First Ride Review: 2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber

An aggressive version of the V9 Roamer

2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber
Flatter handlebars help with the Bobber’s more aggressive handling, giving more precise control in turns.©Motorcyclist

They Say: "Bold and essential."
We Say: "Essentially a sportier Roamer."

For the past 95 years, Moto Guzzi has been making bikes with plenty of authentic Italian style. With the new V9, they add a mid sized custom to the mix, the next step up from the V7. Moto Guzzi claims the V9 is 90 percent new, including an engine to meet new Euro 4 emission standards. Targeting new riders, young riders, and female riders, the V9 comes in two iterations: the Roamer and the Bobber. While the Roamer (click here to read the 2017 V9 Roamer review) is for more relaxed rides, the Bobber is slightly more aggressive, giving the V9 a slightly wider range of appeal.

The V9 Bobber shares the same 853cc engine with the Roamer, with no differences between the two. The Bobber gave the same throttle and torque response as the Roamer.

2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber, left side view
Moto Guzzi says their V9 platform is 90 percent new, including an engine to meet new Euro 4 emission standards. See our Tech Review of the V9 updates here.©Motorcyclist

At just under 31 inches high, the Bobber’s seat is slightly narrower at its junction with the tank than on the Roamer, though that hardly makes a difference. Just like the Roamer, the Bobber’s foot pegs are placed at a position that puts my 30-inch inseam legs at a near-90-degree bend, but are at a width (to accommodate the engine) that forces my feet outward, causing knees to ache after a half hour of riding. The teardrop tank, with sharp extruding longitudinal creases along the side, doesn’t offer the V7’s carved out space to tuck knees in comfortably. Additionally, the low/wide footpeg placement meant I was scraping pegs much sooner than expected, all the more surprising since the Bobber is marketed as the more aggressive of the two V9s. But maybe they were talking mostly aesthetics.

2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber review, seat
The Bobber’s seat is slightly narrower than the Roamer's where it meets the tank.©Motorcyclist

To help with that aggressive aesthetic is the flatter, lower, slighter farther forward Bobber handlebar. This definitely proved an uncomfortable reach for me, more so than the slightly more upright Roamer’s. That being said, to call the ergos on either bike comfortable is a bit of a stretch (pun intended, or not) for me. Considering I am the average (American) female height, and Moto Guzzi claims female riders are part of their target market with the V9, I wonder what size rider was used during R&D? My average-size male counterparts didn’t seem to have any issue with the seating position, so that right there might be the answer to my question.

2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber review, handling
Moto Guzzi markets the Bobber as the more aggressive of the two V9s. Can you tell? Click here for the V9 Roamer First Ride review.©Motorcyclist

Those flatter handlebars, however, did help with the Bobber’s more aggressive handling, giving more precise control in turns. That’s relative, of course, compared to its sister Roamer. The Bobber’s turn-in was lighter, and mid corner steering felt more stable, thanks to the smaller but wider 16-inch wheel sporting Continental Conti-Milestone 130/90-16 tire up front, matched to a 150/80 B16 in back.

2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber tank
The teardrop tank is stylish but doesn’t offer the carved out space to tuck knees in comfortably as with the V7.©Motorcyclist

All other components of the V9 Bobber are shared with the Roamer, including engine, transmission, clutch, KYB standard fork and rear shocks, Brembo brakes with ABS, and two-mode traction control. The Bobber also shares the same new single dial gauge with small digital inset screen that can be augmented with your smartphone, along with the Moto Guzzi Media Platform optional accessory ($250) and Guzzi Multimedia Platform smartphone app.

2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber engine and exhaust
The V9 Bobber shares the same 853cc engine and 6-speed transmission as the new Roamer. We take a more in-depth look at the technical updates here.©Motorcyclist

The V9 Bobber comes in “Grigio Sport” (Grey) and “Nero Massiccio” (Black), both with blacked out exhaust, mirrors, and rear springs, and is priced at $10,490. Moto Guzzi also offers plenty of factory accessories to continue the customization. Between the two, I preferred the handling of the Bobber, but the ergos of the Roamer.

2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber, right side view
The 2017 V9 Bobber, aesthetically more aggressive than the new Roamer, targets new riders, young riders, female riders, and anyone who loves a custom standard with Italian flair.©Motorcyclist

TECH SPEC

EVOLUTION
The V9 Bobber offers a sportier version of the Roamer, filling the gap for a midsize custom.
RIVALS
[BMW RnineT][], [Triumph Scrambler Street Twin][], [Yamaha XSR900][]
TECH
PRICE $10,490
ENGINE 853cc air-cooled 90° V-twin
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/shaft
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 54.2 hp @ 6250 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 45.7 lb.-ft. @ 3000 rpm
FRAME Tubular-steel double-cradle
FRONT SUSPENSION KYB inverted fork; 5.1-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION KYB shocks adjustable for spring preload; 3.8-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Brembo four-piston caliper, 320mm disc with ABS
REAR BRAKE Brembo two-piston caliper, 260mm disc with ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 26.4°/4.57 in.
WHEELBASE 57.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 30.7 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 4.0 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 463 claimed, wet
AVAILABLE May 2016
CONTACT [motoguzzi-us.com][]
VERDICT
A decent addition to the midsize custom segment, with lots of classic style and a few modern amenities