2016 Moto Guzzi V9

Editor Score: 81.5%
Engine 17.75/20
Suspension/Handling 11.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 7.0/10
Brakes 8.25/10
Ergonomics/Comfort 7.5/10
Appearance/Quality 8.5/10
Desirability 8.25/10
Value 9.0/10
Overall Score81.5/100

In its 95th anniversary year, Moto Guzzi debuts a new platform called the V9. It’s an offshoot of the existing V7 but angling toward a cruiser style rather than the V7’s standard/roadster meme. The V9 Roamer version employs classic design elements and extensive brightwork, while the Bobber version (pictured above) uses matte finishes and a fat front tire to deliver an element of badassitude.

As its name implies, the V9 uses a larger V-Twin engine than the V7, now up 109cc to 853 cubes. Compared to most anything in the cruiser class, the V9s are lightweight and agile – Guzzi describes them as “easy cruisers.” They might not quite measure up to what Americans usually consider a cruiser, but that makes them more appealing in many ways than just another Harley imitator.

The V9 was presented at Guzzi’s historic factory in Mandello del Lario just a long stone’s throw from the magical Lake Como in northern Italy. The most oft-used term in the presentation was “authentic,” which could be just PR hyperbole for companies not in business from 1921. This descriptor is apt for the V9, as it continues the tradition of 90-degree air-cooled V-Twins and the widespread usage of metal components. The fuel tank and fenders are steel, while aluminum is used for the side panels, fuel cap and hand levers. Footpegs are forged aluminum. Finding plastic bits takes some searching.

Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer

The V9 Roamer is more classically styled than the Bobber, using considerably more brightwork such as the chrome exhaust, handlebar and shock springs, which are black on the Bobber. Machined wheel edges also add some visual flash.

New Engine

Although it’s a comprehensively revised upgrade on the V7’s small-block architecture rather than a completely new mill, the changes are much more than just a bore-and-stroke job that ups displacement from 744cc to 853cc. Nearly everything inside has been changed, and Guzzi says some 90% of the parts are new.

The most serious revision is a completely new cylinder-head design, using a modern hemi-head arrangement rather than the V7’s Heron-style that uses a dished piston as the combustion chamber. Guzzi says the hemi head is more resistant to detonation and is easier to cool. It also helps the engine meet tough Euro 4 emissions regulations.

Moto Guzzi V9 engine

The V9’s engine uses Guzzi’s traditional 90-degree vee design, and engineers were able to get it to meet stringent Euro 4 regulations thanks to several advancements, including a completely new cylinder head configuration.

Bench racers will be underwhelmed by the claim of 55 hp at 6,250 rpm, just five horses up on the V7. Torque is said to peak with 47.9 lb-ft at 5000 rpm. But those spec-sheet jockeys might not appreciate there’s more than 44 lb-ft of torque from 2500 rpm and extending all the way to 6500 rpm.

The V9 feels much faster than the V7, with immediate response no matter the engine speed. And with just 430 pounds (ready to ride but without fuel) to carry around, acceleration is brisk by cruiser standards – this is a cruiser that can pull wheelies when provoked. The smooth-spinning motor, a quality inherent with 90-degree V-Twins, never feels stressed at higher revs. A soft rev limiter starts cutting in around 6700 rpm and shuts down the party by 7k.

“The engine expresses the soul of the motorcycle,” said Leo Mercanti, Guzzi’s marketing head. “It makes it speak.”

Moto Guzzi V9 engine

One of the cleanest-looking modern motors you’ll find anywhere. Guzzi was not only able to avoid the complexity of liquid-cooling, it was also able to avoid an external oil cooler. “It’s proudly air-cooled,” boasts Mercanti.

Although power isn’t immense, a traction-control system is in play to keep a rider safe when grip is low, with a choice of wet, dry or off. Flywheel/crankshaft weight is 30% higher than the V7’s to help smooth engine response. It’s mostly effective, but some throttle abruptness remains in play when dialing on power.

