For the recent Motociclo Moto Guzzi Club of NSW ride day I was lucky enough to land a Centenario V9 Bobber to take part in the activities. It revealed itself as a significant update on the platform from when I last tested a 744 cc V7 many years ago.
The V9 Bobber receives the larger 853 cc engine derived from the V85 TT – in a lower state of tune – which is mirrored in the newer V7s and covers my main criticism from riding the V7 all those years ago – of an engine just a bit too languid for my preference. The new donk adds 15 hp and 8 Nm of torque in comparison, both of which I felt were clearly noticeable improvements that were appreciated.
The V9 Bobber, as the name suggests, is the version running 16-inch rims and chunky tyres to match, along with mainly blacked out features, a shorter front end, and lower/flatter bars in comparison to the Roamer. It lacks the Roamer’s screen for wind protection.
The V9 Bobber is a low, lean and minimalist machine, in cruiser terms anyway, with a 210 kg wet weight, inviting 785 mm seat height and a nice boost of performance over the older 744 cc powerplant. The 853 cc transverse twin now delivers 65 hp at 6800 rpm, while torque peaks 1800 rpm earlier at 73 Nm.
Combined with that signature Moto Guzzi rock at idle and sound track, as well as torque coming on low and strong and you’ve got a winner of a powerplant. Not one that’s going to win any performance metrics, but characterful with an enjoyable torque delivery that allows for some good fun when the moment presents itself.
40 mm forks are supported by a set of pre-load adjustable shocks at the rear which along with a bench style seat make for a very traditional silhouette, and while all look fairly simple they were more than up to the job.
It’s worth mentioning here that this is the Centenario version which commemorates 100 years of Moto Guzzi with a special paint scheme that is far more eye catching than the standard V9 Bobber black. That extends to the seat in brown leather with contrasting stitching that looks the business.
The silver 15 L tank scores the Moto Guzzi eagle motif, V9 Bobber adorned side-panels in green with matching front guard. The largely blacked out engine dominates the bike, with a shaft final drive, dual exhausts and single front disc which helps show off the wheel.
An LCD dash is controlled via the switch mode button and there’s traction control to offer some additional peace of mind. We had pretty mixed conditions for the Moto Guzzi ride day but during my two weeks with the bike I never saw it activate, regardless of how slick or slippery it got.
Features which stood out as worthy of mentioning were the eagle adorning the engine behind the front wheel, full LED lighting and relaxed ergonomics, along with a great overall build quality helped by a very minimal use of plastic.
Brembo provide the single large 320 mm front rotor and four-piston caliper, while there’s a 260 mm rear with two-piston caliper, and both are backed by dual channel ABS.
Certainly parking the V9 Bobber alongside other Moto Guzzis of every era at the ride day, you greatly appreciate how true to the character and identity of the Guzzi brand they’ve stayed, and while the well ridden quality of the older machines normally made them easy to pick, you can see why people come up and ask if you’re riding a classic bike when out and about on general rides.
That authenticity carries a $19,330 ride-away price tag in Centenario form but it is worth mentioning these bikes are still produced in Italy, including from I understand most of the components from within Europe. A cynic may ask whether it matters, as long as the component quality is there, but I’d say it’s much easier for me personally to justify premium pricing when you’re not producing bikes or most of your components in China, Thailand or India. That’s a pretty subjective judgement however…
The V9 Bobber was the perfect weapon of choice for the Moto Guzzi ride day of course, with the route from Tempe down through the National Park to Headland Hotel being a relaxed day ride, often with the rain pattering down.
Granted a ride day with a hundred other Moto Guzzis adds a certain special element which really reinforces the experience and brand identity, but it’s great to see the community Guzzi has created and also offers a glimpse of what you could be a part of.
The V9 Bobber itself is an easy bike to jump onto, which in cruiser style is long and low, making for easy handling that encourages smooth riding, arcing lines and a laid back approach. It’s by no means the lowest of cruisers, and the mid-peg placement was right where I wanted to put my feet down, but those are small complaints.
