The Moto Guzzi V7 I was a beautiful motorcycle and brought back one of the most historic Italian motorcycles of the 1960s through to the 1980s. I’ve had the chance to ride my buddy’s Moto Guzzi V7 for a month while he was out of town, and now it’s time to answer your questions in this final review of the Moto Guzzi V7.
In this Moto Guzzi V7 I review we’ll be answering six questions about the V7, including:
- What do I like about the Moto Guzzi V7?
- What I disliked about it?
- How is it on longer motorcycle rides and touring?
- How was the Moto Guzzi V7 with a passenger?
- How does it compare to the Triumph Bonneville?
- Would I recommend you buy a Moto Guzzi V7?
- What other motorcycles should you consider?
5 Questions About the Moto Guzzi V7
I had the chance to ride my buddy’s Moto Guzzi V7 for a month while he was out of town, and now it’s time to answer your questions about it.
1) What do you like about the Moto Guzzi V7?
With its classic motorcycle lines, the Moto Guzzi V7 oozes nostalgia and retro vibes. If you’re into that, you’ll love the V7.
Personally, I find in-line 4s way too buzzy and “all or nothing”, and parallel twins kind of boring. In my opinion, V-Twins in general give great torque and personality, and the Guzzi is no exception to this.
Bone stock, the Moto Guzzi V7 might be the best sounding bike from factory. When the average rider thinks motorcycle sound, Harley-Davidson comes to mind, but without aftermarket pipes they sound terrible. On the other hand, the discerning motorcyclist knows that a Moto Guzzi V7 sounds great right out of the box.
Sure, you can put louder pipes on it if you want to, but this motorcycle sounds as good as any motorcycle with stock pipes can. It sounded much better than my Triumph Bonneville did with the stock exhaust pipes, and about as good as my Triumph Bonneville sounds with the TORS slip-ons. Of course, that’s all very subjective, and each engine configuration will produce its own unique sound.
For ease of maintenance, shaft drive is my second favorite final drive type after belt drive. If you’re mechanically inept or just plain old lazy, you will love having a shaft drive motorcycle for how simple they are to maintain.
2) How is it for longer distances?
Admittedly, I did limited highway travel on the V7, but on my few trips out I did find the Moto Guzzi to be fairly comfortable. The V7 being tested was entirely stock with exception of a factory windscreen which did an amazing job of protecting the rider from the wind and makes highway riding very comfortable compared to traditional naked bikes. The wind screen will be a welcome addition for any rider who plans on doing long highway runs on their V7.
Of course, it should be stated, that V7 isn’t really designed for extended touring. That said, there are exceptions to ever rule, and my friend Glenda has covered much of Canada on one of her two Moto Guzzi V7s, and she has no plans of upgrading any time soon, so long distance touring can be done, despite this motorcycle not being ideal for it.
3) How was the Moto Guzzi V7 with a passenger?
Riding with a passenger on the Moto Guzzi V7 was actually less comfortable than touring on a Moto Guzzi V7 was. It was one of the things about the Moto Guzzi that I didn’t like. Your passenger needs to be really small, or else get their own V7, and there are two reasons for that.
Firstly, the Guzzi V7’s seat is not very long. When we had the motorcycle next to a Triumph Bonneville, we found that the overall length of the V7’s seat was several inches less long than the Bonneville’s seat.
Secondly, the V7 seat’s passenger section is less than an inch higher than the rider’s section, however the passenger pegs are significantly higher. In other words, your passenger is almost sitting at the same height as you, meaning they’ll be staring directly at the back of your helmet all ride, but their feet are much higher. Overall, this makes for an uncomfortable and cramped ride for your passenger.
From my late teen years to my early twenties, I couldn’t afford a car, and all I had was a motorcycle for me and my girlfriends to get around on. At that time, the Moto Guzzi’s small seat and cramped passenger ergonomics would have a deal breaker for me.
This answer also ties in to two others I was often asked about: Comparisons with the Triumph Bonneville, and what else I disliked about the Moto Guzzi V7, so let’s get into that.
