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Published on August 25th, 2016 | by Al

2016 MOTO GUZZI V9 ROAMER

1967. The Beatles released Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band. Mike Nichols and Lawrence Turman released The Graduate. Syria, Egypt and Jordan released a bunch of ordnance in the direction of Israel. And Moto Guzzi released its first transverse V-twin motorcycle.

Back in 1967, the engine was air cooled and had two valves per cylinder, operated by pushrods. It still is in 2016. You like retro? Step this way, sir. Moto Guzzi have your bike.

The V9 Roamer’s 853cc engine looks similar to the old units, but it’s mostly new. It doesn’t make that much power, because air cooled engines that make power don’t pass emissions tests in 2016, but it makes a bunch of torque from, er, I don’t know, because it doesn’t have a tacho. Pretty low. Maybe 2,000 rpm. And it keeps making it until, er, until it runs out.

v9roamer2

Heritage: V-twin released in ’67, enlarged to 850cc in the ’70s, redesigned for the teens.

Guzzis always seem more mechanical than other bikes for some reason. They have that “everything on the outside” steam engine attraction. Even car-heads look at it and know where the clutch and transmission are. They make a bit of gear noise, which I actually quite like. Apart from the heat shields at the rear of the cylinders, there’s pretty well no plastic on the Roamer. The mudguards and side covers are metal. It looks and feels solid and metallic and mechanical and old school.

It’s easy to ride at low speeds. It weighs less than 200kg dry and it has a low seat height. It does that Guzzi torque reaction thing when you start it and when you blip the throttle. The fuel injection system is very good and the bike is smooth and responsive about ten seconds after a cold start. It’s geared a little tall, like every Moto Guzzi, but the torquey engine has a heavy flywheel and it’s hard to stall. The transmission makes a bit of a clunk every time you change gear, but apart from that the gearbox is fine.

The single speedo has eight warning lights and an LCD display. A button on the left switch block lets you flick between odometers and clocks and fuel consumption readouts.

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Instruments are minimalist

The brakes are Brembos: one disc per wheel. They stop the bike fine. Having a single disc at the front keeps the weight down. Both brakes are monitored by a two channel Antilock Braking System.

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Single Brembo with ABS is more than adequate.

The steering feels solid and stable thanks to 125mm of trail, but the short 1465mm wheelbase quickens things up a bit. Suspension is basic: 40mm conventional fork, twin shocks. The only adjustable part is rear shock preload.

Moto Guzzi’s advertising emphasizes the bike in urban settings, and that’s where it shines. Stuffing it into a bumpy corner at high speed doesn’t work that well. The suspension loses control and the tall sidewall on that 150/80×16 rear tyre flexes, and the bike moves around. It’s not horrifyingly scary, but a reminder that you are exceeding the design brief.

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Twin shocks are adjustable for ride height only, shaft drive has two universal joints but no anti-jacking parallelogram linkage.

Not only is the seat low, the footpegs are too, and they are the first things to touch the tar on either side when you lean it over.

It’s not a bike for long trips. Your shins rub against the plastic bits at the back of the cylinders, so you either splay your legs or ride with the balls of your feet on the footpegs.

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Exhausts are low but tucked in, footpegs touch first in turns.

No, it’s a city bike. It’s for the commute, the weekend run to the suburbs and maybe the occasional hundred kilometre country run. It’s low maintenance due to its shaft drive and minimal number of valves, and you won’t get chain lube on your clothes.

The other thing Moto Guzzi emphasizes in their advertising is accessories. “Born to customize”, the web site says, and it offers leather bags, racks, flyscreens, billet levers, metal grips, bar end mirrors and all manner of bling to dress your Roamer. Why? Because the only thing that counts out there is what you are within, according to the accessories brochure. It probably makes more sense in Italian. The real reason is probably that BMW sold a bunch of R Nine T accessories, and Moto Guzzi want a piece of that action.

Other high tech hiding under the retro style includes a USB connector on the steering head to charge your mobile devices, and the Moto Guzzi Multimedia Platform. This last comprises a Bluetooth sender and a smartphone app, and lets you use your smartphone as trip computer and tacho.

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Ideal commuter and perfect for relaxed bend-swinging on the weekend.

That is the Roamer. Simple engineering, classic good looks and an engine that hasn’t changed a lot in fifty years. Low maintenance, but modern conveniences like ABS, fuel injection and electronics. A canvas for you to customize, and customization will be less painful because the parts come out of the same factory and will fit first time.

Last but not least, you can ride away on a new one for $16,500. That’s over $5,000 cheaper than the customizable German twin. If you’re after a bang for your buck Eurobike, the V9 Roamer is well worth considering.

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE TYPE 90° V-TWIN, 4 STROKE, 2-VALVES PER CYLINDER
COOLING AIR AND OIL
ENGINE CAPACITY 853CM3
BORE & STROKE 84 X 74MM
COMPRESSION RATIO 10.5:1
MAXIMUM POWER 40,44KW (55 HP) AT 6,250RPM
TORQUE 62NM AT 3,000RPM
FUEL SUPPLY MARELLI MIU SINGLE-BODY ELECTRONIC INJECTION, INTEGRATEDMANAGEMENT OF TRACTION CONTROL ON 2 LEVELS
STARTER ELECTRIC
EXHAUST SYSTEM STAINLESS STEEL, 2-IN-2 TYPE, THREE-WAY CATALYTICCONVERTER WITH DOUBLE LAMBDA PROBE
EMISSION COMPLIANCE EURO 4
GEARBOX 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: 0,96
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 170MM SINGLE DISC WITH INTEGRATED FLEXIBLE COUPLINGS
CHASSIS ALS STEEL TWIN TUBE CRADLE FRAME
WHEELBASE 1465MM
TRAIL 125.1MM
HEADSTOCK ANGLE 26.4°
STEERING ANGLE 38°
FRONT SUSPENSION TRADITIONAL FORK, Ø 40MM
FRONT WHEEL TRAVEL 130MM
REAR SUSPENSION SWINGARM WITH DOUBLE SHOCK ABSORBER WITH ADJUSTABLE SPRING PRELOAD.
REAR WHEEL TRAVEL 97MM
FRONT BRAKE STAINLESS STEEL FLOATING DISC, Ø 320MM
BREMBO OPPOSED FOUR-PISTON CALLIPERS
REAR BRAKE STAINLESS STEEL FLOATING DISC, Ø 260MM
BREMBO OPPOSED TWO-PISTON CALLIPER
WHEELS ALUMINIUM ALLOY
FRONT WHEEL RIM 2.50″ X 19″
REAR WHEEL RIM 4.00″ X 16″
FRONT TYRE 100/90 R 19″
REAR TYRE 150/80 R 16″
SYSTEM VOLTAGE 12V
BATTERY 12V – 18AH
LENGTH 2240MM
WIDTH 865MM
HEIGHT 1165MM
SADDLE HEIGHT 785MM
KERB WEIGHT 199KG (NO FUEL)
FUEL TANK CAPACITY 15 LITRES
RESERVE 4 LITRES

 

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About the Author

Al does a bit of everything, and likes hanging around with Boris, because there are generally motorcycles and whiskey, and because hilarity generally ensues. He wastes his spare time not moderating the BIKE ME! forums, where he posts occasionally and is regarded as unfair, unbalanced and unmedicated. Shows how much THEY know.



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