MCN Fleet: Summing up life with the Moto Guzzi V7 Stone

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And just like that, I’ve come to the end of my time with the Moto Guzzi V7 Stone, 80 days to be exact, so not as long as some of my colleagues, but I guess all good things come to an end.

The Moto Guzzi V7 Stone will always have a special place in my heart as my first long-term test bike, and don’t get me wrong, I was sad to see it go.

But I must confess that the feeling didn’t linger for as long as I thought it would. It might just be the fact that I haven’t had an affiliation with a Guzzi before and perhaps don’t know as much about its heritage as I should, but although I had a great time and think it’s a superb, simple, and stylish bit of kit, I can’t say I fell in love with the bike.

More long-term tests

But don’t let that detract from all the fabulous bits of the bike.

The revamped 850cc engine is impressively responsive, the retro styling and gorgeous matte paintwork will stop anyone in any car park, and its capability through urban areas is fantastic.

Sure, there are a few niggles you’ll have to deal with if you bought one as you do with any bike. I found, as you’d expect with a chugging V-twin, the vibrations through the bike will mean you have to do routine maintenance perhaps more often than on some other models.

For me, the clutch loosened until it was unusable through my own incompetence, and the headlight will need forcefully adjusting if you’re going to take on night rides as it has the tendency to dip. Although there is no permanent solution for that, I will say the light itself is bright and effective and the Guzzi emblem is a nice little feature for the 100-year anniversary.

But that’s just what they are, niggles. I’ve taken it for rides out into the countryside and on long hauls up and down the motorway, and despite being labelled as an urban reveller, it had no issue covering hundreds of miles in a day, and I had no issue riding it for hours on end either.

Overall, the V7 has everything you need to keep a smile on your face, whatever journey you’re taking, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll love wrestling with town traffic on it with the annoying blare of 21st Century electronics clouding the ride.  

Moto Guzzi V7 previous updates:

MCN Fleet: Taking the Moto Guzzi V7 into it’s natural environment

Published: 09.02.2022

Riding the Moto Guzzi V7 through town

According to Moto Guzzi, the V7 has an ‘unmistakable metropolitan personality’, and although I’ve done miles on the motorways, visited villages, and even cruised along the coastline, my time spent in a city with the Guzzi was minimal. So, I had to change that.

If you’ve ever ridden or driven in Birmingham, you’ll know all about the concrete landscape and sea of traffic lights. Tight, unsuspecting corners and diversions make up the patchwork road structure and without a SatNav it can be pretty intimidating.

My Quad Lock mount was essential to find my way, but luckily, on my route, I didn’t go wrong on any one-way systems and instead navigated the congested streets with ease.

The Guzzi made fighting the city roads almost fun. It nipped along the tarmac without biting back at sharp turns or heavy braking, and when I stopped, the reassuring chug of the V-Twin engine rocked the bike from side to side as if it was impatient to get going again.

My first stop was an industrial estate with crumbling sleeping policemen and gravelly ruts in the road, but the V7 skipped over them and the suspension for the most part kept the imperfect tarmac at bay.

But the chips from the uneven road surface did take its toll on the matte exhaust and now looks like it has been dabbed with the end of a Tip-Ex pen, something which I wonder would have been as obvious on a metallic paint job.

The next stop took me further into the city centre, and as I delved into the thicker urban landscape, I realised how at home the Guzzi was.

Even when swerving around unanticipated potholes or pulling into tiny spaces to double check where I was going, it didn’t break a sweat.

And once I arrived at the next stop – where I only spent half an hour – no less than three people asked about the bike and commented on its alluring style.

The penultimate stop was a little further away from the city centre into the outskirts and a calmer neighbourhood, but it still had tight turns and confusing one-way systems as you’d expect. I backed the V7 into a line of bikes parked on the side of the street and couldn’t help but think the Guzzi really stood out with its matte yet bright orange paint and sleek retro look.

I was back into the open for the mandatory visit to the National Motorcycle Museum – after all, I was in the area and it’d be rude not to.

The Guzzi doesn’t quite fit in with the museum pieces but hopping in and out of the carpark was as slick as ever and the transition back to faster, main roads was a welcome breath of fresh air after being stuck at 30 for most of the day.

But the venture did draw my attention to the once-smooth gear shift. Now with over 3000 miles on the clock, changing gear is clunky and sometimes tough, which meant that flicking through them due to repetitive red lights started to become a little tedious.

As I discovered after the ride, the clutch cable had vibrated itself loose, but at the time finding neutral became somewhat impossible, which, again became exhausting in standstill traffic. On my last few rides, I’d noticed the change, but as most miles were fast paced, the harsher gear changes didn’t affect me too much and I’d forgotten by the time I was home.

But if you wanted to use the V7 as a city slicker then make sure you’re on the ball for some routine maintenance from the off.

MCN Fleet: Will the Guzzi’s headlamp light the way home?

Published: 05.01.2022

Checking out the headlight on the Moto Guzzi V7

After leaving Dartmoor at 6pm and hoping to get home the same evening, it was the perfect time to check out the Guzzi’s capabilities in the dark.

