How can something so simple be so beautiful at the same time? This was the lasting impression the Moto Guzzi V7 III Special imprinted on my subconscious mind weeks after I returned the bike to its owners. I have never ridden a Moto Guzzi before, but thanks to the generosity of the good folks at Bikerbox, I finally got my chance last month to spend some quality time with this beauty from Mandello del Lario.
On looks alone, it may appear that the V7 III Special is a perfectly preserved motorcycle from the 70s, you know, like somebody stumbled upon his dad’s forgotten bike in the shed, but it actually is a Euro 4 compliant bike with ABS, traction control, and fuel-injection system. And that’s the real beauty of it. Moto Guzzi managed to build a modern bike with authentic classic looks and buckets full of character.
The beauty starts when you thumb the starter button. The transverse V-twin wakes up with urgency, sending the tachometer needle racing towards 2000 rpm then quickly settles to a nice and smooth idle below 1000 rpm, accompanied by a pronounced yet muffled rumble from the upswept chrome megaphone exhaust. Swing a leg over the seat and your hands fall naturally to the tall and wide handlebars for a relaxed riding position. With a centrally located mass, lifting the V7 III from its side stand feels much lighter than its 209 kg curb weight suggests. Plus a low 770mm seat height will allow even vertically challenged riders to reach the ground with both feet firmly planted.
The view above the handlebars is filled with two classic looking analogue dials for the speedometer and tachometer that do a splendid job pretending to be a refugee from a different era. But closer examination reveals it can display more than just road and engine speeds. The LCD screen on the speedometer can be toggled to show an impressive amount of information like an odometer, trip meter, instantaneous and average fuel consumption, average speed, air temperature, gear indicator, and clock. Tall chrome side mirrors provide a clear view of what’s behind the bike.
Clutch pull is light and engaging any of the six gears feels positive on the gear lever. First gear is good up to 40 km/h but short shifting to a higher gear is possible even at low speeds because of the widespread of torque. Redline is at 6500 rpm but there’s ample torque between the 2000 and 4900 rpm sweet spot for effortless cruising in 5th and 6th gear. The 744cc transverse V-twin is rated at 52 hp at 6200 rpm, which allows the V7 III to accelerate rapidly towards a 160 km/h top speed. But the V7 III is not about going fast. It’s about easy riding and looking cool while doing it. Performance, while capable and fun, is the least of its selling point.
The V7 III Special may not be the fastest modern retro out there, but it sure can handle fast corners. The V7 III Special features a redesigned chassis to improve handling. The steel frame maintains the dismountable double cradle layout of its predecessor and the same weight distribution (46% front; 54% rear), but the front part has been completely revamped and reinforced. The V7 III chassis also introduces a new steering geometry that guarantees more dynamic cornering, and sharper handling and stability. New dual Kayaba rear shock absorbers have adjustable spring preload to allow adjustment for various weights. This new suspension setup provides a more progressive and controlled response even while riding two-up. Passenger comfort was also improved due to a revised seating position, and repositioned footpegs, which are now lower and farther forward. The 18-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel/tire combination offers ample grip for spirited riding in the twisties.
The longer I rode the V7 III Special, the more in-love I became. Its iconic name, characterful motor, and easygoing nature tend to pull on your heartstrings with every kilometer you add on its odometer. It’s simply a beautiful bike.
Engine: Transverse V-twin cylinder, 4 stroke, air cooled
Max Power: 52 hp @ 6200 rpm
Max Torque: 44.2 lb/ft @ 4900 rpm
Seat Height: 770mm
Fuel Capacity: 21 Liters
Curb Weight: 209 kg.
Top Speed: 160 Km/h
Price: PhP 730,000.00
+ Classic styling, characterful V-twin motor, modern safety
- Not much
C! Rating: 10 / 10