Thursday, May 21, 2009

Quick Rides: 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

We posted a short, real world review of the R1200R a little more than a year ago. It is by far our most popular video, having been viewed over 62,000 times. I think this review was so popular, despite its crude production, because it had a lot of close-up views of the motorcycle, it captured the sound of the motor, and it expressed my true impressions of that machine. We still get a lot of e-mail about this video, and requests for more of this type of review. So, if you happen to be a Moto Guzzi fan, we’ve got a “Quick Ride” video just for you.

I first saw the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic at a Motorcycle show back in December, and I’ve been wanting to try one ever since. Dave Richardson of Moto International in Seattle was kind enough to set me up on a date with one of these little sweethearts.

The V7 Classic was born during rather brief Aprilia years, when the Aprilia design team put their touch on a few new models in the Guzzi line up. It’s basically a restyled Breva, and the result is a handsome, comfortable motorcycle that that pays tribute to the Guzzi heritage. Aprilia updated the Beva’s two-valve 750cc engine, with fuel injection being the most significant improvement. This motor’s lineage is directly connected to the iconic, air-cooled V twin that Guzzi has been producing for decades, unlike some modern classics on the market today.

I’d describe the whole riding experience as relaxed, mild even, but not boring. This bike is very well behaved thanks to its linear power delivery, with plenty of mid-range grunt, and the suspension is well sorted. And then there’s that beautiful exhaust note, which you can enjoy at real-world speeds. Even if you do ratchet things up a notch or two and take the bike for a spirited ride, the V7 Classic takes it all in stride. The Brembo brakes do a good job of shaving off the speed, despite there being only one disc up front. I prefer having two discs on a front wheel, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker.

To sum things up, the V7 Classic is fun and easy to ride. It will appeal to those who appreciate a classic look without the hassle of maintaining a classic bike. The engine delivers power in a predictable, linear way, and the ergonomics are relaxed and comfortable. This Guzzi is about classic looks and a pleasant riding experience, and I give it high marks for delivering both in a handsome well-made motorcycle.