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  • September 20, 2017
  • Dirck Edge
  • Chris Rubino
  • 60 Comments

2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer: MD Ride Review

Moto Guzzi doesn’t offer new engine displacements very often, so it was a bit of a surprise when the V9 models (displacing 850cc) were announced in the Fall of 2015. We have been testing one of those models, the V9 Roamer, over the past several weeks.  This is our report.

Based on the architecture of the V7 models, the V9 engine, in addition to the larger displacement, is thoroughly revised. The crankcase is stiffer with a new, carefully balanced crankshaft. New oil jets cool the pistons as part of the redesign of the lubrication system.

The top end of the new motor gets new aluminum heads, together with new pistons and cylinders. Electronic fuel injection is by Marelli. Together, these changes bring the new engine into compliance with Euro 4 emission standards.

Peak horsepower is quite low for the displacement, i.e., a claimed 55 horsepower at 6,250 rpm. The torque peak of 45.7 foot/pounds occurs all the way down at 3,000 rpm. This engine is designed to rev hard from idle, while being short-shifted to maintain progress.

Moto Guzzi says the V9 Roamer is the “Italian factory custom bike dedicated to the long-distance traveler.” The stock, naked machine can be outfitted with factory accessories to provide wind protection and luggage capacity (more about that later). The bike has a somewhat raked-out look courtesy of the 19″ front wheel and 16″ rear. The high bars offer a comfortable perch for the rider, and a flat seat won’t confine you to a single position on longer trips.

Engine performance is consistent with the long stroke, two-valve, v-twin engine design. That is to say, power comes on smartly the minute you let out the clutch to leave a stop. Fuel injection tuning is excellent, with brisk, but not abrupt, throttle response. Power delivery is linear, and the bike asks for an up-shift quickly … consistent with the 6,250 rpm power peak. Power is always available from idle, but you won’t be winning many drag races.

As is often the case with Moto Guzzis, handling is surprisingly good. Straight line stability at speed is excellent, and the relatively light weight machine (a claimed 440 pound curb weight) can be dipped into corners with little effort. Perhaps, due to the differential tire sizes and widths, the V9 does want to stand up mid-corner, and under-steer on corner exits.

The non-adjustable suspension (with only spring preload adjustment available in the rear) provides a reasonable compromise, although sharp edged bumps can send a bit of a jolt through the fork. The Pirelli Sport Demon tires provide good grip, but the narrow front rubber (just 100 mm wide) could provide more supple bump absorption.

The seat is comfortable on shorter rides, but can feel too hard on longer trips. The bike is exceedingly narrow between your knees … so much so there is really nothing to grip with your legs (if that is important to you with your riding style).

Instrumentation consists of a simple, analog speedometer (no tach), which provides several warning lights (including one for low fuel). An LCD window at the base of the speedometer provides additional information that the rider can scroll through from the handlebars, including odometer, partial trip and daily trip (with automatic reset after eight hours after shutdown), trip time, instantaneous and average fuel consumption, clock, outside temperature, average speed, MGCT level, in addition to the gear position and shift indicator (idle and maximum shift rpm can be adjusted by the user). “MGCT” refers to Moto Guzzi Traction Control, which is adjustable by the rider for three positions, including one for standard traction levels, one for rain and an off position.

The V9 Roamer has disc brakes front and rear, with a single, large 320 mm front disc squeezed by a Brembo four-piston caliper. This set-up provided surprisingly good feel and braking power despite the lack of a second disc up front.

The six-speed transmission shifts positively, although with the occasional v-twin clunk, and transfers power to the rear wheel through a sophisticated drive shaft, with a new bevel gear, which never adversely affected handling (the way shaft drive traditionally did). This system should provide reduced maintenance for riders.

Moto Guzzi offers several options and accessories for the new V9 Roamer. You can add a multimedia platform, the “MG-MP”, which will connect the V9 Roamer to either an iOS or Android smartphone. A wireless connection with the bike, together with a free app download, turns your smartphone into another source of information, including speedometer, tachometer, power and torque figures, current and average fuel consumption, average speed and battery voltage, and even “longitudinal acceleration”. The app allows you to analyze your trip on your computer or your smartphone, and can even allow you to locate your bike on your smartphone if you happen to forget where you parked!

