While the Guzzi is a bit stingy in its ground clearance, this is really only highlighted as the chassis is so much better than before. The bounce and jolt from the poor V7 II’s shocks has been replaced by a well damped rear and the V7 III now turns with proper agility into bends. It’s really good fun to ride through 60mph twisties and the ABS and traction control (which has two levels) stay hidden in the background and don’t interfere with this enjoyment.
On a retro you always hanker after a bit of spirit and soul and at low revs the V7’s transverse twin delivers exactly that, vibrating pleasingly, twisting due to the torque reaction and thumping its way through the lower rev range as the torque kicks in. But when you get to about 5000rpm it subtly changes character as the motor smoothes off and you are left with an engine that feels refined and plush with virtually no vibrations. It’s not the fastest, but feels fantastic.
The V-twin engine is far from stressed as it only makes a fairly weak 52bhp, so you can’t imagine any horrors there. Some will criticise Guzzi’s build quality, but overall the V7 seems fairly robust and well put together and the V7 doesn’t have a reputation for unreliability.
On the face of it £8000 is a lot of money for a fairly basic air-cooled V-twin, and £8702 for the Special or £9002 for the Anniversario is even more for one with a few extras, but the Ducati Scrambler is £8850 for the Full Throttle and Classic and it is an air-cooled V-twin that lacks traction control. Considering Guzzis are still made in Italy in the same factory as they have always been, that’s not a bad price for a slice of motorcycling history.
The V7 III comes with two-stage traction control and ABS as standard, which is nice, and the dash can be linked to a smartphone via the accessory MG-AP kit. The dash itself has a gear indicator, which is good, but you don’t want too many accessories on a retro and the Guzzi is refreshingly basic. That said, adjustable suspension would be nice as only the shocks’ preload can be tweaked.