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Moto Guzzi shows off new retro bikes

by Richard Backus

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 Moto Guzzi V7 Scrambler Prototype 
Moto Guzzi showed off this V7 Scrambler at its January international dealer meeting. 

Although Ducati appears to have quietly put its retro SportClassic line in mothballs, rival Moto Guzzi is keeping the old-school-is-cool theme alive, recently showing off two new models said to be slated for 2012. The bikes, a scrambler version of the well-received V7 Classic and an all new 1,400cc touring bike, were shown at parent company Piaggio Group’s international dealer meeting in Monte Carlo January 27 and 28.

The new V7 Scrambler is based on the popular V7 Classic that also spawned the V7 Sport Classic. The new scrambler model differs only in styling cues, with an Arrow exhaust system featuring twin high pipes on the right side of the bike, fork gaiters, polished aluminum fork legs, higher bars, different side panels, rubber knee pads on the gas tank, and a unique to the scrambler headlamp shell with integrated instruments. Otherwise, it’s a standard V7 Classic.

 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer 
V7 Racer is slated for limited production starting this year. 

The new bike joins the Classic-based V7 Racer Moto Guzzi announced last fall, a hooligan-themed café racer. Featuring a bum-stop seat with a mini-seat fairing, blacked-out wheel rims on red anodized hubs, a red frame, rear-set footpegs, leather trim on top of the gas tank, racing numbers (a “7” of course) and fat upswept bikes, the V7 Racer features styling cues we’re used to seeing on one-off customs, not factory production bikes. The V7 Scrambler is expected to find its way to U.S. dealer show rooms, but the V7 Racer’s limited production may make it a Euro-only offering.

Moto Guzzi California Prototype 
1,400cc Moto Guzzi California prototype 

The real surprise to us was the unveiling of the California prototype, a huge, 1,400cc cruiser featuring an all-new 90-degree V-twin. The California was apparently inspired by Triumph’s equally ginormous 1,600cc Thunderbird, a model designed to lure customers from Harley-Davidson and the Metric Cruisers of Japan.

Moto Guzzi has a short press release about the V7 Scrambler and California on the Moto Guzzi website, but no information on the V7 Racer. Expect the V7 Scrambler to list for around $8,900 and the California to be competitive with the Thunderbird, which starts at $12,499. – Richard Backus 


bob minor
11/22/2011 10:53:10 AM

I see no reason to attach negative labels to bikes based on personal appeal. I don't see the need PERSONALLY for a 1800-2300 cc bike (or larger) but there are riders out there who want bikes like that and I'm happy to see manufacturers who will build something for those people.Also, not every trip to town or Sunday afternoon drive requires a full blown touring bike. In my version of s perfect M/C universe I'd have different bikes to fit my particular mood for that day and not have to always be making compromises. That's why for me I can appreciate a "small" V7 Guzzi done up as a café racer even if it is more window dressing then anything else. I happen to like a lighter more 'flick-able' bike for most everyday situations and a larger bike for the longer higher mileage tours. I've got a 2006 Triumph Speedmaster that's made two 2000+ mile summer runs and it hardly qualifies as a touring rig in anybodies book but it worked beautifully through the Natchez Trace, Deal's Gap, the Blue Ridge Pkwy., AND the Skyline Drive. I've also got an Intruder 1400 for when I'm in a mood for some serious low-end grunt and the Daytona Bike Week crowd, as well as an older '77 GL1000 Wing stripped of all it's heavy plastic touring junk. Under all that funk lies a truly interesting early take on a true power cruiser well before the Mean Streaks, and VTX 1800's of the world were even a glimmer in their respective designers eye. Come on Guzzi give me a V7 Racer to drool over...NOW

mike crosby
2/13/2011 5:33:27 PM

If Guzzi wants to make a "racer",they should make a road legal MGS01.I think Guzzi would not be able to keep up with the demand. As far as the 750 V7 racer,it looks nice,but it really can't be a racer at 750cc,when there are Jap bikes of less capacity that will blow its"doors" in. I've had Jap bikes in the past.They did everything great,but they don't have character like Guzzis do.I have 3 at the present and will never sell them. I guess i'd rather see the racer(which i hear won't come to the states) than the other 2 bikes. The Scrambler does look more comfortable than the California in my opinion

bob hadden
2/12/2011 9:03:26 PM

I don't recall a V7 scrambler from years ago, so how could it be a retro? I kind of like the look, but question the need or the marketing strategy. Guzzi has had the "new" V7's out for a couple of years now, and I'm sure they are capable bikes for riders who want sub 50 HP, nice handling bikes with that classic look. There is quite a gap(in the U.S market)between 750's and the 1100's. The 900 something engine in the Ballagio(Europe Only)would fill that nicely in a sport or naked. As far as the 1400 California, of course there's no substitute for Cubic Inches, but with the jugs way up there interfering with the gas tank volume I wonder about range. Here in Wyo we need all the fuel we can carry.I can go about 170+ miles without too much sweat with My Cali's 5 gal. I certainly wouldn't want less capacity here on the Northern Plains.

cecil wayman
2/12/2011 6:08:55 PM

Nice on that California. PLEASE, MG, give us a big bike that doesn't penalize tall riders, unlike the previous generation of Californias. (I could tolerate knees in the air, but shins banging on cylinder heads is just too much!)

2/11/2011 8:00:49 AM

I am a true Triumph fan owning a dozen of them since 1998. I have never been excited about Motot Guzzi however I could see myself buying the V7 Scrambler. The bike is not only good looking but priced right and much more exciting than Triumph's Bonniville Scrambler.

james degregoria
2/10/2011 5:02:02 PM

1400cc's seems quite a move but the 1100/1200 series is eaisly upped to 1400. But when will thsi "Bigger is Better" competition end? I have an 850 Eldorado that I regularly take tours on. It is approaching 300,000miles and I can still keep up.I also have an08 Vintage 1100cc machine and I tour with that. Lots of power and excellent brakes plus very comfortable. But the Eldo remains my favorite! Of course I am old too!

2/10/2011 12:44:00 PM

The first two and neat. The new California is awesome. They can call it a "cruiser" if they want but it's just a big standard, which is a good thing. Glad to see they're coming back. Unlike the new Thunderbird, this one doesn't reek of the '80s Japanese cruiser bike look. AND it has a DRIVE SHAFT, which is really a better idea on machines this size. I can easily see the California as a touring bike again.

william patterson_2
2/10/2011 10:20:46 AM

1400cc California? Good Grief, are they doing target marketing for NFL football players now? Those jugs need outriggers! The "scrambler" treatment for the very nice V7? Works for a Triumph, but really, the Guzzi? V7 racer, for wannabes? It is so...cute. Enough already, why can't we just see more of the basic V7 in nationwide showrooms and on the streets, and a decent competitive sport-touring mount? I think they are deluting...