Celebrating 95 years for a company is a big thing and to have survived against all odds was a mountainous task for Moto Guzzi. Even after having such a rich racing history of winning almost 3000 races and a couple dozen world championships, the name Moto Guzzi had eerily vanished from the motorcycle scene, until now. The calm before the storm.
Paying tribute to this past efforts of custom motorcyclists, MG headed to a major revival plan and launched the new range of V9 platform that angles towards the cruiser style rather than the V7’s roadster theme. And the first offerings are in the form of the mainstream-custom “Roamer,” and the more sinister “Bobber”.
Manufacturers and now foraying into the current wave of enthusiasts wanting custom and classic motorbikes. And for Moto Guzzi, it has its own deep roots to draw upon for inspiration from which the ‘V9s have been prepped up for the consciousness of the new generation of motorcycling.
The V9 Roamer and the V9 Bobber are the same breed of bikes that differ slightly to imprint two different characters but carries the same soul.
This is the department where the real life difference between the V9 Roamer and the Bobber takes the part. Although designed by the futuristic thinkers of the Centro Stile Piaggio Group with input from the Piaggio Advanced Design Centre (PADC), the ’70s-era styling makes into these bikes rather effortlessly and it suits the MG’s heritage impression really well.
The V9’s minimalist design reminds us of the beauty of simple elementalism and it holds true to both the Roamer and the Bobber. The defining feature on both the classically-styled V9 Roamer and aggressive-looking V9 Bobber is the teardrop design of the bike’s tank and both models sport blackout sliders that start things headed in the custom garage-job concept right off the bat. The bikes are all metal, including fenders and sidecovers, and have a steel twin-tube cradle frame with right-side up fork legs.
The Roamer exudes old-school cool with a pullback handlebar and chrome vintage-style mirrors, exhaust pipes and dual shock springs. More elegant and shinier with the gloss paint, this Roamer feels like a standard roadster along with the thick and wide saddle. It rolls on cast aluminium wheels painted matte black with a diamond-cut finish. A narrow 19 inch 100/90 tyre at the front and a 16-inch rear carrying a chunky 150/80 gives the cruiser appeal.
On the other hand, the Bobber seems to be more of a masculine silhouette with a traditional darker and sportier nemesis. The black theme is seen everywhere including the flat drag-style handlebar mounted on lovely aluminium bar, mirrors, springs and the exhaust. Giving in to the Bobber feel is the chopped rear fender and the narrow thin seats that may not be comfortable on the long run. What makes this Bobber run is also the same thing that makes it aggressively hot – chubby 130/90 and 150/80 – 16 inch tyres that distinguishes it from its stablemate.
The instrument gauge is a simple single classic round-faced design, housing an analogue speedometer with an array of display for odometer, trip meters, fuel consumption, miles until fuel is needed, clock, ambient temperature, average speed, gear position, traction-control setting. There is no tachometer but, again, that’s not a draw for this bike’s demographics.
You cannot neglect noticing the longitudinally-mounted 90-degree twin in the first ever glimpse, it’s the signature layout of a brand. Guzzi’s in-the-wind, fire-breathing, knee guards are unmistakable, even in these blacked out versions with aluminium highlights and the new V9 family is no exception.
Close to 90 percent of this V-twin mill is new and the displacement is up from 744cc in the V7 to 853cc. Bowing to the Euro IV norms, there are many improvements that head to minimize power losses and emissions. Traditional air cooling and 2 valves per head stays in this motor, though now with added oil cooling complies with the regulations. The Marelli electronic-fuel injection has a single shared throttle body. At idle, like all Moto Guzzi engines, the V9 has a pleasant side-to-side beat. Yet, once the rpms are at riding speed, the beat smooths right out and there is no distracting vibration.
