First Ride

Moto Guzzi Moto Guzzi V85 TT (2019) review

We took Moto Guzzi’s new retro adventure bike for a spin in Sardinia – here’s what we found out

 

Details
Manufacturer:
Moto Guzzi
Category:
Adventure
Price:
£ 11099
Overall
4
Classy styling and design touches lift the bike from just another off-road touring bike to a proper retro adventure machine
Styling, handling, characterful engine
lack of ground clearance, an extra riding mode would be nice

MOTO GUZZI first revealed V85 TT at the EICMA show in 2017 – to what can only be described as a very warm reception. It sits in its own little pocket of the market, being the only retro-styled, middle weight off-road machine currently available.

Granted, there are more off-road biased machines out there, BMW F850, Triumph Tiger 800 XCA come to mind, but they don’t do the retro styling quite like the Moto Guzzi does. There are also long-travel suspension bikes that are slightly better for touring on the road, like the Ducati Multistrada 950S, but the off-road potential of that is negligible and again, not ticking the retro styling box is it…

So really, if you want a bike with long travel suspension, off-road ability, long-distance capability and retro styling – there really is only one bike you can choose!

Price

There are two bikes we have ridden here at the launch, the Premium – two-tone paint and red frame – which comes in at £11,099. And the base V85 TT which is £10,899.

The two-tone bike is available in yellow and white – as pictured – and a red and white version. The standard bike comes in a choice of three colours, grey, dark blue and red. The OEM tyres for each bike differ slightly also, the Premium features 80/20% (road/off-road) Michelin Anakee tyres, with the base model wearing more sports-touring inspired Metzeler Tourance Next hoops.

Backing up the model is a range of inspiration kits you can buy:

Touring:

Aluminium top box and panniers with over 100-litres of capacity, tall screen, LED fog lights, engine bars, centre stand and Moto Guzzi’s Bluetooth module.

Sport:

Arrow slip on, engine bars, foldable mirrors and Öhlins rear shock.

Urban:

Plastic and aluminium panniers, Bluetooth module, anti-theft device and centre stand.

Prices for the inspiration kits are TBA.

Power and torque

The V85 TT makes a claimed 80hp (59kW) at 7750 rpm and 80Nm (59ft-lb) at 5000rpm. The first time I heard the bike running, it sounded very docile and lazy revving but out on the road it felt fairly gutsy, only running out of puff above 7k rpm. The response from the ride-by-wire throttle is crisp and direct, accuracy that was helpful as we navigated the short but tricky off-road section on the launch.

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

Propelling the V85 TT is a two-valve per-cylinder, 853cc, pushrod V-twin. While that may sound like an archaic set up in 2019, it’s what the team at Mandello del Lario know best and in this platform, it absolutely works, perfectly. The engine is unmistakably Moto Guzzi, with a lovely woolly sounding bark from the hi-level single silencer and some pops and bangs when down-shifting. There’s a friendly character to the unit that I like, it feels analogue despite it’s roller tappets, titanium internals and three riding modes – spot on for a bike of this style.

The six-speed box on the ‘Guzzi is a tad agricultural in it’s feeling but faultless in its operation. The lever has a nice length throw to it and the clunk you get when engaging the next gear gives the impression you are swapping some fairly hefty cogs within the gloss black painted ‘box. The ratios are well spaced and make the most of the V85 TT’s torque, allowing it to pull out of tight turns with grin inducing ability. Even with the large panniers fitted, the bike will happily cruise at 75mph and only starts to complain above a ton.

Economy

For a bike that’s carving its own niche in the world, you could have forgiven Moto Guzzi for making a machine with more style than substance, but they have worked hard to tick every single box, with the economy and range getting the biggest ‘tick’ of all. The V85 TT is blessed with a cavernous 23 litre fuel tank which, if my recorded 50MPG on the launch was accurate, means a theoretical range of 300 miles – not many mid weight adventure bikes can claim that.

Handling

The frame of the V85 TT is a lovely looking trellis item, especially pleasing to look at in glossy red on the Premium version. It’s a chunky thing, that looks and feels to be a very sturdy platform when you’re out on the road.

The front suspension is pre-load and rebound adjustable, with a generous 170mm of travel. The rear is a single, side-mounted shock with pre-load and rebound adjustment and the same 170mm of travel. On the road the setup allows plenty of corner speed, more than it looks possible to carry, while wafting you over potholes and bumps without any back-jarring unpleasantness. The suspension feels tight without being harsh, with almost no wallowing except under hard braking.

On the short off-road section, the suspension was okay but not perfect. Not surprising considering the bikes were set-up for a 95% road, 5% off-road route. I’m sure an adventure inclined owner could move the balance to a more off-road biased setup with the adjustments available.

At 208kg (229kg ready to ride) the V85 TT sounds heavy but in reality, it really doesn’t feel it. The under-seat fuel tank no doubt helps to hide the bulk as will the lack of front-end bodywork – instead the headlights hang from a natty looking tubular steel framework.

On the fast and flowing roads around Cagliari the V85 TT was a delight to ride, it’s balance and poise at speed was egging me on to go faster, like that mate that always begs you to stay out late – and you do, even though it’ll get you into trouble. The front end always feels solid, never gives any sign of complaint under braking and allows you to ride hard into the corner’s apex, where you can pick the bike up on the throttle and disappear.

If there’s one thing that hampered the bike on the road it was a lack of ground clearance in the corners. The pegs deck out really easily, and on a couple of occasions my adventure spec, TCX boots were pulled out of place.

Review continues on page two >>>

Styling, handling, characterful engine
lack of ground clearance, an extra riding mode would be nice

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