MOTO-GUZZI V7 STONE (2014 - on) Review
- Italian retro is simple but charming
- Characterful V-twin engine
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£220|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Moto Guzzi V7 Stone is the base version of the second generation V7 introduced for the 2015 riding season. The original V7 Café Classic was launched in 2009 as a sort of Italian Triumph Bonneville retro roadster and has been such a success that, like the British Bonneville, it has evolved into a whole family of machines.
- Latest news: Moto Guzzi V7 gets major update for 2021
All are based around the ‘small block’ version of the classic Moto Guzzi transversely-mounted, shaft drive air-cooled V-twin which dates back to the 1980s but has been successively updated since. This is mounted in an equally classic, retro-style tubular steel twin shock roadster chassis which gives an evocative, pleasing retro ride that’s accessible to novices and smaller riders alike all at an affordable price.
The VII brought a series of updates and again there were three models to choose from: the standard Stone, the slightly tickled Special and the Racer. Each bike shares the same platform, the same engine, brakes, rider aids; everything.
- Related: Best A2 motorbikes
Guzzi also added ABS and as such the V7 becomes the first A2 licence-compatible bike to have both as standard. The Italian firm also moved the engine further forward, which not only changes central mass but increases leg room, as do lowered foot-pegs (by 25mm) and a lowered seat (from 805mm to 790mm).
The V7 II isn’t outstanding at any one thing and hasn’t, quite, the performance, sophisticated or refinement of the more modern Bonneville but it arguably has more charm and authenticity and is very versatile, useable and has character and looks – all very unusual for an A2 bike. It’s practical, easy and there’s no reason you couldn’t go touring around Europe on it. You don’t just have to have an A2 licence to want a new V7.
A further significantly updated V7 III was introduced in 2018 with a greatly revised, 10% more powerful engine (an A2 kit was also available) that was also Euro4 compliant.
In May 2019 the firm announced a new Night Pack for the Stone. Additions to the kit roster include full LED lights, a shorter rear mudguard, and a dedicated saddle with the Moto Guzzi logo embroidered.
At the same time, a pair of new colours were released - Onyx Black and Crystal Grey - as a nod to the firm's V750 S3 from 1975.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The original V7 was a straightforward, retro-styled roadster with unintimidating proportions that particularly suited novices or women riders. With an old-fashioned tubular steel, twin shock chassis and around 50bhp it’s no sports bike but it handles easily and pleasantly and the updates into VII trim have improved things subtly.
You immediately notice the roomier riding position while the upright rider's stance on the Special and Stone is very natural. The wide bars, low centre of gravity, light clutch and small turning circle also make it a doddle around town. I can immediately see why inexperienced riders like it so much. The V7 may appear heavy but it only tops the scales at 189kg, lighter than a Suzuki SV650.
I was worried the lowered pegs would hinder ground clearance but it turns out it isn’t that bad. The 18-inch front and 17-inch rear makes the handling stable and predictable, but certainly not sharp. You roll into corners more traditionally rather than dive towards the apex.
The suspension is fairly basic but generally up to the job – conventional, fairly spindly, non-adjustable telescopics up front with preload-only adjustable twin shocks at the rear. Some owners complain the rear units are underdamped and recommend swapping them for the better units from the Racer version but our biggest gripe handling wise was the traditional looking Pirelli Demon tyres, which felt hard and took too long to warm up.
Front end feel is also improved on the Racer, you’re automatically thrown over the front wheel as the bars are lower. This gives you more confidence as you have more feel from the front. The Racer also has more adjustment on the twin rear shocks (only pre-load on the Stone and Special) and the ride feels firmer, sportier, again encouraging you to push a little more.
On all, braking is taken care of by a single 320mm disc at the front grasped by a decent quality, four-piston Brembo caliper assisted by a similar but smaller unit at the rear. Neither are hugely powerful but for a smaller, retro-style bike such as the V7, are more than sufficient. ABS also debuted on this version.
EngineNext up: Reliability
As before, the VII is powered by Guzzi’s classic, ‘small block’, 744cc, air-cooled, transversely mounted V-twin with shaft final drive. It’s essentially an old, fairly crude design dated back to the 1970s complete with pushrod valve-actuation and just two valves per cylinder – which is largely why it only produces around 48bhp.
This VII version has had some internal revisions but power and torque remain the same at just under 50bhp. Instead, the most significant change is the addition of an extra gear, making it a six-speed gearbox unlike the old five. This means there’s less spacing between the ratios and the revs won’t drop as dramatically between changes.
The experience, however, is largely unchanged and, although not especially fast, is flexible, rich and evocative. You know you are riding a motorcycle on the V7. It’s a joy to twist the throttle and feel the torque reaction from the shaft drive gently rocking the bike to the right. There are vibrations but that’s what you get with an air-cooled transverse V twin and is part of the fun.
