Moto Guzzi V7 SportDanilo Trovato
Moto Guzzi V7 models are having a lot of success in their market niche nowadays. So we decided it was about to time to talk about it. Let’s see how it all started!
Moto Guzzi V7 Sport: how it all started
In the 60s Moto Guzzi – with it 14 World Championships – had the finest sporting traditions of any motorcycle manufacturer. Unfortunately though, the motorcycle market in that decade was not so great, and not even the world titles could help Moto Guzzi.
The company was saved by the Moto Guzzi V7. Its first sketches were made in 1958 when engineer Carcano drew up plans for a 500cc V-twin engine to power a sporting Fiat car. When Moto Guzzi went into receivership in 1966 the entire workforce was sacked, including Carcano.
When things were under control again, the company invited Carcano to return, but he was too proud to do so.As a result the the V7 project remained unfinished until Lino Tonti became chief engineer. Lino Tonti came from Bianchi, but also worked with Benelli, Aermacchi, Mondial, and Gilera.
Tonti was asked to built a motorcycle capable of 200 km/h, that needed to weigh less than 200kg, and have a five-speed gearbox. Thus the V7 Sport was born.
Everything looked perfect but it was not an easy task for Tonti to pull off: due to strikes, he, with the help of two former Aermacchi colleagues Francesco Botta and Alcide Biotti, built the prototype V7 Sport frames in his own workshop. When it was unveiled in 1971, the press went nuts: the bike was purposeful and, unlike the competitors of the era, it had a shaft drive.
Engine and Frame
Homologation of the Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for production racing saw the first examples built in the racing department, these being the famous “Telaio Rosso” models.
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 7,000rpm it was one of the most powerful motorcycles available in 1971.
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 750 mm. To accentuate this lowliness, 18-inch Borrani alloy rimmed wheels were fitted front and rear. Brakes were drums but during 1974 twin front discs were also sometimes fitted, with a rear disc option on request – made by Brembo, of course.
Featuring many individually crafted components, the Telaio Rosso was – as Mike Hailwood stated after a test session it at Monza – ” the best handling street bike I have ever ridden.”
Our thoughts on the Moto Guzzi V7 Sport
The Moto Guzzi V7 Sport was equipped with high quality parts and its design was the outcome of clever cutting edge choices. With a top speed of 206 km/h it could take on any motorcycle of its class and probably beat it too. Probably the best Moto Guzzi of all times.
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