Bob­ber v Bob­ber COMPARO

We toss two power-packed bob­bers into the black-top ring in a fight to the death. They will have to brave sharp cor­ners, chaotic traf­fic, and (bor­der­line) wild an­i­mals in their quest for two-wheeled supremacy. Which one will come out on top?

Bike India - - CONTENTS -

It’s a duel be­tween the Tri­umph Bon­neville Bob­ber and Moto Guzzi’s V9 Bob­ber

STEP RIGHT UP folks, step right up; we have quite the treat for you to­day. Two heavy­weights of the mo­tor­cy­cling world go head-to-head for all the plau­dits. In the Morello Red cor­ner, weigh­ing in at 228 kg, hail­ing from Hinck­ley, Le­ices­ter­shire, the bru­tal Bri­tish beauty: Tri­umph Bon­neville Bob­ber. And, in the Gir­gio Sport grey cor­ner, weigh­ing in at 199 kg, from Man­dello del Lario, the feisty Ital­ian: Moto Guzzi V9 Bob­ber.

Both com­peti­tors are look­ing fit and rar­ing to go, so let’s get right into it. Round one — the looks, and ding, ding, there’s the start­ing bell. With its looks in­spired by hard­tails of yore, the Tri­umph has a retro-styled mo­tif run­ning across its de­sign phi­los­o­phy. The clas­si­cally round head­lamps, flat han­dle­bars, min­i­mal­ist cir­cu­lar bar-end mir­rors, sculpted tank, wire-spoke wheels, chromed-out twin pipes, and min­i­mal­ist steel mud­guards all look the part. The ab­so­lute stand­out el­e­ment has to be that float­ing sin­gle seat, which when taken in con­junc­tion with its re­cessed rear monoshock al­most fools you into think­ing that the Brits have gone all-out and made an ac­tual hard­tail. The over­all ef­fect is one of a bike that sits low and is the epit­ome of cool.

The Moto Guzzi too has clas­sic bob­ber aes­thetic traits. You get a more mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of spokes here, with those 16-inch cast-alu­minium wheels wrapped in over­sized tyres (130/90 up front and 150/80 rear). Trimmed mud­guards, a spher­i­cal head­lamp, and an all-matte paint job, and drag-style han­dle­bars and that off­set in­stru­ment clus­ter bring in the vis­ual ap­peal. You can’t ig­nore the pro­trud­ing cylin­der-heads from the big V when talk­ing of the V9’s style quo­tient; how­ever, the grey paint job on the bike with red che­quered flag em­bel­lish­ments is the star of the show, and re­ally ramps up its kerb ap­peal. Both bikes have at­tributes go­ing for them in the looks de­part­ment, and af­ter a bit of spar­ring, come out even-stevens in the first round.

Round two is all about fea­tures, er­gonomics, and build qual­ity, so let’s get stuck in, shall we? Both bikes come with a sin­gle-pod in­stru­ment clus­ter with an ana­logue speedo and dig­i­tal info for

ev­ery­thing else. The V9 Bob­ber gets points for the tra­di­tional black let­ter­ing on white back­ground de­sign; how­ever the Bon­neville Bob­ber steps in with a quick one-two combo for pro­vid­ing rid­ers with a fuel in­di­ca­tor and rev-counter, nei­ther of which the Guzzi can boast of. The Bon­nie Bob­ber also shows dis­tance to empty, and doesn’t have the con­fus­ing two-layer speedo with read­outs in both kilo­me­tres (km/h) and miles per hour (mph). Switchgear qual­ity is pretty even on both bikes and of a high stan­dard, too, and the same can be said about the fit-and-fin­ish of both bikes as well. The Guzzi gets a swift right hook in for pro­vid­ing a con­ve­niently placed USB charg­ing port, and an­other one for pro­vid­ing the big­ger fuel tank at 15 litres as op­posed to the Tri­umph’s 9.1-litre tank.

It is still any­one’s bout as we en­ter round three, and things are be­gin­ning to heat up. Swing a leg over the sad­dle and you will find that both bikes have an up­right rid­ing po­si­tion. The V9, though, has slightly more for­ward-set pegs and re­sults in your shins knock­ing against those afore­men­tioned cylin­der-heads that jut out on ei­ther side. The Tri­umph’s seat is ad­justable to a great de­gree too, al­low­ing for a rid­ing po­si­tion that can be fine-tuned to suit in­di­vid­ual rid­ers fur­ther. An­other draw­back on the V9 is that its stand po­si­tion is a bit fur­ther back and is awk­ward to flick down, which makes it the more an­noy­ing of the two to park.

