Test: Moto Guzzi V11 Sport
Even if the brand with the eagle was a bit lame at times, the eagerly anticipated V11 Sport should give it powerful wings again. Let’s see if the elegant retro hammer has what it takes to be a climber.
Tired of tasteless cardboard spaghetti, freeze-dried plastic herbs and a foul-smelling parmesan substitute? That’s right, because now there’s something true, beautiful, good Italian. The V11 Sport. Just as delicious as homemade pasta, garden herbs and freshly grated Parmigiano. The fact that the compact eleven hundred does not slip off the line somewhere between Shizuoka and Hamamatsu, but is screwed together in Mandello del Lario, she cannot and will not deny.
Why, an emotionally charged appearance with a historical reference is ultimately the trend of the late nineties. And in this respect the Guzzi men have it really well. You don’t have to laboriously conjure up legends from the retort, but can refer to real ancestors. The V7 Sport caused a sensation in the early 1970s (see box). The refreshing, timeless outfit, even technical data and driving performance can still be seen today. So it is logical that Guzzi tries to build on this success.
So take a seat on the tight but comfortable bench, grab the handlebar stubs that are adjustable in height and offset – and first listen carefully. Even when the vehicle is stationary, the slight rattle of the two-disc dry clutch accelerates the pulse of the Guzzisti and those who might become one. It continues to be just as promising, because the air-cooled two-valve V2 doesn’t bother, but gets straight to the point with its cleanly coordinated injection system. It knocks, hammers and hums from idle speed under the plastic tank that it’s a pleasure. The electrifying sound is created entirely without artificial sound design, as Guzzi assures.
Mighty intake snorkeling when turning the throttle is the overture from 2500 tours, before the twin really goes to extremes by exceeding the 4000 mark and emphatically heaves the 220-kilogram sports tourer forward. As an addition, the rustic unit sends an extra portion of dust-dry bass to the driver’s ear. By the way, the environment remains largely undisturbed by the sound thunderstorm thanks to lush silencers. Up to the 7000 mark, even power and torque are then served in full, before the agility declines and the low-frequency vibrations that are present over the entire speed range become really annoying.
Even those in a hurry should try the newly developed six-speed gearbox before reaching the red mark on the rev counter. Thanks to four-shaft technology, it is shorter than the old five-speed box and can be operated precisely and with little effort despite the long shifting travel. Even the cardan doesn’t want to spoil the game – thanks to the extended swing arm and moment support on the frame, there’s little ups and downs in the brisk dance across the asphalt floor.
The driver’s fitness problems are not to be feared even on longer tours, because the moderately sporty seating position is equally suitable for young and old. Only the knee fit could be better – various test owners complained about the unergonomic indentations in the tank and its hard edge. In return, smooth operating elements such as the throttle and clutch handles make a positive contribution to the unity of man and machine.
Keyword easy: In terms of handiness, the Guzzi has made significant progress compared to its predecessor, the Sport 1100 i. With a shorter wheelbase, steeper steering head and less caster, the V11 Sport has become a top-quality curve finder for Guzzi standards. It can be tilted without great effort and marches quite neutrally through all kinds of radii.
The relatively low self-steering behavior – mainly due to the restrained tire width – can only be enjoyed by those who keep their throttle hand in check: hectic turning of the handle is punished with significant load changes. It is also a shame that in a jagged incline to the left, the side stand first, and to the right, the sweeping muffler scrapes the floor. If you then reach for the somewhat callous but effective Brembo stoppers in shock, you will get to know a powerful set-up moment. Not dangerous, but quite uncomfortable. So ride around the corner constantly with a train, then it works with the curves.
The Guzzi people did not succeed in turning to the new handiness without any side effects: For example, the sports tourer seems permanently nervous in front of the hand in solo operation. The aiming accuracy decreases noticeably with increasing speed, before the V11 begins to commute from around 130 km / h, especially when uneven road surfaces or load changes initiate impulses into the chassis. It then takes a while for calm to return.
The problems are caused, among other things, by the not quite successful balance in the coordination of the front and rear suspension elements. The 40s upside-down fork from Marzocchi, which has only a small adjustment range for the damping, is designed to be comfortable overall, whereas the White Power rear shock acts too tightly even when the compression and rebound damping is fully open. A lower spring rate would help here.
The hydraulic steering damper seems superfluous at first, but it becomes more important on bad roads when not only the steering but the entire chassis is plagued by unrest. Incidentally, in pillion operation, the set-up fits, the Guzzi dashes precisely and balanced across the country road and does not allow itself to be disturbed by a bad road surface. And the passenger himself has no reason to complain, after all, he is well accommodated on the soft upholstery.
Unterm line, the V11 Sport brings many talents of a successful model with it. But in order to be able to follow in the footsteps of their role model, the technicians should once again devote themselves intensively to fine-tuning the chassis.
Prototype: The V7 Sport from 1971
The thick V2, surrounded by a no-frills, compact silhouette: a timeless recipe for success
The first V7 was at the Milan Salon in 1965. The model with the addition of “Sport” appeared six years later and became the star of the salon despite fierce competition from MV Agusta, for example. “The Trumm of a compact engine”, 750 cubic meters, around 70 hp including a brand new five-speed gearbox, packed in a thoroughbred street sports machine garnished with double duplex brakes at the front and duplex brakes at the rear made the fans sit up and take notice. And the performance is still impressive today: MOTORRAD tester Ernst “Klacks” Leverkus reached 199.6 km / h and swore that it would have been even faster with a smaller driver. Factory information therefore spoke of a speed of 207 for the approximately 220 kilo heavy sports machine, which accelerated to 100 in less than five seconds. Impressed by the draft, Klacks wrote in MOTORRAD 25/1971 that during normal driving tremendous lightning accelerations between 120 and 160 km / h could be exercised, that a possible competitor would water «. He also found words of praise for the chassis (with adjustable hydraulic steering damper that could be switched on). “The Guzzi was incredibly cheeky to drive through tight and fast corners.” And that without having to heave it into it. The summary was also positive: “Anyone who has driven the Super-Guzzi involuntarily counts their money.” Lap 3 kg / hp, 200 km / h, fabulous chassis, 83 hp / liter, five gears and cardan drive were for him the arguments against the competition from BMW, Honda, Laverda or Norton.
Knorr-Fix fans watch out, this is not a five-minute terrine, but an emotionally charged motorcycle that demands intense activity. Sit on it and drive off, but you can only experience real pleasure if you take the time to try it out. However, the fun of the surprisingly handy Moto Guzzi V11 Sport is clouded by noticeable suspension unrest, especially on uneven tracks. However, those who come to terms with this weakness can be happy with the Italian beauty.
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