26 June 2018

Moto Guzzi V7III: The latest incarnation of this Italian classic.


Roderick Eime

The V7 range is the precocious youth of the Moto Guzzi fleet, with the minimalist Stone incarnation offering a new pared-back and matte black persona along with engine and styling mods in this third generation. Beyond Stone, the V7 exists in Special, Racer and a limited run 'Anniversario'.

The groundbreaking V7 first hit the streets of Italy in 1967 and set a new course for the stalwart marque that was formed by two former WWI fighter pilots way back in 1921 as "Società Anonima Moto Guzzi". It was the first time the motorcycling world had seen the longitudinally-mounted 90° V-twin engine that would become the very symbol of Moto Guzzi itself.

Restored 1967 Moto Guzzi V7 (www.motorcycleclassics.com)

Now, half a century later and under the giant Piaggio Group (which includes Aprilia and Vespa among others), V7 has hit new heights with tech and performance upgrades.

Outwardly, Stone's economical and purist design maintains its familiar bare-bones look, appealing to younger riders of both sexes. Yet beneath what little there is on show, lies a wealth of technology for the tech-savvy rider to wallow in.

V7III Stone (supplied)
In a nod to the demographic that relies on a smartphone for their very existence, the V7 has an app for that. The Guzzi Multimedia Platform (GMP) creates a wireless connection between your vehicle and your handheld device, “transforming it into a sophisticated multifunction onboard computer, always on the Net.”

- Matte is the new black with the
famous all-Italian marque's latest
edition of its best-selling, entry-level machine -

If this connectivity and computational ability appeals, you can have your iPhone or Android display speedometer, rpm indicator, engine power and torque, instant and average fuel consumption, average speed, battery voltage, longitudinal acceleration and extended trip computer.” Given that the Stone only has a single dial and no tachometer, this could come in handy.

You can enthrall yourself with the “ECO RIDE” function, which helps you achieve optimal fuel consumption by adopting an eco-compatible riding behaviour. Constant monitoring permits an evaluation of your results and these are displayed during the trip. Or you could just ride.

V7 III Anniversario (supplied)

A more mundane enhancement is the welcome injection of horsepower. Not a greedy lashing, but a useful 10 per cent thanks to a suite of new engine components, most notably new cylinder heads using the 'hemi-head' design of the type used in the larger V9 (850cc). The redesigned powerplant also features a new ventilation system, pistons, cylinders, oil sump, crankshaft and exhaust tuned for “easier revving and stronger engine braking”. Even so, the emblematic V-twin still retains lightweight pushrods and rockers with two-valve induction and the signature exhaust note that unambiguously signals your arrival – or departure!

If you get a bit carried away, Brembo calipers and discs provide more than adequate braking to the standard fitment Pirelli Sport Demon tyres on gorgeous spoked wheels. Stone is the only V7 to offer these solid cast rims.

Moto Guzzi V7III Special has extra chrome and a second instrument dial (RE)

In deference to riders of regular stature and perhaps women, the seat height has been lowered 20mm to 770mm. This and a reassuringly neutral balance delivers a comfortable ride that is both welcoming and forgiving, if somewhat uninspiring to seasoned speedsters. ABS and adjustable traction control as standard further raise confidence for less experienced riders. The whopping 21 litre fuel tank pretty much ensures you won't get stuck in traffic for long.

Given that most V7s will see out there days battling urban traffic snarls and holidaying on beachside boulevards while their owners sip lattes, the styling and colour options follow suit. You might feel like you're shopping for nail polish with shades like Nero Ruvido (matte black), Azzurro Elettrico (blue), Verde Camouflage (green) and Giallo Energico (yellow).

All jibes aside, this newest Moto Guzzi V7 III Stone pays respectful homage to its half-century heritage while delivering the retro-loving rider a satisfying and relaxing experience in inimitable Italian style.


V7 III Stone – $12,990; V7 III Special – $13,990; V7 III Racer – $16,490; Anniversario – $16,990 (plus on-road costs).
Engine: 744cc 90deg V-twin, longitudinally mounted. Air cooled, 4-stroke, 2 valves per cylinder.
Power: 38kW @ 6200rpm
Torque: 60Nm @ 4900rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, shaft drive
Fuel tank: 21 litres (4 litre reserve)
Features: ABS, Traction control, Bluetooth connectivity,

More: www.motoguzzi.com.au

V7 III Stone is the only one of the “four-of-a-kind” to have spoked wheels and single circular display instrumentation (supplied)

Bet you didn't know this about Moto Guzzi
  • The winged eagle logo was derived from the Italian Air Corps emblem and used in memory of a comrade, Giovanni Ravelli, who died in a plane crash in 1919. 
  • Their first ever engine, a single cylinder unit, was used constantly for nearly 50 years. 
  • To prove the durability of their product, Carlo Guzzi rode to the top of Norway in 1928 over four weeks. 
  • The marque has eight World Championship riders, six constructor’s championships and eleven wins at the Isle of Man. 
  • They built the world’s first motorcycle-specific wind tunnel in 1950. 
  • They produced a terrifying V8 race bike in the '50s that was capable of more than 170mph. 
  • They built motorcycle-engined cars expressly for setting land speed and endurance records. 
  • They built a step-thru commuter bike and a three-wheeled truck.
You can read the print version in the current issue of WORLD

    21 June 2018

    Cuba's living car museum

    Yes, it's true. There are tens of thousands of pre-1960 US-made vehicles on the road in Cuba. Some in apparent near-new condition, others just hanging in there.

