2017 Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone

Editor Score: 82.0%
Engine 17.0/20
Suspension/Handling 13.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 7.0/10
Brakes 8.0/10
Instruments/Controls3.0/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.0/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 8.0/10
Value 9.0/10
Overall Score82/100

After 50 years of production, an Italian classic much like Joe Pesci and Spaghetti O’s, the Moto Guzzi V7 Stone is now onto its third iteration of Guzzi’s most popular bike. Doses of change have come alongside the new roman numeral for this entry-level classic that remains a quality and affordable standard.

With Moto Guzzi’s signature longitudinally mounted 744cc air-cooled powerplant protruding from its gills, wrapped in a classic-bike bun, alongside modern features such as ABS and traction control, the V7 III Stone is a solid package for the pleasantly affordable $7,990 price tag. Remember, all Guzzis are still built in the historic Italian factory in Mandello, while natural competitors from Triumph are created in Thailand.

I first met the V7 in its previous generation three years ago during a shootout for MO that revolved around bikes aimed at a younger audience dubbed the “HepCat TooCool Millennial Shootout” (sigh…). (Blame your dad for that title! –Ed.) Out of all of the bikes that day, the V7 was the only bike that really had my genuine interest, something I could see myself owning, and I spent most of the day trying to talk others off of it. I loved it then in my early riding days for its classic looks and unique Twin character, so it’s now a pleasant rekindling to be able to return to it after some years of refinement for both of us.

It’s good to be back on the old flame.

Almost everything looks and feels fairly nice on the Stone, especially for a bike designed with affordability in mind. There are some interesting plastic pieces covering components, but all the traditional V7 features are there: sweet cone exhausts, classic single headlight, and flat brat-style seat. Cosmetically speaking, the big change for the V7 III Stone is that many of the components are now carbon fiber. Just kidding, the answer is black, which Guzzi’s copywriting team had their own way of describing:

“Eclectic and essential, it foregoes any chrome parts, embracing the darkness of its matte black paintwork”

While no major overhauls to the appearance have taken place since the II, the new V7 Stone is still a minimalist, vintage-looking bike that tickles many a-fancy. It wasn’t broke, so I’m glad they didn’t fix it.

Guzzi does a pretty nice job concealing unsightly wires and things out of sight.

Guzzi does a pretty nice job concealing unsightly wires and things out of sight.

The V7 III comes in a couple different flavors. The model tested here is the base Stone, which has blacked-out components and comes tachless (which would be nice with the skinny rev range). On the Special, Racer, and Anniversario models you’ll find some extra numbers on the price tag along with cosmetic and functional additions such as chrome components, steel passenger handles, spoked wheels (oh baby), and that tachometer.

The $9,990 Racer version looks badass and comes standard with Öhlins suspension, clip-ons, and rear-set pegs so you can look like you’re fast.

The $9,990 Racer version looks badass and comes standard with Öhlins suspension, clip-ons, and rear-set pegs so you can look like you’re fast.

The V7 III Stone has been my commuter, so I’m happy to say that the ergos are neutral and comfortable with a plush-ish seat that has kept this 6-foot-tall man’s back and money maker just fine on a daily hour cruise through Corolla-congested corporate San Diego. The seat has been lowered 20mm for the III, bringing its height to 770mm (30.3 inches), targeting an audience of retro-seeking newcomers with an accessible stature, and a fully fueled weight of just 467 pounds is a really nice change of pace from the Sportster 48 I traded in for the Guzzi.

Analog speedo and Tamagotchi-style LCD display.

Analog speedo and Tamagotchi-style LCD display.

My personal hero after having a Sportster 48 and its 2.1 gallon tank for the weeks prior is the Stone’s 5.5-gallon fuel capacity that I have to keep reminding my now paranoid self doesn’t need to be refueled until the little yellow light tells me to, which, thanks to averaging 48 mpg isn’t frequent. On the lone speedo for the Stone you can check information such as tripmeters, gear position, average speed and fuel consumption, temperature, clock, and TC settings.

