WORLD FIRST TEST MOTO GUZZI V9 ROAMER
‘It’s a fine line between retro and old-hat’ ‘Sadly it’s hard to justify, or recommend’
f you like your Guzzis more traditionally styled, then the Roamer could be right up your street. Using the same basic platform as the Bobber (see page 12), the Roamer adds a bit of chrome to give it a more cruiser look as well as taller bars and a 19in front wheel. Which is where the problems start…
Whereas the Bobber has a slightly odd feeling to its front end due to its wide balloon tyres, the 19in front on the Roamer is actually considerably more unpleasant, and when combined with the 16in rear it makes the Roamer ponderous to turn and vague in corners. While I’m sure owners will get used to this feeling, and chalk it up as character, for me it ruined the ride. And that’s not the only thing that annoyed me about the Roamer.
Moto Guzzi are a company with a flourishing history and tradition, yet I feel the Roamer’s styling does nothing to highlight this. There is a fine line between retro and old-hat and I think the Roamer sits on the wrong side of that. I’m sure others will disagree, but to me the Roamer would be a far better machine if its styling was
Imore towards a traditional naked than a quasi-cruiser. And I suspect Guzzi feel the UK market will agree as only 20% of the V9s coming into the UK will be Roamers, the rest will be the Bobber. Will that 20% find any joy in Roamer ownership?
The Roamer’s V9 engine is identical to the Bobber’s, which means it is packed full of the soul you get from an air-cooled Guzzi V-twin, and it’s a very pleasant engine to use. The riding position is comfortable, the suspension soft for cruising but bad on bumps, while the traction control and ABS work well. If you want to go touring, Guzzi have developed a range of accessories – including panniers – to go with it, and the quality of finish seems high. But in both the modern-retro and cruiser markets there are bikes that do all this, and handle considerably better than the Roamer, making this a bike for traditional Guzzi enthusiasts, whereas the Bobber could attract a new generation of riders to the brand.
Guzzis will always divide opinion, but for me it is too reminiscent of the worst of the old Guzzi ranges, rather than the fresh cool new future the company should be taking advantage of, and which is better represented by the V9 Bobber.