Moto Guzzi V7 Cafe Classic first ride review

Beautiful retro looks coupled with characterful engine layout, could this be the ultimate Italian pose?

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Much more in keeping with an original V7 Sport from 1969, the Café Classic sports the bump-stop seat for one, clip on bars and tank, and panels as faithful as modern construction techniques allow. The metallic greeny gold paint is supposed to be reminiscent of the original paint on the original bikes. They couldn’t match it exactly, as there was never a consistent enough batch produced back then, almost every bike is slightly different. Fortunately the new bikes will all look the same. Looking at the Café Classic it’s a beauty; flowing lines and complimenting paint can’t help but draw you in for a closer look.

The engine layout stays with the 1970s theme. The 744cc 90 degree V-twin is the small block lump that Guzzi fit across their range. It looks perfect, poking out of the bike regardless of the fact that it has modern fuel injection, Euro 3 compliant pipes and not a stray wire in sight. I was itching to ride the bike, until I’d had a go. Round town it was brilliant, easy to ride, comfortable, easy to keep in front of the traffic and drew heads like Rolf Harris on crack.

This is the perfect town bike. Out of town it felt less exciting. Flat power takes over when the torque subsides and the speedo continues its slow climb. This is a bike designed to emulate one of the most emotive Italian racing machines of the early 70s, it would be like riding a Ducati 1198S in 2049 that has a Monster 696 engine in it. Where is the power Moto Guzzi? Shame on you.

I did ask where exactly the power had gone and was informed that while the bike had been designed to look like an old racing machine, the new bike had in fact been designed as a bike to appeal to newer riders. I understand, but it’s frustrating the ride doesn’t deliver what the looks promise. The Café Classic flicks a perfect transverse V at those that question their position as leaders of the retro revival.


Price: £6,169
Engine: 744cc V-twin
Power: 50bhp @ 6,800rpm
Torque: @ 3,600rpm
Front suspension: Marzocchi telescopic forks
Rear suspension: Twin shocks, preload adjustable
Front brake:  320mm disc, four-piston calipers
Rear brake: Single 260mm disc, four-piston caliper
Wet weight: 307kg
Seat height: 805mm
Fuel capacity: 17 litres
Top speed: 105mph (est)
Colours: Greeny Gold

Visordown rating: 3/5