Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1979 01 24

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 39 of 39

that the dry, single plate clutch engages quickl y and a bit too positively -. We got the front wheel off the ground going into second gear a few times. Fortunately. the lever works easily and smoothly. and you quickly learn to finesse it a little. Guzzis tend to require a yery long break-in period. and the old er bikes in the group had noticeably smoother transmissions. Neutral was hard to find at times on the V·50 , even though the c1utch-"'as adjusted to the proper tens ion . That should disappear with use also . On the way to the mountains we had the opportunity to play around a little and get the feel of the bike. We found the gearing to be broadly spaced, with fifth having ' the feeling of an over : ' drive. Top gear is really on ly useful in cruising at 70 mph and above. In this respect the bike reminded us of the CX500 Honda , although the Honda . seems to have a good dea l more motor and makes power through a much broader rp m range . _ We felt tha t the red line might be a bit conservative at eight grand. It starts making good power at about 6000 rpm , and if the bike had more m iles on it we would have kept go ing all the way up to ten grand. As it was. we just had to be more precise with our shifting than on our personal CX500. The bike doesn't seem to mind pulling from 4000 rpm- but the rider might take offense at the additional noise and vibration. After a couple of hours on the V-50 your fanny starts to complain . · The seat has a sort of air- cushion effect that is too soft and settles right down to an overl y firm base. It gets better if you sit back a little more than normal . W ith a change of seat this m ight be an acceptable light tourer, because the ' riding posltlon is otherwise comfortab le. with the pegs and bars well positioned. The seat is plenty long, with a mi ld rise in the back. and a passenger shouldn't feel cra mped at all . If you keep th e engine above five grand, you don't notice any vibration. Not even in the bars and pegs. This contributes to making the mirror one of the clearest we've seen. As the day wore on . our throttle hand began to wear out. The spring tension was just too great for comfort. We liked the position of the various controls well enough, except for the starter button. which was too far under the bar and hard to use. Everything is kept small and tight to the bars. giving this area of the bike a very clean look. We found the in struments were easy to read . except for the id iot lights. Getting up into the foothills . we picked up our pace to between 70 and 80 mph as the road go t na rrower and th e curves got tigh ter . Everyone began feeling their oats. incl uding the bikes, as we got a taste of what we'd come for . Finally we stopped in a pa rking lot at the base of a mountain. The next five or six miles were nothing but swit · chback turns with a few tin y straights thrown in for va riety. Our plan was to switc h bikes around and playrace over the mountain 'til everyone had an op · portunity to ride the V·50. What we ha d found was Moto Guzzi heaven. This is the environment the V· 50 was obviously intended for . We really appreciated its lightness and narrowness as we hammered it through the zig-zags. It's also very clean underneath , and the couple of times that we managed to drag the pegs we were fast a p proac hing ou r threshold of fear and the lim its of our reflexes . We found tha t if we were precise ab ou t our shifting, we could hold with the bigger bikes through the turns . and lost only minor distance in the straights. In this type of riding you · don't notice any lack of power. The suspension, which we had felt , to be a bit firm up to this point. really .outdid itself in the corners. It -soaked up everyt hing we threw at it and helped considerably toward the overall feeling of stability the V·50 has in high speed turns. There are no h inges in the middle of th is one. We'll wager that you're not brave enough to induce a shake or a wobble. The Micheli n tires stuck like glue the whole time. The only thing that would break the rear end loose was an ill timed shift. Perhaps one of the nicest features of a Moto Guzzi is the dual braking' system . Being able to work bo th front and rear brakes with the ped al alone frees your m ind to concentr at e on shifting a nd throt tle control going into a corner. This is especially important in controlli ng rear wheel hop on a shaft drive bike. The hand brake is really only necessary in emergency stops. After coming into this test as skeptics (after all , we already thought we had the finest available example of a V-twin shaft drive) we came out of it with a deep appreciation of the qualities of the V·50 . Modern styling and solid engineering have been combined into a very neat, functional package: A V·50 can be had for around $2.450 cash. Whether or not it is worth over $600 more than yci would pay u in a cash deal for a CX500 depends a lot on your priorities. If you plan to do a lot of distance riding, or often go two-up. then it probably wouldn't be worth j t to you . On the other hand , if you just live for those moments when you're dragging your kn ee th rou gh . those switc hbacks, go for a ride on th e • V· 50 and sell yo urself. . Specifications Engine type OHV pushrod, 90 degree V·twin. four stroke Displacement '. " 490cc Bore & stroke 74mm X 57mm Compressio n ratio ... • . . . . . ...... .. . . . ... . .. .. . . . . . .. . . .. 10.8:1 Horsepower . . . .... . . . . . •. . . • ........ ...... • . .. • . .....• • . . NA Torque ...... ...... .. ....... . ... . . ... .. .... . .... .... •. .... NA Ignition ; Bosch COl , Carburetors . .. .. . . . •. .. ... .. . . ... . .. ...... .... Dell'Orto 24mm Gearbox . .. ... . • . . . .. . • .. . . . .. . . . . . .. .. . • . . . . . .. . .... . 5 speed Clutch dry. single plate Tires FIR ... . • ~ ,. " Michel i n 3.00X1S" I 3.50X1S" Weight . . .•.. . . .. . . . .. . .. . . . . . . • . . .. • • . • . . 335 Ibs . dry (claimed) Top speed .. •. . ... . . . • ... . • . .. • . . .. .. " .. 105 mph solo (claimed) . ,Price ..... . .. . •. . ... . . . ~ . . • . • . ..... . .. .. . •. . . ..... . . . .. . $2..450 15

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