The ongoing fascination of the world with the retro style concept (Cafe, Scrambler, and Bobber) motorcycles is not only fuelling sales but also attracting new riders to the motorcycle lifestyle as well, that’s why every major motorcycle manufacturer worth their salt has one, or two, and sometimes even three, retro-style bikes in their lineup. One major motorcycle manufacturer that wants a piece of this retro mania is none other than Moto Guzzi, the Italian motorcycle company under the giant Piaggio Group, with their new V9 Bobber.
But what exactly is a Bobber, you may ask? The word bobber was derived from the term ‘bob-job’, a style of custom motorcycle done by stripping off excess bodywork, removing the front fender, shortening the rear fender, which is “bobbed”, and all superfluous parts removed to reduce weight. As for the V9 Bobber, to comply with strict safety regulations, this factory custom is far from stripped down. But at least the bodywork, if any, was kept to a bare minimum. Up front there’s a narrow fender, below the seat are a pair of airbox covers, and finally a “bobbed” fender on the rear.
Jutting out prominently on the V9 Bobber is the new Euro 4 compliant 853cc air/oil-cooled 90-degree transverse V-twin motor rated at 55 hp. That may not sound much, actually for a big displacement V-twin it isn’t, but what makes the V9 Bobber feel more powerful than its maximum power output might suggest is the 45.72 lb-ft of torque readily available at just 3000 rpm. In just a little above tickover, there’s plenty usable power in any gear. That flat torque curve makes shifting the 6-speed gearbox seem optional. You can leave it in 5th or 6th gear all day while you potter around town. Vibration is minimal even in higher engine speeds. Sending power directly to the rear wheel is a low-maintenance, slack-free, shaft drive where every little bit of throttle movement is converted to forward progress. Thankfully, the fuelling of the V9 Bobber is smooth as silk. There’s no jerking even from a closed throttle in 6th gear at low speeds.
Cushioning you from the road’s imperfections are a nicely tuned suspension. They’re comfortable for general touring and taut enough for moderate canyon carving. In front there’s a 40mm standard fork with a generous 130mm travel and a dual shock setup on the rear with 97mm travel. Either are adjustable for compression and rebound but the rear has adjustable spring preload to compensate for weight and luggage. If you want more adjustability, the newer V9 Bobber Sport is equipped with Ohlins suspension. Helping smoothen out the road further are a pair of fat and wide 130/90-16 front and 150/80-16 rear Conti-Milestone Continental tires with a curious thread pattern and slightly balloonish profile. They give the V9 Bobber a custom appearance but at the expense of some agility. As a result, the V9 Bobber prefers smooth and flowing corners than aggressive switchbacks.
Safety mongers amongst you will be glad to know that despite its old-school appearance, the V9 Bobber is already equipped with traction control and ABS. Stopping the 199 kg bike swiftly are a pair of Brembo brake calipers biting on single disc rotors on each end that have a good initial bite and progressive power as you squeeze or stomp on the brake levers. These safety features will no doubt add confidence to novice as well as seasoned riders in any riding condition. Additionally, the low 780mm seat height shall accommodate plenty of new, and style conscious riders, including women, who are being targeted by Moto Guzzi with the V9 Bobber. The narrow and thinly padded seat may not be the most comfortable for long rides, but at least it gives riders, particularly short riders, direct access to the pavement. Overall ergonomics is good for the type of riding the V9 Bobber would be subjected to. The reach to the high-mounted drag bars is short, but taller riders would probably find knee room a bit tight, unless you naturally ride with your legs splayed outward, to clear the cylinder heads.
There’s nothing much in terms of convenience on the V9 Bobber. There’s no hidden compartment whatsoever where you could store a rain gear, gloves, or lunch. If you’re gonna bring something, then you have to carry a bag with you, or you could also opt for aftermarket side bags. The instrument pod consists of a single large analog dial with a small inset multi-info LCD. Perhaps a clear sign that Moto Guzzi is targeting a younger audience with the V9 Bobber is the standard USB port where you could plug your smartphone or any USB powered gadget. What I’m sure everybody will appreciate on the V9 Bobber is the superb build quality. Everything on the bike looks sturdy and well engineered. Care for it well enough and it would probably last long enough to outlive you, and your grandchildren.
Unlike more established motorcycle brands like BMW and Harley-Davidson, Moto Guzzi is not as mainstream in the Filipino motorcycle buyer’s consciousness. At least not yet. But the current lineup of Moto Guzzi bikes like the V9 Bobber, V7 III and V85 TT shows that the Italian company is finally coming out with products that will not only appeal to traditional Moto Guzzi buyers, but also to younger and more style conscious buyers who want something more special and more unique than what other motorcycle manufacturers could offer. Thanks to Bikerbox for bringing in the Moto Guzzi brand, we now have an alternative that speaks more of our desire for individuality. You see, even if the retro trend slowly fades into obscurity, Moto Guzzi bikes like the V9 Bobber will always be a classic.
Special thanks to Bikerbox, the exclusive distributor of Moto Guzzi in the Philippines, for making this review possible.
Engine: Transverse V-twin, ohv, 2 valve, 4 stroke, air-cooled
Max Power: 55 hp @ 6250 rpm
Max Torque: 45.72 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
Seat Height: 780mm
Tire, front: 130/90 R16
Tire, rear: 150/80 R16
Brakes, front/rear: Single Disc / Disc ABS
Fuel Capacity: 15 Liters
Curb Weight: 199 kg.
Price: PhP 750,000
+: Superb build quality, smooth motor, ABS and traction control
-: Thinly padded seat
C! Editor rating: 9 / 10