If were to be really critical the fuelling isn’t perfect, especially when the engine is cold and the ECU gives it an automatic fast idle. It just feels a little snatchy at low rpm in the first few gears. the six-speed gearbox gives the impression the V7 has more zip about it, even though power and torque remain the same as the previous model.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Moto Guzzi has a reputation as being something of an Italian version of Harley-Davidson, being a revered brand devoted to a traditional engine layout (in Guzzi’s case an air-cooled, transversely-mounted V-twin with shaft drive that dates back to the late 1960s) and for producing slightly ‘old school’ style bikes with comparatively crude engineering, lacking modern features and with all the concerns for unreliability, dodgy Italian electrics and poor build quality all of that brought with it.
However, since the historic firm’s takeover by Italian scooter giant Piaggio in 2005, improved funding and resources have led to significant modernisation and improved build quality, reliability and dealer back up so much so that those fears are now largely a thing of the past.
The 2009 V7 was one of the first new Guzzis launched after Piaggio’s takeover and the improvements are clear. Although the original’s engine was still fairly crude, its build quality, finish and reliability were much improved. The engine was also refined further for this II version with even better reliability a result – even though performance was unchanged. V7 II owners report few problems and we’ve no record of major mechanical issues, especially if maintained properly, although it is worth mentioning that Moto Guzzi’s UK dealer network, even under Piaggio ownership, is still nowhere near as comprehensive as the likes of the major Japanese brands, BMW or Triumph.
However, although the V7 II’s cosmetics, paint and finishes are now pretty much as good as any, being an exposed, retro-style roadster with plenty of chrome (although the base ‘Stone’ version does without most of that to save costs) means it needs looking after, especially if ridden on salted British winter roads. For the most part this shouldn’t be a problem simply because the style of the V7 means most are used only as summer toys. But if viewing older, higher mileage examples perhaps used by inexperienced riders, close examination of the cosmetics and finishes is recommended.
Our owners' reviews reflect the quality, with the only comment being that the rear shock isn't really up to the task. A swap to an item from the V7 Racer is a useful modification, according to our readers.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
When the original V7 was launched in 2009 it was refreshingly affordable, being priced similarly to the corresponding Triumph Bonneville. The same is true with the updated V7 II version while the Stone, being the base model in the range, was the most affordable of all, starting at just over £7000 when new.
This is born out by used values, too. A decent, used V7 II can today be had for between £5000 and £6750, depending on model and mileage. The blacked-out, more basic Stone is the cheapest of all and, although spartan in standard trim, many owners tend to fit accessories and cosmetic add-ons which can be a bonus when buying used.
Generally the V7 II is a fairly affordable bike to run, too. Fuel consumption can be as high as 70mpg if ridden gently, as most are. Insurance, due to its meagre performance, is cheap, too and its hunger for consumables such as brake pads and tyres (chain and sprockets don’t apply as it’s shaft drive) is insignificant as well. Owners report annual servicing costs of around £150 although this can rise quite substantially when the shaft drive and valves need attention.
The most obvious rivals to the V7 II are the pre-2016, air-cooled Triumph Bonneville 800, which also comes in a variety of guises including the café racer-styled Thruxton, and the Harley 883 Sportster, which also comes in different shapes and sizes. The Triumph offers slightly better performance and specification but, to some tastes, less authenticity and character. The Harley has very similar performance and character, albeit with an American twist, but its even more diminutive proportions may put off larger riders. A decent, 2015 V7 II Stone will undercut both of price and can be had for around £5500 when a comparable Triumph or Harley is around £6K.
Being a retro-styled roadster that is based on an old engine and chassis meant that Moto Guzzi’s V7 II was never going to be lavished with modern equipment or lavish luxuries and this is even more true of the base Stone version with its cast wheels and blacked out finish.
And while mechanically updated and cosmetically improved all of the above was also just as true of the second generation V7 II version, with the base-level Stone still designed as a fairly basic, intentionally affordable bike.
That said, V7 II is better than the original and there are still some nice touches. Adding traction control to an air-cooled bike with less than 50bhp may initially have appeared rather pointless – but consider the natural environment for the V7: the sometimes cobbled city streets of Paris or Milan. Add some wet weather into the mix and you actually have to question instead why more learner-friendly or A2-compliant bikes don’t have it.
The twin dials, though simple, are clean and classy, absolutely right for a bike of this type and come with a digital display with all relevant info.
Besides, if you want equipment and luxuries, the Stone isn’t where you should be looking in the first place with other versions of the V7 II being better equipped.
