Wildgoose Chase Moto Guzzi

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: Fredrik on November 21, 2021, 09:28:01 AM

Title: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 21, 2021, 09:28:01 AM
Hello.

Anyone that have real life experience of long distance touring on early 70`s V7 models?

I plan to use my V7 for a longer journey the coming year and advices about the bike is appreciated. I have seen both posts that claim the bike is bullet proof and some that claim it is not very reliable. Based on my older Urals i have owned in the past never have stranded me do i hope the Guzzis are atleast the same in reliability. Of course do i refer to a well maintained motorcycle, mine is more or less stock except that the cylinders have been changed in the past to nicasil variants. Ignition is stock, generator etc.

What is your experiences?  :cheesy:
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: John A on November 21, 2021, 10:15:17 AM
I bought my first 71 Ambassador in 77. It had about 60K miles on it. I realized it needed a freshening up to be more reliable and found a machine shop in Sacramento that used to repair them for the CHP. They put iron liners in the cylinders and recut the ring grooves in the pistons for automotive type rings. I put in excess of 200K on that one in every type of riding condition. I bought another and eventually took the best of both to make one that I rode for a long time with normal maintenance. I was always able to fix any breakdowns and consider them to be very reliable and comfortable. I got rid of all my loop frame bikes and parts around ‘93 .
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 21, 2021, 10:24:18 AM
I bought my first 71 Ambassador in 77. It had about 60K miles on it. I realized it needed a freshening up to be more reliable and found a machine shop in Sacramento that used to repair them for the CHP. They put iron liners in the cylinders and recut the ring grooves in the pistons for automotive type rings. I put in excess of 200K on that one in every type of riding condition. I bought another and eventually took the best of both to make one that I rode for a long time with normal maintenance. I was always able to fix any breakdowns and consider them to be very reliable and comfortable. I got rid of all my loop frame bikes and parts around ‘93 .

Thanks for reply.

I hope the change to nicasil cylinders is a better choice than the stock chromed ones.
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: TOMB on November 21, 2021, 10:41:06 AM

(https://i.ibb.co/tJJ35NY/TOM-SPORT.jpg) (https://ibb.co/tJJ35NY)

(https://i.ibb.co/fpBwKw8/1972-moto-guzzi-eldorado-we.jpg) (https://ibb.co/fpBwKw8)

(https://i.ibb.co/0MVwnpN/TOMS-CONVERT.jpg) (https://ibb.co/0MVwnpN)
See the bikes in mileage Below in my signature and yes they are very reliable.

And yes the miles are correct

TOMB
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: AJ Huff on November 21, 2021, 10:55:36 AM
Nick949 can tell you 😉

-AJ
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Dave Swanson on November 21, 2021, 11:51:56 AM
If you read through the MGNOC newsletter archives there are many mega mile ride reports using Loops of all flavors. 

MGNOC has the newsletters on their website going back to 1971 when the newsletter was called The Moto Meatball News!  Good stuff in there and easily worth the membership fee on its own. 
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Dave Swanson on November 21, 2021, 11:57:16 AM
Thanks for reply.

I hope the change to nicasil cylinders is a better choice than the stock chromed ones.

It will be an engine life saving change and last for many thousands of trouble-free miles. 
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: pehayes on November 21, 2021, 12:12:54 PM
Do some research in the history of this forum.
Paul Van Hooff rode his V7 from Prudhoe Bay, AK down to Patagonia and then settled for awhile in Bolivia.  Last I heard he was on the same bike touring Russia.
Bruce Baille from British Columbia rode his V7 to Bolivia to visit with Paul while he was still there.
How far afield do you intend to tour?

Patrick Hayes
Fremont CA
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: lazlokovacs on November 21, 2021, 12:17:14 PM
Well,

I put disk brakes and better front forks on mine and rode it everywhere for about 3 years. It was totally bulletproof.

Until I did a fast run from Geneva down to Montpellier on a hot summer's afternoon, I'd say I was doing 80-90 all the way. (I had an, ahem, strong incentive....)  which is fast on a loop.

After that, and I don't know if it is at all related, I started to have nothing but trouble from the old girl.

Seriously, 3 years of perfection followed by an absolute nightmare in which time the bike

-started intermittently firing on one cylinder, changed coils, plugs, dizzy cap, points, condensor etc chasing it
-developed 2 separate leaks from the back of the gearbox
-started selecting weirdly
-starter motor stopped working
-alternator mounting bolts snapped
-rear drive pinion gear broke

And maybe more stuff I can't remember now!!!

