Hitting the half century – Moto Guzzi V7 III

Suitable Partners

Exercising the V7 III Special.

It was way back in ’67 when the V7 Moto Guzzi broke cover. Since then, the 90-degree V twin, with cylinders set across the frame and the crankshaft running fore and aft, has come to define the marque, and the latest variant – the third example of the 750cc V7 range – continues the tradition.

To celebrate such an important milestone, Moto Guzzi have released three versions – the Special, Stone and the racer. Four in fact, if you could include the very limited edition (750 made, only 20 coming to Australia) Anniversario.

We tested the V7 III in both Special and Stone versions, the latter being the entry model priced at a respectable $12990. All versions boast a 10% increase in power over the V7 II; the result of an all-new engine with a new crankshaft design and a completely redesigned top end. The cylinder head, still with two valves per cylinder, is now of a hemispherical combustion chamber design, and as well as the increased performance, all the changes are directed at making the V7 III compliant with ever-tougher Euro 4 emission laws. A single body Marelli electronic fuel injection system controls the mixture and how it is burnt.

Plenty of black distinguishes the Stone.

I spent most of my time on the new Special, which is a more traditional design than the edgy Stone. The Special has twin instruments, a plusher seat with a grab rail for the passenger, spoked wheels on alloy rims and Kayaba rear shocks giving 93 mm of travel. Up front is a single Brembo caliper working on a 320mm disc, and despite its pedestrian appearance, provides excellent stopping power.

The seat is low, just 770 mm from the road, and the aluminium footrests set reasonably high, although you can still drag them through corners without too much trouble. Being brand new, the engine was tight, and an in-built red warning light tells you to take it easy on the motor during the running in period. This rev-ceiling can be adjusted as the engine gains a few kilometres. Even in brand new form, the engine buzzes along lustily, with 52hp on tap and plenty of mid-range torque. It’s a fun bike to ride with no vices and excellent handling.

Chassis-wise, the V7 III maintains the time-honoured double cradle layout, but the front end has been completely redesigned and strengthened, with revised steering geometry for sharper handling. A system called Moto Guzzi Traction Control (MGCT) provides two levels, and can also be turned off (which I did) via the same button on the right switch block that activates the electric starter. I think this is largely superfluous except for riding across frozen lakes but is nevertheless marketed as a safety bonus.

V7 III Special gets twin instruments.

The Stone sports black exhaust pipes and a single instrument, with no chrome and a matt (satin) finish instead of the gloss on the Special. Should you be lucky enough to get your hands on one of the 20 Anniversario being imported, what you will receive is a Special-based model with a chrome plated fuel tank with locking billet aluminium cap and a leather strap, a brown leather seat, alloy mudguards, and a stamped plate showing the individual number of the 750 being produced. All for $16,990 plus ORC. As is the norm these days, there is a truly massive array of genuine accessories available for all models, but even in standard trim, the V7 III represents a highly desirable series with stacks of heritage in a thoroughly up to date motorcycle.

Off-the-shelf – Moto Guzzi V7 III Special

Engine: Air-cooled V-twin, 2 valves per head with alloy pushrods and rockers.
Bore x stroke: 80mm x 74mm = 744cc.
Power: 52hp (38kW) at 6,200 rpm.
Torque: 60Nm at 4,900 rpm.
Frame: Double cradle steel tubular with detachable sections. Die-cast alloy swinging arm.
Wheelbase: 1463mm
Front: 40mm telescopic fork wit 130mm travel
Rear: Twin Kayaba shocks with adjustable pre-load. 93mm travel.
Front: Steel spoke on alloy rim, 110/90 x 18 tyre
Rear: Steel spoke on alloy rim, 130/80 x 17 tyre.
Front: Single 320mm rotor with 4-piston Brembo calliper
Rear: Single 260mm rotor with floating 2-piston calliper.
Seat height: 770mm
Fuel Cap: 21 litres including 4 litres reserve.
Kerb weight: 193kg.
Prices: $12,990 (Stone), $14,990 (Special), $16,990 (Anniversario) ll plus ORC.

Test Jim Scaysbrook • Photos Ben Galli

OBA Issue 68
This article first appeared in Old Bike Australasia Issue 68.