If you do want more there are over 60 official Moto Guzzi accessories for you to personalise your bike further including the likes of cosmetic accessories and useful items such as engine protector bars. There are plenty more aftermarket options as well, so much so, in fact, that a non-accessorised, standard used Stone is a very rare bike indeed. On top of that Guzzi have also created some custom accessory kits to modify the standard V7 into something special. You pays your money…
|Engine type||Air-cooled, 4v V-twin|
|Frame type||Steel tube cradle|
|Fuel capacity||22 litres|
|Front suspension||Telescopic forks, no adjust|
|Rear suspension||Twin shocks, preload adjust only|
|Front brake||320mm single disc, four piston caliper|
|Rear brake||Single disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 18|
|Rear tyre size||140/60 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||55 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||£220|
|Used price||£5,500 - £7,000|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||2 years unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||47 bhp|
|Max torque||44 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||140 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2008: Original V7 launched
- 2014: Fully-updated V7 II launched
- 2017: Updated V7 III launched
- 2020: New V7 announced for 2021
Owners' reviews for the MOTO-GUZZI V7 STONE (2014 - on)
6 owners have reviewed their MOTO-GUZZI V7 STONE (2014 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£220|
Annual servicing cost: £100
It the retro class it stands out because of its genuine heritage and characteristic V twin engine. It's not without its problems but personally I believe it makes you feel more special than any other bike this class.
I'll split this in two. Brakes: great, the Brembo front caliper is excellent if you switch to sintered pads and upgrade to steel braided lines. Rear brake is fine. Suspension: probably the worst suspension fitted to a modern motorcycle. If it was too soft (as retro bikes normally are) I could forgive it but both the front and rear are rock solid. You feel every imperfection on the road and if you find cobbled roads or potholes it's like riding without suspension. Luckily an upgraded set of piggy back shocks (Tec bike parts do some) and a drop in fork set (bitubo) will cost around £350. It's the only modification I propose.
Truly beautiful, it shakes when you're static but smooth when moving. It's a wonderful engine in terms of day to day traffic. There is enough power to keep most happy. The fuel injection is not brilliant and because it's shaft driven 1st and 2nd gears are quite abrupt. Guzzidiag can be used to upload a more effective map (less euro regulation friendly) which does help. Otherwise the experience is very on/off in terms of power delivery.
Pretty good considering the price of the bike. The occasional rust spot spears around the swing arm come shaft drive mount but that aside everything works and hasn't failed me yet. The engine has been in production for a long time, it's bulletproof.
In Italy you can buy a V7 brand new for €6500, which is not much more than a RE interceptor, having ridden both I can tell you that you get more for your money with the V7 (at least in Italy). Servicing costa are no different to any other retro however because it's practically a classic bike, servicing is simple and easy to do by yourself. One major saving is that of maintenance free shaft drive. Parts are easy to come by and are cheap. Clutch cable is €12. Just stay away from the branded accessories... A MG tail bag will set you back £250, and it's only 4 litres.
Wire wheels, beautiful 21L tank (plastic though), twin clocks (no fuel gauge until 2017 model released), traction control (which can be turned off), abs as standard, big comfortable seat, Brembo brakes, underseat storage, usb connection under seat and it's shaft drive! But yes, no fuel gauge... how do manufacturers still make this mistake!
Buying experience: Bought from a dreadful Italian store in Rome, luckily I'll never need to go back. Paid €4000 for a used V7 II special with original screen, rear rack and pannier mounts. That's around £3500, which I think is great value.
It isn’t fast but it is fun! The noise, the looks, the position, the controls ... it is brilliant.
51 bhp... makes a great noise though.
Servicing is regular and can be expensive due to the shaft drive.
Version: V7iii Night Pack Bronze
Annual servicing cost: £165
If you are after a Sunday afternoon missile then this isn’t the bike for you!! But if you want a helmet full of huge grins, fun and plenty of charm this is the bike you need. She happily go for a short sunny countryside ride, do a daily commute wet or dry and lug you many miles on a tour, in comfort and with no requirement for a arse transplant upon reaching your destination.
I find the ride quality excellent, but then again it suits my riding style. I don’t hang around but then again I don’t aim for knee downs any corner I can. If you really push the bike I can easily see you scrapping pegs and over taxing the suspension, but that’s not how you ride a V7. The bike speaks to you and let’s you know how fast she wants to go. Brake wise the single Brembo up front does the job more than adequately with good feed back, trail braking is a doddle. The rear is also surprising good, in fact I’ve changed my riding style slightly as it’s that good.