The V7 III Stone isn’t as sporty as your cafe racer dreams might have hoped for, with its quick rev limit and claimed 52 latte-sipping horses, but that’s a solid 10% upgrade from the II’s 47-horse claim. This power bump is thanks to several new engine components, primarily new cylinder heads that abandon the old Heron-style chambers for a hemi-head design like its V9 big brother. The updated engine also features a (deep breath) new ventilation system, pistons, cylinders, oil sump, crankshaft, and exhaust system that have be tuned for “easier revving and stronger engine braking.”

The changes made to the V7 lll’s engine really woke up a formerly lethargic mill, pushing as much as 20% higher at several places in its rev range. While its peak numbers still aren’t awe-inspiring, the benefits can clearly be felt everywhere above 3000 rpm.

The changes made to the V7 lll’s engine really woke up a formerly lethargic mill, pushing as much as 20% higher at several places in its rev range. While its peak numbers still aren’t awe-inspiring, the benefits can clearly be felt everywhere above 3000 rpm.

The Guzzi’s character continues on beyond the across-the-frame Twin with its old-school single disc dry clutch, pushrods and rockers, and driveshaft. The bike’s oversized cylinder heads next to your knees are a gorgeous sight to look down and see.

Up front you’ve got a four-piston Brembo caliper choking out a single 320mm disc that aren’t quite the traditional Brembo one-finger-squeezy brakes but still do plenty to bring you to a stop. At the rear you have a two-piston floating calliper going half-nelson on a 260mm disc, which as a duo handle stopping the Pirelli Sport Demon tires the V7 III comes standard with.

Brembo front calliper is a pleasant surprise for the price.

Brembo front calliper is a pleasant surprise for the price.

There’s fun to be had on this retro middleweight. The Twin gurgles like an angry toro at low revs, and the sharpened 106mm trail (down from 117mm) makes it a blast to flick around with a little spice from the transversal cylinder shake when twisting back on the gas. Once you figure out the gearbox, the Stone can get off the line quick, but you’ll be flying through gears and watching the little redline light on the speedo yell at you for mercy.

That 467-lb. lightness makes it the parking and traffic Moses. Up front you’ve got a traditional 40mm fork, and in the rear dual shocks with adjustable preload that come with commuter-friendly stiffness that sucks up the lumps and remains solid in corners. Even better for instilling some confidence in newer riders is the ABS and two-level (wet, dry, and off) traction control that comes standard on all versions of the V7 III.

A standard riding position keeps you comfortable to and from GloboCorp.

A standard riding position keeps you comfortable to and from GloboCorp.

Depending on your definition of highway speeds, the Guzzi might be a tricky call if your commute involves long stints on big freeways. Hovering around 80 mph features a moderate buzz, but accelerating past that speed to overtake the minivan throwing Legos out the window in front of you is no problem with the bike’s newfound power. By 90, things are smooth and it feels like there’s plenty of power to keep accelerating. But that would be illegal.

Guzzi also added some optional bluetooth connectivity to your battery-drained smartphone through the free Moto Guzzi app which allegedly displays in real time a speedometer, rev counter, torque, instant and average fuel consumption, average speed, battery voltage, longitudinal acceleration, extended trip computer, an “eco” fuel consumption setting, and the ability to track down your pesky bike when you don’t remember where you parked it. Unfortunately, ours didn’t come equipped with it.

If you’re looking for a vintage-style bike, and you’re a rider who doesn’t mind a bit of vintage engine performance, the V7 III Stone really has it all. It’s an affordable classic built in Italy, equipped with modern updates like ABS and TC, quality components, fantastic fuel capacity, and a unique engine full of Italian character and manufacturing detail.

081717-2017-moto-guzzi-v7-iii-stone-img_6895

2017 Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone
+ Highs

  • Modest MSRP
  • Classic vintage looks
  • ABS, TC, Brembo
– Sighs

  • Unthrilling engine
  • No tachometer
  • Plastic engine bits

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  • JWaller

    “An Italian classic much like Joe Pesci and Spaghetti O’s”. Yeah, it’s written by a Burns. Too funny! Keep it up.

  • Gee S

    That “Racer” version is just two dumb numberplates short of perfect.

  • Born to Ride

    Yeah, I’ll take the street twin. Or better yet, wait for the 850cc models coming in a couple years. Supposedly they are gonna be good for 85hp.

