2010 Moto Guzzi V7 Café – Canada Moto Guide

23 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2010 Moto Guzzi V7 Café – Canada Moto Guide
Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic

2010 Moto Guzzi V7 Café

Canadian fans of Moto Guzzi have been stuck with the chewy end of the pasta for quite a while. The bikes were never really mainstream and the dealer network was sketchy, to say the least. Sadly, it had to get worse before it could get better.

In late 2009, Guzzi’s parent company (the giant Piaggio group) terminated the Canadian distributor and assumed responsibility for the Great White North themselves.

I was invited to a meeting in California in May of this year where Paolo Timoni, Piaggio’s CEO, acknowledged the difficulties and said that they hoped to have around 50 to 55 dealers across Canada by year end.

Press units were slated to be available in early June.

Hahaha, those Italians and their zany sense of humour.

It wasn’t until mid-August that I finally got word of a Guzzi V7 Café waiting for me at the newest full line Piaggio dealer in the GTA, BMW Toronto.

PRETTY PRETTY

The V7 oozes the classic lines from the seventies.

The first thing you notice about the V7 Café is the lime green plastic fuel tank that faithfully follows the shape of the original Moto Guzzi Sport from the 1970s, making the profile of the Café one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen.

750 air-cooled v-twin refuses to get with modern technology. But then it’s a classic, innit?

The minimal front fender accentuates the polished steel rim and single disc; your eyes then are drawn along the fuel tank, the clubman seat and finally, to the matte black rear fender.

Most modern motorcycles have mufflers that look like they were designed by a committee of not overly bright chimps (see Kawasaki Z1000, Honda VFR1200), but the Guzzi’s twin upswept silencers nicely enhance the appearance of the bike.

Both the Café and the more traditional Classic are powered by a 744 cc version of Guzzi’s 90-degree V-twin. The engine is mounted longitudinally in the chassis, the cylinders poking their heads out in the airstream like a dog in a moving vehicle.

Going home to adjust the Guzzi just the way Bondo likes it.

The engine is a slap in the face at modern technology with air cooling and a mere two valves per cylinder, which are actuated by something called “pushrods” – I think I remember my grandfather telling me about those.

A MITFUL OF THROTTLE

The Café was a brand new unit with a grand total of 25 km on the clock. Its first official act was navigating paralyzing downtown Toronto traffic on a 31 degree Celsius afternoon. Well, I guess we’ll find out how efficient the air cooling is, won’t we?

The Guzzi behaved itself other than stalling a couple of times. Turned out the throttle cable had excessive freeplay, making it difficult to coordinate clutch and throttle in the stop-and-go. Once I got home, my usual fifteen minute session where I adjust the levers, gearshift and other controls to my personal preferences took care of that issue.

With Guzzis, it’s always amusing to fan the throttle at a stop and have the bike lurch to the right, a trait of the longitudinally mounted engine. This also happens when blipping the throttle during downshifts and I’m always mindful that, when heeled over in right hand corners, a mittful of throttle will cause the bike to lean more, while in left handers, it will tend to pick it up a bit.

Centrally mounted pegs don’t give much room for the lanky legged.

The clip-on handlebars have a nice angle to them and are mounted below the triple clamps, although the slight rise brings your hands about level with said clamps. The sharp bend in the clutch cable makes the pull heavier than the V7 Classic, which has higher, wider bars allowing for a straighter routing for the cable.

Slick box but big buzz above 100 km/h.

The footpegs are high and centrally mounted, giving my 37-inch inseam fits and making for a very cramped and un-natural riding position for taller riders. Comfort level would increase significantly if Guzzi went the Pukka Café route with rearsets. After all, it’s not like they have to make room for the pillion pegs or anything.

Unlike previous Guzzis, the transmission is very slick. When going from neutral to first, most trannys give a clunk and a lurch but the Guzzi engages with a barely noticeable “snick.” Rowing through the gears is equally silent and clutchless upshifts are a snap.