A single-plate dry clutch has a reasonably light pull and engages smoothly unless launching at high revs. Power goes through a 6-speed transmission, and the V9’s extra torque allows a taller first gear. Shift effort is light and gearchanges are smooth if they’re not hurried. Clutchless upshifts are best left avoided, as they can be jarring, especially in the lower gears. A shaft final-drive system eschews the mess and maintenance of a chain but adds some weight despite the use of an aluminum swingarm.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

The finish quality on the V9s is beautiful. Stylish new switchgear adorns the handlebars. Note also the engine’s milled cylinder fins and Guzzi logo on cylinder heads. The Bobber will be available in this Grigio Sport color or the darker Nero Massiccio seen in the action photos. The helmet pictured here is just one of 40 accessories on offer for the V9s.

In Common

Although there are two V9 models, much is shared between them. The steel-tube frame places wheels at a tidy 57.7 inches apart, while the rake angle is set at a fairly sporty 26.4 degrees. The rear tire is a modestly wide 150/80-16. These numbers combine to deliver agility more like a standard than a cruiser.

The non-adjustable 40mm fork supplies a compliant 5.1 inches of travel, while the preload-adjustable dual shocks serve up 3.8 inches. Both ends offer good control and reasonable smoothness with the exception of harshness over abrupt bumps from what seems to be excess high-speed compression damping.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

The V9’s minimalist design reminds us of the beauty of simple elementalism. There is nothing to hide. The seam of the 4.0-gallon fuel tank is mostly disguised in profile.

Brakes are single-disc Brembos at both ends moderated by a dual-channel ABS system. No fancy radial-mount monoblocks here, not even a second disc up front, but power from the four-piston caliper isn’t lacking, even when riding aggressively on a mountain road. Speed retardation is more than sufficient considering this bike’s intent, and ABS doesn’t intrude too early.

The gauges consists of a single round nacelle with an analog speedo wrapping an LCD panel that includes niceties like fuel consumption info, gear-position indicator, tripmeter, ambient temperature and clock. Also a trip-time meter, average speed and an adjustable shift indicator, which can be useful because there is no tachometer. Considering the comprehensive info stuffed into it, it was surprising to learn there is no fuel gauge, although there is a handy count-up tripmeter once reserve is hit. Instrumentation can be augmented by a smartphone app that can display up to five items at once, including a tach, lean angles and trip data.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

The V9 Roamer roaming Lake Como near Moto Guzzi’s historic factory.

V9 Roamer

The Roamer, more elegant and shiny than its brother, feels to me like a standard roadster. A chrome handlebar rises up to meet hands and put a rider’s torso nearly upright. The footpegs of both V9s place feet almost directly below knees. Both seats are flat and have grippy textures but are not very well padded to keep their heights below 31 inches. Dogleg levers are fairly easy to reach but non-adjustable.

The only dynamic difference in V9s is attributable to the different sizes of their front wheels and tires.The Roamer uses a narrow 100/90-19 front tire, which I was expecting to steer much nicer than the fat-tired Bobber, but its responses were a little less than linear. When I suggested to the chassis engineer an 18-incher might’ve delivered more predictable steering responses, he responded to explain the V7 already has an 18-inch front wheel and that the 19-incher used on the Roamer is more suitable for the cruiser profile intended for the V9.

Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer

Some cruisers are intimidated by mountain roads. Not this one, seen here in its Giallo Solare color option. Both it and the Bianco Classico version will retail for $9,990 when they hit our shores in April.

V9 Bobber

While it would be unfair to describe the Roamer as feminine, of the V9s, it’s the Bobber that is definitely more masculine. It trades its brother’s traditional appearance for a darker and sportier one. The flat drag-style handlebar mounted on lovely aluminum bar risers place a rider in a more aggressive position. Its seat is slightly narrower than the Roamer’s and, at 30.7 inches, is 0.2-inch lower. Neither are exceptionally comfortable for long distances.

2016 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber/Roamer
+ Highs

  • Engine sounds and pulls like a mini V-8
  • High-quality finish detailing
  • Easier to handle than most cruisers
– Sighs

  • Sharp throttle response
  • Seats short on padding
  • No tactile click to cancel signals

Aside from the Bobber’s dark and non-glossy finishes, it’s the chubby 130/90-16 front tire that distinguishes it from its stablemate. It helps make the Bobber look tougher, but, against my preconceptions, gives it steering characteristics much preferable to its brother. While the Roamer would tip in slightly quicker, it is the Bobber which steered with greater accuracy and would cut a smoother arc through corners.

