Roam with style

Be­sides pleas­ing to the eyes, Moto Guzzi’s retro-de­signed mo­tor­cy­cles are also de­light­ful to ride. The V9 Roamer is one ex­am­ple.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Review - By A. NACHI car­sifu@thes­

MOTO Guzzi is one of the old­est mo­tor­cy­cle brands in the world. The brand made its pres­ence to the world in 1921 and was syn­ony­mous with rac­ing - win­ning many cham­pi­onships.

Fast for­ward to the 21st cen­tury and Moto Guzzi has been try­ing hard to cap­ture their own le­gion of rid­ers.

Slowly but surely, this Ital­ian brand is get­ting some trac­tion.

On our shores, Moto Guzzi’s ex­clu­sive dis­trib­u­tor in Malaysia, Didi Re­sources Sdn Bhd is work­ing very hard to build up the brand’s name.

In line with this, Moto Guzzi in Malaysia has brought in the lat­est mod­els, such as the V9 Roamer, V9 Bob­ber, V7 Stone and V7 Racer.

I got the op­por­tu­nity to re­view the all-new mid-size V9 Roamer re­cently with its de­lib­er­ately slanted 853cc en­gine that’s faith­ful to the brand’s unique en­gine place­ment.

At first glance over the bike, you will no­tice the retro-look­ing de­sign with a dash of modern in­flu­ence, mak­ing it rel­e­vant to the present trend.

Over­all, the whole de­sign of this Ital­ian bike is eye-catch­ing.

The unit I rode was in strik­ing yel­low with matt black wheels.

The up­right rid­ing po­si­tion is com­fort­able and the foot pegs are a bit more rear­ward, thus giv­ing me a com­fort­able sit­ting pos­ture and more space to move around on the wide yet firm sad­dle.

There are also plenty of room for the pil­lion and am­ple space for leg move­ments.

The han­dle bar is wide and al­lows you to stand for a bit if you need to ease the strain on your back.

In fact, such a han­dle bar is very use­ful if you in­tend to take this bike through some mild off-road sec­tions - but of course it’d be best to change the tyres to knob­bies.

Mean­while, the in­stru­ment panel is of a retro de­sign that’s com­ple­mented with use­ful in­for­ma­tion for any rider.

It comes in a clas­sic round hous­ing and fea­tures an ana­logue speedome­ter and a dig­i­tal dis­play.

Info avail­able in­clude odome­ter and trip me­ter read­ing, am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture, gear po­si­tion, trac­tion con­trol set­ting, avail­able dis­tance-to-fuel re­main­ing and an in­di­ca­tor for when the bike is in neu­tral gear.

While rid­ing the bike, I re­alised that it felt very light and its 200kg of wet weight seem to have been dis­trib­uted evenly.

I was told by the folks at Moto Guzzi Malaysia that the brand’s en­gi­neers are very mind­ful to en­sure that their bikes are light.

In the city, this ma­chine han­dled traf­fic jams and tight spa­ces be­tween ve­hi­cles like a champ.

Stop-go traf­fic wasn’t a prob­lem at all. The bike’s low-end torque is con­fi­dence in­spir­ing.

While weav­ing in and out of traf­fic, it be­came more ap­par­ent that this mo­tor­cy­cle’s agility is akin to that of a bi­cy­cle.

A ‘must’ men­tion here is that if any­one were to start a Moto Guzzi en­gine, the vi­bra­tions will al­ways pull the bike slightly to the left first and then to the right.

Ba­si­cally, the en­gine comes to life from left to right - a rather unique char­ac­ter­is­tic of a Guzzi en­gine.

But once the bike moves on, the en­gine set­tles to a silky smooth­ness re­gard­less which­ever gear it’s in or what­ever speed it’s trav­el­ling at.

On the high­way, I could eas­ily ex­ceed the le­gal speed limit.

Should the bike be trav­el­ling in the in­cor­rect gear, the ma­chine will prompt the rider to change the gear. A rather smart ma­chine.

But re­gard­less if it is in first or sixth gear, the shifts were seam­lessly ef­fort­less and barely au­di­ble.

I took a few sharp corners at around 120kph and the low cen­tre of grav­ity and light­ness of the mo­tor­cy­cle gave me all the con­fi­dence to pull off this ma­noeu­vre.

The en­try and exit from corners were eas­ily ex­e­cuted and the bike felt very planted.

Mid-way through the en­try of the cor­ner, I knew that this bike will not fail me.

The han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics was sim­ply spot on.

The Kayaba sus­pen­sion sys­tem also per­well formed over small humps and bumps while at low speeds, but kick it up to around 80kph while head­ing over more promi­nent ones, the sus­pen­sion didn’t seem to live up to my ex­pec­ta­tions.

It ul­ti­mately felt stiff and while the 40mm front forks are not ad­justable, the rear shocks are.

How­ever, the V9 Roamer does not dive badly dur­ing an emer­gency brake.

On a few oc­ca­sions, I de­cided to ride the bike hard around corners and man­aged to scrape the foot pegs.

It felt so nim­ble right out of the box and it just riled me up and got me ex­cited enough that I rode it like a sports bike.

But, the truth of the mat­ter is that even though it rode well, the char­ac­ter of a cruiser does seem to sur­face.

Stop­ping power comes from a set of Brembo brakes with a four­pot cal­liper at the front that clamp down on a sin­gle 320mm disc, while the two-pot cal­liper at the rear gives the squeeze on a 260mm disc to give me all the nec­es­sary stop­ping con­fi­dence.

And of course, there’s also an anti-lock brak­ing sys­tem (ABS).

This six-speed trans­mis­sion from Guzzi comes with a patented two-level Moto Guzzi Trac­tion Con­trol sys­tem, where the first set­ting is for dry con­di­tions and the other is for the wet.

Trac­tion con­trol of th­ese sorts def­i­nitely give much con­fi­dence to any novice rid­ers, know­ing that their ma­chines are con­tin­u­ously look­ing af­ter their safety.

The bike costs RM69,466 (with­out GST) and the V9 Roamer is def­i­nitely an ideal bike for any novice or even sea­soned rid­ers who are look­ing for a mid-sized bike that’s both user-friendly when in the city and con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing on in­ter­state ex­pe­di­tions.

Disc brakes pro­vide good stop­ping power.

The retro-look­ing round in­stru­ment gauge.

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