Acceleration is somewhat leisurely but certainly acceptable, considering those 48 horsies have to propel 400 lbs (183kg) of V7 plus rider. The motor is smooth and willing, however, and cruising at 120 km/h shows about 4,300 rpm, although anything over 100 km/h will set your hands and feet to buzzing as vibration rears its ugly head.

A man’s brake.

The 320 mm single front disc with Brembo four-piston caliper felt wooden at first but improved significantly as the pads bedded in. It’s still a manly brake though, requiring sinewy forearms and all four fingers on the lever to slow the bike down – none of this namby-pamby one-fingered stuff.

Instrumentation is fairly simple with an analog tach and speedo, an LCD tripmeter and odometer within the speedo and similar LCD ambient temperature and clock in the tach. There is a low fuel light in the bank of warning lights.

Oddly, for an Italian motorcycle, the speedometer is as accurate as a NASA launch – an indicated 100 km/h is a GPS-certified 97 km/h and 120 km/h is an actual 116.

For some reason that probably makes sense in Italy, the tripmeter and clock reset themselves to total kilometers and ambient temperature every freaking time the key is turned off. Listen, if I wanted tripmeter and clock when I turned the key off, chances are I want them back next time I fire the bike up.

744 cc in those two sticky-out jugs, very Monica Bellucci .

Which at times, was a chore in itself. The Café was VERY cold blooded – even on those “frigid” 23 degree Celsius mornings. Full enrichener and WAY too much cranking was required before it reluctantly coughed to life.

Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic

Clocks too come from the seventies.

And even then, the enrichener had to be left on for the first few klicks or it stumbled and bucked its way down the street. Once warm, it was fine although it still ran very lean with lots of popping and banging on the overrun.

The Italians know how to build a good chassis – as evidenced by Sophia Loren, Monica Bellucci and Maria Grazia Cucinotta (go ahead, I’ll wait while you use Google images. Atsa nice, no?).

The Guzzi’s steel frame ties everything together nicely and the 40 mm Marzocchi forks have damping and spring rates well suited for the V7. The twin Sachs rear shocks, likewise, keep the hind end well planted without being harsh.

Suspension and tires both help to keep the V7 planted.

The Metzeler Lazertec buns are first rate. I’ve raced on these tires and, not only do they stick like poo on a blanket, they wear like iron. The narrow 100/90-18 front allows the Café to steer like a bicycle, but without being twitchy, making it a lot of fun to ride around town.

The bike glides over frost heaves and smaller bumps and the torquey motor is strong enough to keep you entertained.

Where the V7 Café really shines is on open, two-lane roads. It cruises along quite nicely at 80 to 90 km/h, steers precisely and the chassis has such excellent feedback that you can ride over a quarter and tell whether it’s heads or tails. Must be that Italian breeding showing through.

A WELCOME ADDITION TO THE RETRO PARTY

Without the surge of acceleration you’re free to concentrate on the more important things.

The Guzzi won’t propel you to the next corner at warp speed but there’s more than enough grunt to make it interesting. Besides, if you’re not coping with retina flattening acceleration, you can concentrate on the more important things – good lines, smooth, gentle trailbraking and keeping your cornering speed up. It’ll make you a better rider.

Shapely.

The Guzzi also exhibited something I’ve never seen in a press bike before – marking its territory with oil spots on my driveway. A quick check showed the bottom sump bolts needed tightening and it’s a reminder that, like any high-strung thoroughbred, Italian motorcycles need occasional fettling.

Because the bike only had 25 klicks on it, I’ll cut it some slack on the oil leaks and excessively lean fuel injection issues as they’d hopefully be taken care of during the first service.

With Triumph, Ducati and even Harley recreating the sights, sounds and feel of motorcycles of yesteryear, the $10,795 Guzzi V7 Café brings personality, charm, stunning looks and a few quirks to the retrobike party.

Owning an Italian motorcycle can be challenging, but remember that for every challenge, there is a reward.

Taller riders looking for a Guzzi fix would be well advised to look at the Classic rather than the Café, but if the Gucci fits, wear it.

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