Underwhelming is the motor’s 55 bhp at 6,250 rpm and 62Nm at a low 3000 rpm which is enough for the town. A single plate clutch transmits this to the rear through a 6 speed gearbox and a shaft type final drive. Exhaust is through a 2-into-2, stainless-steel system with a three-way catalytic converter and twin Lambda probes.
|Bore/ Stroke mm||84/77|
|Type||Air and oil-cooled, 4-stroke, 90° V twin, DOHC|
|Valves per cylinder||2|
|Clutch type||Single plate|
RIDE AND HANDLING
Ride on both the V9 Roamer and the Bobber have a cruiser attitude but are different due to varying attributes. The Roamer has a pullback, sweep up and back for a relaxed position handlebar with wide saddle and mid mount footpegs offering a neutral riding position that is comfortable enough on long rides. Meanwhile, the Bobber has a drag style handlebar and thin narrow saddle with mid mount footpegs that give it a more aggressive, forward-leaning riding position which cannot be called comfortable but looks meaner around the short bursts in town. But the teardrop tank design limits the rider having admitting riding position as it does not allow any scope for the legs to be tucked in.
The varying tyre setting make the Bobber hold its line better than the Roamer in tight turns. Whereas the Roamer’s front end felt vague after initial turn-in, the Bobber felt planted and predictable. Both bikes weighing at 210 kg makes it nimble and easy to toss it back and forth or side to side. Saying that does not mean that one could lean considerably. Doing that will scrape the footpegs or even give them to your hand since they are positioned lower and you will only cringe when that happens. Goosebumps thinking of it. Overall, neither bikes disappoint.
Though the V9s are tuned for a soft ride, suspension setup on both the bikes were basic and standard non-adjustable forks with 5.1 inch travel and pre-loaded adjustable rear shocks with 3.8 inches of travel. They were comfortable for modest speeds but at higher rates, the shocks do not take hard hits well. Pair of Brembo 4-pot 320mm disc and 2-pot 260mm disc provide predictable stopping power at a peg-scraping pace.
Electronic rider aids includes dual channel ABS by Continental and standard Moto Guzzi traction control (MGTC) having two modes, “1 – dry” and “2 – wet,” which can be turned off if you think you are a pro.
|Suspension / Front||40 mm telescopic fork|
|Suspension / Rear||Two shock absorbers, with adjustable spring preload|
|Brakes / Front||Single 320 mm disc. Calliper: Brembo opposed four-piston callipers|
|Brakes / Rear||Single 260 mm disc. Calliper: Brembo opposed two-piston callipers|
|Tyres / Front||100/90-19|
|Tyres / Rear||150/80-16|
Both the V9’s will roll at ? 13.5 to 14.9 lakhs giving you an option to chose from your personal taste and style. Moto Guzzi will let you dress your machine with the closet full of accessories including soft bags, luggage racks, billet things, fenders, small retro-like windscreens, fully adjustable shocks, red valve covers, café-style seats, number-plate side covers (in metal) and even the missing tachometer.
The Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer is available in two different colour variants, both with a glossy finish: Giallo Solare with black inserts and Bianco Classico with red. The Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber is available in two colours, both with a completely matt finish: Nero Massiccio with yellow inserts and Grigio Sport with red inserts.
To keep the appeal of the same kind of buyers as the V9s, it is the American that can give the contender position. A no-brainer, this build from HD is a straightforward, no frills getup with very little embellishment.
The Iron 883 is powered by an 883cc V-twin engine, which produces 50bhp and 69Nm of torque. A part of the Evolution family of engines, this air-cooled engine is mated to a five-speed gearbox that transmits the power to the rear wheel through a belt drive. Built around a tubular steel frame, the Iron 883 rides on conventional telescopic front forks and dual springs at the rear.
Moto Guzzi always makes it a point to keep both retro and the modern fumbled into the same machine. These V9s are no different. They both amuse and bemuse with a thrilling and willing engine to carry it forward. The charming machines are carefully handcrafted in the historic Mandello factory which is both fun to look and ride. Easy to ride, these machines excel in usability, reliability and gets the job done with character.
The Roamer is a jump over and run to the supermarket type of bike or take it on a long haul and it will happily serve you. The Bobber is a different high which gives you immense fun on these short bursts of city escapes and a little bit of show off. Moto Guzzi is back my friends; back with a BANG.