The V9 Bobber has a twin cradle frame, so it’s a very conventional setup. Suspension is also conventional – traditional forks in the front, dual shock absorbers at the rear. The engine is mounted transversely (or longitudinally, the debate rages on, especially if you’re a car person) and drives the rear wheel via a six-speed gearbox and shaft drive. There’s nothing fancy about the engine, either. It has got fuel injection for emissions reasons, and is cooled by air. It displaces 853cc from two cylinders but makes 55bhp and 62Nm. That peak torque is at a lowly 3000rpm, and the power peak at 6250rpm – this despite it being a short-stroke engine. The engine is happy enough to potter around at low revs. This isn’t the kind of engine that you wring all the way to the limiter; you surf the waves of torque down low, short shift, and repeat. The gearbox reinforces this behaviour with a false neutral every once in a while, along with a hard action. The shaft drive takes some getting used to, because of the clunks every time you engage the clutch from rest.
Despite it being a very conventional setup, the V9 is an ever-willing companion on twisty roads. Of course, it doesn’t have the cornering clearance of a streetbike, but the amount you can lean it over is quite commendable for a cruiser type of motorcycle. It also stays leaned over with confidence, although the wide front tyre doesn’t allow it to steer very quickly. The brakes, like the chassis and suspension, are ordinary – this is a 200kg machine, yet gets only a single 320mm front disc brake. It is adequate, nothing more. The instrument cluster displays the whole shebang, but only one parameter at a time can be displayed on the small digital part of the cluster.
There isn’t much room for a pillion, so it is best to think of the V9 Bobber as a solo machine. If you’re a tall rider, then it will be difficult to strap a tailbag on as well. The riding position itself is uncomfortable for tall riders – move too far back, and you’re going to find it difficult to use the rear brake. Move too far in front and you’re sure to bark your shins on the intake headers. That tank may look like a great supermodel with its thin structure, but it offers no purchase for your knees, putting your shins at risk every time you brake.