Moto Guzzi Cafe Classic: Retro, But Not Painfully So – Driver’s Seat – WSJ

12 Jun 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Moto Guzzi Cafe Classic: Retro, But Not Painfully So – Driver’s Seat – WSJ
Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic

Moto Guzzi Cafe Classic: Retro, But Not Painfully So

Jonathan Welsh

When designers run out of creativity they typically backtrack a few decades for inspiration. The same is true of film and music producers, and that is why life can seem like a giant remake. We wind up wearing clothes, listening to music and driving cars that look like they came from a 1977 sidewalk sale.

Add the Moto Guzzi Cafe Classic to the list. From its squared-off gas tank to the shiny spoke wheels and racy low-slung handlebars, it looks like it rolled out of a time machine. I think I even heard Donna Summer playing in the background during my first ride.

Or maybe it was the Climax Blues Band. Or early Cheap Trick. Pick your poison and have your laughs, but admit that, deep down, you love the old stuff. That’s how I came to terms with the Guzzi.

Of course the bike is a shameless throwback, but at least it represents an era when motorcycles were as they should be: elegantly simple mechanical conveyance that is like a breath of fresh air compared with big, heavy, complicated cars. Also like older bikes, the Cafe Classic is small, fairly light and not very powerful. This combination makes it one of the friendliest, easiest-to-ride machines I have tried in years.

The Cafe is based on the V7 Classic that came out about a year ago. The differences are cosmetic, but significant. The Cafe’s exhaust pipes are swept upwards and its it handlebars are low, “clip-on” style that give it the look of a vintage racer. The bike’s geometry also sets the rider in a more aggressive crouch, so you look and feel a lot cooler while riding it.

Still, the riding posture is comfortable enough that you can spend a day in the saddle without regretting it the next morning.

Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic

If you crave performance this Moto Guzzi is not for you. While the V7 has plenty of power for around-town riding it runs out of breath above 80 mph on the highway. At that speed you can twist the throttle on a big sport bike like the BMW K1300S and it will accelerate with a sense of urgency. Try that with the Cafe Classic and it’s as if the bike is ignoring you.

Still, how fast do you really need to go on two wheels?

For about $9,000 the Cafe will do everything a motorcycle should do. It has enough power to get you around easily and feels warm and agreeable — like it will never turn on you. And unlike many bikes today it is pretty enough to keep you interested –maybe forever.

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Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic
Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic
Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic
Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic
Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic


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