Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon

A new motorbike review.

Moto Guzzi’s top-selling model is the V7, now in its third iteration with five standard models and a new limited-edition Carbon.

Prices are: Carbon $16,890, Racer $16,490, Milano $16,390, Rough $15,890, Special $13,990 and Stone $12,990.

I was lucky enough to pick up the flagship Carbon recently from the factory at Mandello del Lario in Italy and ride it around beautiful Lake Como.

Only 1921 Carbon bikes will be built to coincide with the year Moto Guzzi was established.

It features carbon fibre fenders and side panels, matte black paint, contrasting red engine heads and a unique serial number on an identification plate on the handlebar risers.

The seat is finished with red stitching and composed of water-repellent Alcantara. There are also plenty of black anodised components such as a billet aluminium locking fuel cap, black headlight frame, injector covers and rear brake master cylinder.

Despite its dark and mean demeanour, the Carbon V7 III has an enjoyable soulful character thanks to its traditional transverse V-twin engine.

The whole V7 III range has been updated for Euro 4 pollution compliance but still remains air cooled.

The engine has new piston heads and cylinders plus a new exhaust with double manifolds for better heat insulation. The bottom end has a new crankshaft and sump, with a reworked ventilation system to reduce power loss due to the internal pumping of the crankcase chambers and a reduced capacity oil pump capable of absorbing less power.

Timing is controlled by a traditional system of pushrods and rockers with two valves per cylinder, now arranged in an inclined position.

Moto Guzzi says power is up 3kW to 38kW, but torque remains the same at a healthy 60Nm.

It certainly feels and sounds a whole lot more refined and sophisticated than the previous series.

The transmission is also slicker and less clunky with an easy-to-find neutral and no false neutrals. The ratios have been widened with a lower first gear for better acceleration and a taller sixth gear for an easy highway gait.

There is none of the shaft snatch of previous Guzzis, and the torque effect (sideways lurch under acceleration and deceleration) of the motor has also been dialled down for better manners when rolling on and off the throttle mid-corner.

It now comes with two-stage traction control that can be switched off. The system can be recalibrated for different tyre circumferences.

The V7 III is now a more capable handler with steeper steering geometry, a reinforced headstock and new Kayaba twin shocks with preload adjustment. It immediately feels planted, even with a pillion aboard.

Steering is a little slow, especially with the extra rear weight, but it isn’t ponderous, and it negotiated the hairpin turns with aplomb. On the super-tight turns, I was thankful for the smooth fuelling which also assists slow feet-up U-turns. However, on left-handers the side stand scrapes into the tarmac a little too often.

The new rear brake master-cylinder provides much more feel and effect from the rear brake which allows you to trail brake through corners and assist with those really tight hairpins.

My pillion and I found the bike very comfortable for an all-day ride through small towns, some autostrada and winding mountain roads. My wife liked the low seat as it made it easy to get on and off to take photos along the way. She also liked the lower pillion pegs which are set further forward for a more relaxed position.

The rider’s seat is also now lower at 769mm which makes it easy to plonk your feet down and steady the bike as your pillion mounts and dismounts.

The instruments have plenty of info such as two trips, ambient temperature, etc. Yet there is no tacho nor fuel gauge. I think I’d rather those than traction control.

Fast facts

  • Price: $16,890
  • Engine: 744cc V-twin
  • Power: 38kW @ 6200rpm
  • Torque: 60Nm @ 4900rpm
  • Transmission: 5-speed, shaft drive
  • Wheelbase: 1463mm
  • Length: 2185mm
  • Seat: 770m
  • Wet weight: 209kg
  • Fuel: 21-litre tank
  • Suspension: 40mm telescopic forks, twin rear shocks with adjustable preload
  • Brakes: 320mm floating front discs with 4-piston Brembo callipers; 260mm rear disc with 2-piston callipers, ABS
  • Wheels: 18″ spoked front; 17” spoked rear
  • Tyres:  110/80 R18; 130/80.

By Mark Hinchliffe.