Immediately you notice the roomier riding position while the upright riding position 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.
It 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 18inch 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. My biggest gripe handling wise was the traditionally looking Pirelli Demon rubber, which felt hard and took too long to warm up.
The front end feel is 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.
Power and torque remain the same, just under 50bhp, but Guzzi have done some work internally. The most significant 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.
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.
Obviously cosmetically the bikes have been tweaked, making the V7 even more desirable while reliability and build are fairly well proven.
The V7 Stone is the entry-level Guzzi and priced keenly compared to its closest rival, Triumph’s Bonneville. The base Bonnie is slightly cheaper, but more basic, yet the Guzzi manages to have a touch more style and authenticity. You pays your money, you takes…
Although cosmetically improved, the base-level Stone is still a fairly basic, intentionally affordable bike. For example, there’s only a 320mm single disc up front and a four piston Brembo caliper but it does the job. But other versions are better equipped and there are over 60 accessories for you to personalise your bike further.
Guzzi have also created some custom kits to modify the standard bike into something special, I love the Scrambler edition but am not so keen on the Heritage model.