“I might know the sound of an enormous Guzzi in my sleep. It concentrates its aural energies in your higher chest, ringing by means of your bones. It’s … the sound of pleasure.”
— Melissa Holbrook Pierson, The Good Car: What It Is About Bikes
After we discover pleasure, we maintain it shut and nurture it. Woven all through Pierson’s e-book, arguably among the finest ever written about motorcycling, is a romance between the creator and Moto Guzzi. When trying to find her first bike, it was love at first sight: “a 500cc V-twin Moto Guzzi, red-and-black, a workhorse, and I assumed it was lovely.”
Like several real love, Pierson’s ardour for Moto Guzzi ran deep and transcended look. She fell below the spell of the Italian V-twin’s syncopated beat. She devoted her thoughts, physique, and spirit to studying to trip, doing her personal upkeep, and enduring lengthy hours within the saddle by means of stifling warmth, bitter chilly, and drenching rain.
Moto Guzzi is a storied marque that celebrates a century of steady manufacturing this yr. Each Moto Guzzi — from the 1921 Normale, a 498cc single, to the 1955 Otto cilindri, a liquid-cooled, DOHC 500cc V-8 GP racer that topped 170 mph, to present-day fashions — has been constructed within the manufacturing facility in Mandello del Lario, Italy, on the shores of Lake Como.
Three fashions — V7 Stone, V9 Bobber, and V85 TT — can be found with a particular Centenario colour scheme for 2021 that pays tribute to the Otto cilindri. Their silver gas tanks are impressed by the racebike’s uncooked alloy tank, their inexperienced aspect panels and entrance fenders are a nod to its iconic dustbin fairing, and their brown seats and golden eagle tank emblems additional set them aside, although all 2021 fashions/colours show one centesimal anniversary logos on their entrance fenders.
Over its lengthy historical past, Moto Guzzi has designed and constructed many notable fashions, however the V7 is a real residing legend, the very soul of the model. After twenty years of constructing small, cheap bikes after World Struggle II, Moto Guzzi grew to become the primary Italian producer to supply a large-displacement mannequin when, in 1967, it launched the 700cc V7. It was the genesis of the engine configuration that got here to outline Moto Guzzi: the “flying” 90-degree V-twin, with its air-cooled cylinders jutting outward into the wind and its crankshaft working longitudinally. The V7 additionally had an automotive-style twin-plate dry clutch, a 4-speed fixed mesh transmission, and shaft remaining drive.
Right now’s V7 maintains a robust connection to the unique, from its spherical headlight, sculpted tank, and upright seating place to its dry clutch, shaft drive, twin shocks, and twin exhaust. The V7 Particular ($9,490) is classically styled, with spoked wheels, chrome finishes, twin analog gauges, and a standard headlight. The extra modern-looking V7 Stone ($8,990) has matte finishes, a single all-digital gauge, black exhausts, forged wheels, and an eagle-shaped LED set into the headlight.
I’ve ridden a wide range of Moto Guzzis over time — the Norge sport-tourer (named after the Norge GT 500, which Giuseppe Guzzi rode to the Arctic Circle in 1928), the carbon-fiber-clad MGX-21 Flying Fortress hard bagger, the basic California 1400 Touring, and the red-framed, chrome-tanked V7 Racer, amongst others. Every was distinctive, however all shared the distinctive cah-chugga-chugga sound when their V-twins fired up and the light rocking to the fitting aspect when their throttles had been blipped at idle.
Using a Moto Guzzi feels particular. It’s a visceral, participating, rhythmic expertise. The V7 Stone introduced me again to the straightforward pleasure of motorcycling — the texture of the wind in opposition to my physique, the engine’s vibrations felt by means of numerous contact factors, the exhilaration of thrust. Though the brand new V7 has a bigger 853cc engine, variations of that are discovered within the V9 and V85 TT, output stays modest — 65 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 54 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, measured on the crank. However that’s sufficient. The V7 is a type of bikes that provides you permission to calm down, to take your time and actually savor the second. What’s the push?
Moto Guzzi made many helpful, delicate updates to the V7 platform. Lowered effort from the single-disc dry clutch. A stiffer body and a much bigger swingarm with a brand new bevel gear for the cardan shaft drive. Revised damping and an extended stroke for the preload-adjustable rear shocks. An up to date ABS module. A wider rear tire (now 150/70-17). Vibration-damping footpegs. A thicker passenger seat.
All are appreciated, but when I’m trustworthy, I considered none of them as I rolled by means of curve after curve on California’s Palms to Pines Highway, climbing increased and better into the rugged, snow-dusted San Jacinto Mountains. For the higher a part of a day, I simply rode the V7. I didn’t strive to determine its using modes (it doesn’t have any), nor did I join my smartphone to Moto Guzzi’s multimedia app. I rolled on and off the throttle. I shifted by means of the gears. And I smiled. Quite a bit.
The V7 Stone is strong, predictable, carefree. Its engine doles out torque practically in every single place, but it surely feels happiest chugging alongside within the midrange. Throttle response is direct, the exhaust word is soothing. Due to its modest weight, low seat, and pure ergonomics, using and dealing with are easy. Braking, shifting, suspension — all the pieces dutifully meets expectations. Just like the Guzzi that stole Pierson’s coronary heart, the V7 Stone is a workhorse, and it’s simple on the eyes. Properly, apart from its peculiar-looking taillight, which has a constellation of pink LEDs that look too sci-fi for this type of motorcycle.
The V7 Stone Centenario carries the burden of Moto Guzzi’s century of historical past with confidence. The model is an acquired style, favored by connoisseurs somewhat than the lots, and it evokes a cult-like following. Once I interviewed Melissa Holbrook Pierson for the Rider Magazine Insider podcast, I requested about her first encounter with a Guzzi. “It was probability,” she mentioned. “I simply occurred upon the bike that was actually good for me.”
2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
Base Value: $8,990 Value as Examined: $9,190 (Centenario version) Web site: motoguzzi.com Engine Kind: Air-cooled, longitudinal 90-degree V-twin, OHV w/ 2 valves per cyl. Displacement: 853cc Bore x Stroke: 84.0 x 77.0mm Horsepower: 65 hp @ 6,800 rpm (claimed, on the crank) Torque: 54 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm (claimed, on the crank) Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated dry clutch Remaining Drive: Shaft Wheelbase: 57.1 in. Rake/Path: 28 levels/4.1 in. Seat Peak: 30.7 in. Moist Weight: 480 lbs. Gasoline Capability: 5.5 gals.