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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
|2017 Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone|