2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone | Austerity, Italian-Style

Though Birthday Number 90 was celebrated back in 2011, Moto Guzzi has been on the gas in 2012 too, prepping its big California 1400 cruiser rollout, as well as updating the long-running V7 series. Continuing the V7 heritage was clearly in the cards for Guzzi, but how do you tweak a legend?

Pretty quietly, apparently. Guzzi began by revising the existing 744cc engine, but you'd have to dig pretty deep into the ad copy to find any mention of it. All three U.S. V7 models use the air-cooled, transversely-positioned "small block" 90-degree V-twin, which was almost completely revamped last year with 200 new or redesigned pieces. The induction system on the fuel-injected mill has been rejiggered too, and now utilizes a single 38mm throttle body. You'll still find a shaft drive and double cradle "Tonti" frame at the core of these 750cc bikes however, as on the first V7. Heritage, ya know.

The base V7 model is the Stone, new for 2013, and at the bottom of the pecking order at $8390. As on the other V7s in the line (the Racer and the Special), Guzzi stacks the Stone with a number of period styling cues, like a large round headlight, fork gaiters, 70s-style fuel tank, and sleek, semi-stamped side panels hiding convenient storage areas-just like on the 1977 original. That's about it for bodywork; everything's out in the open, from the tank jammed cleanly onto the open tubular frame, to the flat bench-style saddle stretching rearward. The engine and transmission, and even the split-spoke cast-alloy wheels are finished in black, with flat black covers capping the signature protruding cylinders. If you're thinking "Italian Dark Custom" you wouldn't be too far off. About that new metal tank-it holds a whopping 5.8 gallons, so you're guaranteed a remarkably rangy ride before you think about the next fuel stop.

It's probably a good thing the Stone trades in nostalgia, because items like a single brake disc front and rear betray the retro vibe and the fact that this is a pretty simple mid-size machine. But the V7 Stone is undeniably good-looking, and despite its entry-level status, the styling, fit and finish is typical Guzzi-good to very good, even though it's only available in a matte black or white paint scheme.

Step Onto The Stone

With a sorta-low 31.7 inch seat height, the Stone's a relatively easy mount for most potential customers (there is also a lower 30.7 in. seat option). With its low-rise, narrow-ish handlebar, the Guzzi's riding position cants short-armed riders slightly forward but the layout should fit pilots of all sizes without too many tears. We've heard rangier types (riders 6 ft. and taller) say the Stone offers no problems size-wise, with better ergos and less cramping than a Triumph Bonneville SE. Mid-mount footpegs hover just below the side covers, and might be the only things potentially messing with the otherwise relaxed ergonomic layout.

Thumb the starter and feel the 750cc transverse twin quake, pulling to the right with every throttle twist. But wait-a clean start isn't always guaranteed. Even though it's fuel-injected, the Guzzi needs about 30 seconds of hard idling before it can motor away without stalling, which caught me off-guard several times. Even once the Stone is sufficiently warmed up, you still have to deal with the spindly shift lever, whose mushiness and long-throw characteristics can hand you a missed shift or two. The upside is that clutch action is a light, two-finger affair, and gear engagement is quiet. A quick roll on the throttle serves up a substantial wave of torque, and those couple-hundred new parts have definitely added power (Guzzi claims 51bhp) and smoothness compared to the previous V7 iteration. Throttle response at low rpm feels more spirited, and the engine has the beans to carry revs well into the 6000s (yep, there's a tach), unlike the previous V7 which was also super-grunty off the line, but ran out of steam up top. The 744cc engine is generally well-matched to the V7's 5-speed tranny, but we did find ourselves occasionally hunting for a sixth gear north of 75 mph.

With a claimed wet weight of 395 lbs. (it's probably more like 420 lb. fully fueled) and a friendly 27-degree rake, the Stone is pretty easy to toss around, though occasional extra steering inputs are needed to help keep your line. It could have been the Pirelli Speed Demon bias-plies messing with our confidence. The good news is the Brembo binders-even with only one hydraulic disc working each wheel-are more than up to the task of slowing down the Stone, with good responsiveness from the 4-piston front caliper and an OK result from the two-piston unit out back.

Ride quality on the Stone isn't exactly plush, but the 40mm Marzocchi fork is compliant enough to absorb most road deformities. The Sachs shocks, on the other hand (adjustable for preload) felt more dialed in, with a firmer feel.

Long-haul comfort isn't part of the package (saddle padding is scant, probably to keep seat height low), but for new or returning riders, or anyone who just wants a no-frills classic for around town, the Moto Guzzi V7 is a stone-solid pick.

The Bonneville and H-D Sportster may carry a lower price, more power, and maybe a tad more refinement, but at $8400, the Stone is still a heady bang for the buck, and just a kick to ride. It may not have the best spec sheet in the class, but motorcycling is usually about emotion anyway.

2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
Base Price: $8390 (black or white)
Type: Air-cooled 90° V-twin
Displacement, bore x stroke: 744cc, 80 x 74mm
Valve train: OHV w/ pushrods, 2 valves per cylinder
Compression: 9.6:1
Fuel system: EFI; 38mm throttle body
Transmission/drive: 5-speed; dry clutch; shaft final drive
Wheelbase: 57.04 in.
Wet weight: 439 lbs.
Seat height: 31.7 in.
Rake/trail: 27.83° / 4.3 in.
Front brake: 320mm disc, 4-piston Brembo caliper
Rear brake: 260mm disc, 2-piston Brembo caliper
Front suspension: 40mm Marzocchi telescopic fork; 5.1 in travel
Rear suspension: Coil-over shocks; preload adjustable; 4.6 in. travel
Front Tires: 100/90-18;
Rear Tires: 130/80-17
Wheels: Cast alloy/tubeless
Fuel capacity: 5.8 gallons
It may look the same, but the revamped 744cc mill has over 200 new or redesigned pieces.
The seat is long and roomy, with white letters on the rear to tell your followers you’re riding a classic.
Instrumentation is basic but effective, with an analog speedo and tach and digital temp gauge.