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2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone First Ride Review


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A successful retro standard motorcycle balances nostalgia and performance, style and rideability. Now, 54 years after the first V7 and 13 years after the first modern recreation, Moto Guzzi has released the fourth generation of that modern iteration of the V7 with an all-new engine and chassis. With iconic styling and all of the quirks and character that Guzzi is known for, the nostalgia is there. But has the classic-styled bike’s performance been updated enough to stay competitive with this quickly growing genre of motorcycles?

The 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone has a starting MSRP of $8,999.
The 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone has a starting MSRP of $8,999. (Moto Guzzi/)

The biggest update in this model is the new engine, designed to meet Euro 5 emissions standards and drawing on elements of Guzzi’s previous V9 and V85TT but unique to this model. Overall design of the engine is not radically different from previous versions of the bike, maintaining the two-valve-per-cylinder pushrod configuration. Thanks to the new larger displacement, we see a 25 percent increase in power over previous models, a claimed 65 hp at 6,800 rpm and 53.8 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. The crank has been re-balanced, and friction has been reduced to limit the torsional rotating effect so present when revving previous V7 models. That pull-to-the-right while revving is still there, for the nostalgic; it’s just reduced to a minor sway rather than a tug to one side.

Our first ride test took place in the California desert outside of Palm Springs—a great destination for both wide open and twisty roads.
Our first ride test took place in the California desert outside of Palm Springs—a great destination for both wide open and twisty roads. (Moto Guzzi/)

Power output of previous V7 models was notably underwhelming, so the increase in engine performance is something that we welcome eagerly, as it makes the new bike a much more capable machine. Most of that power comes on after the 3,000 rpm mark, but the engine produces tiring vibration through the handlebars at the same point; this does not smooth out until it reaches peak torque at 5,000 rpm. The cable-driven throttle provides a direct, connected feel, but fueling is abrupt with the initial twist; it takes slow, precise throttle application to achieve smoothness. The clutch lever is springy and the feel is very vague, making it hard to detect the engagement point based on your hand alone. The combination of abrupt fueling and lack of clutch feel can lead to a bit of lurching, especially if you have the traction control switched off.

The 2021 V7 Stone with the Centenario version behind it.
The 2021 V7 Stone with the Centenario version behind it. (Moto Guzzi/)

At one point in our test ride, I was carving through some mountain roads while staying in the higher revs above 6,000 rpm, near peak horsepower. I closed and reopened the throttle quickly and was greeted with a pulsing effect from the fuel injector that upsets the chassis. Thinking it may have been a fluke, I tried this on three different motorcycles and found that it was consistent and repeatable.

An all-new digital gauge on the V7 Stone, matching the shape of the new headlight.
An all-new digital gauge on the V7 Stone, matching the shape of the new headlight. (Moto Guzzi/)

Guzzi has developed a new chassis to house the new powerplant, though it’s a similar tubular steel layout with similar weight distribution to previous models. The rear shocks are larger with longer travel, and the swingarm is now larger and reinforced, with a new bevel gear on the shaft drive to better handle the higher torque output.

Handling on the V7 is neutral and easy, but push it too hard and the soft suspension will remind you how this bike likes to be ridden.
Handling on the V7 is neutral and easy, but push it too hard and the soft suspension will remind you how this bike likes to be ridden. (Moto Guzzi /)

The V7 easily drops into turns and now has the power to effortlessly pull out of them. Low-speed handling is neutral and easy. Going straight down the highway, the ride is smooth and stable. Only when pushing the bike, heavily leaning through turns at speed, did I find the shortcomings of the suspension. Both the fork and the shocks are a bit soft in both spring rate and damping, resulting in bouncing through bumpy turns and forcing me to slow down. Rebound is adjustable on the rear, which did help to slow the bobbing; the front is nonadjustable.

Subtle Moto Guzzi branding hides throughout the bike, like the eagle silhouette that serves as a daytime running light.
Subtle Moto Guzzi branding hides throughout the bike, like the eagle silhouette that serves as a daytime running light. (Moto Guzzi/)

A four-piston Brembo caliper grips a 320mm disc to stop the 18-inch front wheel, and while it takes a fair squeeze of the lever, there’s good feel for precise application. The rear two-piston caliper and 260mm disc are more than adequate as well; present, but not too grabby, with decent feel at the foot lever.

