Moto Guzzi V9 Travels 30 Years Into the Past

It’s a great-looking bike, but the Moto Guzzi V7 cannot be all things to all riders. So the Italian motorcycle maker has begun filling in its lineup with the V9, a midsize machine for customers who want something bigger than the entry-level V7 but not huge like, say, a Griso.


The V9 is also a more modern machine – channeling the 1980s instead of the ‘70s


Moto Guzzi’s new V9 cruiser recalls the California II of the mid-1980s.

Unveiled at the Milan Motorcycle Show, or EICMA if you prefer, the V9 comes in Roamer and Bobber versions. Both are trim, attractively unadorned European interpretations of the American cruiser style, with the Bobber a bit more stripped-down and blacked-out.


Here’s a “Cal 2” from around 1984. Its “creased mango” tank, kicked-up seat and prominent fenders share the new V9’s design language.

Both bikes also turn back the dial on the motorcycle industry time machine to around 1984, when Guzzi California II touring cruisers and V65 standards were plying U.S. highways and backroads. In the same way the current V7 series recalls the disco era, the new V9s will remind longtime Guzzi followers of bikes that coincided with mullets and Members Only jackets.


I think the gas tank shape – a sort of creased mango – is the most striking V9 feature. It seemed to have been plucked right off an old V65. And while the V9 seats avoid the overstuffed look of many saddles of 30 years ago, they maintain the kicked-up rear styling that recalls the California II. Even the Bobber’s minimal, cut-off seat has a kick.


The V9 Bobber’s ingredients include a dash of Harley-Davidson Iron 883.

The important thing for bike shoppers is that the V9 introduces an 850cc V-twin engine which, according to Moto Guzzi, occupies a sweet spot in size, power and smoothness. The company also said its designers “paid attention to perceived quality” while deciding on materials and finishes for the bikes. The bottom line is that there is plenty of steel and aluminum on the V9 while plastic parts “are reduced to a minimum,” the company said.


The V9s are due in dealerships next spring.

Guzzi’s V7 machines have recalled 1970s styling for several years.

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