The app also allows your smartphone to report on lean angles in turns and provide a “grip warning” tied to the bike’s traction control system.

Accessories available from Moto Guzzi make the bike more touring-friendly, including an optional fairing, and luggage sets. The V9 Roamer is available in two colors, including Bianco Classico (the model we tested) and Giallo Solare (pictured above). U.S. MSRP is $9,990, although Moto Guzzi is currently offering special financing or a $1,000 discount on pricing. Take a look at Moto Guzzi’s website for additional details.


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60 Comments

  1. Dirty Bob says:

    Where do you find parts/service? HD is best for this. Even non-dealers are abundant. A 883 cost the same and parts/service is everywhere.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Yes, but then that means you have to live with an 883. I think I’d roll the dice on the slim parts/service availability.

      • mickey says:

        plus you’d have to put up with the snide comments from the riders of “real Harley’s” about riding a girls bike. You’d almost be required to wear sleeveless shirts and doo rags too, and switch out the factory pipes for something obnoxious or you’d be further shunned.

        The Guzzi guys are happy to see others riding Guzzis regardless of displacement.

  2. Mark says:

    I like the looks of the bike. I like the tank size because I think it matches the bikes design flow. Long distance tour bike it is not and I don’t think Moto intended it to be hence the not so large tank. Want a touring bike get a Wing or other. I think this bike would be great for short explorations.

  3. curt says:

    Saw one on the road recently and the pics don’t lie. Two major aesthetic flaws. The gas tank and the 19 inch front wheel. Both conspire to make this bike look like a Japanese standard/cruiser from the eighties. Low at the back and too tall and raked at the front. Yamaha XS Eleven? Honda Magna? Is that what they were going for?

  4. Clumsyfingers says:

    I’ve owned more than a few “mainstream” motorcycles, then fell in love with the look of the Norge and had to have one. There is something about those cylinder heads sticking out the sides and a peek of header pipe that’s irresistible. Even though the Norge was rated dead last in a sport-touring bike shoot-out, after two seasons I can’t imagine trading it for anything else. This thing has personality.
    I could see trading my teenage girlfriend (Yamaha YZF600R – hot and a whole lot of fun!) for a V9 – when I grow up.

  5. randy says:

    I hope this is the basis of the new V11 Sport or 850 Le Mans Sport Tourer. Just a gas tank,second disc and shifted ergos away. Always wanted a Guzzi. I talked to a rep at Sturgis, from what I could make out of his accent, “Wait for Milan in November”.

  6. bmbktmracer says:

    The only people I can see buying this ugly terd are men over 60 whose eyeglass prescriptions expired long ago.

  7. WSHart says:

    Moto Guzzi says the V9 Roamer is the “Italian factory custom bike dedicated to the long-distance traveler.” Not with a dinky 4 gallon fuel tank. WTF were they (Guzzi) thinking? Answer – They weren’t.

    What in hell is so damn difficult about putting a (minimum) 5 gallon fuel tank on a motorbike like this Goose? The ridiculously thirsty 1400 Tour has a just as ridiculous 5.4 gallon tank on it and it isn’t worth spit as a “tourer” because it’s neutered by limited touring range.

    Guzzis are supposed to be long distance mounts. This thing couldn’t go the distance at all.

    • bmbktmracer says:

      Maybe it’s not fair to be so harsh and accusatory with regard to fuel capacity on motorcycles designed for style over function. I’d imagine the older gentleman this bike is designed for would be happy to ride 50 to 100 miles between stops. I think this is a “slow down and smell the roses” ride, not a “gotta cross Texas in 6 hours” ride.

    • todd says:

      “Long distance touring” doesn’t suggest it can be done all in one tank. In fact, I don’t think a motorcycle ever existed that could do a long distance journey non-stop.

      • mickey says:

        Guess it depends on what you call long distance. BMW had an optional 10 gal tank, at 50 mpg that would be 500 miles. My ST has a 7.7 gal tank. I ave 47 mpg so in theory it should be good for over 350 miles (have never pushed it that far but did go 315 miles on one tank once). Dividing 200 or 250 by expected mpg should he a determining factor in fuel tank size. If you only average mid to high 30s in mpg on your bike if it doesn’t have a 6 gallon or larger tank, you are so limited when traveling, especially if you are avoiding freeways which tend to have stations closer together than back roads. Then again if you barely leave town when you ride, a small tank is no big deal.

