I’ve worn out a lot of tires in the last 66 years of riding, and I have no real memory or record of what I used when and on what bike. I am sure I had a lot of Dunlops, as they have been around a long time. Back in the late 1880s, John Boyd Dunlop made the first practical pneumatic tire for bicycles, which were a lot more comfortable to ride than bikes with solid rubber tires. In 1901, he started the Dunlop Rubber Company, which now belongs to Sumitomo Rubber Industries.
Dunlop describes these D404s as fitting “standard” motorcycles, and they don’t get much more standard than my 2006 Triumph T100 Bonneville. I call these tires universal-use, reasonably good at everything, from wet pavement to dirt roads. My Bonnie is pretty much an all-around, local-use machine, happy with doing errands or a 200-mile day. Around here we do have all sorts of roads, from smooth asphalt to pothole specials, and lots of good dirt roads, from Gillis Canyon to Cypress Mountain.
I find the tread to be pleasingly chunky, and Dunlop says the design enhances wet grip and water evacuation. Since we are in a drought here in our part of California, I can’t attest to those functions. The off-set center groove is intended to improve straight-line stability, and I can’t fault that, as on some deserted back roads I just might exceed the speed limit.
The carcass is a bias-ply design, which means that the fiber belts, or plies, go from side to side at an angle, hence a bias. About half the tire is made of rubber, both natural and synthetic, and the rest is mainly the fabric body plies that go between those wire bead bundles that keep the tire properly attached to the wheel. Dunlop says this compound will give excellent mileage; you are reading this report after a mere 800 miles, and I’ll let you know when I will need a new rear tire.
Speaking of which, the official Triumph size for my ’06 rear wheel is 130/80-17, with that 80 being the aspect ratio. And just what is the aspect ratio? The height of the sidewall expressed as a percentage of the width of the tire. The closest the D404 comes is a 130/90-17, which means the tire will be a smidge taller.
New tires are on, new inner tubes are in. Picked up the bike late in the afternoon, and after a relatively calm 40-mile break-in, went home and had a glass of wine. In the morning, I checked that the tires were at proper pressures, and then went with a friend to do a run over Rossi’s Driveway, as we call the eight miles of Route 229 going from Route 58 to Creston. Guilty fun, with just one car on the road, quickly dispatched.
MSRP on these tires are $118.81 front, $132.01 rear, but if you shop around, you will pay less.
“I would know the sound of a big Guzzi in my sleep. It concentrates its aural energies in your upper chest, ringing through your bones. It is … the sound of joy.” — Melissa Holbrook Pierson, The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles
When we find joy, we hold it close and nurture it. Woven throughout Pierson’s book, arguably one of the best ever written about motorcycling, is a romance between the author and Moto Guzzi. When searching for her first motorcycle, it was love at first sight: “a 500cc V-twin Moto Guzzi, red-and-black, a workhorse, and I thought it was beautiful.”
Like any true love, Pierson’s passion for Moto Guzzi ran deep and transcended appearance. She fell under the spell of the Italian V-twin’s syncopated beat. She dedicated her mind, body, and spirit to learning to ride, doing her own maintenance, and enduring long hours in the saddle through stifling heat, bitter cold, and drenching rain.
Moto Guzzi is a storied marque that celebrates a century of continuous production this year. Every Moto Guzzi — from the 1921 Normale, a 498cc single, to the 1955 Otto cilindri, a liquid-cooled, DOHC 500cc V-8 GP racer that topped 170 mph, to present-day models — has been built in the factory in Mandello del Lario, Italy, on the shores of Lake Como.
Three models — V7 Stone, V9 Bobber, and V85 TT — are available with a special Centenario color scheme for 2021 that pays tribute to the Otto cilindri. Their silver fuel tanks are inspired by the racebike’s raw alloy tank, their green side panels and front fenders are a nod to its iconic dustbin fairing, and their brown seats and golden eagle tank emblems further set them apart, though all 2021 models/colors display 100th anniversary logos on their front fenders.
Over its long history, Moto Guzzi has designed and built many notable models, but the V7 is a true living legend, the very soul of the brand. After two decades of building small, inexpensive motorcycles after World War II, Moto Guzzi became the first Italian manufacturer to offer a large-displacement model when, in 1967, it introduced the 700cc V7. It was the genesis of the engine configuration that came to define Moto Guzzi: the “flying” 90-degree V-twin, with its air-cooled cylinders jutting outward into the wind and its crankshaft running longitudinally. The V7 also had an automotive-style twin-plate dry clutch, a 4-speed constant mesh transmission, and shaft final drive.
