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Revisited: Moto Guzzi V7 Café Classic

Published: 06 July 2018

The Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic is a brilliant introduction to the world of retro motorcycles and offered Senior Online Reporter, Dan, a brief eye-opening glimpse into the genre.

Producing less than 50bhp and offering a relaxed riding position, it encourages you to slow down, relax and take in the views - a perfect bike for a British summer's day.  

What we said then

“Powered by Guzzi’s small block 750 Nevada V-twin powertrain in an old school twin shock chassis, it’s a dinky, cute run-around and almost embarrassingly toy-like for anyone over 5’10”. But what makes it great is how beautifully and classily it’s put together, which elevates the Café Classic above it’s fairly pedestrian abilities.” MCN, 2009. 

What’s it like now?

As a relative newbie to the whole retro scene, I was initially a little sceptical about the Moto Guzzi V7 and, indeed, all retro bikes. Are they all style over substance, or can they actually offer me a riding thrill? Within a mile I had my answer. The little Guzzi is quirky and full of character and I was instantly smitten with it.

Traveling along the winding back roads of Warwickshire, it becomes apparent that the V7’s 744cc twin-cylinder lump is happiest chugging along at a leisurely pace. Despite its café racer styling, the riding position is perfectly comfortable and encourages you to slow things down, to take in the scenery, or simply cruise to your nearest pub on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

MORE ON RETRO BIKES FOR SALE

Despite being around seven years old, this bike has had a relatively easy time of things and has done just shy of 4500 miles. In this time, the bike has been fitted with a dusting of aftermarket accessories, including bar end mirrors and a set of rather gorgeous-sounding Lafranconi pipes which let out antisocial pops and crackles without warning at low rpms.

The Café is very vibey and you really can feel the whole engine rocking as you trundle along. Blip the throttle and the whole thing darts suddenly from right to left.

Handling on the Moto Guzzi is also very impressive. It’s no superbike, but it felt very responsive and predictable and there is enough ground clearance to encourage some lean in the bends. This was complemented by its Metzeler Lasertec tyres, which still showed plenty of life and offered a good level of feedback to the rider.

As well as handling, it's also surprisingly good on the brakes. Up front, there’s a single Brembo four-piston caliper, which offered a decent initial bite and more than enough capability for the 48bhp engine. The analogue clocks are also very easy to read and help compliment the bike’s classic look. 

Any obvious faults?

Despite its charm, there are a few issues that need to be addressed with this example. I found the gear shifter to be incredibly low in comparison to the foot peg, which made upshifts quite uncomfortable and false neutrals between first and second gear quite common. On the way down the box, I also experienced a false neutral between fifth and fourth.

The addition of bar end mirrors really helps to finish off the café racer look of this bike; however, they are completely for show and visibility of the road behind you is quite poor.

They were also very stiff, which made minor adjustments on the move difficult. They also make U-turns very challenging, with the mirror fouling your knee and preventing you from fully locking the bar.

Verdict

The Moto Guzzi V7 Café Classic is a bike I never expected to like, let alone love. The lumpy motor is full of character and I would never grow tired of hearing that soundtrack.

As a bike for a weekend cruise it would be a real cracker and with under 50 ponies on tap, it is good for the longevity of your licence, too.

Our man Dan has fallen for the looks

This would make a great addition to anyone’s garage, however I don’t think I could have it in isolation. It is great at what it does, however something with a little more poke would be required for those bigger mileage trips at higher speeds. Why not find yours on MCN Bikes For Sale now?

With thanks to CMC Coleshill for the loan of the bike.  

The Mechanic: Cristian Ingignoli, Dealer Principle at In Moto, London

"They are pretty bullet proof, actually. They are quite a basic bike - in modern terms – and there are not a lot of thrills on it. All you’ve got is fuel injection on this model, however a good service history is still always important though.

"If it’s a spoked model, you need to check for corrosion on the spokes and literally nothing else! They are bulletproof and have shaft drive and they never really need attention.

"They are very simple and lovely to ride and need very little maintenance. As long as they are regularly serviced, then they are fine. They do come in to the shop and they sell very quickly. They are very popular new, but on the used market, they simply fly out of the door.

Look out for corrosion on the rims

"They are generally looked after. It’s also a favourite for people who want to customise their bikes. They are favourites for that and people do spend money on them and do like to look after them.

"Noisy pipes and aftermarket paint are both popular and people like to change the seats, as well as chop the tail off. They also like to change the mudguards at the front and rear. These are often replaced with smaller ones, to help give it a café racer style and things like that.

"There was an ABS recall on the latest models and before that there were no recalls and no other issues.

"These bikes do need their valve clearance checking at every service and the oil in the gearbox, engine and shaft drive will also need changing regularly. If these things have not been done, then you might be buying a bag of rubbish.

"They should be serviced yearly, or every 6000 miles. The early models have intervals of 4500 miles, or a year - depending on how much you ride.

"From around 2011 or 2012 onwards the bikes changed to 6000 mile service intervals. The way to tell when they changed is it was when they went to a black head on the engine. Prior to this, the bikes had a chrome head and the smaller service interval.”

Use the colours to work out your service intervals

Insurance comparisons through MCN Compare

  • 2009 Triumph Bonneville SE - £85.95
  • 2013 Royal Enfield Continental GT - £75.86
  • 2011 Kawasaki W800 - £97.18
  • 2011 Moto Guzzi V7 Café Classic - £88.96
  • 2009 Norton Commando 961 SE - £100.51
  • 2010 Ducati Sport Classic - £107.29

Have a browse for your next bike on MCN Bikes For Sale website.

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