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

The Bobber’s forward-leaning riding position and preferable steering geometry give it an advantage over its brother when unraveling a twisty road. It’s a big enough difference to convince me it’s worth the extra $500 over the Roamer.

Guzzi’s new V9 both amuses and bemuses. It’s an incredibly adroit cruiser with a thrilling and willing engine. It’s also not really a cruiser in the traditional sense, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

But priced around 10 grand, or $10,490 for the Bobber I prefer, there is a ton of value here. It’s a charming machine finely crafted in a historic Italian factory with a rich heritage, and it’s fun to both look at and to ride. The V9 Bobber has become my favorite Guzzi currently offered from Mandello. It might become my second favorite if my intense lobbying efforts for a V9 Sport ever come to fruition!

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

Riding a V9 in Italy: guaranteed to make you smile.

2016 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber and V9 Roamer Specifications
V9 Roamer V9 Bobber
Engine Type 90° V-twin, 4-stroke, 2-valves per cylinder
Cooling system air and oil
Displacement 853 cc
Bore and stroke 84 x 77 mm
Compression ratio 10.5: 1
Maximum power 54.2 at 6,250 rpm (Claimed)
Torque 45.7 lb-ft. at 3,000 rpm (Claimed)
Fuel system Marelli MIU single-body electronic injection, integrated management of traction control on 2 levels
Starting electric
Exhaust system stainless steel, 2-in-2 type, three-way catalytic converter with double lambda probe
Emissions compliance Euro 4
Transmission 6 speeds with final overdrive
Gear ratio values 1st 16/39 = 1: 2.437
2nd 18/32 = 1: 1.778
3rd 21/28 = 1: 1.333
4th 24/26 = 1: 1.083
5th 25/24 = 1: 0.960
6th 28/24 = 1: 0.857
Primary drive with helical teeth, ratio 21/25 = 1: 1.190
Final drive double universal joint and double bevel gear units (8/33 ratio = 1: 4.125)
Clutch Ø 170 mm single disc with integrated flexible couplings
Frame ALS steel twin tube cradle frame
Wheelbase 1465 mm (57.7 inches)
Trail 125.1 mm (4.9 inches) 116.1 mm (4.6 inches)
Headstock angle 26.4°
Steering angle 38°
Front suspension standard fork, Ø 40 mm
Front wheel travel 130 mm (5.1 inches)
Rear suspension swingarm with double shock absorber with adjustable spring preload.
Rear wheel travel 97 mm (3.8 inches)
Front Brake stainless steel floating disc, Ø 320 mm Brembo opposed four-piston calipers
Rear Brake stainless steel floating disc, Ø 260 mm Brembo opposed two-piston calipers
Wheels Aluminum alloy
Front wheel rim 2.50” x 19” 3.50” x 16”
Rear wheel rim 4.00” x 16”
Front tire 100/90 – 19” 130/90 – 16”
Rear tire 150/80 – 16” 150/80 B 16”
System voltage 12 V
Battery 12V – 18 Ah
Length 2240 mm (88.2 inches) 2185 mm (86.0 inches)
Width 865 mm (34.0 inches) 840 mm (33.1 inches)
Height 1165 mm (45.9 inches) 1160 mm (45.7 inches)
Saddle height 785 mm (30.9 inches) 780 mm (30.7 inches)
Kerb weight 439 pounds (Claimed)
Fuel tank capacity 4.0 gallons
Reserve 1.1 gallons

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  • Born to Ride

    I always wanted to try a Guzzi. These are great looking little bikes that seem like they would be fun to ride anywhere. I considered buying myself an entry level cruiser for tooling around and keeping my throttle hand in check, but all the popular offerings are lacking bare bones necessity items like quality brakes, usable ground clearance, and functional rear suspension. I think these guys would be a slam dunk with new riders if they managed to get the word out. I’d take either Guzzi over an 883 any day.