    • blueson2wheels

      The Triumph is a modern bike in retro clothing. The Guzzi is retro through and through. The Triumph is a better choice if performance matters. I’ll stick with my Guzzi as an antidote to the excess of modernity in my life. It performs well enough.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        And yet people blame Harleys for not being performance oriented.

    • JuanFrancisco

      I’ve ridden the street twin and performance wise, it is the better machine. I own a Stornello which I bought in Vegas and rode back to Chicago. Aesthetically, IMO the Stornello looks way better than the street twin and there’s something about showing up to a bike night and not being the 10th person on a Bonneville. The guzzi has enough perk to keep you entertained and it’s a pleasure to ride. On Wisconsin country roads I keep up with all my friends with much more powerful bikes and sometimes I set the pace. I had a hyper 821 with more performance I could handle and turned it into a tourer since I got bored riding it in the city. I later sold it since I enjoyed the slower more relaxing pace of the Stornello, plus It’s the first bike I’ve ever owned that I can flat foot the damn thing.

      • Born to Ride

        You don’t have to preach about the virtues of Guzzi to me. I own one and also enjoy the exclusivity. However we live in very very different environments. I live in the land of sprawl and open highways. Passing power on the open road will always be a concern unfortunately. I’m by no means a horsepower snob though, I have only ever owned one bike with more than 100 hp and it was a tourer/commuter. Horses for courses friend.

        • JuanFrancisco

          That’s the only thing I miss about the hyper. Instant passing power.. Passing on the Stornello requires some strategy, specially going 70+, but overall it’s not too bad, or perhaps I’m getting used to life in the slow lane?

      • disqus_9GQw44dyM0

        I agree that performance wise the Twin is probably the better bike. But as a smaller guy and at 138lbs…it looks like the Street Twin is almost 60 pounds heavier than the V7 (wet weight). That’s meaningful to me to have to push around the garage or worse yet, in a gravel parking lot or anywhere there is a small uphill grade.

        • JSoares

          The V7 III is 189kg dry and the Street Twin is 198kg; but the V7 III has a much bigger fuel tank, so with a full tank they weigh about the same. There’s a very big difference between them, though: the V7 III’s seat is very wide compared to the Street Twin’s. I’m 172cm (barefoot), I’ve ridden both and I plant both feet flat on the Triumph, but not on the Guzzi; also, the Guzzi felt more top heavy. If you’re a smaller man you’ll definitely prefer the Triumph.

          • disqus_9GQw44dyM0

            Thanks, appreciate the input. I’m 2″ shorter than you with short legs…I will check out the Triumph for sure.

    • JSoares

      What 850cc models?

      • Born to Ride

        The 100th aniversary models that are coming to modernize their middle weight lineup. The first will be a stelvioesque ADV bike, followed by a roadster. I’ve seen the CAD drawings and they look sweet. Guzzi has been developing them because they knew they were going to lose the 1200 engine and all of its variants for euro4. Depending if they meet the performance goals, I may find one in my garage in a few years.

        • JSoares

          Not that you don’t sound official, but could you provide a link to any kind of information regarding those 850cc bikes? Because I haven’t read about those anywhere – and I read a lot about Guzzis.

          • Born to Ride

            Noop, I was shown upcoming concept renderings at PADC. The only reason I mentioned it here at all is because I doubt anyone will believe me on teh interwebs and I don’t consider it a breach of confidentiality.

          • JSoares

            Ok. By “850cc model” you don’t mean something with the V9 engine, do you? Because that is already 853cc and it puts out 55hp, which makes that 85hp figure you mention seem unlikely…

          • Born to Ride

            No it’s an all new 4 valve engine based on the previous generation 1200 with a much higher rev ceiling. When I was talking with the designer he said that the engine was still in its design phase, and right now it’s slated to displace 865cc exactly and produce 85 hp. The renderings he showed me actually used the model of the V9 engine in its place for visual aid though.

          • JSoares

            That sounds interesting. What did the roadster version you mentioned look like´in those CAD drawings? Meaning, was it retro styled (a la V7 / V9) or modern looking (a la Griso)? And was there any information of when it will hit the market?

