With its trademark “flying” V-Twin with air-cooled cylinder heads jutting outward from beneath the sculpted fuel tank and its classic styling, the Moto Guzzi V7 has been an iconic Italian motorcycle for nearly six decades.
Paul d’Orléans, founder of The Vintagent and curator of numerous motorcycle exhibits at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, chose a 1975 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport as part of the “Silver Shotgun” exhibit that highlighted Italian motorcycle design in the 1970s.
The latest iteration of this legendary model, the Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Corsa, made a surprise debut during the 2023 Moto Guzzi Open House, captivating thousands of enthusiastic fans who gathered in Mandello del Lario, Italy, for this highly anticipated event, a favorite of Guzzisti worldwide.
The Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Corsa represents a return to the V7’s classic sportiness with modern amenities, marked by its elegant lines that flow from the small fairing to the solo-style saddle (the passenger portion forms the cafe racer “hump”). These design elements evoke the thrilling ambiance of bygone racing eras, which was rekindled in 2019 with the Moto Guzzi Fast Endurance – a single-brand racing series that has allowed many riders to enjoy the thrill of racing on V7 machines.
The V7 Stone Corsa has a vibrant two-tone livery, with a metallic gray color accentuated by a bold red stripe that runs vertically along the top fairing, extending to the lower part of the fuel tank and to the side panels. To complete the racing aesthetic, an optional color-matched cowl is available for the rear portion of the saddle, enhancing the single-seat configuration.
The equipment package further elevates the V7 Stone Corsa’s aesthetics and performance, with bar-end mirrors, a black anodized billet aluminum fuel cap, and a distinctive plate on the handlebar clamp denoting the Corsa’s special status. The fork gaiters found on the standard V7 Stone have been removed to give the V7 Stone Corsa a sleeker appearance.
Powering the V7 Stone Corsa is an air-cooled 853cc 90-degree V-Twin with 2 valves per cylinder that makes a claimed 65 hp at 6,800 rpm and 54 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, and it has a 6-speed transmission. Suspension consists of a nonadjustable 40mm fork and dual preload-adjustable shocks. It rolls on cast wheels – 18-inch front, 17-inch rear – and has Brembo brakes, with a 4-piston caliper squeezing a 320mm disc in front and a 2-piston caliper squeezing a 260mm disc out back.
Standard features include ABS, traction control, and LED lighting. The V7 Stone Corsa has a 30.7-inch seat height, a 5.5-gallon fuel tank, and a wet weight of 481 lb (tank 90% full).
The 2024 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Corsa will retail for $9,690. Find out more at the Moto Guzzi website.
Walking into a dealership as a shorter rider, or as someone who just wants a smaller ride, can feel a little limiting. You stroll by impressive and imposing machines that you might admire but don’t want to fight with as your main bike. You might find one or two models off in the back that are a comfortable fit, but you’re disappointed that there aren’t any more options to choose from. Luckily, options for smaller motorcycles are growing, and we’ve compiled those options into two Best Motorcycles for Smaller Riders list.
In our first Best Motorcycles for Smaller Riders post, we focused on bikes with seat heights under 30 inches. That seat height limit meant almost all the models on that list were cruisers, and while we certainly enjoy cruisin’, we like a little variety too. With this second Best Motorcycles for Smaller Riders post, we’re excited to include some sportbikes, minimotos, and an ADV. And while the seat heights may be taller than on the first list, many of the models on this list weigh and cost less than the shorter-seated cruisers.
This list consists of motorcycles with a seat height between 30.0 and 30.9 inches. When possible, we’ve included a link to our test ride review, so you can get a sense of how each bike performs in action. We’ve also included the 2022/23 model year’s U.S. base MSRP (as of publication), claimed wet weight, and seat height. On models with options to lower the seat height or suspension, we’ve listed the standard and lowered seat heights. You can also click on a model’s name to go to the manufacturer’s webpage for a full list of specifications and details.
The models in this list are arranged by seat height, with the first model having the shortest seat height and the last model having the tallest seat height in the list.
At the EICMA show in Italy, the Piaggio Group introduced the new Aprilia ELECTRICa project, as well as several updated models in the company’s brand range, including the following:
Aprilia RS 660 Extrema
V7 Stone Special Edition and V9 Bobber Special Edition
Vespa GTV, Primavera Color Vibe, and 946 10° Anniversario
The Piaggio Group said its brands have “accepted the challenge of a changing world, introducing a vast offer of vehicles capable of meeting any mobility needs.” Pricing and availability dates of the new models have yet to be provided.
2023 Aprilia ELECTRICa Project
Although the Piaggio Group has been working on electric propulsion since 1975 – including releasing the first hybrid scooter in the world, the MP3 Hybrid, in 2009 – the Aprilia ELECTRICa project is a new concept for the company. Piaggio says the lightweight electric bike is the company’s response to the changing commuting needs in the world with a nod to “the thrilling riding experience that only a bike can provide.”
The electric motor on the ELECTRICa is positioned in the center and powers a chain final drive. The bike includes keyless ignition and LCD instrumentation. The aesthetics of the ELECTRICa carry the familiar Aprilia style, especially the modern interpretation of the triple headlamp cluster typical of all Aprilias.
The bike has compact dimensions and a low saddle height, and the company says the presence of both brake controls on the handlebar makes the transition from scooters easier.
Exact specifications, pricing, and availability were not available as of publication.
2023 Aprilia RS 660 Extrema
The 2023 Aprilia RS 660 Extrema is the sportiest and lightest RS 660 in the range, with updated and new standard equipment.
The Aprilia RS 660 has a liquid-cooled 659cc DOHC parallel-Twin making a claimed 100 hp and 49.4 lb-ft of torque at 8,500 rpm.
The 2023 RS 660 Extrema features a lighter street-legal exhaust system by SC Project with a carbon silencer positioned on the right side (and no longer beneath the engine). Also contributing to the overall reduction in weight are the carbon front fender and the new carbon engine undercover. Wet weight is a claimed 366 lb.
The RS 660 Extrema sport attributes are emphasized by the single-seat tail fairing (the passenger’s seat comes with the bike). Standard electronics on the RS 660 include traction control, cornering ABS, engine brake, engine map, and wheelie control – all adjustable – as well as five ride modes (Road and Track, three fixed and two customizable). The RS 660 Extrema also has software that allows the rider to set up the standard quick shift in a reverse-shift pattern without having to replace any bike components.
Pricing and availability of the RS 660 Extrema were not available as of publication, but we expect an MSRP north of $11,599, the list price of the 2022 Aprilia RS 660.
2023 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Special Edition
Introduced as a ready-to-ride factory bobber in 2016, the Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber has an air- and oil-cooled longitudinal 853cc 90-degree V-Twin making a claimed 65 hp and 53.8 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm.
The engine sits in a twin-tube steel cradle frame. Suspension is basic, with a nonadjustable 40mm fork on the front and preload adjustable rear shocks. Stopping power comes from Brembo opposed 4-piston calipers grabbing a 320mm stainless steel floating disc up front and Brembo 2-piston calipers and a 260mm floating disc in the back. The 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels are still shod in the V9 Bobber’s characteristic oversized tires (130/90 up front, 150/80 rear).
Piaggio says the 30.9-inch seat height contributes to the bobber’s “sporty, active, and extended riding position.” The V9 Bobber has a 4.0-gal fuel tank, and the bike comes in with an overall wet weight of 463 lb.
The new Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Special Edition boasts a special Workshop twin-tone black and grey color scheme that enhances the teardrop fuel tank shape and extends to the aluminum side panels. A billet aluminum cap is a high-end touch.
The matte black brings out the Moto Guzzi branding milled on the aluminum cylinder head covers, and the familiar sound of the Moto Guzzi 850 twin cylinder is highlighted by the exhaust painted matte black with an aluminum bottom. Bar-end mirrors mounted at the ends of the handlebar, along with the fork seals and the short front fender, complete the equipment.
Pricing and availability on the 2023 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Special Edition were not available.
2023 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Special Edition
The Moto Guzzi V7 Stone was updated for 2021 with a larger air-cooled 853cc longitudinal 90-degree V-Twin making a claimed 65 hp at 6,800 rpm and 54 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. Other updates included reduced effort from the single-disc dry clutch, a stiffer frame and bigger swingarm with a new bevel gear for the cardan shaft drive, revised damping and a longer stroke for the preload-adjustable rear shocks, an updated ABS module, and more.
The 2023 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Special Edition features a new Arrow exhaust system, which the company says has led to gains in performance, bumping up to 65.7 hp at 6,700 rpm and 55.3 lb-ft of torque at 4,900 rpm.
From a visual standpoint, Moto Guzzi has swapped out the matte shades typical of the Stone version for a special Shining Black color scheme, enhanced on the tank with graphics and red details that recall the style traits of the Eagle brand’s sportiest models.
This sport attitude is also highlighted by the red shock springs and contrasting red stitching of the saddle, also specific to this model. A plate on the handlebar riser identifies its special edition status, and the equipment package also includes bar-end rearview mirrors and an anodized black billet aluminum fuel cap.
Previous V7 Stone models started at $8,990. Pricing and availability of the 2023 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone Special Edition were not available at publication.
2023 Piaggio 1
Piaggio has upgraded the electric motor that powers Piaggio 1 range to deliver better performance. The moped version (Piaggio 1) has a claimed 3.1 hp from its motor built into the rear wheel and has a top speed limited to 27 mph. The motorbike version (Piaggio 1 Active) reaches 4 hp and has a top speed of TK mph. Piaggio says acceleration has increased 14% on Piaggio 1 and almost 12% on Piaggio 1 Active.
The 2023 Piaggio 1 has a full technological package that includes 5.5-inch digital color instrumentation, full LED lighting, and keyless ignition. It also has an underseat storage compartment large enough to hold a full helmet.
The previous Piaggio 1+ model had a claimed range of approximately 62 miles in ECO mode and 42 miles in Sport mode, while the Piaggio 1 Active claimed 53 miles in ECO and 41 miles in Sport mode.
With both the versions, the battery is located beneath the seat and is easily removable and portable so it can be charged at home or in the office.
2023 Vespa GTV
It has been four years since the last version of a Vespa scooter was launched, but at the beginning of October, the Piaggio Group announced the release of the new 2023 Vespa GTS range, featuring a 4-stroke, liquid-cooled 300cc high-performance engine (HPE) offering a claimed 23.8 hp at 8,250 rpm.
Built on the Vespa GTS base, the Vespa GTV maintains the traits of its origins but combines them with a new technological equipment package and new finishes, which Vespa says results in “an extraordinary marriage of tradition and modernity, classicism and aggressiveness, which manifests itself in the most authentically sporty Vespa ever.”
The low headlamp is LED, and the new instrumentation maintains the circular shape but is entirely digital and displays maximum speed, average speed, instant and average mileage, range, and battery charge status, as well as all call, message, and music notifications if the vehicle is connected to a smartphone through the Vespa MIA system (available as a separate accessory).
The instrumentation is connected to the handlebar using a cantilevered bracket and enveloped by a small top fairing with sport inspiration. At the center of the front shield, the Vespa “neck-tie” has lateral slits and is enhanced by decorations with orange edging. A USB port comes as standard equipment, located in the storage compartment on the back of the shield.
The Vespa GTV has a single-seat two-tone saddle with a racing look, and the rear part is designed for a hard cover color-coded to match the body and reminiscent of the typical racing Vespa fairings.
The five-spoke design of the wheel rims is also new – painted matte black with an orange graphic on the channel. On the safety front, standard features include ASR electronic traction control and ABS.
Vespa Primavera Color Vibe
The Piaggio Group says the new Vespa Primavera Color Vibe is a “tribute to the colourful and carefree Vespa universe.”
The Primavera range features air-cooled i-get (Italian Green Experience Technology) 4-stroke engines available in 50cc and 150cc versions. The new Primavera Color Vibe is characterized by a special two-tone livery: the body, available in the Arancio Impulsivo and Bianco Innocente shades, is matched with a footboard in Ottanio, a shade of turquoise.
A contrasting color “stain” is outlined in black and runs diagonally across the entire body through the dedicated graphics on the sides of the front shield and side panels. The decorations of the steering cover on the front shield are also in Ottanio, as well as the wheel rims, which were made exclusively for this version in a special glossy metallic finish.
Finally, the outfitting is completed by sporty black trim for the headlamp and taillight frames, the profile that runs along the front shield, the crest on the front fender, the front suspension spring and guard, the passenger grab handle, and the muffler cover. The saddle is black with anthracite stitching.
Vespa 946 10° Anniversario
The Vespa 946 special 10° Anniversario outfit has an exclusive dedicated color that represents a modern take on the classic Vespa green shade, a color that is described as “soft and velvety, but has a hint of acidity.” The pearlescent color appears pastel at first glance, but then gains depth with illumination.
For the recent Motociclo Moto Guzzi Club of NSW ride day I was lucky enough to land a Centenario V9 Bobber to take part in the activities. It revealed itself as a significant update on the platform from when I last tested a 744 cc V7 many years ago.
The V9 Bobber receives the larger 853 cc engine derived from the V85 TT – in a lower state of tune – which is mirrored in the newer V7s and covers my main criticism from riding the V7 all those years ago – of an engine just a bit too languid for my preference. The new donk adds 15 hp and 8 Nm of torque in comparison, both of which I felt were clearly noticeable improvements that were appreciated.
The V9 Bobber, as the name suggests, is the version running 16-inch rims and chunky tyres to match, along with mainly blacked out features, a shorter front end, and lower/flatter bars in comparison to the Roamer. It lacks the Roamer’s screen for wind protection.
The V9 Bobber is a low, lean and minimalist machine, in cruiser terms anyway, with a 210 kg wet weight, inviting 785 mm seat height and a nice boost of performance over the older 744 cc powerplant. The 853 cc transverse twin now delivers 65 hp at 6800 rpm, while torque peaks 1800 rpm earlier at 73 Nm.
Combined with that signature Moto Guzzi rock at idle and sound track, as well as torque coming on low and strong and you’ve got a winner of a powerplant. Not one that’s going to win any performance metrics, but characterful with an enjoyable torque delivery that allows for some good fun when the moment presents itself.
40 mm forks are supported by a set of pre-load adjustable shocks at the rear which along with a bench style seat make for a very traditional silhouette, and while all look fairly simple they were more than up to the job.
It’s worth mentioning here that this is the Centenario version which commemorates 100 years of Moto Guzzi with a special paint scheme that is far more eye catching than the standard V9 Bobber black. That extends to the seat in brown leather with contrasting stitching that looks the business.
The silver 15 L tank scores the Moto Guzzi eagle motif, V9 Bobber adorned side-panels in green with matching front guard. The largely blacked out engine dominates the bike, with a shaft final drive, dual exhausts and single front disc which helps show off the wheel.
An LCD dash is controlled via the switch mode button and there’s traction control to offer some additional peace of mind. We had pretty mixed conditions for the Moto Guzzi ride day but during my two weeks with the bike I never saw it activate, regardless of how slick or slippery it got.
Features which stood out as worthy of mentioning were the eagle adorning the engine behind the front wheel, full LED lighting and relaxed ergonomics, along with a great overall build quality helped by a very minimal use of plastic.
Brembo provide the single large 320 mm front rotor and four-piston caliper, while there’s a 260 mm rear with two-piston caliper, and both are backed by dual channel ABS.
Certainly parking the V9 Bobber alongside other Moto Guzzis of every era at the ride day, you greatly appreciate how true to the character and identity of the Guzzi brand they’ve stayed, and while the well ridden quality of the older machines normally made them easy to pick, you can see why people come up and ask if you’re riding a classic bike when out and about on general rides.
That authenticity carries a $19,330 ride-away price tag in Centenario form but it is worth mentioning these bikes are still produced in Italy, including from I understand most of the components from within Europe. A cynic may ask whether it matters, as long as the component quality is there, but I’d say it’s much easier for me personally to justify premium pricing when you’re not producing bikes or most of your components in China, Thailand or India. That’s a pretty subjective judgement however…
The V9 Bobber was the perfect weapon of choice for the Moto Guzzi ride day of course, with the route from Tempe down through the National Park to Headland Hotel being a relaxed day ride, often with the rain pattering down.
Granted a ride day with a hundred other Moto Guzzis adds a certain special element which really reinforces the experience and brand identity, but it’s great to see the community Guzzi has created and also offers a glimpse of what you could be a part of.
The V9 Bobber itself is an easy bike to jump onto, which in cruiser style is long and low, making for easy handling that encourages smooth riding, arcing lines and a laid back approach. It’s by no means the lowest of cruisers, and the mid-peg placement was right where I wanted to put my feet down, but those are small complaints.
I did find myself dropping a shoulder into the corners in a more exaggerated manner than I’m used to on nakedbikes or my dirt bike, however the V9 Bobber can really be hustled along. Ground clearance only became an issue when I did a few laps of the Old-Pac north of Sydney and was getting a bit more boisterous, without any attempt to keep the bike upright.
That transverse-twin provides nice torque throughout if you’re shortshifting and being lazy, with good pickup, but keeping the bike on the boil and using the gearbox with a bit of light braking into corners was my preference. The kick on an opening throttle is really impressive too, with most of your torque being available right down low, which makes punching off from the lights great fun.
The V9 is no speed demon, but getting up to speed and checking your review mirrors to see all the cagers left far far behind carries plenty of satisfaction for me, which may seem a bit immature but no laws are being broken to do that.
For a Bobber, which honestly conjures images of back-breaking rear suspension and harsh reactions over big bumps I was in for a surprise. The front end was well sorted and hard to fault, while the long day in the saddle heading down south left me with just a bit of muscle ache across the top of my shoulders.
With a few breaks the seat was comfortable and the suspension pretty commendable from a 70 kg rider’s perspective. Not perfect by any means, but nicely sporty, well suspended and generally only transferring a harsh jolt up my spine when I rode over a decent pothole, rather than avoiding it. Granted that may be different if you’re local roads resemble adventure tracks, but a Bobber is always going to thrive on better surfaces.
I’ll admit what I really liked most about the V9 Bobber was that beautiful cruising characteristic, with ample torque, measured handling and great sensation of speed – at fairly regular road speeds, without needing to be constantly checking your speedo. The V9 Bobber is however also well capable of being hustled along, with a quick turn of direction just a nudge of the wide bars away, if you’re looking to square off those corners or drastically alter your line.
The brakes, despite being Brembos certainly weren’t eye-popping, ridiculously powerful or heavy on bite, but then I don’t really look for that on a cruiser and with the exception of Ducati’s Diavel have never seen otherwise. There was good power, reasonable feel and ample combined performance, which again with a lot of the wet weather we’ve been having has shown a system which won’t have you constantly relying on the ABS for broken traction on the brakes. Those Dunlop D404 tyres do get some of the credit of course.
Highway riding was the one area the Bobber was less well equipped to handle, with little in the way of wind protection and on one sections just out of Sydney a little oscillation was felt in the front, which may just be the road surface there which is scored in the direction of travel. My other criticism was that I did need to be careful to let the shifter fully return after shifting into second, otherwise I’d miss third when rapidly upshifting, however to the bike’s credit it handled that mistake well, and that is mainly a rider issue.
Overall Moto Guzzi’s V9 Bobber isn’t the most impressive bike on a spec sheet, although the traction control and Brembos are a standout, however the update and subsequent boost in performance moves the latest edition of the bike from a relatively staid option in my mind to something with more teeth to go along with that exceptional character and manners.
$19,330 ride-away for the Centenario edition of the V9 Bobber also captures a pretty special moment in history, as the Italian manufacturer reaches 100 years, with this machine by no means chasing the competition to the bottom on price. Certainly you’re getting a piece of Italian history, great build quality and plenty of tradition with a modern Guzzi. Not for everyone, but then what is?
2021 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Centenario
2021 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Centenario
Transversal 90° V-twin, two valves per cylinder.
Bore and stroke
84 x 77 mm
65 CV (47,8 kW) – 6.800 rpm (Also available at 35 kW, A2 driver license)
73 Nm – 5.000 rpm
Meets European Directive Euro 5
119 g/km (CO2)
4,9 l/100 km
15 l (4 reserve)
210 kg (According to guideline VO (EU) 168/2013 with all fluids, with standard equipment and fuelled with at least 90% of usable tank volume).
Hydraulic telescopic fork Ø 40 mm
Swingarm Twin-sided with two spring preload adjustable shock absorbers
Lightweight alloy, 16″ 130/90.
Lightweight alloy, 16″ 150/80.
Stainless steel floating disk Ø 320 mm, Brembo caliper with 4 differentiated and
Stainless steel disk Ø 260 mm, floating 2 pistons caliper.
Full LED lights package with DRL, LCD dashboard, MGCT Moto Guzzi Controllo di Trazione, Standard double channel ABS.
2021 marked Moto Guzzi’s 100-year anniversary, and the Mandello Del Lario brand celebrated the momentous occasion with special-edition models and a traveling museum exhibit. By September 2021, Guzzi shifted its focus from the rearview mirror to the road ahead, giving fans a sneak peek of the all-new 2022 Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello sport-tourer.
After keeping the details under wraps for months, Moto Guzzi finally unveiled the V100 Mandello’s full details and specs at EICMA 2021. Just as the V100 moniker suggests, the new sport-touring model houses a 1,042cc transverse V-Twin. The liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve mill not only produces 115 horsepower and 77.4 lb-ft of torque but also benefits from a new compact block architecture. Compared to the V85 TT’s air-cooled, 853cc, transverse V-Twin, the liter-size V100 powerplant is shorter by 4.1 inches.
Guzzi puts that compact design to good use with a 58.5-inch wheelbase. A long single-sided swingarm with shaft drive steadies the Mandello at high speed while the compact chassis maintains agility in the esses. The tubular-steel frame cuts weight by utilizing the 1,042cc engine as a stressed member and the Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension automatically tunes the handling characteristics to rider and the road.
On the electronics front, the throttle-by-wire system offers Travel, Sport, Rain, and Road ride modes. The system adjusts the V100’s three different engine maps, 4-level traction control, three engine braking settings, and suspension calibration to suit each situation. Equipped with a Marelli 11MP ECU and 6-axis IMU, the new Goose also touts cornering ABS, adaptive LED lighting, and cruise control.
Despite the full electronics suite, the sport-tourer’s industry-first adaptive aerodynamics steals the spotlight. Consisting of wind deflectors mounted at the sides of the 4.6-gallon fuel tank, the innovative system adapts to the current speed and ride mode. The deflectors provide 22% more wind protection in the fully-deployed position, and along with the electronically-adjustable windscreen, amplify the cockpit’s comfort beyond the generously-padded seat, high-mounted handlebars, and 5-inch TFT dash.
The 2022 Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello’s MSRP or availability have not yet been announced. It will come in two variants, a base model and a premium model with standard Öhlins semi-active suspension, heated grips, a quickshifter, and the Moto Guzzi MIA multimedia system.
For more information or to find a Moto Guzzi dealer near you, visit motoguzzi.com.
After recently celebrating its centennial and the brand’s rich history, Moto Guzzi has turned its attention to the future with the “Road to 2121.” The bold initiative announced today includes a futuristic restructuring project including a new factory and museum to be built at the current site in Mandello del Lario, Italy, where every Guzzi has been built to date.
Moto Guzzi has commissioned U.S. architect and designer Greg Lynn, known for his bold, ultramodern creations and the architect behind the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The project, which Guzzi says, “will be founded on culture, design, and mechanics, with a strong green focus,” will include open public spaces and a place for the local community and tourists to meet.
Guzzi has stated that the project will use existing onsite structures and maximize environmental sustainability and efficiency in its use of resources. While building materials will be chosen with close attention to efficient energy management, thanks to photovoltaic systems and eco-sustainable materials.
The Piaggio Group intends to establish the Moto Guzzi brand as an example, not only of mechanical integration, but also of modern design and hopes that the site will become a focal point for Guzzi bikers and young people, and international tourists interested in the venerable brand. The new factory will also extend the firm’s production capacity to keep pace with the growth in demand.
In addition to the new factory, the project will create new conference facilities to host both internal and external events, as well as a hotel and a restaurant for a complete range of amenities to welcome visitors from around the world. Work is scheduled to commence by the end of the year and should be completed in the first half of 2025.
If that wasn’t enough, Moto Guzzi pulled another card from their sleeve and announced the V100 Mandello. We know very little about this new machine, but Guzzi is promising it will have a cutting-edge engine and state-of-the-art technologies. We look forward to the new motorcycle’s scheduled release on November 23, 2021, at the EICMA international motorcycle show in Milan.
This 2021 motorcycle buyers guide includes new or significantly updated street-legal models available in the U.S. It includes bikes in many categories, including adventure, cafe racer, cruiser, sport, sport-touring, retro, touring, and others.
Organized in alphabetical order by manufacturer, it includes photos and links to details or, when available, first rides and road test reviews of each motorcycle. Due to the pandemic and supply chain disruptions, some manufacturers skipped the 2021 model year. Stay tuned for our 2022 Motorcycle Buyers Guide.
Aprilia‘s RS 660 is the first of three models — the RS 660 sportbike, the Tuono 660 naked bike (below), and the not-yet-released Tuareg 660 adventure bike — built on a new engine platform, a liquid-cooled 659cc parallel-Twin with a 270-degree firing order that makes a claimed 100 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and 49.4 lb-ft of torque at 8,500 rpm. The RS 660 is equipped with the IMU-enabled APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) electronics package with five ride modes, 3-level cornering ABS, 3-level traction control, wheelie control, cruise control, and engine braking management. Pricing starts at $11,299.
Aprilia is an Italian brand known for performance, and the RSV4 and RSV4 Factory are at the pointy end of the company’s go-fast spear. Both are powered by a 1,099cc, 65-degree V-4 that Aprilia says cranks out an eye-watering 217 horsepower at 13,000 rpm and 92 lb-ft of torque at 10,500 rpm, even while meeting strict Euro 5 emissions regulations. And both are equipped with a 6-axis IMU and the APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) suite of rider aids. Whereas the standard RSV4 features fully adjustable Sachs suspension, the RSV4 Factory is equipped with Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension, with a 43mm NIX upside-down fork, a TTX rear shock, and an electronic steering damper. The RSV4 has cast wheels and the RSV4 Factory has lighter and stronger forged wheels. MSRP for the RSV4 is $18,999 and MSRP for the RSV4 Factory is $25,999.
The Tuono name has always been associated with top-of-the-line street performance, and the Aprilia Tuono V4 and Tuono V4 Factory carry the cred with a 1,077cc V-4 that produces 175 horsepower and 89 lb-ft of torque at the crank (claimed). The Tuono V4 is the more street-focused of the two, with a taller windscreen, a higher handlebar, and optional saddlebags (as shown above), and it is equipped with fully adjustable Sachs suspension. The Tuono V4 Factory is equipped with Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension. Both models feature a six-axis IMU that supports the APRC electronics suite. MSRP for the Tuono V4 is $15,999 and MSRP for the Tuono V4 Factory is $19,499.
The Benelli Leoncino (“little lion”) is an Italian-designed, Chinese-manufactured roadster powered by a liquid-cooled 500cc parallel-Twin also found in the TRK502X adventure bike (below). In the U.S., the Leoncino is part of a two-bike lineup, which includes the standard street-biased roadster model (shown above) and the Leoncino Trail, a scrambler variant with more suspension travel and spoked wheels with a 19-inch front and 90/10 adventure tires. The Leoncino comes with standard ABS and is priced at $6,199, while the Leoncino Trail is $7,199.
Like the Leoncino above, the Benelli TRK502X is an Italian-designed, Chinese-manufactured adventure bike powered by a liquid-cooled 500cc parallel-Twin. It has a comfortable and upright seating position, a good windscreen, 90/10 adventure tires with a 19-inch front, spoked wheels, ABS, hand and engine guards, and enough luggage capacity to go the distance (aluminum panniers and top box are standard). MSRP is $7,398.
The BMW R 18 is a cruiser powered by a massive 1,802cc OHV air/oil-cooled 4-valve opposed Twin that’s the largest “boxer” engine the German company has ever produced. Part of BMW’s Heritage line, the R 18 has styling inspired by the 1930s-era R 5. Despite its classic looks, the long, low cruiser is equipped with fully modern electronics, brakes, suspension, and other features. Base price is $17,495. BMW recently announced two touring versions for the 2022 model year, the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental, both with a fairing, hard saddlebags, and an infotainment system; the Transcontinental adds a trunk with an integrated passenger backrest.
The Ducati Monster is one of the Italian manufacturer’s most iconic and best-selling models. Gone is the trademark tubular-steel trellis frame, replaced with a front-frame design that uses the engine as a structural member of the chassis, as on the Panigale and Streetfighter V4 models. Compared to the previous Monster 821, the new model weighs 40 pounds less and is equipped with a more powerful 937cc Testastretta 11-degree L-Twin engine and top-shelf electronics. New styling and more make this an all-new Monster. Pricing starts at $11,895 for the Monster and $12,195 for the Monster+, which adds a flyscreen and passenger seat cover.
Another top-selling Ducati is the Multistrada adventure bike. For 2021, it is now the Multistrada V4 and it is powered by the 1,158cc 90-degree V4 Grandturismo engine that makes 170 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and stomping 92 lb-ft torque at 8,750 rpm (claimed). Ducati Skyhook semi-active suspension and a full suite of IMU-supported electronics are standard, and S models are equipped with a radar system that enables Adaptive Cruise Control and Blind Spot Detection. New for 2021 is a 19-inch front wheel. Pricing starts at $19,995 for the Multistrada V4 and $24,095 for the Multistrada V4 S.
Updates to the Ducati SuperSport 950 include new styling inspired by the Panigale V4, an IMU-enabled electronics package, and improved comfort. The seat is flatter and has more padding, the handlebar is higher, and the footpegs are lower. The SuperSport 950 is powered by a 937cc Testastretta L-Twin that makes 110 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 68.6 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm (claimed, at the crank). The SuperSport 950 is available in Ducati Red for $13,995. The SuperSport 950 S, which is equipped with fully adjustable Öhlins suspension and a passenger seat cover, is available in Ducati Red and Arctic White Silk starting at $16,195.
2021 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Revival
Earlier this year Harley-Davidson announced its new Icons Collection. The first model in the collection is the stunning Electra Glide Revival, which is inspired by the 1969 Electra Glide, the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle available with an accessory “batwing” fairing. Though retro in style, the Electra Glide Revival is powered by a Milwaukee Eight 114 V-twin and is equipped with RDRS Safety Enhancements and a Boom! Box infotainment system. Global production of the Electra Glide Revival is limited to a one-time build of 1,500 serialized examples, with an MSRP of $29,199.
With its iconic solid aluminum 18-inch Lakester wheels, for 2021 Harley-Davidson gave the Fat Boy 114 a new look with lots of chrome and bright work. Powering the Fat Boy is none other than the torquey Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-twin engine, equipped with a 6-speed gearbox and putting down a claimed 119 ft-lb of torque at just 3,000 rpm. Pricing starts at $19,999.
2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 / Pan America 1250 Special
A competitive, state-of-the-art, 150-horsepower adventure bike built by Harley-Davidson? Yea, right, when pigs fly! Well, the Motor Company came out swinging with its Pan America 1250 and Pan America 1250 Special. Powered by the all-new Revolution Max 1250, a liquid-cooled, 1,252cc, 60-degree V-Twin with DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, and variable valve timing. The killer app is the optional Adaptive Ride Height, which lowers the higher-spec Pan America 1250 Special (which is equipped with semi-active Showa suspension) by 1 to 2 inches when the bike comes to a stop. Pricing starts at $17,319 for the Pan America 1250 and $19,999 for the Pan America 1250 Special.
For Harley-Davidson Touring models like the Road Glide, Road King, and Street Glide, there are Special models that offer a slammed look and 119 lb-ft of torque from the Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin. The 2021 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special is available with new two-tone paint options, and with a choice of a blacked-out or bright chrome styling treatments. All Special models are now equipped with the high-performance Ventilator air cleaner with a washable filter element, and a new low-profile engine guard. Pricing starts at $26,699.
2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S
The (air-cooled) Sportster is dead, long live the (liquid-cooled) Sportster! Visually similar to the 1250 Custom teased several years ago, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Sportster S represents a new era for the legendary Sportster line. Since the introduction of the XL model family in 1957, Sportsters have always been stripped-down motorcycles powered by air-cooled V-Twins. Harley calls the new Sportster S a “sport custom motorcycle,” and at the heart of the machine is a 121-horsepower Revolution Max 1250T V-Twin, a lightweight chassis, and premium suspension. Pricing starts at $14,999.
The Street Bob, with its mini-ape handlebar, mid-mount controls, and bobber-style fenders, has become a fan favorite among those looking for a minimalist American V-twin to customize. The 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114 packs more punch, thanks to the larger, torque-rich Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine. Pricing starts at $14,999.
With a slammed look and 119 lb-ft of torque from the Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special is available with new two-tone paint options, and with a choice of a blacked-out or bright chrome styling treatments. All Special models are now equipped with the high-performance Ventilator air cleaner with a washable filter element, and a new low-profile engine guard. Pricing starts at $27,099.
The 2021 Honda ADV150 is an ADV-styled scooter, essentially a Honda PCX150 with longer travel Showa suspension (5.1/4.7 inches front/rear) and a larger ABS-equipped 240mm disc brake at the bow and a drum brake without ABS in the stern. Its powered by a liquid-cooled 149cc Single and has an automatic V-matic transmission. Pricing starts at $4,199.
Well-mannered motorcycles seldom make racing history, and the 2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP was developed with one uncompromising goal — win superbike races at all costs. It’s powered by an inline-Four that we dyno tested at 175 horsepower at the rear wheel, and it’s equipped with Öhlins semi-active suspension, IMU-enabled electronics, and top-shelf braking hardware. And it’s street legal and available for purchase from your local Honda dealer. MSRP is $28,500.
The 2021 Honda CRF300L (above) and CRF300L Rally (below) dual-sports share the same powerplant, a liquid-cooled 286cc Single which boasts 15% more displacement, power, and torque than its 250cc predecessor. They have a new slip/assist clutch, revised steering geometry, less weight, and a new LCD meter. The CRF300L has a base price of $5,249 (add $300 for ABS), weighs 309 pounds, has a 2.1-gallon tank, and has a 34.7-inch seat height.
The 2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally (above) dual-sports share the same powerplant, a liquid-cooled 286cc Single which boasts 15% more displacement, power, and torque than its 250cc predecessor. They have a new slip/assist clutch, revised steering geometry, less weight, and a new LCD meter. The CRF300L Rally, which has a windscreen, handlebar weights, rubber footpeg inserts, a larger front brake rotor, more seat padding, and a larger fuel tank (3.4 gallons vs. 2.1) than the CRF300L, has a base price of $5,999 (add $300 for ABS), weighs 333 pounds, and has a 35.2-inch seat height.
