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MOTO-GUZZI V85 TT (2019-on) Review

Published: 13 March 2019

Guzzi’s retro adventurer

Moto Guzzi V85TT cornering action

Guzzi’s retro adventurer

  • At a glance
  • 853cc  -  79.1 bhp
  • 57.65 mpg  -  288 miles range
  • Medium seat height (830mm)
  • New: £10,899

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Moto Guzzi V85 TT sits in a class of one; carving a niche as the first credible retro-inspired adventure bike.

Too chunky to be considered a rival to the large-capacity Ducati and Triumph scramblers and less focussed than the likes of the BMW F850GS, it provides the best of both worlds, being capable of two-up distance touring, as well as posing at your favourite artisan coffee house on a Sunday morning. 

However, at £11,099 for the top-spec model, the inclusion of small features like a quickshifter and more adjustment from the screen would be preferable. What's more the characterful vibe from the transverse V-twin engine could hamper its ability to tackle a lengthy tour in comfort. 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The V85 TT comes with a 830mm seat height as standard, meaning an unintimidating reach to the ground for a large percentage of riders, helped by the narrow, comfortable seat that tapers off just before the bulging cylinders. That said, the seat is adjustable to be either 10mm taller or shorter, depending on your preference.

Once on the move, there’s an easy reach to the bars and pegs, with the standard screen providing excellent wind deflection. This is then adjustable with the bike’s tool kit to move in and out, however not up or down. A larger screen is available as an optional extra, too.

The friendly ergonomics spread to the switchgear too, with both the right-hand menu and left-hand cruise control buttons easily operated with your thumbs. What’s more, they’re also highly intuitive, relying on just a series of quick and prolonged presses.

Cornering on the Moto Guzzi V85TT

There are two versions of the V85 TT, with the cheaper solid-colour, black-framed option priced at £10,899 and the more premium two-tone, red framed addition costing £11,099. Alongside colours, the bikes have different seat upholstery and different tubed tyres. 

The solid colour machine is dressed in more road-biased Metzeler Tourance Next rubber and the more expensive alternative comes with Michelin Anakee Adventures.

Although the Michelins are suited to the bike’s rally inspiration, the Metzelers are the far better choice for road riding, offering more feedback and stability mid-corner. This is where the majority of V85s will live, making them the more sensible option. 

Away from the tyres, the bike use dual four-piston radial Brembo calipers, which bite hard on to 320mm floating discs. These are hugely impressive and allow you to haul the bike up with just two fingers. That said, the rear brake does suffer with intrusive ABS, which can be switched off entirely, should you desire.

Suspension

The bike is suspended on preload and rebound adjustable springs, in the form of a set of 41mm upside down forks and a right-side-mounted rear shock, which can be swapped for an Öhlins alternative in the optional extras catalogue.

At low speed, the front end does feel quite soft and will dive under hard braking, however once on the move the whole bike feels well damped and balanced, capable of B-road scratching, distance riding and the occasional off-road stint.

The only limiting factor on twisty roads is the ground clearance, with the pegs occasionally touching down on either side at full lean - reminding you this is an adventure bike and not a focussed half-faired roadster.

Engine 4 out of 5

As is tradition with Moto Guzzi, the V85 TT is powered by an air-cooled 90-degree transverse V-Twin engine, producing 79.1bhp, delivered to the back wheel via a shaft drive. With the black cylinder heads protruding out from under the 23-litre tank, it’s the ideal configuration for the retro vibe.

The engine itself is a re-worked version of the existing V9 platform for greater torque and power, thanks to development of the top end. The result is an exploitable lump that produces 90% of its torque by 3750rpm and the ability to rev to 8000rpm, before greeting the rider with its three-tier shift light.

Restrictable to be A2-compliant, the charming Euro5-friendly lump rocks from side to side beneath you with a gentle buzz, providing a deep gravelly bark under hard acceleration and boxer-twin GS-like pops and bangs under deceleration.

The Moto Guzzi V85TT is shaft-driven

When progressing through the gears, the bike would benefit from a quick-shifter, with the changes up the box sometimes proving clunky between third and fourth.

Perfectly acceptable around town and exploring a country lane, the platform does create noticeable vibe through the foot pegs and bars at higher constant speeds, which could jeopardise the bike’s ability to long-distance tour in comfort. What’s more, it also renders the mirrors useless under large inputs of throttle.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Being so new, this is difficult to answer. That said, the bike uses a re-worked version of the existing Moto Guzzi V9 engine, which has had no wide-spread mechanical issues.

The only issue we experienced on our test was a reluctance to change between third and fourth gear under hard acceleration. Once used to the issue, it was very easy to second guess though.

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 5

Priced at £11,099 for the top-spec variation, the V85 TT is £499 more expensive than rivals including the standard BMW F850GS Adventure and the same price as the standard KTM 790 Adventure.

