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Old 12-23-2012, 11:44 PM   #87
kamikazekyle
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Greater Hampton Roads, VA
Oddometer: 140
Finally got delivery on my V7 Stone on the 20th. The dealer was a bit backed up and took a week for crating and assembly.

So far, after a 148 mile ride after pickup (and a bit chilly with 40F temps and me oh so unprepared for that), the Stone is a whole interesting level of awesome. I kinda wish I had experience on the V7 Classic or at least the other 2013 V7 models. I decided on the Stone over the Racer since (1) I wanted the 2013 engine but didn't want all that chrome on the Racer (sexy as it may be); (2) I'm planning on doing a lot of touring with it and 2-up, so not having to buy a two-seater seat and rearrange the shocks is a boon, and (3) my girlfriend who doesn't want to ride my other motorcycles said she wanted the Stone.

The Stone really surprised me with it's agility and just how *light* and thin it feels. The high profile tires and cast wheels help a lot in that regard, but it's just over 400lbs wet and feels much less. It was actually not too far off in terms of flickability from my CBR250R, and that's with the preload set too low. I wouldn't put the two head to head in lean angles of course, but the Stone feels a bit more modern sportbike than one would first suspect. I still have plenty of scrubbing to do on the tires. The rear kicked out twice on my ride, but I think that was just me hitting areas on the tire for the first time plus a too-low preload. They were practically dripping with release compound. Keeping it within the already-established chicken strips they felt just as planted as the Angel ST's on my Ninja. Oh, and they come stock with right angle valve stems.

Almost no complaints with the engine. Naturally the transverse V is a hoot in its own right as the bike tries to throw itself on its side as it kicks over. The new ECU and throttle body gets rid of the fast idle lever, and the bike kicks right over cold in lower 40F temps. It starts better than my Ninja 1000 when cold. Power curve is as-reported, favoring 3-7k. You can ride it lower than 3k, but then it lugs a bit. 4-5k is the sweet crusing spot where the vibes smooth out and the engine just hums along all day. Plenty of get-up-and-go for its weight and enough horsepower to run the interstate with rollon to spare. Looks easy to work on, too, as the engine bay is super tidy and spacious. And there's only a hint of engine braking. On the classic Multi's L twin chopping the throttle in 1st gear could send you over then handlebars. For the Stone chopping the throttle feels like you have a slipper clutch.

About the only issues I have with the engine are with slow speeds, and the clutch. The engine isn't counterbalanced (or if it is it's a really bad counterbalancer), so at very slow speeds -- pulling up to a stop for instance -- the transverse V can literally push the bike off a straight line. Once you're into countersteering territory the bike naturally rebalances itself, but below that you're minorly "fighting" the engine. As for the clutch, there's very little feather zone and the engine likes to have 2-3k RPMs before you take off. The engine delivers peak torque just before 3k, which when combined with the lightweight and slim feather zone, means the bike can be prone to snapping a wheelie or stalling. After a bit I got used to the combo; I'm just familiar with my Ninja's clutch which at cold idle is enough to feather you uphill. Oh, and I can't find any freeplay adjusters on the clutch at the handle or at the engine.

I dunno where everyone says the suspension is hard or stiff. It's pretty soft to me, and by far the softest non-offroad/dual sport suspension I've ever used. Combined with the plush, soft seat it's a treat to cruise with. Yet somehow it's compliant enough to flick around the twisties. I haven't had time to really push the suspension, but it's not horrible. Sure, it's no Ohlins like I had on my Multi, but not something I see myself upgrading right off the bat. For a note, I'm 155 fully geared in armor and leathers and haven't properly measured sag, so I'm not sure if the springs are too soft yet or not. I still have 50% adjustment in the preload, though.

Oh, while I'm thinking about it, the manual is a bit off (or I read it wrong) on the preload adjusters. You have to loosen a sunken allen lock screw in the lower adjuster (the top is just for show or has no direct use as far as I can tell). They give you the spanner wrench for adjusting the shock, but not the 2.5mm hex key to loosen the lock. In general the manual is a joke, and I have no idea what fuses are for what since the only diagram is in Italian without an English translation. Plenty of other errors, too, like no differentiating between the final drive oil and the gearbox oil.

I'm planning on doing a lot of touring on the bike. The pegs might be a bit cramped for those taller than six feet, and the jury is still out on the seat. It's plush, as I mentioned, but too plush can be a bad thing. My ride was several hours but I stopped a lot to warm up. Also no direct reports from me on mileage, but from reports it looks like the new 2013 engine will net mid to upper 50's highway in warm weather. I dont' see myself hauling butt at 80+ on the interstate for hours on end since it is a naked bike, but I'd imagine I could ride a full tank on backroads with the stock setup. Bars are fine and do well to absorb vibes, as does the seat: no numbness to report. I *might* stick on a touring fairing for winter simply to reduce the freezing wind, but that's a $375 outlay for an aftermarket one and it does look a bit fugly.

Odds'n'ends: almost zilch storage space. Mirrors work fine, but the bike screams for bar ends. Brakes are competent, though lack bite. The rear brake is a treat compared to other bikes I've used. It actually works well, but won't lock the tire with a sneeze like the CBR250. I wish more things on the bike used either allan or hex bolts. Right now it's such a mix. Though for the basics like oil changes, two different sockets for the engine oil and another socket for the final drive oil. Yet the heads use allan bolts to get to the valves.

Anywho. I feel as though the Stone is a remarkable combo of daily driver and standard sportiness. Others in the thread have reported in on the Racer and as I haven't ridden one, I'll refrain from commenting on a comparison. Ditto on comparisons to a Bonnie or CB1100. Both those bikes are more powerful than the V7 series, but of course also heavier. Frankly I think the wet weight of the Stone is a nice match for the engine and it doesn't leave me wanting, but I also don't usually ride balls-to-the-wall. I've always preferred lighter, more agile bikes (sans my honkin' N1K).

And, pics. All these are with less than 10 miles on the odo.


V7 Stone I by kamikazekyle10, on Flickr


V7 Stone II by kamikazekyle10, on Flickr


V7 Stone III by kamikazekyle10, on Flickr


V7 Stone IV by kamikazekyle10, on Flickr


V7 Stone V by kamikazekyle10, on Flickr


V7 Stone VI by kamikazekyle10, on Flickr


V7 Stone VII by kamikazekyle10, on Flickr
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