Two Italian classics, one long test
The 2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II Racer and 2017 Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone are put through the wringer on a trip to Malaysia
On Dec 11, I rode two motorcycles - the 2016 Moto Guzzi V7 II Racer and the 2017 Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone by Italian motorcycle-maker Moto Guzzi - back to back on a 1,337km jaunt in Malaysia.
The plan was to feel the difference in engine performance on the newer model Stone over the V7 II engine.
In doing so, I fell in love with the older Racer.
LOOK AND DESIGN
Visually, the two motorcycles were night and day.
The Racer stood out for its sporty look compared to the Stone's more upright stance. The Racer's red frame, humped single seat, dual analogue clocks and custom-looking footrests hinted at a more exciting ride.
Now, the 2017 V7 III Racer has the same engine as the 2017 V7 III Stone, and it looks similar to the older Racer I rode.
On the North-South Expressway, higher speeds were attained by simply tucking behind the 744cc Racer's small windscreen and crouching flat against its 22-litre fuel tank.
My body naturally assumed the aerodynamic pose against the wind and incoming bugs.
I was told both the Racer and Stone had a top speed of 180kmh.
But when speeds dropped in smaller towns along Malaysia's east coast, fatigue in my arms began to set in due to the lower handlebars.
The wide footrests also rubbed against my calves at traffic stops, but it was a small price to pay for vanity.
The transversal twin-cylinder Racer excelled at bends, especially smooth ones without potholes or bumps.
Leaning with the Racer came naturally. While lacking quick steering demeanour, the Racer's steady charge into turns is worthy of a modern classic with telescopic forks and adjustable dual Bitubo shocks at the rear. The 2017 Racer has Ohlins rear shocks.
The 48hp on the 2016 Racer lacked the punch to outrun similar capacity motorcycles. The 2017 Racer gets a few more ponies with 52hp.
But riding these Moto Guzzi bikes requires a different mindset. The Racer has to be ridden by carrying momentum (read: keep the throttle pinned) into turns and staying committed to cornering lines.
The 2016 Racer has a maximum torque of 57.9Nm at 5,000rpm while the 2017 Racer and Stone have 60Nm of torque.
Most of the mild punch came lower down the rev range to help it accelerate away fairly quickly. In sixth gear and at 3,500rpm, the 2016 Racer's speedometer showed 90kmh.
While the 2016 Racer suffered from an ever-shifting clutch biting point when hot, the newer V7 III Stone and V7 III Racer do not have this issue.
The 2017 models are smoother accelerating and can cover about 23km on a single litre of fuel, thanks to an engine revamp that aids lubrication, ventilation and reduces power loss.
The 2016 Racer has anti-lock brakes and traction control. The latest V7 III Guzzis come with adjustable traction control. While equipped with a single four-pot Brembo caliper at the front, more bite is needed.
If you like the attention at traffic stops or would love to own a fuel-efficient neo-classic motorcycle that barks a unique tune, then consider the Moto Guzzi Racer or Stone.
- Make & model: Moto Guzzi V7 II Racer and the V7 III Stone
- Engine: Transversal V-twin, air-cooled
- Capacity: 744cc
- Transmission: Both are six speed, shaft drive
- Horsepower: 48hp (Racer) and 52hp (Stone)
- Torque: 57.9Nm (Racer) and 60Nm (Stone)
- Machine price only: $21,000 (Racer) and $18,000 (Stone)
Contact Mah at 6295-6393