The BMW benefits from a quickshifter and auto-blipper, as well as 93.9bhp from its 853cc parallel-twin engine. What’s more, the smooth nature of the twin makes it a more attractive package for long-distance riding, thanks to less vibes and more grunt when strapped up with luggage.

Likewise, the road-biased version of the KTM is shod with WP suspension at the front and rear, and pumps out 95bhp from its two-cylinder, four-stroke, DOHC parallel twin.

Moto Guzzi V85TT static

That said, the V85 TT boasts looks that the GS and KTM could only hope to achieve, capturing 80s retro charm, alongside superb build quality. Everywhere you look, the Guzzi feels like a quality product and there are no panel gaps or cheap plastics to contend with. 

What’s more the tubular steel frame and tubing that surrounds the clock housing make the bike feel rugged and capable and you can’t help but feel special when you ride it.

Equipment 4 out of 5

In-line with most modern adventurers, Moto Guzzi have equipped the V85 TT with a TFT dash, which is designed to adapt to the ambient light conditions, to ensure it’s always visible.

Flick the centrally-placed key at the front of the petrol tank and the whole dash lights up like the Blackpool Illuminations; displaying every potential warning light at once before disappearing to reveal a 3D graphic of the company name.  

On the undulating mountainous roads of Sardinia, the dash remained visible at all times, adapting to any light conditions, from intense sunshine, to shaded dense treelines and rocky outcrops.

The screen copes well with the undulation

Everything is logically placed, too, with the large left-hand rev counter mimicking your right wrist seamlessly as you feed it gear after gear.

The whole unit is controlled by panel on the right-hand bar, allowing you to flick between menus and swap between the three rider modes seamlessly with your thumb.   

What’s more, the bike is also capable of smartphone connectivity, which allows for satellite navigation. Controlled via an app, the system is designed for riders to take calls and ring people back (when using an intercom) as well as providing directions.

Sadly, this was unavailable to test at the launch, due to being unfinished, however riders must select a destination through their mobile and then instructions are relayed to the dash and any speakers in your helmet. 

Although intuitive, the system will not display a constant road map, only upcoming corners, and can only be viewed on a specific dashboard layout, which forfeits some of the features of the default display.

Pimp your ride

Riders can pick from three accessory packs to add some individuality to their machine. These consist of the Touring Pack, Sport Adventure Pack and an Urban Pack. If you want to mix and match, then each item is available separately too, including engine guards, aluminium panniers and a road-legal Arrow slip-on exhaust can.

Panniers are available as an option

Alongside a variety of extras, the Italian firm are also offering the V85 TT in five different colour schemes. The bike will be available in dark blue, red or grey as solid colour options, or in a striking two-tone yellow and white, or red and white, reminiscent of 80s Dakar racers. 

LED lighting

Although sporting two bug-eyed head lamps, the daytime running light can actually be found as an LED strip across the two in the shape of an eagle. These LEDs light up in increments from the middle outwards when the key is primed.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2019
Year discontinued -
New price £10,899
Used price -
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £88
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 79.1 bhp
Max torque 59 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 57.65 mpg
Tank range 288 miles
Specification
Engine size 853cc
Engine type Transverse 90° V twin, two valves per cylinder
Frame type Tubular steel frame
Fuel capacity 23 litres
Seat height 830mm
Bike weight 229kg
Front suspension 41 mm hydraulic telescopic USD fork, with adjustable spring preload and hydraulic rebound
Rear suspension Double-sided aluminium swingarm with a single shock on the right side, adjustable preload and hydraulic rebound
Front brake 2 x 320mm steel floating discs, Brembo radial 4 piston calipers
Rear brake 260mm steel disc, floating 2 piston caliper
Front tyre size 110/80x19
Rear tyre size 150/70x17

History & Versions

Model history

This is the first version of the Moto Guzzi V85TT, with the Italian firm’s last large-capacity adventurer being the 1200cc Stelvio, which met its demise at the advent of Euro4 emissions regulations.

Other versions

There are two versions of the Moto Guzzi V85 TT; a cheaper solid-block colour variant and a more premium multi-coloured design, used as the poster bike for the entirety of its development.

The £10,899 single colour option differs from the £11,099 premium dual-colour editions elsewhere too, with the cheaper option dressed in Metzeler Tourance Next tyres and the more expensive bike enjoying Michelin Anakee Adventures.

Owners' Reviews

No owners have yet reviewed the MOTO-GUZZI V85 TT (2019-on).

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Photo Gallery

  • Moto Guzzi V85TT cornering action
  • Moto Guzzi V85TT riding
  • Moto Guzzi V85TT cornering
  • Moto Guzzi V85TT left corner
  • Moto Guzzi V85TT front three quarters
  • Moto Guzzi V85TT off road
  • Moto Guzzi V85TT on a wooded trail
  • Moto Guzzi V85TT shaft drive
  • Moto Guzzi V85TT exhaust
  • Moto Guzzi V85TT with optional luggage
  • Moto Guzzi V85TT screen
  • Moto Guzzi V85TT static
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