Seat com­fort isn’t a high­light on ei­ther bike, es­pe­cially on longer stints. How­ever, the V9 ral­lies with the more com­fort­able seat of the two and the bet­ter rear-view vis­i­bil­ity with its larger mir­rors. The fourth round saw the match swing one way, then an­other, but now we’ve made it to the cru­cial fifth round.

Straight to the per­for­mance then, and let’s get ready to rum­ble — quite lit­er­ally. Speak­ing of the ‘rum­ble’ the Bon­nie pro­vides more au­di­tory ap­peal. The Tri­umph comes out of the cor­ner fight­ing, as it is pow­ered by a 1,200-cc liq­uid-cooled, SOHC par­al­lel-twin en­gine that pro­duces 77 PS at 6,100 rpm and 106 Nm of twist at 4,000 rpm. The en­gine is lifted straight out of the Bon­neville T120 with a

The Tri­umph has got the Moto Guzzi on the ropes now with its su­pe­rior per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics, and lands the knock-out blow with its price

new twin-air­box in­take sys­tem tossed in, and a tweaked ex­haust al­low­ing the en­gine to ac­quire a more torque-y char­ac­ter. This char­ac­ter is ev­i­dent as soon as you twist the throt­tle, as the Tri­umph pulls away cleanly from as low as 2,000 revs. The ac­cel­er­a­tion is ur­gent and the bike pulls com­fort­ably till it hits its 6,100-rpm thresh­old for peak power. The six-speed gear­box is slick and the gear ra­tios are pretty well-sorted as well.

The Moto Guzzi is pow­ered by an 853-cc, air­cooled, 90° V-twin that churns out 55 PS at 6,250 rpm and 62 Nm at 3,000 rpm. While the lat­ter is nearly 30 ki­los lighter, that’s still quite the chasm in terms of power, and it shows. The V9 fires up with a bit of shake but set­tles down as you get go­ing. While the Guzzi is quick off the block it doesn’t feel as rapid as the Tri­umph, and this is ex­ac­er­bated by the fact that it isn’t a high-revver and en­cour­ages you to short-shift up through the gears which makes it less fun to ride in traf­fic. The six-speed shaft-drive trans­mis­sion isn’t as smooth through the gears ei­ther, and even the clutch ac­tion on the Tri­umph is that lit­tle bit lighter and more sup­ple.

In terms of ride setup, the Tri­umph has Kayaba te­le­scopic forks up front and a monoshock at the back which is ad­justable for preload. The Moto Guzzi has te­le­scopic shocks up front as well; how­ever, it has twin shocks at the rear in­stead of a monoshock and also comes with preload ad­just. The Tri­umph is the more for­giv­ing on the bumps at lower speeds; how­ever, when you hit a pot­hole while car­ry­ing pace and the sus­pen­sion hap­pens to fully com­press, your seat will hit the frame below which is an un­com­fort­able ex­pe­ri­ence. Even though the Tri­umph has a longer wheel­base of the two, it is the bet­ter han­dler. Eas­ier to flick around cor­ners and not suf­fer­ing from the V9’s sig­na­ture V-twin gy­ro­scopic ef­fect that tends to pull the bike to the right, the Tri­umph shines through on the han­dling front.

Brak­ing per­for­mance on both bikes is de­cent, but here too the Tri­umph feels that lit­tle bit more ur­gent when com­pared to its Ital­ian ri­val. Both bikes have ABS and two-level trac­tion con­trol (wet and dry).

The Tri­umph has got the Moto Guzzi on the ropes now with its su­pe­rior per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics, and lands the knock-out blow with its price. Car­ry­ing a sticker of Rs 11.85 lakh (OTR, Pune), it is just over Rs 5 lakh cheaper than the V9 which will cost you Rs 16.96 lakh (OTR, Pune). This means the win­ner of this bat­tle of the heavy­weight bob­bers is the Tri­umph, and takes home the cham­pi­onship belt for the ul­ti­mate bob­ber avail­able in In­dia to­day. Both bikes are stylish, en­joy­able to ride and echo the her­itage of those clas­sic Amer­i­can-style bob-jobs. How­ever, the Tri­umph is that lit­tle bit bet­ter in all as­pects of per­for­mance, and the big one: the price-tag.

Both bob­bers have old-school di­als but the Tri­umph’s is eas­ier to read

The Bon­nie’s 1,200-cc par­al­lel-twin churns out 77 PS

Both bikes fea­ture aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing chisseled tanks, the V9’s car­ries more fuel though The Tri­umph’s seat is the bet­ter looker; the Moto Guzzi’s the more com­frotable one for long rides

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.