2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic Review

V7 Sport for the people


You need to be a historian to fully understand all of Moto Guzzi’s past glories. Moto Guzzi’s V7 Sport made a big impact in the early 1970s and could claim to be the first mass produced motorcycle to reach 200km/h (124 mph). Recently I had the chance to ride the less performance orientated V7 incarnation in Rome and what a day it was!

It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since I rode last year’s V7 Classic in Mandello, Italy. The 2009 V7 Café Classic has got some of the same feel due to the chassis and engine. Both are relatively short and those trademark transverse cylinder heads stick out just below the fuel tank on both sides.

No Moto Guzzi launch starts on schedule and that’s partly because everybody is busy filling their eyes with the Guzzi styling. You don’t just jump onto a Moto Guzzi without looking at the machine first!

The Moto Guzzi V7 Café Classic is right at home in the streets of Rome.

I took a seat and tried to get a feel for the ergonomics before we headed out into the Rome traffic. What I love about the small block V7 models is the fact that they feel so small and easy to use whilst the 2-valve air-cooled engine thunders below me aspiring to at least sound like a big block. The seat height is a low 805mm (31.7 in) and the clip-on style Café racer handlebars are placed low to make you look good when racing between the cafés and bars in Europe. It improves handling as well as the V7 Café Classic behaves as expected while I do my motorbike slalom in and out of the busy traffic. To keep myself on course I allied myself with a Roman colleague who really knows Rome like the back of his hand.

The mixed small bike/big bike feel is felt in the handling department. The Marzocchi front fork feels stable on the brakes and the double rear suspension took care of most of what Rome had to offer in terms of big city hindrances in a comfortable way. It didn’t take me long to get a good feel for the Metzeler Lasertec tires either which I’m putting down to the instant kamikaze pace we set. Ride a little bit slower and you may not get too much tire feedback at all on this bike. The rear tire is a narrow and easy handling 130/80-17 and the front a 100/90-18. The wheels are spoked steel ones of course as anything else would have looked out of place!

Though not terribly powerful, the V7 handles like a champ.

Out of the traffic lights the V7 Café Classic needs a few revs more than the other new 744cc V-twin Guzzi presented in Rome (the Nevada Classic). Both bikes feature the exact same engine, gear ratios and only differ a few pounds in weight (press kit even says they weigh the same, but they don’t!). I’m inclined to think the clutch set-up might have been different on the two bikes that I rode. They should be the same though, but with different ergonomics and style.

Following a big Griso 8V I did notice that I only had 49 horsepower, but with a nice torque curve that maxes at only 3,600rpm it didn’t take long to catch up in town. Gone are the days when a Moto Guzzi V7 was all about performance and the 40 ft. lbs. of torque is all that I needed to have plenty of fun around Rome at least. The dry-weight is a claimed 401 pounds which is light in this segment. Along with a sturdy engine that’s not tuned to oblivion the 4.4-gallon plastic fuel tank should stay well filled most of the time too.

Moto Guzzi’s trademark transverse engine cylinder heads give the V7 Café Classic a unique look.

We also did a short spell on the inner ringroad and allowed the bikes to stretch a little. As you may already have understood looking at the spec sheet the V7 Café Classic is no high speed racer and it starts feeling a little asthmatic on higher revs. So we slowed the pace down a little and cruised around the Coliseum. With the engine thumping gently underneath me surrounded by giant historic artifacts and guided by a Roman I whistled a song while smiling to the pretty lady on a scooter next to me. Life was treating me well again and the V7 helped me relax.

We stopped for a quick espresso which gave me yet another opportunity to look at the machine. Parked outside of a coffee shop in Rome the V7 Café Classic seemed oh so in the perfect place and also in perfect proportion. Too big can quickly become obscene and particularly in Rome.

And what an accessible styling package the new V7 Café Classic is, competitively priced small bike with big bike feel. The big bike feel is mostly as a result of the soundtrack exiting from the double silencers. Moto Guzzi is bragging about it in their press release (the sound) and rightly so I think.

Brembo brakes provide ample stopping power. The instrument cluster is simple and functional.

While continuing my ride around Rome I also had time to inspect the beautiful and simple instrument cluster in front of me. Inside the two analogue clocks that show speed on the left and revs on the right there’s digital display of time, ambient temperature and odometer functions. All you need and a little extra is what you get.

Conclusion

I just felt so lucky to be in the seat of the 2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Café Classic sightseeing in Rome on a gorgeous day. Apart from the perfect setting and surroundings, the V7 Café Classic also helps you get that feeling. It’s an easygoing motorcycle without any fuss which should help new riders relax more for safety and more experienced riders for the pure ‘feel good’ factor. The only negative I can think of on the V7 Café Classic is that it might just be too small for big riders, but perfect for everyone else.

If you’re not a giant or terribly power hungry, the V7 Café Classic is just about perfect. And she’s a looker to boot.

2009 Moto Guzzi V7 Café Classic Specs
Engine
Type Four-stroke V 90 twin
Displacement 744cc
Bore and Stroke 80x74 mm
Compression ratio 9.6:1
Timing 2 valves per head operated by light alloy pushrods
Fuel Supply Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection
Exhaust System Three-way catalyser with lambda probe
Transmission
Gearbox 5-speed
Lubrication Forced lubrication with lobe pump
Clutch Dry single plate with flexible couplings
Primary Drive Helicoidal gears
Final Drive Shaft drive
Chassis
Frame ALS steel tubular dismountable twin cradle
Wheelbase 57 in
Front Suspension Marzocchi telescopic front forks
Rear Suspension Oscillating light alloy swingarm with 2 pre-load adjustable shock absorbers
Front Brake Floating 320 mm stainless steel disc; 4 opposed calipers of differing diameters
Rear Brake 260 mm stainless steel disc
Wheels Spoken steel rims; front - 2.50” X18”, rear - 3.50" X17"
Tires Metzeler Lasertec; front - 100/90- 18, rear - 130/80 -17
Dimensions
Length 86 in
Width 31.5 in
Height 43.9 in
Seat Height 31.7 in
Steering Angle 32°
Dry Weight 401 lbs
Curb Weight 437 lbs
Fuel Capacity 4.4 gal

Related Reading
2008 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic Review
2008 Moto Guzzi Griso 8V
2008 Moto Guzzi Stelvio Review
2008 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V preview
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