          • Born to Ride

            They had 4 concept drawings for the roadster, one was more classic looking in style with a single round headlight and classic shape guzzi tank, but at that time they were leaning toward a more modern aesthetic and only had a rendering of the version with more swooping bodywork like a griso and a horizontal paired headlight with an led light bar connecting the two round lamps. Honestly all the concept drawings of the roadster looked great. I didn’t like one of the two renderings that they were heavily debating for the ADV. One looked like a more modern Stelvio with nice rounded bodywork and lights and the other like a Moto Guzzi KLR. If you wanna know any more than that you’re gonna have to wait till 2020 like me.

          • JSoares

            Thank you for sharing.

  • Sayyed Bashir

    Ryan is always a good read. Seems like he got his dad’s DNA in bucket loads. Hopefully MO can offer him enough moolah to snag him from GloboCorp. Would be a nice addition. I could go for the Racer version if I had somewhere to park it.

  • Starmag

    Great write-up Ryan. You make me almost want one of these when I know I really don’t. I hope you’ll continue to do pieces for MO. I think your descriptive color would also be great on a destination/adventure piece which I’d like to see more of on MO.

    • JSoares

      Why don’t you want one of these? Have you ridden one?

      • Starmag

        Try riding one at 80mph two up with luggage, something my ZRX does without breaking a sweat. My KLR650 has near the same HP as this Guzzi, but is capable of things the Guzzi never will be.

        • Born to Ride

          Your KLR has about 10-15 hp less than this Guzzi depending on what you have done to improve it, and when we are talking sub 50s hp, 10 is a LOT. That being said, I wouldn’t own one for the same reason.

  • Mark Vizcarra

    Tachs are overrated. Not necessary for a bike like this.

    • disqus_9GQw44dyM0

      You are correct…but it’s a MOTORcycle. I want to know what the motor is doing. How much extra does the tach add to the cost, they buy them by the thousands.

  • notfishing

    Rats more tough decisions! At first a used V7 Racer or Special looked good, then the V7-II came out with a better transmission and other upgrades. Now you’re telling me the V7-III has 10% more horsepower and the Racer comes with Ohlins. Right now I have a Beastly Griso with 50,000 miles on it and a long legged V11 Rosso Corsa with Ohlins. A little town bike would be nice in my advanced age but which?

    • Old MOron

      Oh, you want us to believe that you have two road-going Guzzis?
      Take a picture of your bikes. Put your riding boot by the front wheel so we know it’s your picture. Put your thumbprint on the Griso’s odometer next to the 50,000. Don’t forget to have a notary public certify all of the above. Thank you.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Its nice to have the kids raised and gone.

  • Steve McLaughlin

    I have owned 4 Moto Guzzi’s over the years. V7 Sport, 850 California, LeMans II, and an ancient G3. Wonderful motorcycles, that felt good, rode good. I was able to rent a Calfifornia Tourer at the dealer in Mandelo Del Lario where Guzzi is made (and visit the factory – heavenly !!). Was able to tour Mallorca island on a rental from and antique motorcycle rental company there (Go Albion !!! ). There is NOTHING wrong about a guzzi. That is its strength. But, they all needed more power. Come on Guzzi, bump up that Stone to 65 horsepower and you will start taking back the roads again.

  • Andrew Capone

    Nicely done, Ryan! Your paternity is confirmed.

  • disqus_9GQw44dyM0

    Am I wrong to be comparing one of these to a new SV650? I’m really a retro guy and love the looks of this standard. And the mild horsepower rating is fine for my weekend jaunts in the mountains. However the even lower weight of the SV (I’m a small guy), low seat height and the gem of a motor are also attractive.

    • Ted

      You’ll never be disppointed on the SV. You may be someday on the GUZZI, but that depends on a couple variables.

  • TC

    While I was at the not-so-local Guzzi dealer picking up the factory heated grips for my Stelvio, I wandered out to the show room and sat on a V7 Stone. I was impressed at how compact and tidy it was, something not really conveyed in photos.

  • appliance5000

    “all Guzzis are still built in the historic Italian factory in Mandello, while natural competitors from Triumph are created in Thailand.” Given the olde timey Italian manufacturing acumen, I think this is a good reason to consider Triumph.

    Nice looking bike, but they are handbags for scooterists looking to up their sporty profile. Scooters are probably more fun.

    • JSoares

      Why the bitterness?

      • appliance5000

        The last part was probably unnecessary – the first part is bemusement given the history of both Italian and British manufacturing prowess. Hope that helps.