1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport
1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport
A true Italian classic. For us - the Moto Guzzi V7 Sport sets the benchmark of style for a production racer. Historically speaking, the V7 Sport marked Moto Guzzi’s lofty return to racing.
After the Italian street racing ban in 1957 Moto Guzzi decided to hold back on speed-oriented bikes, feeling that the costs would not be justified in public sales. For decades only single-cylinder motorcycles were produced. It wasn’t until 1965 that the v-twin design was conceived by Giulo Cesare Carcano - creator of the infamous 500cc V8 GP Racer. Rather than racing prerogative, it was police demand that allowed for the emergence of the 700cc v-twin’s — aptly named the V7.
In 1967 Moto Guzzi’s chief engineer had the motor enlarged to 757.48cc in an appeal to the growing American market, and in hopes of luring more police contracts. After a successful return to the track, Moto Guzzi believed they could create a new breed of motorcycle capable of 125mph with a 5-speed gear box and a peak weight of just 440 pounds.
Enter: designer Lino Tonti.
Tonti set to work immediately in his private shop, drafting a brand new chassis that came in two forms. During the extensive testing he broke one of his legs in a crash, but continued development completely unhindered, often bringing crutches with him onto the bike. The aesthetically straight-lined and triangular lattice frame that emerged became historically known as the Tonti frame.
To Tonti’s chagrine, Moto Guzzi tabled the idea of a new and expensive motorcycle concept, and the former threatened resignation. After careful review and reflection, the V7 Sport was given the green light in 1970.
While the racing edition featured red chromoly tubes, the production frames were a thicker steel painted black, and the bike’s transmission had external webbing with a smooth cast engine casing - features still visible on Moto Guzzi’s to this day. Shifting was done on the right-hand side as well with the gear sequencing one-up and four-down.
Thanks to Tonti’s brilliance the V7 Sport handled more nimbly and provided a better riding position than any other bike racing. Speaking to the motor alone, the V7 Sport was simply a monster. In comparison to its closest competitors of the era — the Ducati 750GT, Honda CB750, Kawasaki H2 750, and Laverda 750SF — the Moto Guzzi is fastest!
After a few brilliant years the iconic model ceased production, being discontinued after Moto Guzzi changed ownership in 1974. The V7 Sport is heralded as one of racing’s most progressive models ever - and one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever created.