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Trips to the café can take a while on a V7 Racer with so much time spent checking out your reflections in shop windows

While the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer isn’t the quickest in the café racer category, it’s the prettiest by a country mile. And its beauty is way more than skin deep. Attention to engineering and styling detail is excellent with top notch build quality and finish standards. Benefitting from Piaggio ownership since 2004, Moto Guzzi produces motorcycles that consistently fly the flag for Italian craftsmanship.

The Racer was launched in 2011 as a limited-edition collectable motorcycle. Its V7 label and old-school architecture are a nod to its distinguished ancestor, the 1971 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport – the motorcycle that established the brand’s sportsbike credentials in that era.

The two-valve, air-cooled, fuel-injected ‘small-block’ V-twin motor is the latest iteration of the engine that originally powered V50 Guzzis in the late-70s and more recently the Nevada and Breva 750 models. It’s housed, with its five-speed gearbox, in a tubular-steel, twin-cradle frame with a lovely ‘anodised-red’ finish. Gaitered 40mm non-adjustable Marzocchi 40mm forks and pre-load adjustable Bitubo twin shocks handle suspension duties. The black rims are laced to ‘anodised-red’ hubs. A single 320mm floating front disc with four-piston Brembo caliper is complemented by a 260mm rear disc, also with Brembo caliper.

Seated comfortably in the ‘rider-only’ 805mm high seat you’re aboard a machine whose slenderness is only interrupted by the cylinder heads protruding appealingly from beneath its lovely 17-litre ‘chrome-effect’ tank. Ahead are traditional analogue clocks atop the painstakingly detailed top triple-clamp fittings. Narrow low-set bars and exquisite billet footpegs provide an ergonomic package that comfortably accommodates riders from the small to the reasonably tall in an easy ‘racer crouch’ – with the cylinder heads intruding less into rider knee space than earlier Guzzis.

They’re ‘cold-blooded’ creatures that like to be given a minute or two to warm up while you’re putting on your helmet and gloves. Once warmed up the fuelling from the Weber-Marelli EFI system is excellent, delivering progressive throttle response in all settings, without lag, surge or flatspots. While on throttle response, it must be said that the Guzzi’s typical, idiosyncratic ‘torque-rock’ when you blip the throttle at the lights, along with a pleasing dose of engine vibrations, are part of the Guzzi ‘character’. The Racer’s very rider friendly, feeling lighter than its 182kg (dry) weight and much livelier than its modest 36kW (48hp) max-power promises. Clutch action is progressive, if a little heavy. The gearshift action is a bit vague – first gear is a l-o-n-g way down from neutral – but it works effectively. Highway riding is all about mellow pleasure, loping along at under 4000rpm in top gear at 100km/h.

Handling is great. Like Guzzis of yore it’s very stable, thriving on smooth classic lines through corners, carrying high corner speed and none of your ‘brake, point and squirt’ approach. Suspension and brake performance are well matched to the bike’s capabilities.

The first series Racers made way in 2015 for the substantially revised Series II version with a six-speed gearbox, a range of detail changes and the addition of ABS and traction control.

While a Racer is pretty much a gorgeous one-trick show pony, it’s a lovely choice for buyers wanting a stylish sunny Sunday bike that delivers riding pleasure and owner pride in spades.

Incidentally, the Racer’s basic chassis and driveline are shared with its plainer siblings, the V7 Classic 750and V7 Café Classic 750 that arrived in 2009. While lacking the Racer’s limited-edition status and its look-at-me flamboyance they are basically the same classy retro-twin, offering the same handsome layout, competent performance, and riding pleasure. The basic Classic is also more versatile having seat space and pegs for a passenger. As well they’ll be up to $3000 cheaper than the Racer.

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1 That tank looks like chrome, but is actually a composite 2 The term‘Racer’is pushing it a bit, but the V7’s light weight makes the bike surprisingly agile 3 It looks like it should be uncomfortable? Nup, this one has clever ergos and a neat suede seat 4 You can pack away the spanners. Reliability on modern Guzzis is a cornerstone


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Thanks to its mechanical simplicity the V7 Racer has an enviable record for reliability. Clutch wear can be an issue so check for proper smooth clutch function. Low kilometres, being pampered and kept under cover and a history of fairly gentle use would be the norm for a ‘sunny Sunday’ bike like the Racer. What you’re really looking for is an overall ‘show-standard’ finish and condition, free of blemishes and damage. A good service record would also add value.


Shed time with a glamorous limited-edition bike that doesn’t do a lot of ks is more about cleaning and polishing than real grease-under-the-fingernails maintenance work.

That said, the Racer is a fairly straightforward and accessible bike to look after, allowing owners with reasonable DIY skills to carry out servicing at the required 7500km intervals, involving engine oil/filter change, sparkplugs and screw/locknut valve clearances. Any fuel-injection system issues are best left to technicians with the right equipment.

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