Still need convincing that scrambler-styled motorcycles are hot? Moto Guzzi, a brand long known to march to the beat of a different drummer from the rest of the motorcycling world, has taken its updated-for-2016 V7 II platform and created a limited – and numbered – production scrambler model, the Stornello. In doing so, Moto Guzzi’s design team restyled the V7 II Stone to quite accurately resemble scramblers of the past.
Since the V7 II Stone is essentially Guzzi’s version of the UJM (universal Japanese motorcycle), it is an ideal base for customization – be it through the eyes of Piaggio Advanced Design Director Miguel Galluzzi or a private owner. The V7’s classic lines, including a bench seat, start with a neutral riding position that can easily be altered to be a café racer, as with the V7 II Racer (read our test of the original version of the V7 Racer here), or the Stornello.
The transition from Stone to Stornello was an easy one. Spoked aluminum hoops replace the cast aluminum wheels, though the 18-inch front and 17-inch rear specifications remain the same. The tires wear a more off-road-suitable knobby-ish tread pattern on their radial carcasses. Both models display the all important fork gaiters. Though the tanks both carry an impressive 5.8 gallons, the Stornello gets dressed up (to suit its numbered status) with rubber knee pads on the tank cutouts and red racing stripes under the Italian eagle logo. The seat didn’t require a restyle, but below it, the side panels now sport an oval, brushed aluminum number plate with the bike name etched into the surface. An abbreviated version of the number plate also resides over the round headlight. Hand-brushed aluminum fenders – front and rear – fit in with the number plates and scrambler history. Flat, toothy off-road footpegs look the part and will provide better grip than the rubber-covered ones they replace. Finally, the OEM exhaust system gives way to a street-legal Arrow 2-into-1 Arrow exhaust which mounts up high, tucked inward, completing the makeover with all of these changes amounting to a claimed 35 lb. drop in weight.
Thumbing the starter brings the transverse-mounted 744cc 90-degree V-Twin to life, and like with all Moto Guzzis, riders are required to blip the throttle immediately after the engine fires – for the pure pleasure of having the bike tilt to the right from the rotational forces created by the crankshaft spinning on the same linear plane as its wheels. The Arrow exhaust sounds a smidge throatier than the pipe on the Stone. Still, the exhaust’s claim of street-legality doesn’t raise eyebrows like some others we’ve heard lately.
Acceleration is similar to the Stone I rode earlier this year, but the Stornello doesn’t suffer from an as abbreviated clutch engagement zone as the Stone. While many bikes still have a longer, easier clutch engagement range, I didn’t need to devote as many neurons to the initial clutch release. Since we’ve tested the V7 II engine on the dyno, we know that the raw performance numbers it puts out aren’t terribly impressive, but riding the Stornello, once again, brings to the fore that there’s more to a fun motorcycle than big dyno numbers. Still, we would appreciate a bump in power. As with its sibling, the Stornello’s has the updated engine with sixth gear and tighter ratios in third, fourth, and fifth gears, which makes maximum use of the power on tap.
Strangely, I didn’t feel cramped behind the cylinders, like I did on the V9 Bobber in our Urban Sport Cruiser Shootout. The riding position is neutral for the lower body with a comfortable forward lean to the upper body. This places the rider in a great position for both ease of maneuverability and battling the wind at highway speeds. Although other V7 models use rubber covered pegs, I didn’t notice any additional vibration through the more dirt-focused aluminum ones. The only real complaint I have of the Stornello is that the seat gets uncomfortable long before I want to stop riding.
Taking this version of the V7 through the winding roads around the 76th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally confirmed its do-it-all nature – which is similar to the V7 Stone – plus the tires on the Stornello made exploring a few gravel roads more fun. On pavement, the steering feels exactly like that of the Stone. A quick look at the spec sheet reveals that all of the dimensions, including tire size, are the same.
While the Stornello, being fairly light, can be prodded into a quick turn in on corner entry, it prefers to be bent in and not hustled. The riding style could best be defined as relaxed. Just chill and meander through the corners. The same can be said of the Brembo brakes. With a single 320mm disc gripped by a four-piston caliper in the front and a 260mm, two-piston caliper out back, the Stornello can be stopped pretty quickly, but the lack of feel and the firm grip required for maximum stopping power, again, points to a laid-back preference for riding inputs. Fortunately, the standard ABS can give riders the confidence to give the lever the big squeeze required in a panic-stop situation.
Using the same suspension as the V7 Stone, the Stornello worked quite well on the smooth pavement of the Black Hills, handling side-to-side transitions without bobbles or weaves. In my short excursion on gravel roads, the suspenders, with their 5.1 in. travel in front and 4.4 in. out back, were able to handle the occasional hit of a rut but were – not surprisingly – more suited for the pavement.
Moto Guzzi’s V7 II platform is a proven base for a variety of models, each with different styling and slightly different functionality. The Stornello (in a similar way to Yamaha’s SCR950) has taken a versatile chassis and dressed it in scrambler togs for retro-minded, (most likely) young urban riders to cut their teeth on while getting their first experience of the pleasures of a transverse 744cc 90° V-Twin – pushrods and all.
With a retail price of $11,190, the Stornello isn’t cheap, but it does carry the cache of a numbered, limited-edition model. As a styling exercise, the Stornello succeeds marvelously, hitting all the scrambler items on the check list. It also successfully achieves the versatility a rider who is looking for a do-it-all motorcycle expects. The Stornello is available only in white and is available at Moto Guzzi dealerships.
|2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II Stornello|
|+ Highs ||– Sighs |
|2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II Stornello|
|MSRP as tested||$11,190|
|Engine Capacity||744 cc|
|Engine Type||90° V-Twin, air-cooled|
|Bore x Stroke||80.0 x 74.0 mm|
|Fuel System||Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection|
|Front Suspension||40mm telescopic fork, 5.1 in. travel|
|Rear Suspension||Die cast light alloy swing arm with 2 shock absorbers with adjustable spring preload,4.4 in.travel|
|Front Brakes||320 mm stainless steel floating discs, Brembo callipers with 4 differently sized opposed pistons,ABS|
|Rear Brakes||260 mm, stainless steel disc, floating calliper with 2 pistons,ABS|
|Seat Height||31.1 in.|
|Measured Weight||419 lbs. (claimed)|
|Fuel Capacity||5.8 gal.|