It’s quite an achievement to be one of those motorcycle brands that come packed with heritage and legacy that matches quality and workmanship. However, Moto Guzzi is one of those rare brands that have a long history to boast about. It is the oldest and most historic motorcycle manufacturer in Italy. Also, lets not forget that Moto Guzzi is also one of the most loved motorcycle brand in the world.
Earlier this year, Moto Guzzi celebrated its 95th birthday and to mark this occasion, they introduced the V9 series, a new pair of midsized models, the Bobber and the Roamer, positioned to fit very well in a range right above the entry level V7 series. We got our hands on the V9 Bobber, which represents the darker, more sport-oriented soul of Moto Guzzi, standing out with total black look and large tyres mounted on 16-inch rims.
For those who are familiar with the brand, a quick walk around the V9 Bobber will highlight how well built the motorcycle is. Even during our shoot, the team couldn’t stop pointing out at the details. It is a fun, light, painstakingly crafted medium engine capacity motorcycle, heir to more than forty years of custom heritage. From the weld points on the new frame to the paintwork on the metal tank, Moto Guzzi spared no effort raising the bar to set new quality standards in this segment.
The V9 Bobber is also beautiful to look at, from any angle. It’s got the right proportions and what I liked the most is the matte gunmetal grey paint finish. Its oversized tyres, minimalistic bodywork and that ultra thin seat, all add to the charm of the V9, which will have most people question if it’s a custom motorcycle. It’s a very beautiful and functional design with its large round headlight, the steel, the aluminium and very little plastic.
Boasting a lightweight and nimble chassis, the V9 is equipped with an 835cc, two valve, transverse 90-degree V-twin engine which is completely new and designed for the V9 series. It develops 55 hp of power at 6,250 rpm and 62 Nm of torque at just 3,000 rpm and on the road; it offers a quick response from low rpms and lets you cruise at 140 kmph with ease. Whether or not you want to cruise at 140kmph on the naked V9 bobber is a different question though.
Moto Guzzi claims that this engine was developed with the explicit aim of maximizing torque and elasticity, key aspects for ensuring riding pleasure and on road fun. Have they achieved this? Yes. The engine pulls from low revs with ease and to be honest, the exhaust in its stock form doesn’t compliment the engine well. It is too muffled to meet emission and noise norms across the world and if you were to get one of these, I’d recommend a road legal aftermarket pipe.
Starting from the bottom of the engine, the new aluminium crankcase stiffened at the key points, has a new oil pan and an inertia calibrated crankshaft for liveliness and the correct engine braking. The lubrication system is designed to dispose of the greater heat capacity and reduce power absorption to the benefit of both performance and fuel consumption. There are new piston cooling oil jets with check valve and flow management. The alternator cover is also new and now includes the blow-by gas output.
Another innovative aspect of the 850 Moto Guzzi engine is the 170 mm diameter single dry plate clutch, providing a perfect transmission of torque and power with no jerkiness or hesitation. This increases robustness and reliability over time and decreases the load on the handlebar lever, for better controllability and riding comfort.
Overall handling is impressive. Acceleration is brisk, cornering is great and the brakes keep up. The one thing that affected my ride was my height. I’m over six feet tall and the V9 felt a bit small. The right cylinder head kept touching my shin and that was something I had to get used to. The V9 Bobber uses a traditional forks up front and a new pair of spring preload adjustable shock absorbers connected to the frame at the rear, which provide a gradual and controlled response at all times.
The braking system is dedicated to the V9 but I feel the front brake could have done with some more bite. Hard braking on high speeds could have been a bit better but that’s not a make or break point here, rarely are you going to need such intense levels of braking on this motorcycle. The V9 gets a new pump and Brembo opposed four-piston callipers against a 320 mm steel disc up front. At the rear a pump with integrated tank activates a 260 mm disc and a two-piston floating calliper.
The V9 Bobber comes standard with ABS, MGCT (Moto Guzzi Traction Control), USB port, and an immobilizer. MGCT, Moto Guzzi’s advanced traction control system, is integrated with the electronic engine management system and adjustable in two different levels of operation including a complete switch off if needed.
The speedometer has an analogue dial, while all other information is contained in the digital box: odometer, partial trip and daily trip (with automatic reset after eight hours after shutdown), the trip time, instant and average fuel consumption, clock, ambient temperature, average speed, MGCT level, in addition to the gear position and shift indicator, whose idle and maximum value can be adjusted by the user. In this way the rider can keep a check on a determined range of engine revolutions, for example during the run-in, or to minimize fuel consumption.
Another cool optional feature is MG-MP, the Moto Guzzi multimedia platform that connects a smartphone to the motorcycle to provide an exceptional quantity of information useful for any journey. MG-MP is an innovative multimedia system that allows you to connect the bike to your smartphone and consequently to the web. The wireless connection allows you to simultaneously view a set of vehicle information on a smartphone screen, so you can constantly have an eye on the travel parameters.
In a motorcycling world that’s currently obsessed with scramblers, bobbers and café racers, there is no dearth of models to choose from in the market. Almost all manufacturers have one in their lineup. What sets the V9 Bobber apart is its excellent fit and finish and the Moto Guzzi heritage. The V9 is an excellent choice for those who want to own a factory finished bobber or need a platform that’s great for customization.
The version we tested is priced at AED 48,000