Today’s V7 maintains a strong connection to the original, from its round headlight, sculpted tank, and upright seating position to its dry clutch, shaft drive, dual shocks, and dual exhaust. The V7 Special ($9,490) is classically styled, with spoked wheels, chrome finishes, dual analog gauges, and a traditional headlight. The more modern-looking V7 Stone ($8,990) has matte finishes, a single all-digital gauge, black exhausts, cast wheels, and an eagle-shaped LED set into the headlight.
I’ve ridden a variety of Moto Guzzis over the years — the Norge sport-tourer (named after the Norge GT 500, which Giuseppe Guzzi rode to the Arctic Circle in 1928), the carbon-fiber-clad MGX-21 Flying Fortress hard bagger, the classic California 1400 Touring, and the red-framed, chrome-tanked V7 Racer, among others. Each was unique, but all shared the distinctive cah-chugga-chugga sound when their V-twins fired up and the gentle rocking to the right side when their throttles were blipped at idle.
Riding a Moto Guzzi feels special. It’s a visceral, engaging, rhythmic experience. The V7 Stone brought me back to the simple pleasure of motorcycling — the feel of the wind against my body, the engine’s vibrations felt through various touch points, the exhilaration of thrust. Although the new V7 has a larger 853cc engine, variations of which are found in the V9 and V85 TT, output remains modest — 65 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 54 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, measured at the crank. But that’s enough. The V7 is one of those motorcycles that gives you permission to relax, to take your time and really savor the moment. What’s the rush?
Moto Guzzi made many useful, subtle updates to the V7 platform. Reduced effort from the single-disc dry clutch. A stiffer frame and a bigger swingarm with a new bevel gear for the cardan shaft drive. Revised damping and a longer stroke for the preload-adjustable rear shocks. An updated ABS module. A wider rear tire (now 150/70-17). Vibration-damping footpegs. A thicker passenger seat.
All are appreciated, but if I’m honest, I thought about none of them as I rolled through curve after curve on California’s Palms to Pines Highway, climbing higher and higher into the rugged, snow-dusted San Jacinto Mountains. For the better part of a day, I just rode the V7. I didn’t try to figure out its riding modes (it doesn’t have any), nor did I connect my smartphone to Moto Guzzi’s multimedia app. I rolled on and off the throttle. I shifted through the gears. And I smiled. A lot.
The V7 Stone is solid, predictable, carefree. Its engine doles out torque nearly everywhere, but it feels happiest chugging along in the midrange. Throttle response is direct, the exhaust note is soothing. Thanks to its modest weight, low seat, and natural ergonomics, riding and handling are effortless. Braking, shifting, suspension — everything dutifully meets expectations. Like the Guzzi that stole Pierson’s heart, the V7 Stone is a workhorse, and it’s easy on the eyes. Well, except for its peculiar-looking taillight, which has a constellation of red LEDs that look too sci-fi for this style of bike.
The V7 Stone Centenario carries the weight of Moto Guzzi’s century of history with confidence. The brand is an acquired taste, favored by connoisseurs rather than the masses, and it inspires a cult-like following. When I interviewed Melissa Holbrook Pierson for the Rider Magazine Insider podcast, I asked about her first encounter with a Guzzi. “It was chance,” she said. “I just happened upon the bike that was literally perfect for me.”
2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
Base Price: $8,990
Price as Tested: $9,190 (Centenario edition)
Website: motoguzzi.comEngine Type: Air-cooled, longitudinal 90-degree V-twin, OHV w/ 2 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 84.0 x 77.0mm
Horsepower: 65 hp @ 6,800 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Torque: 54 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated dry clutch
Final Drive: Shaft
Wheelbase: 57.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 28 degrees/4.1 in.
Seat Height: 30.7 in.
Wet Weight: 480 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gals.
For 2021, the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows tour has been rebranded as Progressive IMS Outdoors and events will be held outside, like open-air powersports festivals. The tour will visit nine major markets around the U.S. between July and November (see the full schedule at motorcycleshows.com). Each stop will be a three-day event for powersports enthusiasts and potential riders of all ages and skill levels, with motorcycle demo rides and hands-on experiences unique to each venue.
