I wanted to wait a while before writing about the new motorcycle in my garage, because I also wanted to give some first impressions. After riding for about 2,000 miles, I can tell you whole heartedly that this 2019 Moto Guzzi V7iii Special is fantastic. I bought it in late June this summer—about four months ago in an inventory closeout deal at Cadre Cycle.
First a couple of items about why I bought this bike. Soon, I will turn 70 years old. With my 30-inch inseam and aging body, I’m getting a little tired of mounting a tall, heavy adventure bike. I sold the V-Strom 1000, but still have the V-Strom 650. I was looking for a bike that was easy to throw a leg over and ride. I have found that with the Guzzi.
The looks of this bike are unique. It is a head turner. It’s that v-twin engine that sits sideways. It is immediately recognizable as a Moto Guzzi. And the unique character of the engine upon start-up, lets you know you are on something different, as the torque shifts the bike sideways. That disappears once you are underway, but you feel the torque throughout the gears, pulling you along.
The engine and transmission are getting smoother as I add the miles, resulting in an even more pleasant ride. I have added a Dart Fly screen, which provides a very small amount of wind deflection, and a center stand. I’ve been looking for a pair of side bags to add a bit of utility to the bike, but have not bought anything yet.
The bike uses premium fuel, and the current mpg is about 55, improving as the engine is breaking in. Of course, I ride with an easy wrist. But, every now and then …. wow!
I think this bike can easily travel. It just needs some bags, which can also haul some groceries. It’s just a matter of finding the right accessories that enhance the overall look of the bike.
This Moto Guzzi V7iii is a blast to ride. It is old school with modern technology, including ABS and traction control. I don’t know why I waited so long to buy one of these. I certainly looked at them long enough. Too long.
When I was 30 or even 40, I never asked myself how long I thought I would continue to ride motorcycles. My friends, about the same age, never considered such a question either. But as I “matured” into my 60s, the question popped into my head. And now that I am only months away from 70, it is a question I have been asking myself and others. “How long do you plan to keep riding?”
I have been riding since age 15. Unofficially, of course on that Lambretta motor scooter that dad brought home. When I turned 16 with a new driver’s license, that Lambretta was mine to ride. Riding has always been my passion. It’s the freedom of the road, wind in your face experience. Even though I have had three accidents (one seriously) I never felt like I would quit riding.
My first owned motorcycle was a 1963 Harley Davidson Sprint Scrambler 250cc made by Aermacchi. It needed a lot of work. When I returned from Vietnam in 1971, I bought a brand new Honda Scrambler CL350. Then another Honda, and another Honda, and so on, including a 1976 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing that I partially restored to its original standard configuration in the early 1990s.
In the “old days,” all motorcycles were standards. You bought them and then modified them to do what you wanted with it. Today, there are so many different types of bikes, niche bikes. There are dirt bikes, motocross bikes, dual sports, adventure bikes, touring bikes, cruisers, and many variations thereof.
Technology has entered the scene with ABS brakes, traction control, and even cruise control, making motorcycles safer and more expensive. My 2017 Suzuki V-Strom DL650 has ABS and traction control, and is much more capable than my riding skills. It, and my previous DL650s, has taken me anywhere and everywhere I’ve wanted to go, including all 48 states of the USA.
So, I’ve been through a few motorcycles in the past decade, looking for that perfect vehicle, and more recently asking about ability to keep riding. I concluded that tall, heavy adventure bikes may not be the right bike for me as I get older. I am not the fit young man of my earlier years. A little arthritis and reduced flexibility remind me often of that, even if 70 is the new 50. It has become a little more difficult to throw a leg over a motorcycle and prepare for launch.
I needed to make some changes. I started by selling my V-Strom 1000. It was a great bike with plenty of power. Lots of power and torque. But, it was tall and top heavy. It will be a great bike for its new owner, who seems to be happy. I plan to keep the V-Strom 650 for a while. It is lighter, more economical, and frankly the better bike.
I also renewed my interest in a smaller bike, one easier to mount, and I returned to my previous research and interest. I found a great deal on an inventory clearance sale on a 2019 Moto Guzzi V7iii Special. Old school bike with modern technology.
The bike and I are just getting to know each other, and I am quite happy. I have also learned a couple of things. The Guzzi draws a little attention. Both of my brothers said they wanted to ride it even before I offered them a ride. They never did that with my previous bikes. One of them invoked the hallowed name of Steve McQueen. There is something to an old school, standard bike.
Another thing I learned, or should I say re-learned, is the true joy of motorcycling. The V-Stroms and the KLRs are great bikes, as are many other adventure bikes, but when I started riding the Guzzi, I noticed something. The Guzzi is wide open. Naked. More exposed to the elements, the environment, the road. All of that which we identify with the joy of motorcycling. And, it dawned on me that when riding the adventure bikes, I feel like I’m in a cockpit on two wheels. Fairing and wind screen with a seat that dips quite lower than the fuel tank. Yes. A cockpit.
This is what I want riding into the future as long and as far as I can. Something easy to ride that brings the joy of motorcycling. Downsizing is good as long as it works toward the goal. Who knows? Maybe the last scoot will be a Vespa. I hope I’m still riding through my 70s and into 80. That is only ten more years.
I have been waiting anxiously for the 2013 Moto Guzzi V7s to arrive in dealerships, and as luck would have it, the local dealer here in the Phoenix area, just took one—their first one—out of the crate.
Arriving first are the V7 Stone models. The Specials will arrive next January or February. The V7 Stone is the base model differentiated by solid color, matte black or glossy white, and cast aluminum wheels. Frankly, the white looks absolutely gorgeous—a sharp looking standard.
Visiting Arizona, I also met up with Doug Klassen, publisher of 40 Years on 2 Wheels. After lunch, we ventured over to the Guzzi-Ducati-Triumph-KTM dealer, Arizona Superbike. Doug, who has owned many different motorcycles, was impressed with the Guzzi, and said it sat better than the comparable Triumph T100 Bonneville. If Doug says it, it must be true.
The bike is smaller in stature than my V-Strom 650, but it feels very comfortable. The seat height and handlebar ergonomics seem just right for my 5’10” height and 30” inseam. The seat is firm, but no one knows whether a seat needs “tweaking” until you’ve ridden on it for a couple of hours at a time. Distance and “break-in” is the biggest factor in knowing whether a change is needed. It’s nice to know that If needed, I can send that factory seat to Sargent Seats for a makeover, and I love my Sargent on the V-Strom.
Doug and I stood there talking about the V7 and other motorcycles for quite a while. It is a very impressive motorcycle, and one worth a long look. The drawback is the lack of dealerships across the country. It’s a wonderful motorcycle, so it’s comforting to know they are easy to work on, and there is a large Guzzi community to give assistance. If you don’t live near one of those dealers and want a Moto Guzzi, you’ll be doing most of your own maintenance. The closest dealer to my home is 180 miles away.
I’m hoping to take a test ride soon. Very soon. Stay tuned.