        If a bike averages 50 mpg or better I find a 4 gal tank acceptable. For a sport tourer or tourer though, I would think a 6 + gallon tank would be preferable. I don’t consider the Roamer a long distance mount no matter what Guzzi says, so a small tank on this bike would be acceptable to me. A California would be the long distance mount in the Guzzi line up imo

        I live in the midwest where gas staions are everywhere, but ride a lot in the west where they are not. Passed thru a small town in Idaho headed for rattlesnake pass and passed a sign that said “next gas 78 miles”, so I turned around and went back to town and filled up even though I still had 1/2 tank showing on the fuel gauge, which should have been plenty ( unless the next station was closed for some reason). Better safe than sorry. Pushing a 700 pound motorcycle is not a lot of fun.

        • Dirty Bob says:

          Mileage is a consideration when your bike has a 4.75 gallon tank, the bike gets 42 mpg advertised, an a road in Nevada (Hwy 6) there is 191 miles without gas.

    • randy says:

      I don’t wanna be a hater but small tanks have been my pet peeve about a lot of bikes I’ve owned or wanted to own. I must have an iron butt. I LOVE to have that carefree feeling of being able to turn around and ride a particularly great stretch of road again or explore an unknown road knowing I can make the next gas without worry.

  8. Brian says:

    I’ve owned a Stelvio, an 8V Griso, no less than 4 previous 1100 California versions, a V7 Stone, and now I have about 2800 miles on a new Roamer. I’m going to say right off the bat that I don’t have enough miles on the bike yet to declare it my favorite among all these; however, I can say that among all those engines the V9 is my preferred one. Prior to buying the Roamer I had a 2nd Gen modified and decatted FZ1 that made over 140 hp and topped out at somewhere north of 160mph. Fantastic motorcycle but I haven’t missed it a single day since getting the Roamer. So all the goofy power complaints seem that way, funny, to me. Guzzis are special to some folks. You really get it or you don’t. That’s gonna offend a lot of the naysayers and bean counters and line scorers here but it only offends them because there’s some truth in there. I’ve owned Ducatis, KTMs, Triumphs, Kawis, Yammers, etc. Nothing is like a Goose and a Goose is like nothing else. That’s either good or bad depending on what side of the aisle you are on in terms of the brand. They are beautiful, hand made motorcycles that basically run forever and generally have little to no cost of maintenance. I have well over 80k mostly trouble free miles on Geese. Among all those brands I’ve owned – brands that I have far less miles but more trouble upon, btw – wanna take a stab at what is the only one that has never stranded me even once in all those miles? The Eagle flies.

  9. Jdilpkle says:

    I do have a soft spot for Guzzi’s. I had a beautiful 1976 850 Le Mans until a Chevy made a left hand turn in front of me. It was a great bike until it exploded into 5,000 pieces. Par for the course if you ride long enough. Sure love motorcycles – had about 30 of them through the years. That new Africa Twin seems pretty nice… – HELP! I can’t stop!

  10. Denis says:

    I guess I’m fortunate to live very close to a Guzzi dealer. I have looked at and ridden the Roamer. I just don’t get all of this negativity. Now I know I might be older than some of the commentators (61), but I sum up my ride with one word–FUN. I also owned a CX500 back in the late 70’s. Let’s not forget that this good looking and fun bike also has shaft drive–for me that’s a huge plus–one of the reasons I bought the CX500. As far as the horsepower numbers, let me tell you, it will go fast enough to get you in trouble, if that’s what you want. Before you criticize it, get close and personal with it. I hope Moto Guzzi sells a lot of them.

    • MGNorge says:

      As long as bikes are equated dollars per horsepower the negative commenters will likely always be. I like performance just as much as the next guy but like you (I’m 64) I do like to absorb the ride and the vistas I pass through more nowadays than elevating my heartrate each time I ride. Looking back at some of the most memorable moments I’ve had riding had nothing to do with speed or power.

  11. Provologna says:

    I dig the spokes on the wheels. Would it not look infinitely better with dual 18s, maybe 120mm front/140mm rear, or thereabouts?