I did find myself dropping a shoulder into the corners in a more exaggerated manner than I’m used to on nakedbikes or my dirt bike, however the V9 Bobber can really be hustled along. Ground clearance only became an issue when I did a few laps of the Old-Pac north of Sydney and was getting a bit more boisterous, without any attempt to keep the bike upright.
That transverse-twin provides nice torque throughout if you’re shortshifting and being lazy, with good pickup, but keeping the bike on the boil and using the gearbox with a bit of light braking into corners was my preference. The kick on an opening throttle is really impressive too, with most of your torque being available right down low, which makes punching off from the lights great fun.
The V9 is no speed demon, but getting up to speed and checking your review mirrors to see all the cagers left far far behind carries plenty of satisfaction for me, which may seem a bit immature but no laws are being broken to do that.
For a Bobber, which honestly conjures images of back-breaking rear suspension and harsh reactions over big bumps I was in for a surprise. The front end was well sorted and hard to fault, while the long day in the saddle heading down south left me with just a bit of muscle ache across the top of my shoulders.
With a few breaks the seat was comfortable and the suspension pretty commendable from a 70 kg rider’s perspective. Not perfect by any means, but nicely sporty, well suspended and generally only transferring a harsh jolt up my spine when I rode over a decent pothole, rather than avoiding it. Granted that may be different if you’re local roads resemble adventure tracks, but a Bobber is always going to thrive on better surfaces.
I’ll admit what I really liked most about the V9 Bobber was that beautiful cruising characteristic, with ample torque, measured handling and great sensation of speed – at fairly regular road speeds, without needing to be constantly checking your speedo. The V9 Bobber is however also well capable of being hustled along, with a quick turn of direction just a nudge of the wide bars away, if you’re looking to square off those corners or drastically alter your line.
The brakes, despite being Brembos certainly weren’t eye-popping, ridiculously powerful or heavy on bite, but then I don’t really look for that on a cruiser and with the exception of Ducati’s Diavel have never seen otherwise. There was good power, reasonable feel and ample combined performance, which again with a lot of the wet weather we’ve been having has shown a system which won’t have you constantly relying on the ABS for broken traction on the brakes. Those Dunlop D404 tyres do get some of the credit of course.
Highway riding was the one area the Bobber was less well equipped to handle, with little in the way of wind protection and on one sections just out of Sydney a little oscillation was felt in the front, which may just be the road surface there which is scored in the direction of travel. My other criticism was that I did need to be careful to let the shifter fully return after shifting into second, otherwise I’d miss third when rapidly upshifting, however to the bike’s credit it handled that mistake well, and that is mainly a rider issue.
Overall Moto Guzzi’s V9 Bobber isn’t the most impressive bike on a spec sheet, although the traction control and Brembos are a standout, however the update and subsequent boost in performance moves the latest edition of the bike from a relatively staid option in my mind to something with more teeth to go along with that exceptional character and manners.
$19,330 ride-away for the Centenario edition of the V9 Bobber also captures a pretty special moment in history, as the Italian manufacturer reaches 100 years, with this machine by no means chasing the competition to the bottom on price. Certainly you’re getting a piece of Italian history, great build quality and plenty of tradition with a modern Guzzi. Not for everyone, but then what is?
2021 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Centenario
2021 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Centenario
Transversal 90° V-twin, two valves per cylinder.
Bore and stroke
84 x 77 mm
65 CV (47,8 kW) – 6.800 rpm (Also available at 35 kW, A2 driver license)
73 Nm – 5.000 rpm
Meets European Directive Euro 5
119 g/km (CO2)
4,9 l/100 km
15 l (4 reserve)
210 kg (According to guideline VO (EU) 168/2013 with all fluids, with standard equipment and fuelled with at least 90% of usable tank volume).
Hydraulic telescopic fork Ø 40 mm
Swingarm Twin-sided with two spring preload adjustable shock absorbers
Lightweight alloy, 16″ 130/90.
Lightweight alloy, 16″ 150/80.
Stainless steel floating disk Ø 320 mm, Brembo caliper with 4 differentiated and
Stainless steel disk Ø 260 mm, floating 2 pistons caliper.
Full LED lights package with DRL, LCD dashboard, MGCT Moto Guzzi Controllo di Trazione, Standard double channel ABS.
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