Everyone assumed that Ducati would be the star of this year’s Italian motorcycle show. Especially when MV Agusta and Aprilia offered little more than facelifts and upgrades. But yesterday, Moto Guzzi comprehensively trumped all its neighbors—stunning journalists and visitors alike. The Mandello company revealed three futuristic concepts co-created by Pierre Terblanche—ironically the designer of the Ducati Hypermotard—and then went even better with the V7 Classic Clubman Racer.
The Clubman Racer is more our kind of bike than any other launched at EICMA, and it’s a significant bike too: it’s the closest any manufacturer has come to capturing the raw, stripped back and funked-up feel of a true café racer. Best of all, it’s production-ready and it’s going on sale. The detailing looks perfect, with a traditional red frame, fork gaiters, bar-end mirrors and drilled side panels. The heat-wrap on the Arrow exhaust is aesthetically debatable, but what the hell—it roughens up the styling a little.
The Bitubo shocks with piggyback reservoirs should tame the standard V7’s occasionally choppy rear end. And replacing the regular Metzeler Lasertec tires with Pirelli Demon Sports should improve the handling still further. Power is unchanged, and is unlikely to change given the inherent restrictions of the 750 cc small block cylinder head design. But that’s fine by us: the Moto Guzzi V7 has sublime balance, and thrillseekers have the 900 cc Triumphs (or what’s left of the Ducati SportClassic range) to choose from.
Guzzi is also saying that many of the Clubman Racer parts will be sold separately as accessories, so they can be retro-fitted to the regular V7 Classic—a sign that the smart accessory marketing practiced by Triumph and BMW has reached Mandello at last. It finally seems that Moto Guzzi is stepping up a gear, looking back at its illustrious heritage and forward to its future.
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