Bowls you over

K SHIVRAJ
Saturday, 12 August 2017

The exotic looking Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer is not ridiculously fast or wild, but is quite enjoyable to ride

The Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer is a work of art. It is not a conventional-looking cruiser, and is not expected to be. It is Italian, and a rolling sculpture on two wheels. Coming from an iconic Italian bike maker with a racing history, the V9 Roamer stands as a testament to the Moto Guzzi heritage. The transverse mounted V-twin engine draws attention, and has been a part of the range since the 1960s.

Not about speed, but form
If the engine adds to the aesthetically pleasing form of the bike, the V9 Roamer is not about speed; it’s about the form. The retro-styling, stunning paint scheme, and gorgeous lines that carve out the shape of this motorcycle steal attention. The single, circular head lamp has a chrome lip. The instrument is a simple affair. A hint of modernity comes from a small digital display at the bottom of the speedo. It displays temperature, and information about the traction-control, odometer and two trip-meters. A flat button is the toggle switch to surf through the digital display at the bottom of the speedo. Having a solid feel about them, the switches on this bike include a concealed kill-switch. A tiny button on the inside of the left handlebar helps to switch between the two traction control modes. A USB port is tucked away under the front portion of the fuel tank.

The shape of the fuel tank, and the lines which define it, is the design highlight of the V9 Roamer and unlike a tank of a typical cruiser bike. The engine cylinder heads sticking out from under the tank look interesting. The seat is flat and nice, and comfortable too. The pillion rider is likely to feel short of space. If the side-panel reminds of a unique styling endeavour with those integrated ventilation holes and an old-style badge, the rear marks a nice swooping touch. The rear design nicely complements the flow of the twin chrome exhausts.

Comfortable riding position
The riding position is upright and comfortable. The handlebars are raised and wide. The foot pegs are forward set, and almost under the cylinder heads. For a bike that weighs 199kg, this could pose a bit of a problem for tall riders. The 853cc transverse 90-degree V-twin thunders to life. The 55 hp unit is air-cooled, and produces an amount of vibes at idle.

Release the clutch, and the bike takes off. With 62Nm of peak torque produced at 3000rpm, there’s good amount of power available.

Surprisingly, the engine does not emanate much heat to be felt on the rider’s knees as they rest almost against the cylinder head on either side.

Supporting short blasts in the city, the bike produces a slight pull to the right on sudden throttle openings. The six-speed gearbox feels smooth and precise when shifting up but chunky when shifting down. Good throttle response could be attributed to the shaft drive to the rear wheel. The 19-inch front wheel makes it slightly sluggish during initial turn-in.

Good stability
The bike stays planted through corners and turns and inspires confidence. Stability of the V9 Roamer is good. The Pirellis provide good grip. The 40mm telescopic front forks and adjustable twin shock absorbers at the rear result in a good ride. The stiffly sprung rear shock absorbers provide a firm edge to the ride. Irregularities at higher speeds are surprisingly better managed than at lower speeds. The ABS equipped brakes with a 320mm dia floating disc at front, and a 260mm dia disc at the rear, provide a strong bite. They provide very good feel, and a positive feedback.

Doing all that a motorcycle is expected to, the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer may not excel in one particular area. It is, however, a charming looking bike that rides well even though it is not ridiculously fast, or as wild. Exotic looking, the V9 Roamer is let down by its price. A completely built unit imported, the V9 Roamer is priced at Rs 13.60 lakh ex-showroom, Mumbai.

Pros: Classic exotic looks, transverse 90 degree V-twin motor
Cons: Price

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