I’d heard the LED headlamp is pretty powerful and the daytime running light looks nifty in the shape of the Moto Guzzi Eagle, but when the sun went down, it wasn’t the road that became abundantly clear.

In the dark, my headlamp only illuminated the 6ft of the tarmac that was directly in front of me and when I put on the high beam, the tops of the trees lit up… but the road in front of me remained stubbornly black.

More long-term tests

It’s safe to say as the night got thicker, the ride became less enjoyable, and I had to follow behind cars on the A roads to see upcoming roundabouts and corners – I won’t even go into detail about the horrendous diversion through country lanes.

So, what was wrong? Instead of attempting to look myself (just in case I broke something), I called in a little help from our resident mechanic, Bruce, as I could only assume that it needed intrusive adjustment.

But after looking at the manual, it looked as though the headlamp was a complete unit with no way to adjust the internals.

He looked at the bike for what must have been about five seconds before he did what I didn’t dare to, and with a simple nudge, the headlight moved. After checking the torque settings of the fittings, which were correct at 15Nm, it was clear that the headlight fittings weren’t built to go any tighter, and the headlight was bound to move.

I found this a little strange as the V-Twin engine sends out chugging vibrations each time it’s ridden, and potholes are unfortunately an everyday sight. Which means that if you own this bike, you’ll have to get into the routine maintenance of checking the tilt of the headlamp, and then again if you’re about to set out for a night ride.

So, on one hand, it’s pretty optimal as you can adjust the headlamp with a simple push to get it into its perfect place.

But you have to wonder, after just under 3000 miles the headlamp had vibrated enough to move quite a large amount. If you bought one, it would be something you would need to keep an eye on. Illuminating revelation all round…

MCN Fleet: The Moto Guzzi V7 takes on Devon and Cornwall

Published: 24.11.2021

Stopping for a Cornish Pasty on the Moto Guzzi V7

I recently took the Guzzi down to Devon and Cornwall for two days, and the trip culminated in a 16-hour ride on a Friday which involved all manner of road types and environments.

In all, it was probably one of the most thorough rides I’ve done on the Guzzi and definitely the longest single ride spent astride its saddle.

To start the day, I tried to wipe the condensation from the seat with a piece of blue roll the hotel had given me, and although the shiny leather of the pillion seat responded as you’d expect with an easy wipe, the front seat was a little more difficult due to its different texture.

Instead, I moved the bike into the sun and tried to pick off the clinging fibres of the blue roll from the front seat as I waited for the sun to warm through.

In all fairness, the seat dried out within around 20 minutes and my ride was dry from the start, but if I was in a hurry then I’m not sure I would have had such a comfortably dry morning, and probably would have looked like I’d had a senior moment.

Aside from that, the Guzzi took on seaside towns, coast roads, bridges, tight filtering traffic (which was a big ask across the roadwork-infested Tamar Bridge), snaky B roads and big blasts on the A38 during the first few hours of the ride – and it didn’t miss a beat for even a second.

Although it is meant to feel at home in the city, I was impressed with how easily it took to carving through the countryside, and the therapeutic chug of the V-Twin meant that car drivers heard us coming too, which is always a benefit when you come up to a line of traffic or are filtering on a particularly narrow stretch of road.

The afternoon’s route changed completely with fast sweeping B-roads as well as some gravelly side roads after we took a wrong turn. But again, the Guzzi handled them with grace and even though we had already covered around 150 miles that morning along with frequent switchbacks, I was still comfortable and eager to keep riding rather than eyeing up every opportunity to stop.

Moving away from the coast and crossing through urban landscapes into Dartmoor National Park was another test for the V7.

The smooth tarmac roads switched to uneven potholed twisties, sometimes soaked with rainfall as well as occasional gravel patches and animal… leavings, but the Guzzi is responsive in the low gears and reacts quickly to inputs so my confidence only grew.

The only issue I had was after a series of short stop:start runs as I stopped for photos. When I the clicked the ignition, the starter motor complained, the exhausts coughed, and it needed a few seconds to compose itself before it got going again.

Saffron stops in Dartmouth on the Moto Guzzi V7

Leaving the confines of the National Park, the Guzzi and I were faced with the last challenge of the day: A four-hour ride on nothing but motorways and A roads as the sun started to set.

The sculpted seat was a cosseting place to be though, and I had plenty of room to shift around to prevent getting a numb posterior – a godsend for a long stint without much movement.

As you’d expect from the lack of fairing and screen, the wind had no other choice to batter me as the miles racked up, but apart from the usual aches all of us would likely get after 16 hours of continuous riding, I was surprised how easy the journey was to spend a day in the saddle.

MCN Fleet: A lesson on how to corner on track with the Moto Guzzi V7

Published: 13.10.2021

In my last update, I mentioned riding around Silverstone as part of the Day of Champions on the  Moto Guzzi V7. It was my first time ever on a track, even though it was part of a procession, and it was all very respectful and measured.

Now I can say unequivocally say that I have had the Guzzi, and myself, on the track properly, completing a day with Rapid Training focused on improving cornering on the road.

As much as I was being taught how to handle the bike, it was also interesting to feel how the bike handled differently when I was being shown these tips and tricks.

