Ask ScooterFile: Moto Guzzi V7 or BMW Scooter?

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Today’s question is from David, and it was in response to our post about the maxi-scooter shoot out video.

“On a Vespa 250 at present, I’ll move to a bigger bike eventually (but God do I love my Vespa!). I’ve considered both the BMW and the Moto Guzzi V7. Any comments on a comparison between these two bikes? Both seem first-class.”

Hi David,

I’ve ridden both of the BMW C-series as well as the V7 and they’re both really good in different ways. Of the two BMW scooters, the BMW C600 Sport is my preference because it’s got less bodywork and a more comfortable seat. I also prefer the way it rides — much more alive and responsive, where the C650 GT is much more subdued. Differences aside, both bikes are very good. Just keep in mind that they’re very different so when the time comes, you’ll want to spend time with both if that’s the direction you’d like to go.

BMW C 600 Sport

The BMW’s come with ABS standard as well as a host of creature comforts like tire pressure monitors, heated grips, heated seat (for both rider and pillion) and a level of performance that will make you feel pretty invincible on the road. Despite their heavier weight, they’re remarkably stable at slow speeds. Good points mentioned, at just under $10,000, you’re paying full price for every feature, and keep in mind that cost of ownership on the BMW will be higher than many other scooters. You can read my full thoughts on the C600 Sport here, and Eric’s long-term review here.

Moto Guzzi V7

As for the Moto Guzzi V7, it’s a completely different animal. I don’t know how much motorcycle experience you’ve got, but with the V7 I’d say you could get comfortable with it very quickly. The engine is very smooth and has just enough of that v-twin character to make it very interesting to ride. For a 750, it doesn’t make a ton of power (just 50 hp). The BMW scooters, for example, make a full 10 hp more than the V7, and on 100 fewer ccs. Yet here’s why that doesn’t matter: The V7 is light. In fact, it’s remarkably light at just 395 lbs ready to ride. The Guzzi is not that much heavier than your Vespa 250. Yet with its stretched wheelbase and larger wheels, it has all the stability and the longer legs of a midsize motorcycle. Is it going to win any races? No, but around town and up country roads, it’s a delight to ride.

Most of all, the V7 is very approachable. It has a standard, upright seating position. It’s got a nice low seat height and mid-position foot controls. Handlebars aren’t at a stretch and all the touch points are very nice. It’s really everything that’s good about an Italian motorcycle, but without all the drama and brand swagger of something like a Ducati. At just $8,490, it’s appreciably less expensive than the BMW C600 Sport.

Keep in mind, however, that like any standard motorcycle you’ll lose a degree of utility and ease-of-use that you’ve grown accustom to with your Vespa. No more twist-and-go. You’re going to have to use the clutch and shift gears manually. You’re also giving up under-seat storage on the V7, so you’ll need to either fit panniers or get yourself a dependable backpack. The Moto Guzzi V7 doesn’t have any of the BMW C-series extra tech or features. No ABS, no heated grips or seat, no digital readout for engine information and no adjustable windshield. It’s also going to likely be much more difficult to get parts for your Guzzi should you need them, especially once all of Italy takes the summer off. Thankfully, Moto Guzzi has earned a very good reputation in terms of reliability.

So both machines have their pros and their cons. In the end, it’s all about what do you want out of your next bike. What’s most important? What are you willing to compromise? Are you willing to take the plunge on the big bad motorcycle?

Rather than just leave you to fend for yourself in that sea of relativity, here’s how I see it:

Comparison: BMW C-Series vs. Moto Guzzi V7

Category BMW C-Series Moto Guzzi V7
Price: WIN
Performance: WIN
Weight: WIN
Low-speed stability: WIN
Ease of parking: WIN
Convenience: WIN
Cost of Ownership: WIN
Running Errands: WIN
Cruising Country Roads: WIN
Standard Features: WIN
Dealer network: TIE TIE
Utility: WIN
Freeway Touring: WIN
Character: WIN
Best for tall riders: WIN
Best for average/short riders: WIN
Easy of maintenance and repair: WIN

As you can see, both bikes are good at a lot of different things. Figure out what’s most important to you and go from there.

Now it’s your turn. Agree? Disagree? Which bike would you choose? Sound off in the comments and share this post on Facebook or Twitter. Let’s hear from everyone.

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