The Honda CRF450L debuted for 2019, bringing CRF450R motocross performance to a street-legal dual-sport. Its lightweight, compact, liquid-cooled 449cc single has a 12:1 compression ratio and a Unicam SOHC valve train with titanium valves. For 2021, Honda added an “R” to the model name (CRF450RL), lowered the price to $9,999 (from $10,399), revised the ECU and fuel-injection settings for better throttle response, and added new hand guards and fresh graphics.
The Gold Wing has been Honda‘s flagship touring model for more than 40 years. It entered its sixth generation for the 2018 model year, with a complete overhaul to the GL1800 platform that made it lighter, sportier, and more technologically advanced. The standard Gold Wing (above) and trunk-equipped Gold Wing Tour (below) won Rider‘s 2018 Motorcycle of the Year award. Gold Wing updates for 2021 include a suede-like seat cover, colored seat piping, audio improvements, and red rear turnsignals. Pricing starts at $23,800 for the Gold Wing and $25,100 for the Gold Wing DCT (with 7-speed automatic Dual Clutch Transmission).
Updates for the Honda Gold Wing Tour include the same ones listed above for the standard Gold Wing: a suede-like seat cover, colored seat piping, audio improvements, and red rear turnsignals. But the Tour also got a larger top trunk (61 liters, up from 50) that now easily accepts two full-face helmets; total storage capacity is now 121 liters. The passenger seat’s backrest features a more relaxed angle, thicker foam, and a taller profile. Pricing starts at $23,800 for the Gold Wing and $25,100 for the Gold Wing DCT (with 7-speed automatic Dual Clutch Transmission).
Joining the Rebel 300 and Rebel 500 in Honda‘s cruiser lineup for 2021 is the all-new Rebel 1100, which is powered by powered by a version of the liquid-cooled 1,084cc parallel-twin used in the 2020 Africa Twin, which uses a Unicam SOHC valve train and is available with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed automatic Dual Clutch Transmission. Standard equipment includes four ride modes (Standard, Sport, Rain and User, which is customizable), Honda Selectable Torque Control (aka traction control, which has integrated wheelie control), engine brake control, and cruise control. Pricing starts at $9,299 for the Rebel 1100 and $9,999 for the Rebel 1100 DCT.
The latest addition to Honda‘s miniMOTO lineup is the Trail 125 ABS, which is powered by the same air-cooled 125cc Single found in the Grom, Monkey, and Super Cub C125. Like the Monkey and Super Cub, the Trail plays the retro card, pulling at heartstrings for a bike beloved by many decades ago. Just like its forefathers, the 2021 Honda Trail 125 proudly carries on the tradition of being a quaint and understated dual-sport, with a steel backbone frame, upright handlebar, square turnsignals, upswept exhaust, high-mount snorkel, and luggage rack. MSRP is $3,899.
For 2021, the Indian Roadmaster Limited gets the larger 116ci Thunder Stroke V-Twin versus the original 111, and it has a modern streamlined fairing, open front fender, and slammed saddlebags. As a premium touring model, the Roadmaster Limited also gets Indian’s heated and cooled ClimaCommand seats and other upgrades. Pricing starts at $30,749.
Like the Honda CRF300L above, Kawasaki‘s entry-level dual-sport got a displacement boost, which warranted a name change from KLX250 to KLX300. The 2021 KLX300 makes more thanks to a larger 292cc Single, which is liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, and has DOHC with four valves. It also uses more aggressive cam profiles, making it livelier than its predecessor. All of that is paired to a 6-speed gearbox and 14/40 final drive. Pricing starts at $5,599. And joining the KLX300 is a supermoto version, the KLX300SM (below).
Joining the KLX300 dual-sport (above) in Kawasaki‘s 2021 lineup is an all-new supermoto version, the KLX300SM. It has street-oriented 17-inch wire-spoke wheels and IRC Road Winner RX-01 rubber, and the suspension is stiffer with slightly abbreviated travel. The KLX300SM also has taller final-drive gearing and a larger front brake rotor. Pricing starts at $5,599.
Speaking of supermoto, KTM‘s track-only, race-ready 450 SMR is back for 2021. Using the 450 SX-F motocross racer as its foundation, the SMR shares its 63-horsepower 450cc single-cylinder SOHC engine, lightweight steel frame, and cast-aluminum swingarm. To suit its supermoto purpose, wider triple clamps with a 16mm offset accommodate tubeless Alpina wheels (16.5-inch front and 17-inch rear) fitted with ultra-sticky Bridgestone Battlax Supermoto slicks. The WP Xact suspension is updated, reducing suspension travel to an ample 11.2 inches in the front and 10.5 inches in the rear, lowering the bike’s center of gravity and improving handling. A radially mounted Brembo M50 front caliper squeezes a 310mm Galfer floating rotor to deliver all the braking power you’ll ever need on a bike that weighs just 232 pounds wet. MSRP is $11,299.
We selected the KTM 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R as Rider‘s 2019 Motorcycle of the Year. Just two years later, KTM has updated the platform. Adapted from the 890 Duke R, the engine now has more displacement, a higher compression ratio, and other improvements. And like the 890 Duke R, the Adventure R has better throttle-by-wire response, a beefed-up clutch and a shortened shift lever stroke and lighter shift-detent spring for faster shifting. Chassis updates include an aluminum head tube, a lighter swingarm, revised suspension settings, and refinements to the braking system. Pricing starts at $14,199.
The limited-edition KTM 890 Adventure R Rally received the same updates as the 890 Adventure R (above), but is loaded with race-spec inspired components. Its development utilized feedback from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team riders, Toby Price, and Sam Sunderland. Only 700 units of the 890 Adventure R Rally will be produced worldwide, with 200 slated for the North American market. Pricing starKTM 8ts at $19,999.
Powering the 2021 KTM 890 Duke is the same punchy, rip-roaring 889cc parallel-Twin producing a claimed 115 horsepower and 67.9 lb-ft of torque that’s also found in the 890 Duke R and 890 Adventure (above). Shared amongst the middleweight Duke family is a chromoly-steel frame, lightweight one-piece aluminum subframe and cast aluminum swingarm. By using the 889cc engine as a stressed member, the 890 Duke flaunts a mere 372-pound dry weight. We recently completed a comparison test of the 2021 KTM Duke lineup (200, 390, 890, and 1290), which will be posted soon.
On March 15, 2021, Moto Guzzi celebrated its 100th anniversary of continuous production at its headquarters in Mandello del Lario, Italy. One of Moto Guzzi’s most iconic models, the V7, was updated for 2021, and is available in more modern V7 Stone and classic V7 Special versions. Both have a larger 853cc V-Twin derived from engine, variations of which are found in the V9 and V85 TT. They also get reduced effort from the single-disc dry clutch, a stiffer frame, a bigger swingarm with a new bevel gear for the cardan shaft drive, revised damping and a longer stroke for the preload-adjustable rear shocks, an updated ABS module, a wider rear tire, vibration-damping footpegs, and a thicker passenger seat. MSRP for the V7 Stone is $8,990, or $9,190 for the Centenario edition (shown above).