Moto Guzzi V7 undergoing on track tutoring

More long-term tests

Only once did I feel something like a loose sensation in the Guzzi’s rear tyre after a clunky gear change on a long corner, but in all, I was impressed, and I think those who were a little more seasoned on the track were too.

Clive, my instructor, told me the bike could handle the corners well, and even though I pushed it as far as I could, he insisted I didn’t need to worry, and it would lean even further – and I didn’t have any reservations about that whatsoever.

Motorcycle tutoring at Blyton Park Circuit

The balance was just right around the corners and each time I tried to push myself a little more with the countersteering or just leaving the throttle open for a little longer before I braked for a corner, the bike didn’t push back or fret and instead skirted around the bends with surprising ease.

Coming out of the corners, the 850cc engine picks up quickly in the low gears and by the afternoon, I was keeping up with the other groups on the track which sported the likes of Triumph Speed Triples, Ducati Monsters, and the odd BMW GS, too.

Moto Guzzi V7 Stone cornering on track

Plus, a few of the other trainees on the day complimented the rumbling soundtrack if they were following me.

The other thing worthy of note was that although I’d been on the bike pretty much all day (on the track from 7.30am until 5pm), the two-hour ride home wasn’t as much of a drag as I thought it might be.

I was still comfortable on the bike and although the motorway was monotonous, the good old Guzzi ate up the miles without hesitation.

Update two: Getting to grips with the Moto Guzzi V7

Published on 05.11.2021

Moto Guzzi V7 riding on UK roads

As I’m still the newbie on Team MCN, I’ve only just I’ve picked up my Moto Guzzi V7 Stone longtermer while the rest of the gang are well into racking up the miles.

So I’m keener than ever to pile on the distance and see new parts of the UK on the matt-orange Guzzi. After the V7’s 2008 reimagining of the 1967 retro classic, the 2021 model has followed firmly in its evolutionary footsteps.

This bike has a revitalised engine which packs 853cc rather than the legacy 750 and the power has jumped up to 64bhp. Oh, and it’s dropped the roman numerals too.

More long-term tests

I didn’t waste time taking it for a ride to the Welsh borders and even on a parade lap around Silverstone, despite the Guzzi being described as having a ‘metropolitan personality’.

Bells and whistles on the Moto Guzzi V7

As the Stone is the base model, you don’t expect all the little luxuries you’d get if you put a bit more money down, so I can understand the lack of luggage rack and cruise control. But one thing I didn’t account for was the lack of fuel gauge.

Yes, it’s Euro5 compliant and has a massive 24-litre tank, but you still have to go through the process of hitting the trip to zero with a full tank, riding until the fuel light comes on, and have a gentle panic attack as you try to locate the nearest petrol station despite being in the sparsely served countryside.

My bikes have always had gauges, so I’m not used to the range blindness. But once you get that first nervy ride out the way, you can concentrate on the bike, which I’ve found good fun so far.

I got around 200 miles to the tank while riding normally on a great selection of A-roads, B-roads and motorways to the Welsh borders and back.

What’s better, knowing how far I could go between top-ups put me in good stead to join the rideout for the Day of Champions with Two Wheels for Life.

Moto Guzzi V7 Stone parked up

Day of Champions

It was a first for me to do a lap of a racetrack. It was nothing special in terms of speed or aggression, I grant you, as it was a parade lap of Silverstone with a 60mph limit.

Regardless, I had a great time knowing I could go around a corner without hearing the usual scrape of my footboards on tarmac (I own a Harley-Davidson Hertiage Softail as my personal bike) although I had to keep an eye on the sidestand, and there was enough grunt behind the V-twin to accelerate at a decent rate out of the corners.

It also got a lot of positive feedback in the car park afterwards too… I guess there really is nothing like retro styling to gather a crowd of admirers.

Comfort on V7 Stone

Moto Guzzi V7 Stone rider and pillion seat

One thing did get my attention after the two longer trips I’ve achieved on the Guzzi, and that’s the ability to get off the bike without wincing.

The last naked bike I had is lodged in my memory for giving a numb posterior and wind-battered shoulders, and although the Guzzi can’t do much about the wind, the riding position keeps the weight off your wrists a little better and the seat is surprisingly comfortable even after several hours in the saddle.

I’m keen to take the Guzzi for a longer stint and really test my fuel-gauge number crunching and the so-far-so-welcoming riding position. But after a few 100-mile jaunts, I think I can safely say that the V7 is definitely not just for the urban jungle.

Update one: Fresh challenges await on the Moto Guzzi V7

Published: 11.08.21

Side on image of Moto Guzzi V7

My usual V-Twin is a Harley Davidson, and I’ll be turning that on its head, or by 90 degrees in the case of the Moto Guzzi V7. I’m looking forward to heading to new corners of the UK, and hopefully beyond if I can!

More long-term tests

The rider Saffron Wilson, Reporter, 27, 5ft 8in riding on the road for 11 years.

Bike specs 853cc | 64bhp | 198kg (dry) | 780mm seat height

See the 2011 Moto Guzzi V7 in action in the group test video below: