I did something I never thought I would do. I ended my 14-year run of owning Suzuki V-Stroms, by trading my 2017 DL650. Not because they were not good. To the contrary. Excellent bikes. I think I just wanted something different.
And so, on March 1, I rode the V-Strom to Cadre Cycle, in Blue Ash, Ohio, and traded the bike on an inventory clearance, Moto Guzzi V85tt Adventure.
I never thought I would find a bike that I would like more than my V-Stroms, but I have. It fits me perfectly, and the performance is wonderful.
Since March, I have put about 2,000 miles on it. I rode it to the Horizons Unlimited-Virginia event in April. That was about 1,000 miles round trip. I was glad to have the heated grips riding through the mountains of West Virginia in 40-degree weather with snow on the side of the road. And, the cruise control came in very handy blasting home on the Interstate. It’s a keeper.
While at HU-Virginia, my friend Chris Smith and the Moto Photo Adventures crew did a short video of me and the bike. Here is that YouTube video. https://youtu.be/IjU5Y3qxMWA
I took a hard look at this bike because of owning the Moto Guzzi V7iii Rough, the Urban Scrambler. It is just a blast to ride, but not necessarily a touring bike as such. The V85 has the bags and utility for long distance or trips to the grocery store.
Do I miss the V-Strom? No. I was ready for something else. Do I like the Guzzi? Absolutely. Both of them. I guess I have become an old man on a Moto Guzzi.
Yes. I turned 70 recently, and before you start calling me an old man, you should know that 70 is the new 50. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I have fallen in love with the Moto Guzzi V7 platform. I could not imagine how good of a motorcycle it is, and how the V7 moves my soul. The problem is, the one I bought was not my first choice of V7s. I bought the one that looked the best at the best price, not the one I lusted after which was full MSRP. It was my hedge against uncertainty to buy the one with the best price. So, when that bike that I lusted over received a big discount, I decided to make things right for my birthday. Thank you Cadre Cycle!
Out with the 2019 Moto Guzzi V7iii Special (with a lot of chrome) and in with the new 2020 Moto Guzzi V7iii Rough, a scrambleresque version of the V7 platform.
When I showed this picture of the bike to Lin, she said, “It looks like it belongs in the Army.” Yes. Yes it does. I’m calling it my messenger bike.
My first two motorcycles were scramblers. I have owned four adventure bikes and two dual sports, and an assortment of other motorcycles built for the road. My motorcycle-throbbing-heart has been and always will be tuned to the motorcycle that will go down any type of road. Hence, a scrambler. Yes, I know the Rough does not have high pipes, but that is a small compromise.
The fact is, the V7 platform comes in a variety of flavors, for different styles of riding, and I choose this V7 Rough, for the Guzzi has moved my soul, and the Rough will take me places the Special was not meant to go, not without a lot of modification.
In 2008, I wrote a review of my first V-Strom 650 and why I bought that bike. As I have grown older, the same self-examination still applies for the type of riding I plan to do in my 70s.
“I started a self examination: What do I want in a motorcycle? What is important or a priority for my motorcycle purchase? Am I buying a motorcycle to impress others or declare a status in life? Would I rather ride or polish chrome? What kind of riding will I do? Where will I ride? How many miles will I ride each year? Will I be riding alone or two up with a passenger? There’s a lot more involved: initial purchase price, cost of ownership (repairs, parts, and extras), and what a lot of people call “bang for the buck”—which is very subjective.
I realized I would be much happier buying the motorcycle that fits the type of riding I plan to do, rather than buying the bike others think I should have. In a nostalgic way, I’m returning to my original roots of motorcycling. I want a multi-tasker, a motorcycle that can handle different types of roads and terrain. I want a bike that has utility. I want a bike that is affordable, and economical to ride.”
I should also include fun and easy to ride, and moves my soul. Riding it home from the dealer only boosted my feelings about the Moto Guzzi V7s. Like the saying goes, “You have to own one to understand.”
Now, let the accessorizing begin.
See you on the highway.
PS. With all that said, I still have the 2017 V-Strom 650. It’s a great adventure bike, and I have no plans to move it along. I have about 90,000 miles on V-Stroms. There will be more.
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.