    To me, the greater the disparity between F/R wheels/tires, the worse the bike looks. Check it out the next time you see a bike (or image of one) with matched F/R wheel diameters. IIRC: Norton Commando dual 19s, old Triumphs, original MG V7 Sport 750 awesome alloy 18s w/ventilated front drums, original MG 850 Le Mans dual 18s, even a custom Suzuki 400 single posted here within the last 2 years.

    Another preference, but likely impractical: IMO rear drum brakes look so much better than a single disc. If Freddie Spencer can simultaneously win the 250cc and 500cc class GP without a rear brake (in published image the bikes lacked rear brake lever), could not a modern rear drum work? Unfortunately cost is much higher; motorcycle rear drum brakes might be extinct. It would just look so cool, clean, and more symmetrical with only the drive chain on one side. Maybe air vents, with metal mesh screen to block debris? I would love that! I mean, if it’s on some funky cruiser one presumes it can sacrifice rear brake performance for better style.

    • guu says:

      Cost is higher for drum? They are cheaper, less machining and larger tolerances overall. Cheap cars still have rear drums as do really cheap bikes in the developing countries.

      • todd says:

        Yes, more parts, more manufacturing processes and more assembly (labor). Car rear brakes must include a mechanical parking brake so the bare minimum in that case is a drum.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      This is a cruiser. A large portion of the target market doesn’t ever use the front brake. Might want to leave the rear disc.

      • beasty says:

        “This is a cruiser. A large portion of the target market doesn’t ever use the front brake.”
        Yeah, No. I suspect that portion is a lot smaller than you think it is. Even tho your cousin’s, stepmother’s, hairdresser’s, husband’s, boss’s, nephew does it, doesn’t mean he represents a large portion of cruiser riders.

  12. MIGUEL ZEDRX says:

    All right a new Moto Guzzzzzzzzzzzzz, oh sorry I must have dozed off for a second. Must be a slow news day.

  13. YellowDuck says:

    Wow…talk about damning with faint praise…

    I find the comments comparing this to a Sportster or Bonneville interesting. Maybe this bike isn’t really so bad up against its natural competition?

    • Selecter says:

      Well, we can look at the raw numbers here, and that’s about all…

      Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer : 53 WHP, 440 lbs., lackluster brakes and suspension, $10k list.

      Triumph Street Twin : 53 WHP, 478 lbs., lackluster brakes and suspension, $9k

      H-D Iron 883 : 45 WHP, 564 lbs., lackluster brakes and truly awful suspension, $9k

      Yamaha SCR950 : 49 WHP, 547 lbs., lackluster brakes and pretty terrible suspension, $8700

      Ducati Scrambler Icon : 74HP, 410 lbs., acceptable brakes and suspension, $8,900

      Who’d have thought that a Ducati would be the overall good-value proposition in any motorcycle market category at all? This, of course, is leaving out the more modern water-cooled models that might get lumped in, but yeah… given the direct competition (bikes styled and designed nearly exactly like this one is), the V9 is “right in there”, numbers-wise, with the Scrambler being the only really lop-sided mismatch.

      • Scotty says:

        All them bikes are only lackluster compared to bikes in a completely different class. Brakes and suspension are fine for doing what they are intended to do.

      • Dirty Bob says:

        Can one still buy a new Ducati Scrambler? Firmware faulty! Parts delivery are 3 weeks out. Sorry, for my $ a HD is best for parts/service. Otherwise you made a fair comparison.

  14. Kagato says:

    I’m glad MG still makes Motorcycles. Beautiful bike : – ) I get tired of all the dragonflies and transformers and robots that are presented to us.

  15. Neal says:

    If the Stelvio competes with the GS bikes, Guzzi has room to compete with the FJ-09, V-Strom 1000, and Hyperstrada in its lineup. I’d be interested in something like that if it were only a bit more expensive than this V9.

    • rapier says:

      The Stelvio didn’t compete with the GS. Well it was meant to but according to the story that came out when it was officially canceled the number 7000,total production run, was stated. That isn’t even a gnats worth of bother as BMW has surely sold well over 100K, maybe near 200K, GS’s since 09 when I think the Stelvio came out.

