Many manufacturers package the same thing in different wrappers. Whether it's the Victory Cross Country sold as the Magnum or the Honda CB300F and the CBR300R, it's all too common to see bikes based off the same drivetrain and often the same suspension and frame sold at very different price points. It begs the question: which bikes are truly worth the upcharge, and which bikes are just ways for manufacturers to have bigger margins?
V7 Stone Vs. V7 Racer
Differences among Moto Guzzi's V7 models are mainly cosmetic. The $8,490 Stone is the most basic of the lineup. It is offered in a solid color paint job only. Our tester was the basic black; the other two choices include matte white, and a glossy red. $9,290 buys you the V7 Special, a package that includes spoke wheels and a cool, retro-looking striped paint job. Otherwise, the Special is identical to the Stone. The V7 Racer costs $10,490 and gets you the stunning red powdercoated frame, chrome gas tank, a suede leather seat, clubman handlebars (translation: clip-ons), and rear-mounted foot pegs. In addition, the package includes a pair of adjustable Bitubo shocks for the rear suspension.
After having the opportunity to spend a lot of time riding both models, I personally prefer the V7 Stone. Its more upright riding position felt immediately comfortable and intuitive to me from the second I got on it - mainly because of the Stone’s taller handlebars. Affording more leverage than the Racer’s clip-on bars means the Stone turns in to corners easier. With the Racer, I always needed a mile or two to re-learn the inputs needed to negotiate a turn before feeling comfortable on it. Admittedly, my background riding various Japanese cruisers and standards is most likely responsible for this. The V7 Stone felt like an old friend; I was simply more comfortable on it in every situation.
READ MORE: Moto Guzzi V7 Racer Review
The one caveat to consider is that it’s possible to build your own V7 Racer with a used bike and a combination of factory and aftermarket parts. The tank guard, Alcantara seat, bikini fairing, side covers, and adjustable shocks are all available from Moto Guzzi. You’ll have to come up with a chrome treatment for the gas tank, but there are several coating companies that can make that happen for you. Mix and match from various aftermarket vendors, and you could build a similar-looking bike for even less. So the crafty, hands-on owner may want to build his own, save some cash, and have an even more unique bike.
Overall, the V7 Stone is my choice, and the one I’d buy no matter what. It has the right combination of performance, looks, and comfort to make it an excellent all-around bike. It’s a comfortable commuter, entertaining performer, and I prefer the understated and classy blacked-out look (not to mention the easier-to-clean six-spoke alloy wheels). Factor in that it’s the least expensive of the V7 range, and it’s the easy winner of this comparison.
Every rider has his or her own style, size and weight. We decided to put things in perspective and show what each reviewer weighs and their experience.
READ MORE: The Best Motorcycles For New Riders
Rider: John McGann
Weight: 135 lbs
Height: 5' 10"
Experience: 8 years experience, recently returning to motorcycling
Specialty: standards and cruisers, hands-on repairs, how-to’s