Carbon clad: Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon
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It’s surprising to find that the small Moto Guzzi factory on the shores of Lake Como is one of the premier users of carbon fibre componentry on motorcycles — especially when you consider their lack of the high-performance machinery with which the material is normally associated.
Although you won’t find Moto Guzzi ripping up the track in the top echelons of motorcycle racing, you will find them including dollops of lightweight and strong carbon fibre on their limited-edition machinery such as this V7 — the V7 III Carbon.
There is something oddly satisfying when you thumb the starter of a Moto Guzzi.
Maybe it’s the oddball transverse V-twin configuration, the beautiful Italian craftsmanship on display or something ethereal. Either way, I was happy to find myself at the handlebars of Guzzi’s latest limited-edition machine.
The V7 III Carbon is restricted to just 1921 units worldwide — reflecting the year of Guzzi’s birth — with just six destined to officially head to Aotearoa. Our test bike was #533/1921 and rolled into the test garage with under 500km on the clock and a pillion on the back. It may be limited-edition, but it is still a practical motorcycling prospect.
As the name suggests, the V7 III Carbon uses plenty of the exotic material to set the bike apart from its more traditional stablemates. The sidecovers and mudguards are carbon fibre, and although some might ask for more, the bike doesn’t need it.
Adding more carbon bits would be likely to add unnecessary equipment to the V7, and goes against the principles behind the use of carbon fibre.
Following close behind the carbon fibre bits in the “eye popping goodness” race are the brilliant red rocker covers sticking out like beacons from the top of the third-generation V7 V-twin.
We’ve seen Guzzi do this before, on the even more carbon-clad MGX-21 Flying Fortress, but unlike that bike you won’t need to panic every time you find yourself in road works.
Moto Guzzi has kept the V7 III simple and elegant — as tradition dictates — and has opted to forgo the carbon-fibre wheels this time.
The V7 III Carbon sports the same MGTC (Moto Guzzi Traction Control) system as the rest of the range, meaning the rear wheel is kept under control in even the most slippery conditions.
And another plus is those clever Lake Como residents have realised that the beautiful Alcantara fabric that adorns the rather nice — and V7 III Carbon only — seat probably won’t like the rain much despite being water repellent.
So, they found a simple solution to the problem which is revealed by lifting up the seat — a conveniently placed raincoat to ensure the Alcantara stays dry.
Finishing off the styling of the Carbon is a smattering of matte black paint on the fuel tank to subtly blend in with the carbon fibre components. It is almost as if matte black paint is the new chrome, with manufacturers shunning the shiny stuff and going as dull as possible.
One of the biggest pleasures of riding a Moto Guzzi is the massive dose of character you get from pushing the starter to any of the firm’s fantastic transverse V-twin engines. Producing a mild mannered 38.7kW at 6200rpm backed by 60Nm of torque, the V7 isn’t equipped with the sportiest of rides.
Sure, carbon-fibre parts scream racing pedigree, but the V7 III is pure and simple and the engine reflects that. Sitting at idle you can revel in the transverse rock of the 744cc V-twin before slipping the 6-speed gearbox into gear and gently rolling away.
The powerband is thick with a rich spread of torque throughout, and I found myself surfing along on the torque curve often and shifting by gut feel rather than the slightly alarming shift indicator, which flashes out of nowhere.
Revving out the bike isn’t all that rewarding anyway, so if you’re seeing the shift light you’re flogging the Guzzi too hard.
Although not overtly needed in a sense of taming the power of the V7 III, the addition of the MGTC system and ABS are a nice safety net, and during our shoot a brief rainstorm saw me dive into the electronics to turn up the intervention on the traction control to its highest setting.
It’s not something you want to do too often, as in typical Italian style the user interface and experience of trying to play with the electronics is not the simplest and peculiarly requires you to thumb the starter to modify traction control settings.
Thankfully, this isn’t the type of bike that relies on oodles of technological gadgets to enhance the riding experience and the old-school combination of good hardware matched to the power and weight of the bike works a treat.
Add to that a special feeling each time you gaze down at the handlebar mount and read the phrase “Made in Mandello del Lario” with the build number right below, and you can’t help but fall for Moto Guzzi’s latest red head.
Moto Guzzi V7 III
Price: $16,999 +orc
Engine: 744cc transverse V-twin
Pros: Exclusivity, looks great, surprisingly practical
Cons: Only six coming to NZ, electronics user interface is hard work