Test ride on a Moto Guzzi V7 Classic

If you have followed this journal for some time, you know that I have been hankering for a second motorcycle—something quite different than my V-Strom. Not that they are finalists, but I have focused on the Triumph Bonneville T100 and a Moto Guzzi V7 Classic.

If dealership availability is important, then Triumph might be the way to go. There are many more in the country. As for Moto Guzzis, well …. they are not so frequent, so it’s a little harder to throw a leg over one.


I can’t explain why these Italian motorcycles fascinate me so, but they do. There is something about the look. Maybe it’s the way the v-twin engine sits horizontal and sticks out from under the fuel tank. It looks different. It is different.


One feature all Guzzi owners describe: it’s easy to work on if you do your own maintenance. Since dealer availability is far from perfect, owners will have to do some maintenance. And for those not so mechanically inclined, well, look elsewhere. Fortunately, I managed to find Sloan’s Cycles, a multi-brand dealer including Moto Guzzi.

So, as I was standing there talking with Sloan’s salesman, Frank Poag, I notice something about the white V7 that produces a remark. “Looks like that bike has been out for a test ride.” He replies, “what do you mean?” I respond, “Looks like somebody forgot to wipe the bugs off the headlight. Are you using this one for test rides?”

That’s how the conversation headed down that road. With proper paperwork in order, Frank rolled the bike out the door. He even checked the gas, rode it around back and put some more in it. Then, he handed it over to me.

Geared up, in 90-degree heat, I swung a leg over, plopped onto the seat, grabbed the bars, and pressed the starter switch. It fired up, and rocked back and forth from the torque of the engine as I revved it a little. Yup, it’s a transverse engine. I slipped it into first gear, executed a u-turn and headed for the street.

Pulling away from the dealership, the V7 shifted smoothly—something you expect from a motorcycle that has many more miles and is well broken in. It had plenty of torque although not heart-pounding power, but plenty powerful enough. In fact, I think the V-Strom has more power, but then, this is just my first ride on the Guzzi. The first impression is quite positive.

I returned to the dealership and Frank was waiting. He had a big smile on his face—a little inquisitive. “Wellllllllll?”

“Well, that was fun. That bike has a lot of character, and it brings back the meaning of ‘throwing a leg over it’.” Frank says, “I keep hearing riders use that word about this bike—character.”

I started riding in the mid 1960s. Back then, motorcycles looked like this one and the Triumph Bonneville. BSA still existed. Even the Japanese bikes looked like standards. My first owned motorcycle, a 1962 Harley Davidson Sprint 250cc scrambler looked like this. And now, a couple of manufacturers are returning to their roots to produce a modern day version of the “standard.” And it sure looks like Moto Guzzi has hit the mark. The V7 Classic has some serious “wow factor.”


The Moto Guzzi V7 would be an excellent second bike … or a first one for the stable.

Thank you, Sloan’s Cycles, for letting me take a test ride.

See you on the highway.





Kicking more tires, riding season is upon us

It has to be the springtime atmosphere. I was out on the motorcycle on Saturday, and riding is on my mind, which of course has me thinking and looking … AGAIN. I’ve spent too much time looking and dreaming. Of course, that may be the fun of it, or it could be obsessive compulsive disorder or maybe adult attention deficit disorder. Whatever.

Triumph Tiger 800 XC

The last time I told my wife I was going to buy a new helmet, I came home with a Trek 7300. “Honey, look! I bought a new helmet and they threw in a bicycle!” To this day, I don’t think she believed all of that story. Not that there is a hint or relationship between buying a new helmet and a new bike, but I just ordered a new motorcycle helmet. My main and rational excuse: the old one leaks around the face shield in the rain. I’ve wanted a white helmet for some time, so white it is, and I’ve said repeatedly for the past two years, my next bike is going to be white. It’s a fashion statement.

Here’s a bike in white: Triumph Tiger 800 XC. Is this just California Dreaming? It’s like the girl next door. You’ve been around her for a while, and just now noticing her.

See you on the highway.


Kicking some more motorcycle tires

I think it might be unreasonable to own two adventure motorcycles. Which one would I ride? No, I think something completely different is in order.

I have looked at the Triumph Bonnevilles and Scramblers for a long time. Perhaps they remind me of my youth. Maybe it’s just the old school nostalgia. For some reason, I keep coming back to them as a potential second bike. So I went to Joe’s Cycle in Dayton to throw a leg over a classic motorcycle.

There was one Bonneville T100 on the floor in a black and grey paint scheme. The other Bonnevilles were an SE and a standard—these do not have quite the appointments of the T100. They have cast wheels with a 17” wheel on the front. The T100 has a lot more chrome and wire-spoke wheels with a 19” wheel in front. The T100 looks nice, and there is also a cranberry and white paint scheme.

Also available is the Jet Black T100, and it’s not quite as much chrome. If you have not used the Create My Triumph feature on the Triumph Motorcycles web site, you are in for a treat. You can change the colors and add options or accessories to see exactly what your motorcycle will look like. Here is my fantasy:

Bonneville T100 Black

I know. You’re looking at that Triumph Bonneville T100 with a solo seat and asking, “Where is the passenger gonna sit?” My response is, “What passenger?” Smile Does that look cool or what? I can dream, can’t I?

See you on the highway.