    Here is a selection of just some of the vehicles I found when wandering the streets of Havana, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. I'll leave the cations blank. Can you name them?

    1956 Buick Riviera 4-door




    11 June 2018

    Harley-Davidson Museum is an American history tour

    Words: Roderick Eime

    If there is a shrine to motorcycling in America, it has to be here in Milwaukee. 115 years old this year, the iconic brand tells the story of this great nation through motorcycles.

    Swoon: Dot Smith and her 1939 Knucklehead Harley-Davidson

    She sits astride the burly motorcycle like it was made for her. With custom-made, personalised gloves, scarf and a dainty bow in her tied-back hair, Dorothy 'Dot' Smith smiles like all her birthdays have come at once.

    Her petite frame and delicate demeanor completely subdue the intimidating machine, a 1939 Harley-Davidson EL 'Knucklehead', as if it were some savage beast entranced - as am I - by her effortless beauty and poise.

    Dot's story is just one of many hundreds collected here at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was one of the charter members of the all-girl 'Motor Maids' motorcycle club in 1940 along with 50 others such as founders, Australian-born 'Dot' Robinson and Linda Dugeau. If Dot were alive today, she would be well over 90. The club, however, continues to thrive with more than 1200 members in the USA and Canada.

    Bill Davidson (H-D supplied)
    Overall head of the museum is Bill Davidson, great-grandson of founder, William A. Davidson. I was fortunate enough to meet Bill and his wife Angie when he toured Down Under in 2017 for the brand's Australian 100-year celebrations.

    “The Museum is not only the story of Harley-Davidson – it’s the story of America, told through the lens of an iconic company,” says Bill, “and here we are 115 years later and that dream of my Davidson relatives and Bill Harley is still alive and going strong,”

    The presence of this hallowed shrine here in the state's capital, just a short drive north of Chicago, ensures a steady flow of leather-clad faithful to the city from all over the world. If you want to get a picture of the strength of this international congregation, be here on a Thursday night for 'Bike Night' when hundreds upon hundreds throng the parking lot with their wildly customised Hogs and revel in music and good times.

    Every Thursday night is bike night (RE)
    The collection comprises some 400 hundred bikes either on display or in archive storage on the 20-acre campus, coddled and guarded by round-the-clock security. The venerated motorcycles range from the ultra-rare, highly prized and priceless to the simply curious. I stand in front of the famous No.1, a part pedal-powered bicycle, enthroned in its own chamber, adjacent the first 60-deg V-Twin of 1909 which set the marque on its trademark design journey. The value of these two bikes alone is incalculable.

    Ol' Number One. The world's most valuable Harley? (RE)

    Then there are the weird and wacky, like the 2004 Night Train which took a year to float 4000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in a sealed container from Japan after the tsunami. Its owner, respectful of the immense tragedy, refused an offer of a new bike and donated the corroded remains to the museum where it sits in a display case like an archaeological find. And then there is the mighty ‘King Kong’, a dual engine, radical customisation akin to a vintage sci-fi spacecraft.

    The bizarre 'King Kong', dual-engined bike of 1942 (RE)

    As you've already gathered, this museum is more than just bikes. It's a celebration of American folklore, culture and legend as much as it is engineering and innovation. Many of the great movie motorcycles can be found here such as those from Easy Rider, Marvel's Captain America, Terminator and Elvis’ own 1956 KH as well as the stories that bring them to life.

    Those with a confirmed dedication to the Milwaukee icon should allow themselves at least a full day to absorb the total experience and it is this writer's strong recommendation to find the extra four bucks for the superbly researched and produced audio tour that details not only the machines on display but the personalities behind them.

    When you visit, be sure to give my love to Dot.

    Visiting the museum:

    The Museum is open Oct-April 10am – 6pm Mon-Wed and Fri-Sun. Thursdays 10am – 8pm (from 9am May-Sept) and parking is free. For more information on the museum’s galleries, exhibits, special events, tickets, theme tours and more, visit www.h-dmuseum.com. HOG members are free. The complex includes a vast gift shop plus a bar and restaurant, Motor.

    Staying nearby:

    Iron Horse Hotel
    Classy, retro motorcycle-themed hotel, an easy walk from the museum.
    500 W Florida St, Milwaukee, WI 53204
    PH +1 414.374.4766
    TripAdvisor 4.5/5


    Milwaukee CVB www.visitmilwaukee.org

    Flickr Album: www.flickr.com/photos/rodeime/albums/72157695707654181

    Fun Facts:
    • Several identical 1991 Fat Boy motorcycles were made for the movie, Terminator 2. The one on display was ridden by Schwarzenegger during filming.
    • The gleaming chrome machine as ridden by Peter Fonda in 'Easy Rider' is believed to be one used in the movie, but my guide, Mitch, avoids committing himself to absolute authenticity.
    • A circa-1927 FHA 8-Valve V-Twin racer complete with its scramble-type sidecar recently sold at auction in Australia for AUD$600,000 (US$420,000)

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