The Italians have gone and done it again. They've presented us with yet another work of art on two wheels that is just stunning to look at. It's not quite the conventional look you'd expect from a cruiser. Then again, would you really expect any less from a manufacturer that takes pride in producing these exotic, two-wheeled rolling sculptures? Sure, there are the almost forgotten decades of racing history and success of Moto Guzzi; but those are the days of the past.
Moto Guzzi has tapered off into a more relaxed tangent in recent times; one that has seen it keep the transverse-mounted V-twin engine alive since the 1960s. Now the V9 Roamer stands as a testament to the Guzzi heritage; it’s not about speed any more, it’s about being as aesthetically pleasing as it can be. But how does that translate into it doing what it’s actually supposed to do, simply be a motorcycle.
When you approach the V9 Roamer, it just steals your attention away from all that surrounds you. In typical Moto Guzzi fashion, some will instantly fall in love with it, while others may take a tad longer. If you do fancy it, its charming retro-styling and stunning paint-schemes will have you standing and admiring it for good long hours before you actually decide to ride it. It’s got the single, circular headlight with a chromed lip, and the single-dial instrument gauge that keeps things simple. Contrary to its retro theme, the speedometer gets a small digital display that has temperature, traction-control, odometer and two trip-meter read-outs. The switches on the roamer have a solid feel to them. It gets a concealed kill-switch, a flat button to toggle the speedo-display, as well as a tiny button on the inside of the left handlebar to switch between the 2-stage traction control modes. There’s also a USB port tucked away under the forward part of the fuel tank.
The fuel tank on the Roamer is its defining feature; it’s quite different from the regular cruiser-styled tank; with the stellar paint making it stand out even more. Deviating from the typical cruiser stance, it appears to resemble a pretty looking flat-tracker; with the engine cylinder-heads sticking out authoritatively from under the shapely tank. It gets a nice flat seat that is comfortable for a single rider; with a pillion on board, things do get rather cramped. Even the side panel on the Roamer reminds you of flat-tracker styling, with the integrated ventilation holes and old-styled badge. The tail ends in a nice swooping design that compliments the flow of the chromed-out twin exhausts.
Once you are astride the bike, the seating position is upright and comfortable. The wide, raised handlebars will again remind you of a flat-tracker seating posture; but flat-tracker riding shenanigans will have to be kept on hold with the 199kg kerb weight. The footpegs, however, are rather forward set, and sit almost under the engine’s cylinder heads. While most riders may not have any issue with this seating geometry, some taller riders might end up having bruised shins after every outing with the motorcycle.
Thumb the start button and you will feel the 853cc transverse-mounted 90-degree V-twin engine thunder to life; you will however feel a fair amount of vibration at idle. And, because of this transverse engine layout, you will also feel a slight lug to the right at abrupt throttle-revs. Moto Guzzi has stuck to its guns and retained the air-cooled, two-valve-per-cylinder layout; although, there isn’t much heat that emanates from the cylinder heads despite your knees almost resting against them.
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Issue: 209 | Autocar India: January 2017
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