The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.4
If you want a modern retro motorcycle that’s authentic, easy to ride, looks fantastic and makes you feel even better, the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer is as desirable as they come.
Reasons to buy
- Hugely desirable retro
- A2 licence compatible
- Affordable Guzzi ownership
At a glance
When other modern classics require additional work to make them truly special, the V7 Racer rolls out of the factory with a charm armoury that leaves jaws on the floor. Starting with the standard V7, the Racer adds an evocative ruby-red frame and custom-level chromed tank. Drop bars, drilled aluminium rear sets and a bikini fairing prepare the cafe racer stance, while there’re also wire spoked wheels and a numbered plaque beneath the chromed steering guard ring to remind you of your exclusivity. Few bikes will be able to match this for car park presence.
The traditional Café Racer aesthetic of drop bars and raised legs may be great for chasing down lap times, but it will feel a little restrictive for taller riders and plain uncomfortable for others who intend to travel long distances. Still, there’s no denying the sense of occasion when you jump on the V7 Racer, and there isn’t as much weight going through your wrists as the stance would suggest. Overall ergonomics feel intuitive - though the brake pedal can sometimes touch the exhaust when pressed hard - but other versions of the V7 are more comfortable thanks to their more neutral riding position.
The entire Moto Guzzi V7 range is A2 license category friendly, meaning those 19-year olds looking for a bike that will help them develop and look cool are blessed for life. Shaft drive will help owners stay clear of messy chain lube and maintenance while that chrome tank has a 22-litre capacity, giving a realistic range of around 230 miles (Guzzi claims 310 miles) is entirely feasible. Unfortunately, there are a few issues: having a chrome tank is prone to scratches, sun glare (as well as being a total pig to clean) and, in standard guise, the V7 Racer makes no concession for a pillion.
Performance & braking
The V7 Racer isn’t a particularly fast bike, even if the styling screams ‘ton-up boy’. Roll on the throttle and the air-cooled, 744cc V-twin’s 48bhp pushes the bike forward linearly, rocking the frame in Guzzi’s inimitable way. There isn’t much beyond 6,000rpm, though, but the vibrations discourage you from seeking it out anyway. Far better to listen to that gruff, uneven gargle at more leisurely speeds and soak up the attention. This can be done while your inner child giggles at the sideways rotational movement you get through the chassis when blipping the throttle, especially when the bike is stationary. Rather than opt for the classic era drum brake set-up, the V7 Racer thankfully uses a single Brembo front caliper to grip a 320mm disc, as well as a 260mm rear disc and floating caliper. Combined with the Guzzi’s light weight (179kg wet), it stops progressively and competently although not spectacularly. ABS is not available and, frankly, it’s not necessary.
Ride & handling
Front suspension comes in the form of a conventional 40mm front fork, while the rear benefits from a pair of fully adjustable Bitubo gas shocks, with a great range of adjustment to suit your personal taste. On the road it offers an assured stance, and a comfortable ride, though the front forks do kick back on very poor road surfaces. The slender profile of the V7 Racer also makes it surprisingly easy to filter through traffic.
In recent years, the 744cc V-twin was given an overhaul with new piston heads and a new cylinder head design, which not only increased the combustion ratio and upped power, it made it even more economical. Riders can expect 50mpg comfortably.
Build quality on most components is top rate but the chrome-looking plastic casement that holds the right wing mirror pivot on our 3000-mile test bike had perished. Granted, press bikes do have a tough life but cracks were also visible in the left mirror, suggesting this may not be a one-off.
Warranty & servicing
Moto Guzzi advises first ‘break-in’ service at 600-miles, followed by a full service every two years or 10,000 miles, while the V7 Racer comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty and roadside assistance for one year.
The V7 Racer may be pretty, but equipment is pretty sparse. Twin chrome analogue dials display speedo and tachometer, while the mileage and temperature are presented in an LCD screen. Optional extras include a passenger seat kit, chrome luggage rack, tank pads, elasticated bike cover and the pair of Arrow slip-on race exhausts pictured. They offer little additional performance but raise the aggressive undertones of the transverse V-twin while still remaining social.
This retro custom gives you a ready-made lifestyle to adopt and make your own thanks to the V7’s vast heritage and its show-stopping looks. When you park up and the air-cooled motor is gently plinking away, we guarantee you won’t be the only one looking back.