The first stop is in Northern California, at Sonoma Raceway over the weekend of July 16-18. We’re providing suggested scenic rides to or near each tour stop, with routes available on the REVER app. The Northern California ride is a 165-mile paved route that starts in the coastal town of Fort Bragg and ends at Sonoma Raceway, which is located north of San Francisco. Most of the route follows California State Route 1 south along the scenic, rugged Pacific Coast.
Fort Bragg is a charming burg that’s home to the Sea Glass Museum, the Skunk Train, and North Coast Brewing Company. Heading south through town on Route 1 (Main Street), the ride begins on the Noyo River Bridge. Known in this area as Shoreline Highway, Route 1 is a scenic two-lane road that winds along the contours of the coast. Despite being just 165 miles long, this route typically takes four to five hours, not including stops.
You’ll want to stop often at the many towns, natural areas, scenic overlooks, and state parks along the way, such as the Navarro River Bridge, where Route 128 goes inland to the Navarro River Redwoods State Park. Other highlights include Mendocino, Point Arena Lighthouse, Stewarts Point, Salt Point State Park, Fort Ross, Jenner, Sonoma Coast State Park, Duncans Point, and Bodega Bay.
After riding along the eastern edge of Tomales Bay, you’ll arrive in the town of Point Reyes Station. Turn onto Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, which follows Lagunitas Creek and passes along the Nicasio Reservoir. The route continues east, crosses U.S. Route 101, and follows State Route 37 (Sears Point Road) and State Route 121 (Arnold Drive) to Sonoma Raceway. Enjoy the ride and enjoy the show!
For more information about Progressive IMS Outdoors and to buy tickets, visit motorcycleshows.com.
The weekend of the LiquiMoly Motorrad German GP was special for many reasons, not least for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) epic return to the top step of the podium after a 581-day absence, completing one of the most remarkable sporting comebacks in memory. Victory meant that it was eleven straight wins across all classes for the eight-time World Champion at the Sachsenring, but the fact that he did it in HRC colours meant it took on added significance.
Honda haven’t taken the chequered flag first since the conclusion of the 2019 season, but Sunday’s win now means that we have seen four different manufacturers stand on the top step in four successive races, a first in the MotoGP™ era, and not seen since 1975, when Briton Phil Read won for MV Augusta in the 500cc class.
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Marc Marquez leading the way chasing his 11th successive win at the Sachsenring and his eighth in the premier class. The Repsol Honda rider qualified in fifth place, the best since his return to Grand Prix racing, and made a great start from the second row diving up the inside at the infamous turn one before taking the lead at the last corner of the first lap. In second place Spaniard Aleix Espargaro chasing his first-ever podium finish on the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini after starting from the front row of the grid. It was the first time the Italian factory better known for 125 and 250 cc two-stroke success had begun a four-stroke race from the front row.
Motorcycles are not included in a NSW Government incentive package that includes a $3000 rebate to lure motorists into electric vehicles.
NSW is the only state so far to offer any incentives at all for electric vehicles, while overseas motorists are being enticed with free tolls and parking, cash rebates, tax incentives and more to go electric.
The NSW package includes the elimination of stamp duty on electric vehicles (EV) up to $78,000 from 1 September 2021 and all EVs including Plug In Hybrid (PHEV) from 1 July 2027, $151 million investment in EV charging infrastructure in metropolitan and regional areas, EV access to transit T2 and T3 lanes and cash rebates for EV customers represent some of the most significant reforms ever seen in Australia in support of new automotive technology.
Motorcycles are already able to use transit lanes but electric motorcycles and scooter are not included in the EV rebate carrot “at this stage”.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries say they will “continue to follow up with the Government into the future”.
FCAI boss Ton Webber says the package will show the direction for other states.
We test the third-generation 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa, a 1,340cc, 188-horsepower sportbike received its first major update since 2008.
Compared to the previous model, peak horsepower and torque are lower — 188 horsepower at 9,700 rpm (down from 194) and 111 lb-ft at 7,000 rpm (down from 114) — but there are sizable gains in the heart of the rev range. Suzuki claims the new Hayabusa goes 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds, a couple of tenths faster than its predecessor.