      Even MD didn’t ‘get’ the Stelvio, normally having a soft spot for Guzzi, even though articles are to be found from experienced former GS owners and competent testers saying the Stel is as good or better, cheaper and easier to maintain and less prone to catastrophic failures. They are both big tall heavy beasts that can do things they have no business doing.

      The Guzzi thing, that big lump of air cooled engine, non unit trans and shaft drive are a design straight jacket. A great practical design but it will always appeal to the few. Then will not grow unless they branch off on a new road.

  16. beasty says:

    I like it but the nearest MG dealer is a long way away.

    • Grover says:

      They have dealers in the USA?

      • MGNorge says:

        Luck of the draw, mine is within an hour away. Come to think of it, if it weren’t for a mega-dealer in the next town south of us even the Japanese brands would be about that far away too. Harley is everywhere..

  17. ninja says:

    its under powered, stands up under brakes, understeers, has crap suspension but its still a good bike!! What a load of the proverbial!

    • Grover says:

      That’s the way I read it. For all its “charms” I find the Guzzi to be similar to my old Sportster- slow and harsh. Now where did I park my old CX500…

    • Tom R says:

      “The app allows you…to locate your bike on your smartphone if you happen to forget where you parked!”

      I think that after several rides, some owners may WANT to forget where they last parked it.

  18. Provologna says:

    What the hay? A 2017 850 making power and torque similar to my mid 70s Honda CX500.

    Time for MG to “Roam” over to a performance tuner?

    • Huck says:

      The 70’s CX500 didn’t have to pass Euro 4 emission standards……

      Looks like a bike I’d own, if I had the money laying around….

    • Steve says:

      If you think a CX500 made 55 horsepower obviously you have never ridden a CX500. Feels closer to 25 than 55…..

      • Cury says:

        I rode one a lot and the CX made every bit of 50 at the crank and 42ish at the rear wheel. It also redlined at 9750 so it did feel out of breath on the highway.

      • Provologna says:

        Well, OK, let’s say both our numbers are off. I bet you a ham sandwich to your cup of coffee the actual number is closer to 55 than 25….but yeah, who the heck knows.

        I traded my ’77 Honda CB750K for the new CX500, never missed the 750s greater acceleration, and had a ton more fun.

      • MGNorge says:

        I owned a CX500C, rated at 50 hp, and I found its performance quite acceptable. Its character and burble from its pipes may have stuck with me when making the decision to buy the Norge. The difference with the CX was that it could be wound out to redline and still keep pulling like most any Honda. Different feeling.

        • My2cents says:

          I had a CX650E which was rated @ 64 hp and was one of the best motorcycles America never got. For anyone not familiar with this platform look it up.

          • Brian says:

            Always intrigued by the CX650E, to the point of considering importing one… the 650 seemed to cure the 500’s power concerns, had a great midrange, and got good reviews as a turbo and a custom here in the US, but I don’t want a turbo or a custom.

  19. Ellis says:

    Some day, I am going to hop on my bike and take a nice, long tour, to my nearest Moto Guzzi dealer.

  20. todd says:

    Contrary to your report, this MG actually has class leading power. The other contenders in this class (the Sportster and Bolt) are in the 45hp range. The performance should be pretty inspiring (to those of this class), especially due to its lighter weight.

  21. Stuki Moi says:

    Nice looking bike. But then again, all Guzzis are. I can’t think of any brand that simply says: “Hop on, go Ride” across the entire lineup, the way Guzzi does.

    Looks like you have decent kneeroom on this one, without sitting too far back. Have they moved the engine a bit forward, compared to some older ones?

  22. MGNorge says:

    Is that really “LED window” or LCD?

    • Provologna says:

      I just bought a Creek Evolution 50A integrated amplifier, with “OLED” or Organic Light Emitting Diode display.

      As advertised, OLED graphics appear more natural and legible than that of an LCD panel, with which I am very familiar. Image outlines are cleaner. Lighting is softer, easier on the eyes, and looks more like print graphics on paper.

      IMO OLED graphics outperform LCD by good margin.

      • MGNorge says:

        Looks like it has been edited to LCD. Oh, for sure, an OLED display could look great on a bike and be better in direct sunlight. I was just curious since my Norge has an LCD display, aimed a bit low (I’m tall) and is unreadable at times.