Moto Guzzi launched the third generation of its V7 retro machine, aptly named the V7 III, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the iconic V-twin model.
WORDS: Mikko Nieminen, Motorcycle Sport & Leisure editor
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jakob Ebrey & Moto Guzzi
The V7 III family consists of three different models: the V7 III Special, the bike we tested, which is available in blue or black; the V7 III Anniversario, with a chrome finish tank and a brown leather seat; and the V7 III Stone, finished in matt black, blue, green or yellow and sporting matt black exhaust pipes and mudguards. The latter also runs on lightweight alloy wheels, while all the others have spoked wheels.
The 50th anniversary came at an opportune time since the bike needed an update anyway in order to meet the Euro 4 emissions requirements. That’s taken care of by the new engine, now a little more powerful, with 52bhp at 6200 revs compared to the old motor’s 47bhp at 6250rpm. The engine feels a little more refined compared to the last generation, but retains enough of the V-twin character to put a smile on your face when you roll back the throttle. The bike still starts with a gentle shudder, and a handful of revs lets out a beautiful burbling exhaust note. The power on offer is not endless, but delivered low in the range and in such an easy and enjoyable way that riding the V7 III at a more sedate pace is actually more enjoyable than thrashing it around. Not that it lacks oomph, it just feels a bit more grown up than the last generation. With such a smooth power delivery and sufficient torque, this is a bike that a beginner would feel perfectly happy with, while a more experienced rider would be unlikely to feel short-changed either.
In addition to the new engine, Moto Guzzi has also made some changes to the bike’s chassis. The frame is new, with updated steering geometry, and you can feel the bike turning more keenly than the previous model. It almost caught me out at the first corner, where I ended up over-steering the bike as it tipped into the corner surprisingly eagerly. After a couple of bends you get used to the handling and the ride feels nice and settled.
The torquey engine helps to ride the V7 III out of corners with enough drive to widen the smile that you already have on your face. Suspension has also been updated, with new preload-adjustable Kayaba shocks at the rear, again adding a more refined touch to the ride. Riding on the same bumpy roads where I tested the previous incarnation of the bike, this model feels more stable and connected to the road, if not quite to the extent of the bigger and even smoother Moto Guzzi V9.
The riding position has been slightly altered too, with a lower seat (now 770mm compared to 790mm) and new foot pegs, although I didn’t notice much of a change there. To be honest, both the old and new bikes are equally pleasant to sit on and ride. They’re not bikes you’d want to spend a whole day on, but for cities and shorter day runs they’re fine unless you’re much over six feet tall. The new model gains three kilos compared to the last generation V7 II, but the bike still feels light and easy to shift whether you’re riding it or pushing it around a car park.
Rounding up the 50th anniversary updates for the V7 III are the cosmetics. Like the rest of the changes, these too are subtle, but show that Guzzi has gone above and beyond simply updating the bike for Euro 4. Notable differences are the new fuel cap that’s no longer flush with the tank, but a screw cap. The side covers have been redesigned, as have the injector covers. The indicators and mirrors are also new (the latter are also wider and pleasantly un-shaky).
With all the updates – both cosmetic and technical – the V7 III is an impressive package, and plenty of fun to ride. The more refined feel means that it will be a bike for anyone new to riding, or just wanting an easy life with a good looking bike. Let’s be honest, a bike this pretty could handle a lot worse and still be loved – the fact that it’s a pleasure to ride is a convenient bonus.
Moto Guzzi V7 III (2017)
Engine: 744cc air-cooled 90° V-twin
Power: 52bhp @ 6200rpm
Torque: (60Nm) @ 4900rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, shaft final drive
Frame: Double cradle, tubular steel frame
Brakes: (F) 320mm floating disc, 4-piston Brembo calipers, (R) 260mm disc, floating 2-piston caliper
Suspension: (F) 40mm hydraulic telescopic fork, (R) 2 shock absorbers with adjustable spring preload
Tank capacity: 21 litres
Wheels: (F) 18in spoked, (R) 17in spoked
Seat height: 770mm
Kerb weight: 193kg