  • JMDonald

    Not only is Moto Guzzi making some nice machines but they definitely come with a certain amount of that I don’t know what the French are always talking about. When it comes to motorcycles women and wine all you need to know is what you like. I like a lot of the new Guzzis.

    • Born to Ride

      I feel exactly the same way. These Guzzis are perfect, but you don’t really know why. The only thing that is keeping one of these bikes from being a real contender for my garage space is the engine performance. Yeah, 50hp really is enough for everyday riding, but “just enough” doesnt pull at my heartstrings. I see no reason why Ducati’s 803cc, air-cooled, 90 degree vee should be able to give up 50cc and produce nearly 50% more power. If Guzzi managed 75 horses out of this new mill I’d be running out to test ride one as soon as the dealer got them in.

      • JMDonald

        A friend of mine has a California. He had a local Guzzi guy in SoCal update his control chip modify his breather box and add a power commander with an auto tune module. Pretty simple stuff. It got him up to 90 hp and 90 ft lbs of torque. He says it throttles up a whole lot better as in smoother. If he would change out the exhaust system it would get him up to 100/100. The engine on the California is a lot bigger than the one on the V9. It may be possible to do the same type of mods however. There is always the Griso as an option.

      • spiff

        They say a water cooled Lemans is coming. I have been anticipating it for 2 years now.

  • kenneth_moore

    Mr. Duke, what would your “V9 Sport” look like if MG built one?

    • Kevin Duke

      Nothing too radical. different wheel and tire sizes, maybe a pair of 18s or a 18/17 combo for more of a retro look instead of the obvious pair of 17s. Sprinkle with lighter.sportier wheels. Add adjustable suspension (with non-inverted fork), rear-ish-set pegs and aluminum handlebar just slightly lower than the Bobber’s, plus a small retro-inspired flyscreen. Toss in some lumpier cams and a higher-routed exhaust for an extra 15% horsepower, plus a radially mounted Brembo monoblock gripping a 330mm disc to slow it down. Add $1500 to the MSRP and I’d call it a bargain.

      • Old MOron

        You’re always tempting me with bikes! At least this one doesn’t exist yet.

      • kenneth_moore

        I like everything but the 18″ wheels. My CB1100 had those, and the tire choice was limited to 2. I’d sacrifice some authenticity for more choices.

  • TheMarvelous1310 .

    Harley-Davidson needs to benchmark this performance when(if?) they redesign the Sportster or the Street 750. These are the things that every motorcycle should do well, forward controls or not, heavy or not. I might buy one of these if I get lost on the way to the Victory dealership…

  • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

    I smell MO hipster-bike shootout 2016! Shall I start growing my beard and man-bun?

    • Kevin Duke

      You with a man bun would surely be a sign of the end of days…

      • Buzz

        Gabe is so furry, he could grow multiple man buns all over his body.

        • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

          They’re called dingleberries.

    • Born to Ride

      Why is that every back to basics, clean looking bike must be labeled a “Hipster Bike”. Some dude tried to tell me that my S2R1000 is a “cafe hipster” bike the other day and I politely told him where to shove it. I understand the absolutely laughable Ducati Scrambler marketing pushing for sales in that crowd, and Harley too with those ads they run for the sportsters. But cmon, this media branding of all simple, elemental bikes as “Hipster” is idiotic.

      • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

        I don’t think your S2R is a hipster bike! Totally different thing.

  • blueson2wheels

    Looks great. Of course 55 hp and the usual Guzzi quirks will turn off a lot of riders, but this helps Guzzi continue to occupy that niche of being just unusual enough to be truly hip without actually going out of business.

    I can see a Bobber in my future, or might hold off to see whether the 850 ends up in a more roadster package.

    Any word on mpg’s?

    • Kevin Duke

      Sorry, not able to calculate fuel economy numbers, and the liters/km readouts supplied on the instruments confused me (and factory gauges are often not entirely accurate). Still, with an understressed motor like this, it’ll probably get 40 mpg at the lowest and might get more than 50 mpg if I’m not riding it. :)

  • ADB

    Hi Kevin, well, this month, you certainly have the life. I’m sure the food in Mandello del Lario was good as well?

