Moto Guzzi’s top-selling model is the V7 – now in its third iteration – with three models in the range, but also a continuing rollout of limited-edition models such as the sexy new Carbon Dark.
I recently picked up a Carbon from the factory in Mandello del Lario to ride around the shores of beautiful Lake Como in northern Italy.
Nothing like testing a bike on its home turf!
The Carbon Dark is limited to 1921 units to match the year the company produced its first motorcycle.
It will be available in Australia in the next few months in limited numbers with pricing not yet confirmed.
Sexy and swarthy
As the name suggests, it features lashings of carbon fibre in the fenders and side panels.
It also has a mean matte black paintjob, red-stitched seat with a suede rider’s insert and flaming red piston heads that stick out the side and scream “Guardami!” (Look at me!)
As the Guzzi guy wheeled it out of one of the world’s longest-running motorcycle factories, even my wife remarked, “Wow! That’s one sexy beast.” I assume she meant the motorcycle.
She’s right. It is sexy. It looks dark and mean, but in a swarthy Italian way.
V7 III updates
The whole V7 III range has been updated for Euro 4 pollution compliance but still remains air cooled. I suspect Euro 5 regulations will demand liquid cooling.
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.
Riding out of the sepia-toned factory, the bike felt and even sounded more solid as the deep thrum of the transverse V90 reverberated off the rendered concrete walls of the narrow streets.
I slipped through the gears and used the meaty torque to roll on and off the throttle as we negotiated the winding roads around the lake.
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 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 felt 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.
The suspension is a little on the stiff side, but the roads here are very smooth.
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.
Moto Guzzi V7 III Carbon Dark
2 VALVES WITH LIGHT ALLOY PUSHRODS AND ROCKERS
38 KW (52 HP) AT 6200 RPM
MAXIMUM TORQUE AT CRANKSHAFT
60 NM AT 4900 RPM
3-WAY CATALYTIC CONVERTER WITH DOUBLE LAMBDA PROBE
DOUBLE CRADLE TUBULAR FRAME IN ALS STEEL WITH DETACHABLE ELEMENTS.
Ø 40 MM HYDRAULIC TELESCOPIC FORK
DIE CAST LIGHT ALLOY SWING ARM WITH 2 SHOCK ABSORBERS WITH ADJUSTABLE SPRING PRELOAD
93 MM (SHOCK ABSORBER TRAVEL 80 MM) (STONE/SPECIAL/ANNIVERSARIO) 96 MM (SHOCK ABSORBER TRAVEL 75 MM) FOR RACER
Ø 320 MM STAINLESS STEEL FLOATING DISCS, BREMBO CALLIPERS WITH 4 DIFFERENTLY SIZED OPPOSED PISTONS
Ø 260 MM, STAINLESS STEEL DISC, FLOATING CALLIPER WITH 2 PISTONS
18″ IN LIGHTWEIGHT ALLOY (STONE), SPOKED (SPECIAL/RACER/ANNIVERSARIO)100/90 (110/80 R18 AS ALTERNATIVE)
17″ IN LIGHTWEIGHT ALLOY (STONE), SPOKED (SPECIAL/RACER/ANNIVERSARIO)130/80