What we have here are a bunch of Moto Guzzi spy photos and not much else. But we’re not going to let that stop us. Putting our collective MO thinking caps together, we can say a few things with certainty. The rest is an educated guess. (Or wishful thinking if we end up being completely wrong.) Clearly, these two motorcycles are based on the V7 platform that has given us the current V7 II Stone, V7 II Special, and V7 II Racer.
Both bikes featured in the photos look like a V7 Stone with updated components. The new sculpted tank is smaller, narrower, and without the bulbous portion above the cylinders on the V7. The seat appears to be slightly shorter and much thinner. The cast wheels are different from those on the V7 Stone. The stanchions wear neither the fork gaiters of the Stone and the Racer nor the chip guards of the Special. These bikes also have different handlebars and risers from the V7.
The wheels both have speed sensors which point to ABS and traction control, features present in the V7 II line. Though some of us thought that the cobby looking, bare aluminum swingarm could be a prototype. We decided that it looks enough like the existing swingarm on the V7 to be one of them.
The first bike, we’ll call it the V7 Audace because we can see some hints of the Guzzi 1400 California variation. The wheels look like they could have been pulled directly from the Big Twin though a quick look at the rear tire makes us think they are most likely different sizes from the 1400. The front fender is the same abbreviated style; however, the rear fender is much smaller than the Audace’s – again owing, most likely, to the smaller tire.
Above the minimalist front fender, the bare fork tubes are clamped by a blacked out triple clamp. Unlike the Audace, the drag style bar and risers are not blacked out. If this is truly a V7 Audace variant, we’d expect those to be converted to the blacked out theme. The exhaust system, with the strange exception of a chromed center heat shield, is blacked out and carries the Audace’s conical muffler shape versus the V7’s usual more cylindrical shape. The muffler tips, though, do look identical to the V7’s.
With the second bike, we were initially tempted to call it the V7 El Dorado, but there were too many details missing from the 1400 Eldo for us to buy into the theory. What we do know is that the narrower cast front wheel carries the same spoke design as the V7 Audace. The handlebar has a deeper curve, and the risers are different. The muffler appears larger, but we suspect that is purely because of the slimming effect of the black paint versus the chrome. (After all, 50 million overweight Americans can’t be wrong about wearing black.) Although the seat is the same as on the first bike, the fender is longer and ends in more of a point.
In the end, the theory we felt held the most water was that these were two variations of an Americanized small Guzzi, along the lines of the Harley-Davidson Sportster or Triumph America. Curmudgeon Editor Burns notes, “Footpegs moved forward lower seat pullback handlebar smaller gas tank dual exhausts that’ll probably drag around every corner! Don’t know why they didn’t do it years ago!” For the record, the canisters look to be the same height as on the V7s to the rest of us. Still, Burns had some kind words for these V7s, saying “My kid would love it and it’s a great bike for the hipster set, who doesn’t know one end of a wrench from another. Shaft drive, and even they could figure out how to adjust this bike’s valves.”
So, what we have here appears to be a pair of early development test mules; looks like Moto Guzzi is trying out a couple of different wheel and handlebar combinations to see which one looks/steers best on this V7-based cruiser. We’d expect pricing to be somewhere around the $10,990 MSRPs of the V7 II Scrambler and Racer, though we wouldn’t mind being surprised by a lower one.