    I had to laugh out loud when you listed “No tactile click to cancel signals”. I feel the same way. I love my new Moto Guzzi Norge, but even 7,000 miles later, I still can’t get used to the “no detent” turn signal switch. No positive click to tell you they are off. Amazing that Piaggio upgraded the switch gear on the new V9, but still no detent. There must be a reason…?

    Comparison time with the new Street Twin? Maybe add an 883 Sporty to the test?

    Great renderings of the new engine and heads.

    • Kevin Duke

      Yep, it was surprising to see newly engineered switchgear without the click! How much could it cost to design that in?

  • Mark Vizcarra


    That thang got a HEMI??

  • SRMark

    i really want to like the Roamer. It’s just a touch too cruiserish. Maybe a transplanted front end from a V7…

  • Jim

    The Bobber looks like a really fun second bike. I’ll be interested in a Street Twin comparison. On paper, they look to be similar. Having something other than an 800lb. cruiser to handle the daily commute or weekend jaunt would be nice sometimes.

  • Craig Hoffman

    The 90 degree v-twin, whether sideways or front to back, is the most soulful and best sounding arrangement for everyday riding. Always enjoyed every Guzzi I have ridden, new and old. That engine just sounds great, especially when allowed to express itself properly though some long baffled straight through glass pack mufflers.

    Even in today’s tattered dollars (no inflation? ya right) 10 large seems like kind of a lot for a smallish displacement air cooled bike though.

  • KPC

    tFinally, Hemi heads! Unlike the V7 the aftermarket should be able to do something with this engine. Or MG could just give us a V9 sport with a lighter flywheel and 75hp…..


    SHODDY Workmanship – NO Quality Control – NO Customer Care

    My new V7 Special came with a compromised clutch, machining waste (swarf) in the engine, and no O-ring seal in the final drive unit (yes, it leaked all over the rear wheel!). I wrote, emailed and called customer care but never got a reply. So, I would recommend looking elsewhere for a new motorcycle.

    • Kevin Duke

      Wow, that stinks. What did your dealer say?

  • KPC

    Mr Duke you just described what I would like to see in a V7 sport. I would prefer 17″ tires. Did you ask the MG reps if there was a V7 in the pipeline, and if so did they give you any hints as far as an ETA to market? Great write up BTW.

    • Kevin Duke

      I didn’t ask about a V7 Sport because there already exists a V7 Racer. I believe the V7 engine doesn’t have much performance headroom, pun intended. At least not until it gets a more modern cylinder-head design like the V9.

      • KPC

        Hi Kevin, I meant a V9 sport/racer..sorry about that. We did’nt wear helmets back in the day, and sometimes the old clutch slips… I am very happy MG went to a Hemi design. You cant do much with the current head design on the V7.

        • Kevin Duke

          No OEM wants to talk about future product, and Guzzi is no different. The V9 Sport I described came from my mind, not Guzzi’s, and my idea was greeted with polite smiles from engineers rather than nods of confirmation. That said, I’ll bet someone at Guzzi has had these thoughts, and I don’t think it would take an overwhelming amount of R&D effort to pull it off.

  • White Rabbitt

    I own a 2016 Motto Guzzi V7 II Stone. Love the bike. Light enough to shoot around in the city and has enough weight to cruise the interstate without feeling like you are going to be blown off the road. It also garners positive excessive curiosity wherever I go. Beautiful bike with a retro look. Yes, it could do with another 10-20 horsepower, but hey, it does what it does without regret. Though I have not ridden the Guzzi V9 Roamer, I could see myself owning one if they would add a seperate tachometer ( I like the retro look it would convey). But for now I will stay loyal to my Goose V7 II Stone. Does everything I want for the time being with style. It even, IMO, does it with a “Cool” factor attached, haha. And one final note, since it is built in Italy by Italians (not contracted out to India or China) the engineering and build quality is unsurpassed in my opinion.

    I was toying around with the idea of getting a vintage 1970 Triumph Bonneville 650. But the more I ride my Goose V7 II Stone the less likely that will happen. At least any time soon. 😉