Never really known anything like it. 3 years bulletproof and then problem after problem

Maybe someone put a hex on it or maybe I just pushed her too hard.

That's my experience, still don't know what to make of it!

 

Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 21, 2021, 12:30:36 PM
Do some research in the history of this forum.
Paul Van Hooff rode his V7 from Prudhoe Bay, AK down to Patagonia and then settled for awhile in Bolivia.  Last I heard he was on the same bike touring Russia.
Bruce Baille from British Columbia rode his V7 to Bolivia to visit with Paul while he was still there.
How far afield do you intend to tour?

Patrick Hayes
Fremont CA

The planned route is not so extreme. But something like the attached map shows.


(https://i.ibb.co/KWCgCTT/64-A8-A444-1-E7-C-4-E87-98-E3-2909-F74-A10-FA.png) (https://ibb.co/KWCgCTT)
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 21, 2021, 12:31:32 PM
If you read through the MGNOC newsletter archives there are many mega mile ride reports using Loops of all flavors. 

MGNOC has the newsletters on their website going back to 1971 when the newsletter was called The Moto Meatball News!  Good stuff in there and easily worth the membership fee on its own.

Thanks, sounds like a great source of information.  :cheesy:
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: jumpmaster on November 21, 2021, 04:20:30 PM
Well,

I put disk brakes and better front forks on mine and rode it everywhere for about 3 years. It was totally bulletproof.

Until I did a fast run from Geneva down to Montpellier on a hot summer's afternoon, I'd say I was doing 80-90 all the way. (I had an, ahem, strong incentive....)  which is fast on a loop.

After that, and I don't know if it is at all related, I started to have nothing but trouble from the old girl.

Seriously, 3 years of perfection followed by an absolute nightmare in which time the bike

-started intermittently firing on one cylinder, changed coils, plugs, dizzy cap, points, condensor etc chasing it
-developed 2 separate leaks from the back of the gearbox
-started selecting weirdly
-starter motor stopped working
-alternator mounting bolts snapped
-rear drive pinion gear broke

And maybe more stuff I can't remember now!!!

Never really known anything like it. 3 years bulletproof and then problem after problem

Maybe someone put a hex on it or maybe I just pushed her too hard.

That's my experience, still don't know what to make of it!

Sort of supports the old adage:  "Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean that you SHOULD do something!"  On the other hand if the speed cited above are kph rather than mph, then you weren't really pushing the bike hard even if it was a hot day.
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 21, 2021, 04:30:29 PM
Sort of supports the old adage:  "Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean that you SHOULD do something!"  On the other hand if the speed cited above are kph rather than mph, then you weren't really pushing the bike hard even if it was a hot day.

I have the impression a V7 750 from that era shall be able to hold 120-130 km/h all day long.
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Dave Swanson on November 21, 2021, 04:53:15 PM
If I wanted a bike that could hold 80 miles per hour all day long I probably wouldn't be rolling my 750cc V7 Special out.   I think the 750cc Loops are happiest at 100 to 110 kmh. 
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: lazlokovacs on November 23, 2021, 07:13:23 PM
uhhhh miles dudes
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: lazlokovacs on November 23, 2021, 07:17:09 PM
we're all in agreement, I think...

60-70mph 100-110 kmph all day  = happy days

80-90mph 130-140kmph all day = could cause problems

I think I had the speedo up at 150km a fair bit as well!

With the disc brakes and some decent suspension she seemed quite happy there....  alas

Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: ray bear on November 23, 2021, 11:03:26 PM
90 to 100 kph all day long and smell the roses and take in the scenery, Ive travelled a mere 60,000 km on my Eldorado with almost no issues and I travel on unpaved roads often but at a more sedate speed than on sealed roads . I have converted my wheels to tubeless to make punctures less of a chore.   Ray
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 24, 2021, 06:01:23 AM
90 to 100 kph all day long and smell the roses and take in the scenery, Ive travelled a mere 60,000 km on my Eldorado with almost no issues and I travel on unpaved roads often but at a more sedate speed than on sealed roads . I have converted my wheels to tubeless to make punctures less of a chore.   Ray

How to convert to tubeless? Sounds very intresting and a safer option.  :cheesy:
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Chuck in Indiana on November 24, 2021, 06:39:12 AM
The biggest reliability problem with *any* old Guzzi will be the electrics. Completely go through the electrical system cleaning, deoxiting connections, and you'll be good to go. They are bullet proof mechanically.
As far as making the wheels tubeless, search is your friend. Many have documented it here.
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Antietam Classic Cycle on November 24, 2021, 08:49:39 AM
The biggest reliability problem with *any* old Guzzi will be the electrics. Completely go through the electrical system cleaning, deoxiting connections, and you'll be good to go. They are bullet proof mechanically.