4) How does the Moto Guzzi V7 compare to the Triumph Bonneville?
Full disclosure: I came into borrowing this Moto Guzzi V7 as a both a V7 fan as well as a Triumph Bonneville fan. I had looked at one or two of both models for sale, but decided to wait until I borrowed the V7 for a while to make a decision.
Which one would I prefer? Would my Italian heritage make me have a bias for the V7? Would the sensibility of having a Triumph dealer two miles down the road make a Triumph make more sense to me? Okay full disclosure, I have a Moto Guzzi dealer twenty minutes away, but still, Triumph’s aftermarket selection is substantially bigger. So which motorcycle do I prefer? Well, what’s right for me might not be what’s right for you, but here’s my opinion:
The Triumph Bonneville is bigger, faster, heavier, taller, more top heavy, and with a better selection of aftermarket parts than the Moto Guzzi V7. Dealer support in North America should also be more established.
The Moto Guzzi V7 is lighter, sexier, smaller, better balanced, and more nimble than the Triumph Bonneville. Dealer support will vary depending on where you are. Both bikes have a phenomenal fanatical fanbase.
Overall I think both bikes look great.
Once I had a car and didn’t need to rely solely on a motorcycle to get my girlfriends and I around, I would have loved the Moto Guzzi V7. I didn’t have money to spend on extra parts, so aftermarket parts wouldn’t have mattered to me. A lightweight, well balanced motorcycle with a low seat height would have been welcome for a less seasoned rider. But, now, today, my big gripe with the V7 is the lack of passenger space, so for that reason, and because after 14 years of motorcycle riding I don’t care for the lower seat height or lighter weight, I would take the extra power and extra space of the Triumph Bonneville. Once again, what’s right for me might not be what’s right for you.
5) What do you dislike about the Moto Guzzi V7?
There are a few things I don’t like about the Moto Guzzi V7 I:
At 5’11, The Moto Guzzi V7 I can feel a bit cramped for an experienced rider, especially if you want to bring a passenger with you.
Tricky 1st gear
Finding 1st gear, which is usually the easiest gear to find, is actually difficult. The bike doesn’t downshift smoothly in colder climates until it is warmed up or revved up. In country riding it won’t bother you much, but in stop-and-go downtown traffic in a cold country like Canada, it’s annoying.
Limited aftermarket parts
If you’re not the type to customize your motorcycle much, you can skip this part. Personally, before I even buy a motorcycle, I’m making a wish list of the parts I want. It’s my version of hunting, it’s something I enjoy, typically, but finding parts for the V7 is a little harder than other bikes.
6) Should you buy a Moto Guzzi V7?
If you’re in the beginner to intermediate rider range, yes, you should buy a Moto Guzzi V7.
If you’re an experienced rider looking for something on the smaller, lighter side, and you don’t care about taking a passenger, yes, you should buy a Moto Guzzi V7.
If you’re not looking for a high performance machine, like the Yamaha XSR series, yes, you should buy a Moto Guzzi V7.
However, if you want something with all modern bells and whistles, a huge aftermarket list of products made for your motorcycle, plus comfortable ergonomics for you and your passenger, this motorcycle isn’t it, and you shouldn’t buy the Moto Guzzi V7.
The Moto Guzzi V7 is a simple retro motorcycle, updated with modern technology. It has great history, character, and vintage charm and is great for a solo rider. If that’s good enough for you, than you’ll love this motorcycle, but if you want something more than that, this isn’t it.
7) What are other motorcycles to consider?
We’ve already talked about the Triumph Bonneville which also brings plenty of vintage charm albeit in a slightly larger size, with less personality, but a more established dealerbase.
Another option for a retro motorcycle with a bit larger of a frame and a much more established dealerbase is the Kawasaki Z900RS. The Z900RS is often overlooked, perhaps because it lacks European heritage. Overlooked or not, Kawasaki has done an excellent job at creating a four cylinder motorcycle tuned for every day street use, with attention to detail when it comes to performance, fit, and finish. Check out my Kawasaki Z900RS overview here.