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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