This is a bike that probably won't be on the radar screens of most BCSBers, but I had an opportunity to take a friend's V7 classic for a brief spin.
It's a bike that rates very highly on the fun quotient, but probably wouldn't give the average BCSB'er the requisite adrenaline rush.
That said, I thought I'd give my impression regardless.
The first thing I noticed (besides the handsome appearance) are the compact dimensions of the bike...It feels small, but not cramped. This bike for the most part looks like it came out of 1970, which may or may not be a good thing (I, and possibly other riders in my demographic would probably like it---). It also feels light---I think the dry weight is 400 lb. but it feels lighter. This bike is very narrow and compact.
The controls and gauges are straightforward--everything is where it should be. The engine is a transverse-mounted OHV 750cc V-twin, shaft driven. The same basic design that Guzzi has used since Jesus got his first pair of sandals, with a few updates like EFI.
Starting up the engine, one notices a pleasant, loping exhaust note....The next thing you notice is a slight rocking from left to right when blipping the throttle at a standstill....it feels quite odd at first.
The dry clutch requires only light effort and engages very smooth and progressively. The transmission is really slick...Drop the tranny into first and the transmission clicks into gear gently---For some reason, given the venerable design, I expected a much more "agricultural" feel, but was pleasantly surprised.
Once underway, the engine pulls willingly. It is very torquey at low RPM and pulls you along nicely (within the limitations of its 48 horsepower, that is). I found it was better to let the engine do the work rather than do a bunch of frenetic shifting.
The front single Brembo disc offers fantastic rider feedback, making the brakes on many other modern bikes feel "wooden" in comparison (if that makes any sense). I think a dual disc would be overkill, considering the modest performance of this bike.
The handling on this bike is very light and nimble. Coupled with the upright riding position, I think this would be a real winner as a commuter bike. Changing mirrors would be a must, though. Unless you like a constant view of the crook of your elbows, they're pretty much useless.
As I said at the beginning, this bike is a lot of fun. It would be great on the backroads or doing some weekend trips...One would probably want to avoid the super-slabs though, considering the lack of weather protection.
Overall, I found this bike very user friendly. Who would it appeal to? Perhaps an older rider who's been away from the scene, but remembers how bikes used to look 'back in the day', or a rider who doesn't care for the "cookie-cutter" look of many modern bikes. The unintimidating nature of this bike would make it very suitable for new riders as well. In fact, this Guzzi is the owner's first motorcycle ever.
Trust the Italians to transform something as ordinary as a brake pedal into a thing of beauty.