The Hayabusa has updated styling, new instrumentation, and a new IMU-based electronics package called the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System. Six riding modes (three presets, three customizable) adjust power, engine braking, traction control, and quickshifter mode. SIRS also includes linked cornering ABS, a speed limiter, launch control, slope-descent control, hill-hold control, and cruise control.
We tested the 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa for two days on the street and on the track in Utah. It’s insanely fast, makes a ton of velvety smooth power at all times, and handles well for a 582-pound sportbike. Check it out in our video review:
Moto Guzzi is celebrating 100 years of continuous production this year. Its updated V7 Stone is available in a special Centenario edition for 2021 that’s a tribute to Moto Guzzi’s Otto cilindri V-8 GP racer, which went over 170 mph in 1955. The Centenario livery, with a silver tank, green fenders and side panels, a brown seat, and special badging, is also available on 2021 Moto Guzzi V85 TT and V9 Bobber models for an extra $200.
For 2021, the V7 Stone ($8,990) and V7 Special ($9,490) have a larger 853cc V-twin that makes 65 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 54 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, measured at the crank. Other updates include reduced effort from the single-disc dry clutch; a stiffer frame and a bigger swingarm with a new bevel gear for the cardan shaft drive; revised damping and a longer stroke for the preload-adjustable rear shocks; an updated ABS module; a wider rear tire (now 150/70-17); vibration-damping footpegs; a thicker passenger seat; an updated styling.
The 2021 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone is solid, predictable, carefree. Find out more by watching our video review:
On April 8, 2021, at 8:47 p.m. near Sarasota, Florida, my 2001 Honda Aero 1100, a trusted traveling companion for the last 14 years, met its unceremonious end when the driver of a car ran a red left-turn arrow and crossed my lane of travel.
I bought my Aero in 2007, and ended up owning it longer than I’ve owned any other motorcycle. To say that it was a great bike is a major understatement. The Aero was steadfast, reliable and enjoyable for many magnificent motorcycle tours. Recently I had the thought that it might be the last motorcycle I’d ever own. Drawn to its classic styling, even after a decade and a half owning the bike, I would still smile when I looked at it parked in the garage.
Yeah, okay, so I loved the bike.
When I bought the Aero in 2007, it already had a windshield, auxiliary lights and highway bars, and within a short time I added a Corbin seat, Champion hard saddlebags and a throttle lock. Once outfitted, the bike was completely comfortable and suited for long-distance travel. I rode many 12-hour-plus days without complaint. Together, we logged nearly 100,000 miles from coast to coast.
Some of the best of these rides have been documented in the pages of Rider. Riding the Aero the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway culminated in my first article published in the magazine, “A Ride on the Ridge,” in the July 2009 issue. Living in the Atlanta area for many years, we explored well-known roads, like Tail of the Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway, and hidden gems throughout the Southeast.
When I moved to Seattle, Washington, in 2010, I rode the Aero through the Ozarks, on Route 66 west of Flagstaff, over the Hoover Dam and through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. While living in the Pacific Northwest, new routes up and around Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens and the Cascades, as well as east into the high desert around Yakima took us through some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever seen. More unforgettable memories and and more features in Rider, such as “Olympic Peninsula, Motorcycle Heaven in the Northwest” (May 2012) and “The Cascade Loop” (January 2014).
One of my most memorable rides was taking the Aero the “back way” to Idaho on the Brownlee-Oxbow Highway, along the Snake River and into Hells Canyon. On all these rides, through hundreds of hours and countless miles through some of the most deserted roads in America, I never doubted that the Honda would get me there and back. Many times I patted its tank like a cowboy pats his horse.
In 2016, at a career dead end and financially tapped out, I moved to southwest Florida, where my extended family lived. With no income, hustling to find a job and get back on my feet, the logical thing to do was sell the bike. Sadly I did, but I told the buyer, “When you buy your Harley” — everyone rides them here — “I want first call on buying it back.” Fourteen months later, my Aero came back home.
Our last tour was just a few weeks ago, a whirlwind five-day, 1,000-mile ride around northern Florida, with overnight stays in Cedar Key, Apalachicola, Jacksonville and Crescent Beach. A lovely ride.
But now it’s gone. Due to a split-second error by an impatient driver, the Aero suffered terminal front-end damage. It’s never easy to say goodbye to those we love. My Aero will be missed, but I’ll always have great memories of our years and miles together.