Moto Guzzi V7 Sport

21 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Moto Guzzi V7 Sport
Moto Guzzi V12 X Concept
Moto Guzzi V12 X Concept

Moto Guzzi V7 Sport

Tractors. Even some Moto Guzzi owners affectionately refer to their machines in that way. But it’s not really fair. Moto Guzzi’s machines once pushed the cutting edge of the performance envelope. First introduced to the European market in 1971, the Moto Guzzi V7 Sport was intended to be a sportbike that could compete, on and off the track, with the best cafe racer in the world – Ducati’s 750SS.

The V7 was a tad heavy compared to the Ducati but that’s because Moto Guzzi designed it to be a better street machine as well as a stable and fast performer. And though it was heavier than the Ducati, it was lighter than the Laverda 750SF and the MV Agusta. The V7 Sport had the same two missions of the Ducati 750 – to be a streetable sportbike and to provide the basis for a competitive superbike.

But where the Ducati compromised its street friendliness for performance, the V7 tried to be the best of both worlds. On the street and the track, the V7 Sport was intended to revive excitement for the Moto Guzzi marque. Many of the V7 Sport’s unique features were revolutionary in its day and the V7′s 1/4 mile time of around 14 seconds flat, proved it to be an ultra-high performance sportbike.

That dragstrip time might sound ultra slow in light of today’s open class bike times of around 10 seconds flat, but in the early ’70s a motorcycle with that kind of ability could intimidate all but a few brave men. Not only have bikes gotten faster but so have rider’s expectations. Taking a look at the V7′s engine 27 years after its introduction, one is first struck by seemingly how little has changed.

The power plant is a 90-degree, pushrod, V-twin mounted laterally, with a driveshaft final drive. The Guzzis of today are but a conservative progression of that design without any missing links or evolutionary leaps for the last 30 years. The new sporting Guzzis have received untold numbers of significant updates from metallurgy to manufacturing processes to styling, but the latest machines from Guzzi all wear the heart of the V7 Sport on their sleeves.

A Guzzi is clearly a Guzzi, regardless of its age.

The V7 Sport was a limited production sportbike designed to appeal to the sporting market that Moto Guzzi’s touring oriented Eldorado had left numb. The V7 Sport was conceived from the ground up to be a sportbike, receiving its very own lighter frame. And nearly everything bolted to the V7′s backbone was unique to the machine rather than being just parts from the Eldorado’s spares rack.

One exception to that is in the friendly ergonomics from the Eldorado that ensured that the V7 would be a bike capable of being ridden all day in comfort.

Since superbikes were 750cc in the early ’70s, that’s exactly what this bike was, instead of the larger 850cc of the Eldorado. The engine differences also include a much lighter flywheel, bigger Delorto carburetors of 30mm, a higher compression ratio, cams with increased lift and duration, and a race-tuned exhaust system. The dual, flatslide-style carburetors of the Sport breathe through aluminum velocity stacks that used only wide-mesh screens for air filters.

The V7′s exhaust system carries Lafranconi Competition silencers, and the crossover pipes under the engine are an X-shaped design to ensure smooth flow from each combustion chamber. These engine modifications added up to providing the V7 Sport with an additional 1,000 rpms over the Eldorado, putting its redline at a screaming 7,500 rpms.

The V7′s electrics include a lighter weight starter and generator than the Eldorado and an electric switch for opening the petcock. An electric starter was common for a street bike in the early ’70s, but it wasn’t pandemic. Uncommon, though, for ’71 was the bike’s lack of a kick start lever, which was somewhat of a nuisance because the battery supplied with the bike had a low amperage rating that made cold starting a questionable endeavor.

For you kids out there, yes, four-stroke street bikes once had kick start levers; just like two-stroke dirt bikes of today.

The V7′s suspension has, of course, two shocks out back — the normal layout for the time — and the bike sports Koni shocks, which were the radest of shocks in the early ’70s. The swing arm was constructed of steel and consists of a left side that serves only as a structural tube while the right side’s larger tube houses the bike’s driveshaft.

The front suspension of the Sport features RSU (rightside-up) Ceriani forks to which clubman style adjustable clip-ons are attached. The adjustments provide for riding positions from full radical racing to the all-American high bar sit-up position loved by us Yanks who were then still mostly deeply confused over the whole sportbike concept.

The double leading shoe front brakes were one of the coolest racing-derived features available on any street bike at the time. The front Borrani wheel carries drums on each side that each house dual leading shoes and, therefore, produce super stopping power. Well, super for 1971 anyway. Actuating the brakes are dual cables that run from each drum all the way to the brake lever where they are mounted on a pivoting pin that helps balance the braking of each drum to the other.

In ’71, hydraulics and disc brakes were in the air but still a few years away from production motorcycles.

In 1975, regulations in the States required standardization of rider controls on motorcycles, but this earlier V7 Sport has a right side shift, which was common on many European bikes. Those regulations set some of the continental manufacturers back a bit because the extravagant linkages created to shift the shifter to the left had lots of sloppy free play and clunkiness in operation.

But, for the short term, it was a hell of a lot cheaper than redesigning transmissions, engine cases, and final drives. Like with aftermarket pipes of today, just about everybody converted their machines back to right side shifting until the bikes became purpose built with them on the left.

Moto Guzzi V7Sport


Type air cooled, 90 degree, four stroke V-twin

Displacement 750cc

Bore – stroke 83mm x 70mm

Compression ratio 9.8:1

Valve arrangement Single cam, push rod, OHV, rocker arm adjuster

Moto Guzzi V12 X Concept

Max rpm 7,500

Carburetion Two, 30mm square slide Delortos

Transmission Five speed

Rear brake Single double leading shoe, cable actuated drum

Front wheel 4.00 inch x 18 inch, aluminum with spokes, Borrani Record rims

Rear wheel 4.00 inch x 18 inch, aluminum with spokes, Borrani Record rims

Front tire Michelin

Rear tire Michelin

Rake NA

Trail NA

Wheelbase 58 inches (1473.2mm)

Fuel capacity Four gallons

Among others, Vitorio Brambilla raced the V7 Sport for Moto Guzzi before he went on to drive Formula cars for March, Surtees, and Alfa Romeo. In the years after that, Moto Guzzi continued to build competent sportbikes, but not since the ’70s have they created a machine with the trendsetting qualities of the V7 Sport or the 850 Le Mans. Word is that Moto Guzzi is now developing a totally new sportbike to once again revive the company’s sporting heritage.

We truly are in a bike Renaissance. An Italian Renaissance.

Interesting articles

Other articles of the category "Moto Guzzi":

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

Born in the USSR


About this site

For all questions about advertising, please contact listed on the site.

Motorcycles catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions about Motorcycles.