With its retro styling and a new 853cc engine, the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer combines cool and exotic effortlessly.
Idling at a red light, I could feel the powerful vibes of the Roamer run through my legs, along with the stares of the onlookers in my vicinity. That sums up my adventure with the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer, a work of art on wheels from the Italian manufacturer. It’s not quite a conventional cruiser, but that’s nothing unexpected from a brand that has prided itself in sculpting these beauties over the recent decades, somewhat at odds with its rich racing heritage.
Since the 1970s, Moto Guzzi has come to be known for cruisers like the California – fast off the mark and capable of carrying big loads, with the assurance of crisp handling. The V9 Roamer brings back the same nostalgia and even overcomes the shortcomings of some of its predecessors. One look at its retro styling is enough for many (like me) to fall in love with it. The stunning colour scheme only makes things better, while the circular headlamp with a chromed tip, the badging and the single-dial instrument gauge further accentuate the old-school feel. The swooping tail seamlessly pairs up with the chromed twin exhausts.
The seating stance is upright, and enough comfort is offered by the cushions under your backside, even for long rides. The footpegs, though, placed almost underneath the engine’s cylinder heads, could cause discomfort for taller riders. Thankfully, the engine doesn’t heat up blisteringly, as opposed to popular perception. I managed a 100 km ride, in 40 degree-plus temperatures, without really feeling much of it through my riding pants, which were almost in contact with the engine at the knees.
Once cranked up, the 853cc, transverse-mounted, 90-degree, naturally aspirated V-twin engine brings everything around it to life. Getting all 55 bhp of the new engine’s power out is a big shaft drive, running through a new swingarm, while the 62 Nm peak torque is delivered at around 3,500 rpm. The six-speed gearbox has been engineered afresh, as has the clutch, which has been enlarged to deal with the extra horses coming from the engine. It’s worth mentioning that the gearbox is a mixed bag, with smooth upshifts but sluggish downshifts.
Telescopic forks up front and twin shockers at the rear constitute a simple yet effective suspension, and the ground clearance feels ample even for Indian roads. The handling of the Roamer’s 199 kg kerb weight thus combines the best of a cruiser and a naked bike – and remains the most impressive aspect about it. The traction control comes into play in slippery riding conditions, while the disc brakes at both ends carry out stopping duties without much fuss. For tech enthusiasts, the ABS is smooth in actuation and adds to a secure feeling while on the motorcycle’s saddle.
Overall, the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer stays true to its Italian DNA, with the styling of a ‘70s cruiser and nimble handling. The steep price, at Rs 13.6 lakh (ex-showroom Maharashtra) leaves the bike matching shoulders with some higher displacement cruisers, but if your idea of owning a bike involves keywords like ‘cool’ and ‘exotic, and you want to buy a cruiser that is not a cruiser in so many good ways, this is where your search could end.
853cc naturally aspirated V-twin
55 bhp @ 6,250 rpm
62 Nm @ 3,000 rpm
Rs 13.6 lakh (ex-showroom, Maharashtra)
What we like
Gorgeous styling, comfort, handling
What we don’t
Sluggish gearbox, price