2016 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber comes across as a cruiser with a heart of a motorcycle and the lower capacity makes more sense than ever before
- Bespoke Design, Attractive Cruiser
- Balanced chassis, brakes, engine
- Feature loaded, ABS standard
- Comfortable and easy to ride
- Less on power by a subtle margin
- Limited dealerships, period
There seems to be an abstract bond with Indians and Italians. Italians love-making things that we enjoy. Be it anything right from edible stuff to automotive. Indians love cruisers and Italian are making cruisers for a really long time now. Moto Guzzi is strengthening that bond by bringing its one a kind of cruisers in the Indian market. One of the few European cruiser manufacturer that is here is the Guzzi family of cruisers that are making its way to the Indian shores. We were so stunned by these facts (stable of cruisers) recently by them and ended up asking Piaggio at a recent plant visit about the same.
We asked that are these two (Bobber and Roamer) planned for India as they make a lot of sense in the current premium market situation. A huge surprise was a quick answer that they are coming in the next two weeks. Call that intuition or just sheer luck, we were excited. Launch followed by a good price tag and now we have finally our hands on the cruiser. We spend just about enough time with the Bobber for now to tell you what it is like. We will road test the identical mechanical package equipped V9 Roamer soon. For now let’s start ‘pushing’ this Bobber and tell you what it is like to ride.
Design First look at the cruiser and you know it is a bobber. The ‘double decker’ fuel tank, the large ribbed seat, the forged side panel with the name imprinted on it, the chunky tyres and wheel (multispoke) combo along with the low stance of the cruiser makes sure it looks completely different and yet garners some serious attention and questions from on goers. Even the engine and the exhaust design is something to look forward too as the cylinders stick out, the long exhaust canisters and the huge gearbox is visible and adds to the bespoke look that ever Moto Guzzi carries.
The silver and red scheme on the tank with Moto Guzzi imprinted along the chequred looking decals on them makes the case even more better as always when these two colors combine. Tail is stubby and minimalist with the rear fender stopping in between. The tail lights and number plate holder sticking out and even that looks right in place. Front continues to get a slim mudguard over the front tyre with a headlight that is a generic round unit that is on always (DRL). Do take note, the fuel tank isn’t lockable in true old-school cruiser tradition.
While the riding position is upright, seats are comfortable and the handlebars fall in to your hand directly, the foot pegs are in the middle and the mirrors are set well. What does obstruct this time even more than the Audace is the cylinder sticking out end up touching your legs more often then before. So much so they can be an hindrance in city riding. Expect burns in extremely heavy traffic. Plan your route through longer/faster/empty roads and you can live with this vehicle because it has some serious comfort to offer then.
Speedo and Switches
Speedo is also a small round dial which has all the fuel-efficiency parameters you need. There is a service indicator, tell-tale lights, MP/hr and km/hr both are mentioned along with two level traction control to be chosen with the button being on the left hand switchgear. Lack of tachometer continues. LHS also has a mode button that lets you toggle between the options that the meter has to offer.
RHS has a hazard light, starter switch and the usual ignition button. Switches are different they have a border casing that runs around them and are an all new unit not shared with previous Piaggio vehicles. Grips and handle bar weights continue to be same though. Feature list includes a USB port too for modern day tech savvy riders.
Performance and Gearbox
The engine has a 850cc twin-cylinder 2-valve per cylinder layout that makes 55 BHP of power and 60 Nm of torque. Most of the torque is available from 2000 RPM all the way till the redline. The engine is smooth, NVH levels are great and it is a free- revving motor. There is power throughout the rev-range as there is enough low-end torque and as always mid-range is spectacular and this is where the meat of the power band exist. However, thanks to well chosen gearing and a narrow power band that work in conjunction extremely well there is enough top-end to keep cruiser enthusiast happy. We managed to see 160 km/hr without much hassle on a large stretch of road.
All of this happens because the cruiser engine revs in a very motorcycle manner, the fly wheel isn’t heavy to give you the torquey feel, there isn’t sudden rush of torque anywhere, it is very linear yet it gives you an impression of riding a cruiser. The exhaust note makes all this even more apparent. A crucial fact nailed right by the Italian engineers.
A decision so right, looks like it was taken at ‘lunch time’. Gearbox isn’t butter smooth despite the use of helical gears as it should have. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a shaft drive. However, we think over the straight cut gears, this is most likely a much better gearbox. What is wrong though, is the missing of any-type of cooling system. No oil-cooling also means that the motor heats up dramatically in insane traffic that our test ground (Pune city) had during peak hours, that saw the motorcycle stall once.
A huge double cradle frame with a more modern swingarm despite age old dual shocks at the rear that are adjustable for preload is seen on the cruiser. Large 40 mm front forks that are telescopic continue to be on offer without any adjustability. The front-end is very light and makes maneuvering the cruiser in city and at slow to medium speeds quite easy. Despite this, highway stability at any given speed is rock solid. The flat handlebar on the Bobber makes thing very easy and approachable.
Ride quality is really well setup for our conditions and takes broken roads of any proportions very easily. Turn-in is quick enough as the rake is lower and the wheelbase is quite short by cruiser standards. It isn’t downright fun or agile in the corners thanks to large 16-inch tyres, but it can take sweepers at any given speed. Obviously, the motorcycle doesn’t need to be sharp enough to take corners while you drag your knee’s.
All of this is only possible when the tyres reach temperature, which do take some extra time to get ready. Kerb weight of 199 kgs is just about fine with the cruiser of this size and the engine that it offers. Brakes are good with decent bite and progressive power at the front. Moto Guzzi continues to offer good bite for the rear wheel brakes as well. Master cylinder so close to the lever is the reason? We aren’t so sure about this part. Overall, nothing really disappoints and the Bobber does it job well.
2016 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Review, Verdict
Apart from minor niggles then, there isn’t anything to fault with the V9 Bobber here. Bobber comes at a slightly expensive price tag than usual cruisers in the segment. However, what you get is very exclusive motorcycle which is still at an affordable price tag. Fan of the brands are already considering to get themselves as we speak. Just around Rs. 15 lakhs on-road in any city, the V9 Bobber with its flat handle bar will appeal more to young cruiser enthusiast. Meanwhile, the older enthusiast will fall for the chrome and more comfortable handlebar that the Roamer has. For now Bobber, can be your ideal entry into the premium cruiser segment.