Moto Guzzi motorcycles don’t seem like good values on paper. This V7 has a new engine with more power, better electronics and an improved suspension. But at the end of the day, in this gorgeous Centenario trim, it’s still nearly a $10,000 motorcycle that makes just 65 horsepower. And yet, I absolutely love it.
The main reason? The V7 — particularly the achingly pretty Centenario — oozes style. Everything from the transverse V-twin engine, unique tank shape and big headlight looks fantastic. Even better than that, though, is the way everything feels. The bike feels like something that was built by people who care, thanks to its excellent fit and finish and overall sense of craftsmanship. When everything feels this solid, the power doesn’t matter as much.
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The V7 gets a newly revised engine based on the one in the V85TT to celebrate Moto Guzzi’s 100th anniversary, and it’s a total sweetheart. It gets a displacement bump for the 2021 model year from 744 cubic centimeters out to 853 cc’s, and the added performance this brings makes the bike infinitely nicer to ride in traffic. The old V7 (aka V7 III) was fine but never felt happy being revved out to hit freeway speeds, but the new V7 does it without complaint.
The bike’s six-speed gearbox straddles the line between feeling old-timey and John Deere-ish, and smooth and modern. It’s not slick, by any means, but the transmission is nice to use and feels appropriate on a motorcycle like the V7 in that very Guzzi new-old-bike kind of way. The bike’s large, single-plate dry clutch is also nicer to use this time around. The pull at the lever feels lighter, and the engagement seems smoother than with the old bike, which, when combined with the relatively mild powertrain, makes the V7 highly approachable for a new rider. The V7 earns bonus points for its shaft drive, too, since it requires very little maintenance — another boon for new riders because chain maintenance sucks.
The V7’s suspension features a pair of nonadjustable, 40-millimeter, right-side-up forks, while the rear has a pair of shocks with spring preload adjustment. This isn’t the world’s most sophisticated setup, sure, but for a motorcycle geared toward comfort and around-town riding, it’s totally adequate, and it’s plenty fun to lean over in a turn.
Braking is handled by a single four-piston Brembo caliper with a 320-millimeter rotor up front, and a 260-millimeter rotor in the back that’s gripped by a two-piston caliper. This setup is more than enough for a bike of the V7’s power level and weight, and I never run out of stopping power, even after repeated hard stops in traffic.
Dual-channel antilock brakes are standard on 2021 V7 models, which I love to see, particularly on a motorcycle that ends up being a first bike for many people. The Guzzi’s other electronic rider aid is the brand’s multi-level traction control, which is another nice-to-have feature on a bike like this. Neither system is lean-sensitive, but that’s not a deal-breaker for me in this segment, considering the bike’s performance levels.
The V7 has always been a reasonably approachable motorcycle, and part of that comes from its relaxed and accommodating rider geometry. The wide, swept handlebars are tall, and the seat is long and well-padded, giving plenty of opportunities for a rider to move around on longer rides — and thus avoid a sore butt. The seat height is a small-rider-friendly 30.7 inches, which means that getting your feet flat on the ground at a stop should be a cinch.
“Should be a cinch” is kind of the V7’s whole raison d’etre, if I’m being honest. It’s a bike that excels at being stylish and intimidating transportation. It’s not the cheapest bike in the class, but unlike many others, it’s still being produced in Moto Guzzi’s factory on Lake Como with high-quality components. There is also something to be said about Guzzi’s different way of doing things and its design language that has spoken to people for a century, and which will likely continue to do so for a long time to come. It certainly speaks to me.
The 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone starts at $8,990, while the 2021-only V7 Stone Centenario comes in at $9,190. The V7 Special, with its more retro styling and analog gauges, comes in at $9,490, and all three models are on sale now.
2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Centenario is the company’s 100th birthday present to itself