,000 km. That’s kind of annoying considering it’s twice as often as my Triumph Bonneville, and four times more often than my Kawasaki Z900RS.
Granted, if you’re going to put 10,000 km on your V7, odds are you’ll fall in love with it, so you won’t care about a little more frequent service.
I wouldn’t be concerned with reliability with the V7 however, but if you buy it from Studio Cycle you get a two-year manufacturer warranty with the motorcycle. For an extra $775 Canadian, or about $585 you can extend it to a three year warranty, or if you’ve never met a shrink that can keep up with your anxiety $1,450 Canadian or about $1,100 USD makes it a four year warranty.
Honestly though, the V7 is a simple, reliable motorcycle, that isn’t overstressed. It has attention to detail and is handbuilt in Mandello del Lario, Italy, where the employees take a lot of pride in their work. I wouldn’t worry about it.
PRICE AND VALUE FOR YOUR MONEY
I don’t know where you live, but over here a 2023 Moto Guzzi V7 will run you from $12,700 to $13,400 Canadian depending on which trim and paintjob you get. Out the door you’re looking at about $14,000 before any rebates. In other words, you can pay $1,400 more and look like everyone else on a Triumph Bonneville, or buy the V7 and put some of the money saved towards some nice exhaust pipes and a tune for it.
And sure, the V7 is a little over $3,000 Canadian more out the door than a Royal Enfield, but in my opinion those two motorcycles aren’t even in the same league. The power, torque, fit, finish, and quality components of the V7, compared to the 650cc Royal Enfield Interceptor I reviewed last year are a night and day difference.
If you want something retro of quality, but the Triumph just seems a little excessive, you won’t regret the V7 for your first or second motorcycle.
In conclusion, yes the 2023 Moto Guzzi V7 holds true to its roots as a classic motorcycle as best as it can, and it can still keep up with today’s modern motorcycles. I’m finally sold that the V7 is a nice option for anyone looking for a retro motorcycle.
The bike has outgrown and corrected nearly everything I didn’t like about the 2014 model. It’s got more power and pep than ever before, and looks just as sharp as ever.
I still find shifting around neutral to be a little weird, and I still don’t recommend it for two up riding, but it’s a really fun, nimble, capable, attractive motorcycle.
If you go for the V7, you’ll enjoy taking it out for a ride, and you’ll enjoy looking at it and everyone looking at you as you pass by. While other “modern classic” motorcycles are just modern motorcycles disguised as classics, the V7 still has the feel of a real, modern, classic motorcycle.