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Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber First Ride Review

05 July 2017, 11:28 PM Charles Pennefather

What is it?

Why I would buy the Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

To stand out in a crowd, because there will be so few of them. And... look at it!

Why I would avoid the Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

CBU pricing means I can have a much larger capacity motorcycle with many more features at the price.

 

This is the Bobber version of the V9 Roamer. Essentially it is a V9 that is slightly more suited to city riding duties than it’s Roamer counterpart, thanks to a smaller front rim that gives it better manoeuvrability. What you get is a quirky, elegant and non-flashy Italian product that you won’t see often, if at all. 

How does it ride?

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. 

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Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

  • Displacement853 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)53.4 bhp
  • Kerb Weight199 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 14,16,777

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. 

Anything else I should know?

All Moto Guzzis are CBUs in our market, so their price is quite high compared to other products in their class. As such, they start off at a disadvantage. Couple that with a tiny dealer network, and owning one doesn’t give you the confidence that a bigger brand would. A small detail that undermines confidence in riders new to the brand is the transverse layout – what this means is that every time you blip the throttle, the motorcycle tips a little to the right. However, this doesn’t affect dynamics in any way; you merely have to trust the engineering that went into it. 

The air cooling and shaft drive mean that the V9 is one of the few motorcycles that needs literally zero maintenance between services – all you need to do is to keep topping up the fuel and air in the tyres. That’s a luxury for most of us who have to clean and lubricate our drive chains and check the coolant level every few hundred kilometres. 

Should I buy one?

That CBU pricing removes it from most people’s shopping list simply because it doesn’t remain value for money any way you try to spin it. However, that also means that should you get one, you’re almost certain to not see another one. Ever. There won’t be any Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber riding groups in India with this pricing, that’s for certain. Individuality is probably this product's greatest asset. 

Where does it fit in?

The Rs 13.2 lakh price tag ex-showroom, Mumbai puts it in some heavyweight company. The Indian Scout Sixty, Honda Africa Twin, Aprilia Mana 850, Ducati Multistrada 950, Kawasaki Versys 100, and Triumph Tiger XCA are all within striking distance of the V9 Bobber.

Gear check

1. Arai Astro-IQ Pro Shade Second in the Arai street models hierarchy, the Astro-IQ is a comfortable, stable helmet at any speed. The Pro Shade visor gives you the flexibility of riding in the day or at night with a single visor. Price: ₹ 58,000 

2. Scorpion Hat Trick Mesh/Textile jacket Although not on sale for a while now, the Hat Trick is a jacket that is protective yet allows decent airflow. The fleece liner keeps you warm enough, and the waterproof liner makes it truly impermeable, even in a Mumbai monsoon. Drying it out takes a while, though. Price: ₹ 15600 (Scorpion Phalanx) 

3. Royal Enfield Spiti riding gloves Made for comfortable touring, these short-cuff gloves offer a lot of comfort right from the first ride. Price: ₹ 3200

4. Joe Rocket Phoenix 2.0 pants Mesh is a wonderful thing in our heat, and the Joe Rocket Phoenix mesh pants manage an ideal combination of protection via the removable armour and airflow. Price: ₹ 9600 (Phoenix Ion)

5. Royal Enfield long riding boots With a little inspiration from both off-road boots and touring boots, the RE long riding boots are comfortable and yet protective. Price: ₹ 11,000

 

Photos: Kapil Angane

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