The 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Special gets the same updates as the V7 Stone above. Whereas the V7 Stone has matte finishes, a single all-digital gauge, black exhausts, cast wheels, and an eagle-shaped LED set into the headlight, the V7 Special is classically styled, with spoked wheels, chrome finishes, dual analog gauges, and a traditional headlight. MSRP is $9,490.
For 2021, the Moto Guzzi V85 TT gets some updates to its air-cooled 853cc 90-degree V-Twin. The revised powerplant offers more torque at low to midrange rpm thanks to optimized lift of the pushrod-and-rockers timing cams and tweaks to the engine control electronics. New spoked rims now mount tubeless tires, reducing unsprung weight by 3.3 pounds for better handling and facilitating plug-and-go flat repairs. Two new riding modes—Sport and Custom—join the existing three (Street, Rain, Off-road) to provide more flexibility in managing throttle response, traction control and ABS to suit rider preferences. Cruise control and the color TFT instrument panel also come standard. The 2021 V85 TT Adventure ($12,990) has standard saddlebags. The 2021 V85 TT Travel ($13,390) includes a Touring windscreen, side panniers from the Urban series, auxiliary LED lights, heated hand grips, and the Moto Guzzi MIA multimedia platform.
For 2021, the Royal Enfield Himalayan adventure bike, which is powered by an air-cooled 411cc Single, get several updates, including switchable ABS to help riders when riding off-road, a revised rear brake that is said to improve braking performance, a redesigned sidestand, and a new hazard light switch. MSRP is $4,999.
For 2021, the Royal Enfield family gets a new addition — the Meteor 350, a light, affordable cruiser powered by an all-new air-cooled 349cc single with SOHC actuating two valves. Available in three budget-friendly trim packages, variants include the base-model Fireball ($4,399) with a black exhaust system; the Stellar ($4,499), with a chrome exhaust and a passenger backrest; and the Supernova ($4,599), which adds a windshield and a two-tone paint scheme.
Triumph‘s Speed Triple is one of the original hooligan bikes. It has evolved over the years since its introduction in 1994, and for 2021 the Speed Triple 1200 RS is the lightest, most powerful, highest-spec version yet. Its all-new 1,160cc Triple (up from 1,050cc) makes 165 horsepower at the rear wheel, and the RS is equipped with state-of-the-art electronics, fully adjustable Öhlins suspension, Brembo Stylema front calipers, and much more. Pricing starts at $18,300.
The 2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport, a street-focused adventure bike powered by the same liquid-cooled 888cc in-line triple as the Tiger 900 models, but it has been detuned to 82 horsepower at 8,400 rpm and 58 lb-ft of torque at 6,700 rpm at the rear wheel, as measured on Jett Tuning‘s dyno, which is about 10 horsepower lower. To keep the price down, Triumph also reduced the number of ride modes to two (Road and Rain) and limited suspension adjustability to rear preload. But this is no bargain-bin special. It has Marzocchi suspension front and rear, and it has Brembo brakes, with Stylema front calipers and a radial front master cylinder. ABS is standard but not switchable, and traction control is also standard but is switchable.
The 2021 Triumph Trident 660 is a triple-cylinder-powered roadster in the the twin-cylinder-dominated middleweight class. It’s powered by a liquid-cooled, DOHC, 660cc inline-Triple making a claimed 79.9 horsepower at 10,250 rpm and 47 lb-ft of torque at 6,250 rpm, and it is equipped with ABS, switchable traction control, and selectable ride modes. MSRP is $7,995.
Updates for 2021 to the Yamaha MT-07, its best-selling middleweight naked sportbike, include revisions to the 689cc liquid-cooled CP2 (Cross Plane 2-cylinder) parallel-Twin engine to meet Euro 5 regulations and to improve low-rpm throttle response. The MT-07 has a new 2-into-1 exhaust, revisions to the 6-speed gearbox to improve shifting feel, LED lighting all around, new instrumentation, revised ergonomics, and new styling that brings it closer in appearance to the larger MT-09 (below). Base price is $7,699, and three color choices are available: Storm Fluo, Matte Raven Black, and Team Yamaha Blue.
Now in its third generation, fully 90% of the Yamaha MT-09 naked sportbike is new for 2021. Its has an entirely new 890cc CP3 (Cross Plane 3-cylinder) inline-Triple engine, a thoroughly updated and significantly stiffer chassis, state-of-the-art electronics, and a fresh look that results in the most refined MT-09 yet. The base price increased by $400 to $9,399, but the four extra Benjamins are worth it. The MT-09 is available in Storm Fluo (shown above), Matte Raven Black, and Team Yamaha Blue. There’s also an MT-09 SP ($10,999) with exclusive special-edition coloring, premium KYB and Öhlins suspension, and cruise control.
After being teased for several years, Yamaha‘s highly anticipated Ténéré 700 adventure bike made its U.S. debut in the summer of 2021, bringing some excitement during a challenging pandemic year. It’s powered by the versatile 689cc liquid-cooled CP2 (Cross Plane 2-cylinder) parallel-Twin engine from the MT-07 (above), modified for adventure duty with a new airbox with a higher snorkel, a revised cooling system, an upswept exhaust, and a final gear ratio of 46/15 vs. 43/16. The rest of the bike is all-new, including the narrow double-cradle tubular-steel frame, triangulated (welded-on) subframe, double braced steering head and aluminum swingarm, adjustable long-travel suspension, switchable ABS, and more. Base price is $9,999 and its available in Ceramic Ice, Intensity White (shown above), and Matte Black.
Now in its third generation, Yamaha’s middleweight sport-tourer — now called the Tracer 9 GT — is new from the ground up for 2021. It has a larger, more powerful engine, a new frame, and a state-of-the-art electronics package that includes semi-active suspension. With these updates comes a higher price, and MSRP is now $14,899. It’s available in Liquid Metal (shown above) and Redline.
New for 2021, Zero has taken the existing frame from the FX and added a redesigned body. The starkly modern, supermoto styling is very similar in appearance to the FXS – tall, slim and sporting a raised front mudguard. However, the FXE is capable of a claimed 100-mile range on a full battery charge and costs $11,795, which can be bought down to around $10,000 depending upon available EV rebates and credits.
Compared to many of its heavier, more expensive competitors the FXE is a lightweight and thrilling runabout, and what it gives up in range it makes up for in accessibility and potential for fun. The FXE makes for a credible commuter bike, capable of taking to the highway but ideal to zip around town on.
“I would know the sound of a big Guzzi in my sleep. It concentrates its aural energies in your upper chest, ringing through your bones. It is … the sound of joy.” — Melissa Holbrook Pierson, The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles
When we find joy, we hold it close and nurture it. Woven throughout Pierson’s book, arguably one of the best ever written about motorcycling, is a romance between the author and Moto Guzzi. When searching for her first motorcycle, it was love at first sight: “a 500cc V-twin Moto Guzzi, red-and-black, a workhorse, and I thought it was beautiful.”