 :thumb: Add relays for the headlight circuit to prevent melting the fuseblock and/or left handlebar switch. Both were only meant for the draw of a 45/40 watt headlight bulb, not a 60/55. Or run an LED headlight and forget the relays.
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 24, 2021, 03:43:34 PM
About tyres and the inner tube, is it better to use the so called heavy duty tubes to prevent a flat tire?
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Antietam Classic Cycle on November 24, 2021, 04:08:57 PM
About tyres and the inner tube, is it better to use the so called heavy duty tubes to prevent a flat tire?

No. Heavy Duty tubes just lead to more heat build-up at sustained high speeds. Not to mention the increased weight and it's effect on unsprung weight. Just use high quality "regular duty" tubes and you'll be fine. I prefer IRC tubes.
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Scout63 on November 24, 2021, 04:37:36 PM
No. Heavy Duty tubes just lead to more heat build-up at sustained high speeds. Not to mention the increased weight and it's effect on unsprung weight. Just use high quality "regular duty" tubes and you'll be fine. I prefer IRC tubes.

+1 on IRC regular tubes.  I’ve never had one fail.  I think the best thing to do for a long trip would be to get to know the bike really well mechanically and put together a good tool and spares kit.
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Moparnut72 on November 24, 2021, 09:24:22 PM
Back in the day when I was riding Airheads a very savy dealer told me that BMW used natural rubber inner tubes. He said this was because they resisted tearing to prevent rapid air loss in the event of a puncture. I have never heard anything pro or con on this. Can anyone comment on this? If so are natural rubber inner tubes even available in this day and age.
kk
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 25, 2021, 06:23:07 AM
Anyone that have used Duro HF308 tyres on their bike?


(https://i.ibb.co/9hvWyPV/9-B6-A6161-0613-4-C79-8-B09-F865262-F5-D8-A.webp) (https://ibb.co/9hvWyPV)
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Antietam Classic Cycle on November 25, 2021, 08:50:41 AM
Anyone that have used Duro HF308 tyres on their bike?


(https://i.ibb.co/9hvWyPV/9-B6-A6161-0613-4-C79-8-B09-F865262-F5-D8-A.webp) (https://ibb.co/9hvWyPV)


I have them on my '69 V700. Excellent traction wet, dry, dirt, or gravel. The rear was worn out at 6k miles, the front will go double that.

Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: mtiberio on November 25, 2021, 09:01:16 AM
Back in the day when I was riding Airheads a very savy dealer told me that BMW used natural rubber inner tubes. He said this was because they resisted tearing to prevent rapid air loss in the event of a puncture. I have never heard anything pro or con on this. Can anyone comment on this? If so are natural rubber inner tubes even available in this day and age.
kk

supposely natural envelopes the nail, slower leakage. synth rubber has greter tendency to tear/shred. quicker deflation.
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 25, 2021, 11:18:25 AM
I have them on my '69 V700. Excellent traction wet, dry, dirt, or gravel. The rear was worn out at 6k miles, the front will go double that.

Great! Thanks for reply.  :cheesy:
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Tkelly on November 25, 2021, 11:33:31 AM
If you know Johan the cop fromGoteborg who restored an Ambassador say hello from me In Wisconsin.He rode my bikes when he was here.TomKelly
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: chuck peterson on November 26, 2021, 06:34:49 AM
I suggest at those ages, 20-30-40-50 yrs old, any bikes reliability is dependent on the maintenance done at home, and road repair skills of the rider in the wild

I can fix a broken spark plug cap, but finding out why a loop is running on one cylinder may be beyond me…(bad condenser?, i guess…maybe)

The bike may mechanically or electrically come to a stop, but what are my skills (and or luck in past situations) to resolve it

I’m more likely to call AAA for a tow and a hotel when faced w a no start

Others can remove shell bearings on the side of the road…in the dirt…in the dark…

Know thyself…and the bike
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Mayor_of_BBQ on November 26, 2021, 08:04:15 AM
I dont think a V700 will do 80--90mph at all, let alone all day!  I cant get my Ambo over 75, but im a great big ol'boy. It does seem it would run happily at 65mph all day and all night tho
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 26, 2021, 10:43:50 AM
I dont think a V700 will do 80--90mph at all, let alone all day!  I cant get my Ambo over 75, but im a great big ol'boy. It does seem it would run happily at 65mph all day and all night tho

I can take mine to 150km/h without any problems and cruising at 120km/h. A stock V7 Special has a claimed top speed over 100mph (160 km/h).
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Tom H on November 26, 2021, 07:48:15 PM
I just wanted to make sure which engine we are talking about. Is this a 700cc or a 750cc? Makes a bit of a difference with gearing and such.

