Having seen the two-wheeled embodiment of sex that is the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer, it’s easy to forget that there’s another attractive cafe racer already available in the V7 range. The 2010 Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic looks hot in green, but can it perform?
Photos: Kerry Pierno
— The torque reaction. Hit the electric start button and the whole bike kicks over to the right as the engine fires. This isn’t an anodyne inline-four.
— The chrome is used sparingly and tastefully. Chrome brake and shift levers? That reeks of quality, as does the decision not to cover parts like the exhaust hanger or fender in shiny.
— The riding position is comfortable, yet sporty. You’re leaned forward just enough to get some weight over the front end without making it uncomfortable at city speeds
— It’s affordable. At $8,990 it’s only $200 more expensive than the regular V7.
— It sounds great. Even with the rather quiet OEM mufflers the 90° air-cooled twin sounds unique and peppy
— It’s fairy light. At 437lbs (wet) it’s about 60lbs lighter than the competition from Triumph. You can feel that difference.
— It’s challenging and involving to ride. The lack of speed and unique power delivery mean you have to work hard just to keep up with traffic, just like you would on a small-capacity bike. That makes it fun at legal speeds.
— The green is gorgeous. Not in photos, where it looks sickly, but in person it really makes the bike stand out.
— It looks faster than it is. The riding position, the clip-ons, the single-seat, the big engine; this thing looks like it’ll haul ass. It won’t. Noticeably slower than a Triumph Bonneville or Thruxton, the chief competitors, and neither of those bikes are what we’d call “fast.”
— The huge chrome mirrors don’t look like they belong. The low front end just doesn’t look right with big ol’ elephant ears. Bar-end or some other arrangement would work much better.
— The cross-ply tires limit the handling. Guzzi added 40mm Marzocchi forks over the regular V7, but you can’t do much more with them as the skinny cross-ply tires limit lean angles and confidence. It might spoil the look to have non-spoked wheels, but radial tires could actually turn this into a handler. A style over function decision.
— The single-seat looks good, but limits the practicality. What’s the use of riding one to a cafe if you can’t pick up girls once you’re there?
— The five-speed transmission limits how much you wring out of the engine and you do need to wring it to get anywhere.
— The plastic fuel tank is a surprising oversight in what’s otherwise a nicely detailed bike.
— The engine runs out of steam at high-revs. You’ve got to ride the low-down torque but that ends too soon.