Like any true love, Pierson’s passion for Moto Guzzi ran deep and transcended appearance. She fell under the spell of the Italian V-twin’s syncopated beat. She dedicated her mind, body, and spirit to learning to ride, doing her own maintenance, and enduring long hours in the saddle through stifling heat, bitter cold, and drenching rain.
Moto Guzzi is a storied marque that celebrates a century of continuous production this year. Every Moto Guzzi — from the 1921 Normale, a 498cc single, to the 1955 Otto cilindri, a liquid-cooled, DOHC 500cc V-8 GP racer that topped 170 mph, to present-day models — has been built in the factory in Mandello del Lario, Italy, on the shores of Lake Como.
Three models — V7 Stone, V9 Bobber, and V85 TT — are available with a special Centenario color scheme for 2021 that pays tribute to the Otto cilindri. Their silver fuel tanks are inspired by the racebike’s raw alloy tank, their green side panels and front fenders are a nod to its iconic dustbin fairing, and their brown seats and golden eagle tank emblems further set them apart, though all 2021 models/colors display 100th anniversary logos on their front fenders.
Over its long history, Moto Guzzi has designed and built many notable models, but the V7 is a true living legend, the very soul of the brand. After two decades of building small, inexpensive motorcycles after World War II, Moto Guzzi became the first Italian manufacturer to offer a large-displacement model when, in 1967, it introduced the 700cc V7. It was the genesis of the engine configuration that came to define Moto Guzzi: the “flying” 90-degree V-twin, with its air-cooled cylinders jutting outward into the wind and its crankshaft running longitudinally. The V7 also had an automotive-style twin-plate dry clutch, a 4-speed constant mesh transmission, and shaft final drive.
Today’s V7 maintains a strong connection to the original, from its round headlight, sculpted tank, and upright seating position to its dry clutch, shaft drive, dual shocks, and dual exhaust. The V7 Special ($9,490) is classically styled, with spoked wheels, chrome finishes, dual analog gauges, and a traditional headlight. The more modern-looking V7 Stone ($8,990) has matte finishes, a single all-digital gauge, black exhausts, cast wheels, and an eagle-shaped LED set into the headlight.
I’ve ridden a variety of Moto Guzzis over the years — the Norge sport-tourer (named after the Norge GT 500, which Giuseppe Guzzi rode to the Arctic Circle in 1928), the carbon-fiber-clad MGX-21 Flying Fortress hard bagger, the classic California 1400 Touring, and the red-framed, chrome-tanked V7 Racer, among others. Each was unique, but all shared the distinctive cah-chugga-chugga sound when their V-twins fired up and the gentle rocking to the right side when their throttles were blipped at idle.
Riding a Moto Guzzi feels special. It’s a visceral, engaging, rhythmic experience. The V7 Stone brought me back to the simple pleasure of motorcycling — the feel of the wind against my body, the engine’s vibrations felt through various touch points, the exhilaration of thrust. Although the new V7 has a larger 853cc engine, variations of which are found in the V9 and V85 TT, output remains modest — 65 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 54 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, measured at the crank. But that’s enough. The V7 is one of those motorcycles that gives you permission to relax, to take your time and really savor the moment. What’s the rush?
Moto Guzzi made many useful, subtle updates to the V7 platform. Reduced effort from the single-disc dry clutch. A stiffer frame and a bigger swingarm with a new bevel gear for the cardan shaft drive. Revised damping and a longer stroke for the preload-adjustable rear shocks. An updated ABS module. A wider rear tire (now 150/70-17). Vibration-damping footpegs. A thicker passenger seat.
All are appreciated, but if I’m honest, I thought about none of them as I rolled through curve after curve on California’s Palms to Pines Highway, climbing higher and higher into the rugged, snow-dusted San Jacinto Mountains. For the better part of a day, I just rode the V7. I didn’t try to figure out its riding modes (it doesn’t have any), nor did I connect my smartphone to Moto Guzzi’s multimedia app. I rolled on and off the throttle. I shifted through the gears. And I smiled. A lot.
The V7 Stone is solid, predictable, carefree. Its engine doles out torque nearly everywhere, but it feels happiest chugging along in the midrange. Throttle response is direct, the exhaust note is soothing. Thanks to its modest weight, low seat, and natural ergonomics, riding and handling are effortless. Braking, shifting, suspension — everything dutifully meets expectations. Like the Guzzi that stole Pierson’s heart, the V7 Stone is a workhorse, and it’s easy on the eyes. Well, except for its peculiar-looking taillight, which has a constellation of red LEDs that look too sci-fi for this style of bike.
The V7 Stone Centenario carries the weight of Moto Guzzi’s century of history with confidence. The brand is an acquired taste, favored by connoisseurs rather than the masses, and it inspires a cult-like following. When I interviewed Melissa Holbrook Pierson for the Rider Magazine Insider podcast, I asked about her first encounter with a Guzzi. “It was chance,” she said. “I just happened upon the bike that was literally perfect for me.”
2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
Base Price: $8,990
Price as Tested: $9,190 (Centenario edition)
Website: motoguzzi.comEngine Type: Air-cooled, longitudinal 90-degree V-twin, OHV w/ 2 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 84.0 x 77.0mm
Horsepower: 65 hp @ 6,800 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Torque: 54 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated dry clutch
Final Drive: Shaft
Wheelbase: 57.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 28 degrees/4.1 in.
Seat Height: 30.7 in.
Wet Weight: 480 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gals.
Moto Guzzi is celebrating 100 years of continuous production this year. Its updated V7 Stone is available in a special Centenario edition for 2021 that’s a tribute to Moto Guzzi’s Otto cilindri V-8 GP racer, which went over 170 mph in 1955. The Centenario livery, with a silver tank, green fenders and side panels, a brown seat, and special badging, is also available on 2021 Moto Guzzi V85 TT and V9 Bobber models for an extra $200.
For 2021, the V7 Stone ($8,990) and V7 Special ($9,490) have a larger 853cc V-twin that makes 65 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 54 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, measured at the crank. Other updates include reduced effort from the single-disc dry clutch; a stiffer frame and a bigger swingarm with a new bevel gear for the cardan shaft drive; revised damping and a longer stroke for the preload-adjustable rear shocks; an updated ABS module; a wider rear tire (now 150/70-17); vibration-damping footpegs; a thicker passenger seat; an updated styling.
The 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone is solid, predictable, carefree. Find out more by watching our video review:
In 2020, Guy Pickrell won the Moto Guzzi “Spirit of the Eagle Rideaway” competition. He dreamed up an epic 2,600-mile, 8-day, 7-state, 6-national-park adventure route.
Moto Guzzi gave Guy and his buddy Kit Klein use of two Moto Guzzi V85 TT adventure bikes and a $2,500 travel budget. They packed their gear, had Michelin Anakee Wild tires mounted on the bikes, and they hit the road.
Starting in Seattle, they rode east to Glacier National Park, south to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Flaming Gorge, Capitol Reef, and Grand Staircase-Escalante, and they finished in Las Vegas. Their route included paved sections like Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana and unpaved tracks like Skyline Drive Scenic Backway in Utah.
Two buddies, two bikes, one big adventure. This is their story.