Just when I was learning to love the V7 Classic and its gentle take on motorcycling life, it has been snatched away from me. Moto Guzzi have reclaimed it, and sent it on a far more glamourous mission: it must now provide post-test transport for a celebrity.
Yes, my humble V7 is currently ferrying Gill Halfpenny between her beautiful celebrity home and whatever it is she does.
I think she’s an actress, so you’ll probably see her turning up at the Oscars on the Classic. And if you’re reading this Gill, the rear tyre’s squared off and I left a sandwich in the tailpack.
My replacement machine is the Griso SE. This is a vast, snarling behemoth of a motorcycle that instills fear and awe in its rider – well, it does if, like me, you’re used to a V7 Classic.
The contrast is striking. To start with, the Griso looks like a much more expensive bike (which it is, to the tune of £3204). Good quality Marzocchi suspension and Brembo brakes, digital clocks, lustrous paint and that colossal 1064cc V-twin centerpiece put the Griso in different league to the 750cc Classic.
The engine in particular is fascinating to look at. Obviously there’s the traditional Guzzi transverse V, but below on the right is what looks like a giant industrial CD changer. It’s an oil cooler, and along with the boxy sump it gives the engine a dramatic cuboid look.
Whether you like it or not, you’ve got to admire Guzzi’s design effort – on most bikes that oil cooler would be dangling in the breeze somewhere.
When I get in the saddle the differences become even more apparent…
Moto Guzzi Griso SE, £9878
Power (claimed): 110bhp
Torque (claimed): 80ftlb
Weight (claimed): 231kg