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moto guzzi v7

Moto Guzzi V7 Sport profile

(by Ian Falloon, June 2022)

Moto Guzzi V7



Clever design resulted in a surprisingly potent machine

As Moto Guzzi entered the 1960s, they could claim one of the finest sporting traditions of any motorcycle manufacturer. Few could match their total of 14 World Championships, but even Moto Guzzi became a casualty in the slump in demand for motorcycles during that decade.


Saved by the new V7, and its suitability for police use, the idea for a sporting version grew out of the successful record breaking machines of 1969 that set 19 new world speed records. Following this, chief engineer Lino Tonti was briefed to build a street bike suitable both for production and production-based racing. It needed to be capable of 200 km/h, weigh less than 200kg, and have a five-speed gearbox. Thus the V7 Sport was born.


When Tonti unveiled his creation in June 1971 the press was stunned. Not only did the new Sport look purposeful, unlike any other sporting motorcycle it had shaft drive. Homologation of the V7 Sport for production racing saw the first examples built in the racing department, these being the “Telaio Rosso” (red frame) models.

moto guzzi v7
              red frame


Now highly prized by collectors the Telaio Rosso (above, this example was auctioned by Gooding & Co) featured many individually crafted components. Soon regular production commenced, and later examples like this early 1972 version were similar, if not quite as exotic. V7 Sport production lasted through until 1974.


To enable the V7 engine to fit a lower frame, Tonti started by reducing the height. A much smaller 180-watt Bosch alternator was mounted on the front of the crankshaft, and to conform with homologation requirements for 750cc production racing in Italy the capacity was reduced slightly, to 748cc.


The V7 Sport received a new camshaft with both more valve lift and increased duration and with a claimed 70 horsepower at 7000rpm it was one of the most powerful motorcycles available at the time. While these engine modifications were significant, it was the design of the frame that really set the V7 Sport apart.


With more space between the cylinders, Tonti created a long low frame with the backbone between the cylinders. Along with the unique fully detachable lower frame rails to facilitate engine access, the double-cradle frame comprised nearly straight tubes and would eventually feature on the entire range of large twins. The result was an extremely compact motorcycle, with a seat height of only 750mm.


To accentuate this lowness, 18-inch Borrani alloy rimmed wheels were fitted front and rear. The 35mm front forks with polished alloy fork legs were manufactured by Moto Guzzi and included sealed internal dampers.


When it came to performance the V7 Sport lived up to its expectations with a claimed top speed of 206km/h and the V7 Sport was one of the fastest production motorcycles available in 1972. Built as the embodiment of an engineer's ideal, and not compromised by economics, fashion or marketing, the V7 Sport was one of the greats, not simply a great Guzzi.

Moto Guzzi V7


(Ed's note: The bike pictured above is one of a number offered at auction by Donington in Australia. See the auction here.)


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