Tom
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: cappisj1 on November 26, 2021, 09:56:46 PM
I know it’s an 850 but most everything else is the same. I bought this and put the nicasil cylinders on it. Took a 2,000 mile trip on it in September. Again it’s the 850 and other then the jugs 100% stock but it did 75-80 mph when needed. I took 2 lane roads as much as I could so we ran along at 55-65 mph all day long. I did put new plugs in it on the trip. I gave it a good tuneup with point gap, timing, plug gaps, valves adjusted and grease and oils before I left.

I would think if the wiring and connections are in good shape and you trust the bike enough your good to go.

I just had to adjust my expectations for daily miles, it is not like my Norge. After I excepted that, I had a ball on the old girl. I’ll do it again next year for sure.


(https://i.ibb.co/z62s4dY/BD5-E1231-BD6-B-45-EA-8993-C59-CEF9-A6644.jpg) (https://ibb.co/z62s4dY)
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 27, 2021, 05:43:36 AM
I just wanted to make sure which engine we are talking about. Is this a 700cc or a 750cc? Makes a bit of a difference with gearing and such.

Tom

Mine is a 750cc.  :cheesy:
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: nick949 on November 27, 2021, 07:05:35 AM
Just do it. Take a few spares (plugs, points etc.) and a good tool kit and ride.  If you do have a little trouble on the way, think of it as part of the adventure.
Modern bikes, with their effortless reliability and performance are just so dull. Enjoy the challenge. Take the V7.

Nick
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 27, 2021, 09:16:36 AM
Just do it. Take a few spares (plugs, points etc.) and a good tool kit and ride.  If you do have a little trouble on the way, think of it as part of the adventure.
Modern bikes, with their effortless reliability and performance are just so dull. Enjoy the challenge. Take the V7.

Nick

Yes Sir, that is my plan.  :thumb:
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: smdl on November 27, 2021, 02:05:31 PM
I did a 7500km, cross country trip on my '74 Eldorado in 2017, completely without issue.  That said, I fully restored the bike in 2012, with all new electrics (thank you, Gregory Bender).  Engine is a 949cc, and the bike will readily do over 90mph indicated.  However, sustained riding over 75mph starts pushing oil out of the breather, and I have to watch consumption.  I wouldn't hesitate to do the same trip again today. 

Truly a practical classic!

Cheers,
Shaun
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: guzziownr on November 28, 2021, 03:02:54 PM
I bought a new-to-me 2013 Griso a week before a rally. 7K miles on the clock. The rally was three states away so I rode my '75 Eldorado because -- reliability!
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Klinkhammer on November 30, 2021, 09:34:09 AM
A few years ago I rebuilt a 850T and rode it from Stockholm to the factory in Mandello with some friends.
Finished the build the evening before we left. The test ride was from the garage to my home and back for some sleep.
Re-torqued the heads, checked fluids and off we went. Did the first change of oil in France. Kind of stupid but had no problems whatsoever.
Did the same trip a year later. Clutch cable snapped in Germany on the way home, apart from that no problems.
I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
Also, stop by for a cup of coffee in Stockholm!

This is the bike. Not as uncomfortable as it looks with a tank bag you can lean on.


(https://i.ibb.co/QCBgDWM/850T.jpg) (https://ibb.co/QCBgDWM)
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on November 30, 2021, 09:37:14 AM
A few years ago I rebuilt a 850T and rode it from Stockholm to the factory in Mandello with some friends.
Finished the build the evening before we left. The test ride was from the garage to my home and back for some sleep.
Re-torqued the heads, checked fluids and off we went. Did the first change of oil in France. Kind of stupid but had no problems whatsoever.
Did the same trip a year later. Clutch cable snapped in Germany on the way home, apart from that no problems.
I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
Also, stop by for a cup of coffee in Stockholm!

