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Bike Review - Posted 25th November 2015
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Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and Roamer

Jumping on the bandwagon or carving their own niche? Moto Guzzi announce two new 850cc air cooled v-twins targeting the growing retro-classic market...

Moto Guzzi have been undergoing a quiet renaissance over the last few years, with their larger engined models being transformed into a carefully and stylishly crafted range of cruising, touring and 'adventuring' models, with the cylinder heads biting into the petrol tanks and making the massive v-twin engine a focal-point of the machine. The 'small-block' V7, meanwhile, has taken on the mantle of the standard / starter / basic bike; the sort of slightly frumpy no-frills model we're all supposed to want.

Moto Guzzi can't have missed the instant success of the lighter and more powerful Ducati Scrambler and have responded with two new 850cc bikes that slot neatly into their own range between the 750cc V7s and the bigger Griso / California / Stelvio models.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and Roamer Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

The V9 comes in two models; The Bobber and The Roamer. They share almost everything apart from front wheel sizes and handlebars but are aimed at subtly different markets; the Roamer is more custom cruiser while the Bobber is more stripped back and essential.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and Roamer Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer

Engine: Heart of the Matter

Don't be fooled by the 850cc capacity; the Bobber and Roamer aren't based on the old Tonti-framed 850 engines we knew and loved in the Le Mans, California and 850T3. Their 77mm stroke and 84mm bore are both slightly bigger than the V7s and the cylinder heads are completely new, with angled rather than parallel valves. There's an all new six speed gearbox and the fuel injection and engine management system allow the bikes to conform to the latest Euro 4 emissions regulations.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and Roamer

The engine develops a claimed 55hp at 6250rpm and 62Nm of torque at 3000rpm. This is more than the V7 models (47hp, 59Nm) but less than the Ducati Scrambler (75hp, 68Nm) and Triumph T100 Bonnevilles (68hp, 68Nm). Harley Davidson are always coy about power output but quote 59Nm for the new 750cc Street and 71Nm for their 883 models.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and Roamer

Cycle Parts: Holding it Together

The bikes both share the same new frame and basic suspension; the only adjustment is to the rear shock absorbers' preload. There's a single disc brake with a four-piston Brembo calliper at the front and a disc and two-piston calliper at the rear. The claimed kerb weight is 200kg, compared to 189kg for the V7, 186kg for the Ducati Scrambler, 230kg for the T100 Triumph, 229kg for the H-D Street and 256kg for the H-D 883 Iron.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and Roamer

The tank is a useful 15 litres (three and a bit proper imperial gallons), the seat height about 770mm (just under 30.5) and the wheels 19 front and 16 rear for the Roamer or 16 front and rear for the Bobber

Other Stuff: There's More?

There's ABS (compulsory these days) and a traction control system which works by retarding the timing. The speedometer also features a clock (arguably the most useful piece of information you can have after speed), a couple of trip meters, fuel consumption readouts, air temperature, and so on. These might seem superfluous on a bike but once you've had them in your car, you miss them when they're not there. There's an immobiliser as well as a socket for charging a phone or sat-nav (I know, I know) and for the uber-geeks you can use your smartphone to do all sorts of clever stuff including finding your bike when you've lost it in the bike park at Silverstone.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and Roamer
Moto Guzzis on Now...

Styling: Take Your Pick

Forget all that spec' stuff, these are bikes that will live or die on their styling. The Roamer's taller front wheel, chromed exhausts and lighter paintwork change its 'look' considerably compared to the chunkier looking Bobber. We've peppered this review with photos so you can make up your own mind.

Price: Show me the Money

No prices have been confirmed yet. The current Moto Guzzi V7s start at 7,135 compared to the basic Ducati Scrambler's 6,895, the out-going Triumph T100's 7,599 and the H-D Street's 5,795 and 883 Iron's 7,495. The Bobber and Roamer are bound to cost more than the V7s but need to be priced within sight of their competitors.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and Roamer

Conclusion: And Finally

By the numbers, the Bobber and Roamer are more powerful and a little heavier than Moto Guzzi's own V7, lighter but less powerful than the existing 'Hinckley' Triumph Bonnevilles, closer to Harley-Davidson's new Street than to its existing 883 Sportsters and quite a way off the Ducati Scrambler.

In looks they're Moto Guzzi all the way; simpler (in a good way) than the bigger models and more stylish than the slightly stuffy looking V7s; we can't help feeling that'll be what makes them a success.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and Roamer

Words: Martin Gelder
Photo: Moto Guzzi

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