The new bike comes in three models. As in previous years, the V7 Stone wears matte black paint with aluminum six-spoke mag wheels, a digital gauge cluster, and LED lighting, available for $8,999. For 2021 only, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Moto Guzzi, a Centenario version of the V7 Stone is available for $9,190, sharing all the same functional components as the V7 Stone but with a two-tone livery and a brown seat. Lastly there is the V7 Special, with glossy paint, dual analog gauges, and spoked wheels, as well as machined cylinder cooling fins and a brown swingarm for $9,490. Each 2021 model has the special 100th anniversary logo on the front of the fender.

Brembo four-piston calipers provide excellent stopping power up front.
Brembo four-piston calipers provide excellent stopping power up front. (Moto Guzzi/)

While the V7′s styling is very similar to what we’ve seen on model after model here, that is a good thing. It’s still undeniably attractive. The line from tank to seat, the knee indents, and subtle Moto Guzzi branding details throughout make it simply a great-looking standard. As each bike shares the same engine, tires, and chassis, there is room for up-spec’d models to be released later on.

In true “Stone,” fashion, the base model V7 Stone comes only in matte black.
In true “Stone,” fashion, the base model V7 Stone comes only in matte black. (Moto Guzzi/)

The gearbox on the new V7 is essentially a five-speed with an overdrive. Gears one through five feel great and are truly all you need for practical use, with fifth gear pulling 80 mph at 5,100 rpm. Sixth gear seems like a bit of a mileage play, as 4,000 rpm will only have you going 70 mph and vibrates too much for smooth highway cruising.

Each V7 produced for 2021 will come with the special 100th anniversary logo on the front fender.
Each V7 produced for 2021 will come with the special 100th anniversary logo on the front fender. (Moto Guzzi/)

The retro standard category is growing quickly, with offerings from OEMs all over the world. From Triumph’s updated Bonneville line to Royal Enfield’s wildly successful $6,000 twins, there is something to fit every level of performance and most budgets. The Guzzi V7′s strengths are in its classic Guzzi character and styling, but when you view performance and pricing next to others in the class, it becomes hard to justify the purchase based on those factors alone.

Moto Guzzis have always been funky motorcycles, bikes out on the fringe. They’re a choice for the rider who doesn’t want a Harley or a Triumph, but something more unique, Italian, and not seen quite as often. Thanks largely to the engine configuration, they’re quickly recognized by those in the know, and their classic styling is universally appreciated. It’s a friendly bike that isn’t too loud, too big, or unwieldy. It’s not trying to be a racebike. it’s just a simple, good-looking machine. Ride it within its capabilities and it will be good to you for many years to come.

At 6-foot-4, editor Morgan Gales was surprised to find the V7 is a comfortable fit with his knees below his hips and body upright.
At 6-foot-4, editor Morgan Gales was surprised to find the V7 is a comfortable fit with his knees below his hips and body upright. (Moto Guzzi/)

Gear Box

Helmet: Hedon x Bike Shed Heroine

Jacket: Alpinestars Brera Air

Pants: Tobacco Selvedge Riding Jeans

Gloves: Lee Parks Design

Boots: Bates Fast Lane

2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone

MSRP: $8,999
Engine: Air-cooled, transverse V-twin, pushrod; 2 valves/cyl.
Displacement: 853cc
Bore x Stroke: 84.0 x 77.0mm
Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/shaft
Claimed Horsepower: 65 hp @ 6,800 rpm
Claimed Measured Torque: 53.8 lb.-ft. @ 5,000 rpm
Fuel System: EFI w/ 38mm mechanical throttle body
Clutch: Dry clutch
Frame: Double cradle tubular steel frame
Front Suspension: 40mm fork; 5.1 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Dual Kayaba shocks, preload adjustable; 3.9 in. travel
Front Brake: Brembo 4-piston caliper, 320mm disc
Rear Brake: Brembo 2-piston floating caliper, 260mm disc
Wheels, Front/Rear: Cast aluminum mags; 18-in. / 17-in.
Tires, Front/Rear: 100/90-18 / 150/70-17
Rake/Trail: 26.4°/4.2 in.
Wheelbase: 57.1 in.
Ground Clearance: 6.1 in.
Seat Height: 30.7 in.
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gal.
Claimed Wet Weight: 481 lb.
Availability: Spring 2021
Contact: motoguzzi.com/us_EN/

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