If you want silky smooth avoid this bike .... but if you want character (the good kind) ie mechanical swing a leg over a V7. You know you are riding a motorcycle on this bike, it’s a joy to twist the throttle and feel the torque gently rocking to the right. There are vibrations but that’s what you get with a air cooled transverse V twin. I find the clutch super light and easy to navigate city traffic. I’ve not had a single false neutral and never had to fight the gearbox to find neutral at lights etc, I was told by the dealer to always keep the clutch play as per the manual and you won’t have any problems and I haven’t. All I have ever noticed is when cold and selecting first and pulling away the single dry plate clutch can occasionally stick slightly but once on the move no problem. The power delivery through the shaft is joyous it’s so enjoyable to feel a shimmy to the right in you backside as you change down gears, but if you make a hash of it I imagine you will know about it in no short order. The torque is lovely and low in the rev range and just builds smoothly, on a good twisty road stay in 3rd or 4th and you can happily hustle along at 50 mph no problem with more if you want it. Dual carriageway or motorway this is a naked bike so there’s wind, but not a problem keeping up with the traffic flow or a boost to overtake.
Not had any problems at all with reliability, starts every time (only 1000 miles on her though). Build quality is second to none, the paint work is lovely. The more I ook around the bike the more impressed I am with it, not a blemish anywhere I can find.
Just had my first service including valve clearance check and only charged £165 which included fitting a pair of Givi engine bars to protect those gorgeous cylinder heads protruding on the sides. Once the warranty expires most service tasks are so simple with this bike, even the valve clearance is a quick easy task. The 21ltr tank gives me 240 miles of spiriting riding before the fuel light comes on (indicating 4ltrs remaining) this will only improve as the bike runs in more.
You obviously get non switchable ABS and also 2 level traction control which can be turned off if required. I’ve only seen the dashboard light flicker once or twice due to some huge potholes on Dartmoor. The speedo is absolutely right for this bike a classic clock with a digital display for all the relevant info, apart from a fuel gauge but I just rest the trip and with a 21 litre tank who worries, not having a rev counter hasn’t caused me any problems as there is a switchable shift light. It can be a pain switching through the menus as the mode button is on your right handlebar, I’m yet to discover how to do this evolution without kangerooing down the road lol, traction control is via the start button, simple. The full LED lights are bright as the sun and more than adequately do there job. Now the bad... the Pirelli Sport Demon oem tyres are poor to say the least, they will go eventually but I can’t yet decide what to replace them with. But when you do change the tyres you can easily recalibrate the traction control.
Buying experience: I bought my bike from SP Motorcycles in Exeter for £7499, £1000 off the list price as Moto Guzzi are presently doing a promotion. I highly recommend SP great service and a top bunch of guys to do business with.
Annual servicing cost: £200
As a Sunday afternoon cruiser it’s perfect. Not very powerful or fast but puts a smile on my face each time I get my leg over.
Single disc on the front is adequate. Fairly soft ride but very comfortable. For the money this is a tremendous motorcycle.
Low power but I knew that before I bought it. For a 750 it is slow but look at the style.
No issues so far. Although haven’t done a massive milage yet.
It’s has been dealer serviced so far but once the warranty has finished I’ll be doing most things myself. Looks fairly straightforward. Very economical.
The standard tyre are awful, white lining is dreadful. I’ll be changing them soon.
Buying experience: Bought from a main dealer new. Via Moto in Sheffield. Didn’t go to the shop I purchased it over the phone and had it delivered. Great service and a great price. I hadn’t test ridden one and only seen one in the flesh once. Bit of an impulse buy but I do definitely not regret it. Great fun.
Version: V 2
Annual servicing cost: £400
One classic bike that goes all the way. 10000 miles and still in for a joyride. 48 HP isn't very much, though.
ABS now installed makes riding much safer. Traction control isn't really worth mentioning.
750 cc engine provides enough torque, yet 48 HP isn't anything one would call sporty.
Forget iffy Italian engineering. There wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Original shock absorbers were horrible, swapping them made my rides far more comfortable.
Cheap insurance, finding a good garage is far more difficult.
Buying experience: For someone looking for a Guzzi entry bike, go for it. Experienced riders looking for a thrill, may find the V7 dull. Try the Sport 1100 or Griso instead.
Version: v7 II Stone
This is a fun bike. Beautiful, compact, relatively light, plenty of torque. It is also practical, comfortable for 300-400 miles a day, matt paint finishes, little chrome, shaft drive, 55mpg+, 200 miles + range and ideal for commuting. You can get luggage for touring eg Hepco & Becker. You get a 70s riding experience but with good brakes, predictable handling, electronic ignition, fuel injection, ABS/Traction Control, reliability and without the hassle of keeping a 40 year old bike on the road. Less good and the reason for 4 not 5 stars are the poor rear shocks. No damping and just not good enough. I swapped them for V7 Racer ones at the first opportunity.
The engine is really primitive with air-cooling, push rods and 2 valves per cylinder but it works really well and you do not notice the fuel injection. There is more vibration than on a truly modern bike but it is not a problem and smooths out as you get up to speed on the motorway, where the 6 speed box is useful.