Great to know i have back-up in Stockholm if needed. Thanks!  :cheesy:
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Klinkhammer on November 30, 2021, 09:57:37 AM
Great to know i have back-up in Stockholm if needed. Tanks!  :cheesy:

Welcome :wink:
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Furbo on December 03, 2021, 12:38:49 PM
Generally very reliable - some one else mentioned electrics, and I would agree. IMHO the wiring harness is way too complex....   If you're on the original starter relay - replace it. Other weak spots on the V7's are the seals in the bell housing (engine and Tranny), the clutch cable and the U Joint. One more - as the bike is 50yrs old - if you've not done so replace the wheel bearings all round. The BEST thing a disintegrating bearing will do is leave you stranded. The worst.....will leave you personally with no future problems...at all.....ever...  :shocked:
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Antietam Classic Cycle on December 03, 2021, 01:07:00 PM
Generally very reliable - some one else mentioned electrics, and I would agree. IMHO the wiring harness is way too complex....   If you're on the original starter relay - replace it. Other weak spots on the V7's are the seals in the bell housing (engine and Tranny), the clutch cable and the U Joint. One more - as the bike is 50yrs old - if you've not done so replace the wheel bearings all round. The BEST thing a disintegrating bearing will do is leave you stranded. The worst.....will leave you personally with no future problems...at all.....ever...  :shocked:

Sorry, but I don't agree with some of this. The original (non-police) Loopframe wiring is about the most simple and easy to understand of any motorcycle ever. Adding relays for the headlight and horn is a good idea. 

The clutch cable is no more prone to failure than on any other Guzzi and on a 4 spd. Loop is very easy replace. Use a good quality cable such as those made by Barnett and keep the hand lever and barrel fitting that goes into it greased and moving freely. Barnett also makes the best quality brake cables. 

Yes, the u-joint is smaller on drum-brake Guzzis than on disk-brake Guzzis, but can last a very long time unless the bike is ridden heavily loaded, has performance modifications, or the rider abuses it. My '69 with 111k miles still has the original u-joint.

Same with the wheel bearings. They are an uncommon sized tapered roller bearing, not readily available at bearing suppliers. Aftermarket replacements of unknown origin are available, and Peters Bearings in Germany may have new old stock. Fortunately, if kept greased and shimmed properly they will outlast the rest of the bike. I cleaned and repacked mine when I replaced the tires last time - at 105k miles they still looked nearly new. In the 15 years I've been wrenching on old Guzzis professionally, I have yet to see a bad one of these wheel bearings. More suspect would be steering head, swingarm pivot and u-joint carrier bearings. 
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Fredrik on December 03, 2021, 03:53:27 PM
Sorry, but I don't agree with some of this. The original (non-police) Loopframe wiring is about the most simple and easy to understand of any motorcycle ever. Adding relays for the headlight and horn is a good idea. 

The clutch cable is no more prone to failure than on any other Guzzi and on a 4 spd. Loop is very easy replace. Use a good quality cable such as those made by Barnett and keep the hand lever and barrel fitting that goes into it greased and moving freely. Barnett also makes the best quality brake cables. 

Yes, the u-joint is smaller on drum-brake Guzzis than on disk-brake Guzzis, but can last a very long time unless the bike is ridden heavily loaded, has performance modifications, or the rider abuses it. My '69 with 111k miles still has the original u-joint.

Same with the wheel bearings. They are an uncommon sized tapered roller bearing, not readily available at bearing suppliers. Aftermarket replacements of unknown origin are available, and Peters Bearings in Germany may have new old stock. Fortunately, if kept greased and shimmed properly they will outlast the rest of the bike. I cleaned and repacked mine when I replaced the tires last time - at 105k miles they still looked nearly new. In the 15 years I've been wrenching on old Guzzis professionally, I have yet to see a bad one of these wheel bearings. More suspect would be steering head, swingarm pivot and u-joint carrier bearings.

Alot of great info, thanks.  :azn:
Title: Re: V7 Special -1971 touring reliability
Post by: Stretch on December 04, 2021, 10:25:12 AM
Quote
Just do it. Take a few spares (plugs, points etc.) and a good tool kit and ride.  If you do have a little trouble on the way, think of it as part of the adventure.
Modern bikes, with their effortless reliability and performance are just so dull. Enjoy the challenge. Take the V7.

Nick

Yeah - what Nick said.  :smiley:

Have fun!

                     -Stretch