MOTO-GUZZI V85 TT (2019 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Retro styled middleweight adventurer
  • Transverse V-twin based on Guzzi V9
  • A2-licence restrictable

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £320
Power: 79 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.7 in / 830 mm)
Weight: Medium (505 lbs / 229 kg)

Prices

New £10,899
Used £8,600 - £10,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Moto Guzzi V85TT 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. 

For 2020, a Moto Guzzi V85TT Travel was introduced to the line-up; featuring a host of extras from the catalogue and its own special paintjob. Read more about it in the Equipment secition of this review. 

Watch: Moto Guzzi V85TT video review

In this video Road Tester Dan Sutherland takes this middleweight retro adventure bike to task on the launch in Sardinia, on and off road. Find out how he got on below...

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The V85TT 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 V85TT, 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.

Moto Guzzi V85TT 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

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

As is tradition with Moto Guzzi, the V85TT 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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

This 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.

Our Moto Guzzi V85TT owners' reviews show some people love their bikes, while others have had some serious reliability issues, including one unlucky person having to replace an engine after 9000 miles. Read these carefully before going for a test ride. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Priced at £11,099 for the top-spec variation, the V85TT was £499 more expensive than rivals when launched. Competition included 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 V85TT 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 (4/5)

In-line with most modern adventurers, Moto Guzzi have equipped the V85TT 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 V85TT 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.


Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel review

First published on November 9, 2020 by Martin-Fitz Gibbons

Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel

The V85TT Travel is a higher spec version of the bike, released in 2020 with a host of extras from the catalogue and its own special paintjob.

Heated grips are fitted as standard – they’re a £216 accessory for the regular V85TT. And they feel professionally, purposefully integrated. They’re operated by a button that’s already part of the left-hand cluster, while an icon on the TFT dash displays which of the three heat levels is selected.

Frustratingly, they don’t get very hot. Even on full power they take a long time to heat up and only ever get warm-ish, rather than scorching. They’re fine for a 7°C day, but they don’t inspire confidence that they’d stave off the depths of a proper winter.

Additional wind protection is provided by a Touring windshield, which claims to provide 60% more surface area to hide behind compared with the standard V85TT. It’s not just taller, but wider too. The resulting aerodynamics are very impressive at an 80mph motorway cruise.

Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel static

There’s no buffeting or turbulence at all, with a large pocket of still air at helmet height. It’s a definite improvement over the regular bike. Individually, this would cost £183 if you wanted to add it to a stock V85.

A pair of LED spotlights straddling the headlight come included on this Travel. Slightly small, and mounted a lot higher than many sets of foglights, they do help supplement the headlight through turns.

One nice touch is that the button to turn them on is already part of the controls on the right-hand switchgear, rather than having an ugly extra button tacked on. The three-position switch selects between the eagle-shaped daytime running light, dipped beam, or dipped beam with spotlights.

A pair of plastic panniers, along with their mounts, come fitted as standard. The boxes are different sizes: the 37-litre right pannier is roomy enough to take a full-face helmet; but the 27.5-litre left side is tiny on the inside, as it has to accommodate the silencer.

Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel spotlight

Lids close with two chunky plastic tabs on the top corners, but you still need to insert the ignition key into the pannier lock every time you want to open a side. Boxes and mounts together would cost £841 if bought as accessories.

The V85TT is a favourite of MCN, but the Travel version doesn’t really better it. Stripped down to plain English, it’s the standard bike with one-off paint and some official accessories. Superficially, the sums add up – the Travel boasts over £1600 of extras, but costs just £900 more than the V85TT Premium, or £1100 more than the standard V85TT. On PCP it’s about £30 a month more.

But not all the bolt-ons hit the target. The screen is excellent and Bluetooth connectivity is clever. But the left-hand pannier is tiny, while the heated grips aren’t very heated. With dealers advertising new V85s for £9500, you can’t help think the £2500 saving could buy a bigger pile of extras.

Specs

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

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 57.65 mpg
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost £320
New price £10,899
Used price £8,600 - £10,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 79 bhp
Max torque 59 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 288 miles

Model 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 for the MOTO-GUZZI V85 TT (2019 - on)

9 owners have reviewed their MOTO-GUZZI V85 TT (2019 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your MOTO-GUZZI V85 TT (2019 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.9 out of 5 (4.9/5)
Engine: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Equipment: 4.6 out of 5 (4.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £320
5 out of 5 Gentleman’s Express
24 March 2021 by Johnny

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £200

More fun than it has any right to be.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Better than you’d think. Fantastic ride on British B roads.

Engine 5 out of 5

Sounds fab, pulls well, you have to work it to hustle but it’s a rewarding experience and capable of going very fast if you’re in the mood.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Everything feels well built, high quality accessories.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

No worse than anything else

Equipment 4 out of 5

Only the heated grips let the side down here, like warm.

Buying experience: Dealer and as good as any other brand.

5 out of 5 V85TT in Ontario.
14 November 2020 by mickyb

Year: 2020

Long distance comfort, excellent MPG. Can do the off road stuff well. After the running in period is over the bike improves with every 1000Km.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

I have ridden it on a number of long journeys between 600 and 850Km in a day on a combination of highways and back roads. The longest time riding non stop was 3 1/2 hours. Surprisingly good in fast traffic around Toronto, on the rough you can pick your way past/through/over most obstacles. Tyres are very good.

Engine 4 out of 5

I just wish it had a few extra BHP.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Very well built, no sign of rust but only had it since March 2020. Had it in for a recall and general check in April.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

So far with with 9 months gone the first service was the only additional cost. Running costs have been petrol and the bike has proved very economical in the city and on long runs. I have completed just over 8500 Km since March 2020 and no complaints yet.

Equipment 5 out of 5

I had the Aluminium box's as standard and they are good. The large windscreen is ok. Centre stand is a must as well as crash bars and hand guards. I have fitted the Agostini H pipe and taken the Cat off.

Buying experience: Dealer, from new very good price $18,000Can

4 out of 5 Quirky, different, bags of fun
22 October 2020 by Austringer

Version: Travel

Year: 2020

Quirky engine that sounds grunty when pushed, gentle left-right rock on tickover, marmite looks (I’m a marmite fan), this replaced a Harley tourer so it outperforms that, weighs about 150kg less, has a bigger range, faster and feels just as stable, goes around corners too!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

After about 5.5hrs I get a bit of neck ache and my bum starts to complain but I can easily do 250 miles in one go without discomfort

Engine 5 out of 5

Ok it’s not a pocket rocket but 79hp is enough, nippy in town and has enough to smart overtakes at motorway speeds. My first shaft drive bike, don’t notice anything different from my previous belt drive and miles better than a rattly old chain any day. Love the quirky rocking on tickover and the grunty sound when giving it a handful

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Very well put together and the components appear very robust, not done a Scottish winter on it yet though.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

First service, not as dear as a Harley but I’m not sure I’ll get the dealer to do the next service, I’m comfortable with servicing bikes so I don’t foresee any problems here. Oil spec is a bit odd, 20w60!

Equipment 4 out of 5

TFT screen is a bit small and cluttered, I can see my helmet reflected it it as well which is disappointing. Level of equipment is good though for this type of bike, panniers are plastic but adequate, not a fan of side opening doors though. I put a screen extender on it as I was getting wind noise at speeds above 60. I still get wind noise but not as much now. I put crash bars on it for piece of mind and I would recommend them to anyone thinking of getting this bike

Buying experience: Bought new from via moto in Sheffield. Outstanding experience, phoned up asking if they had any in stock, yes he said, I have 3. Ok say I, when can I pick one up? Tomorrow do you? He says casually.... oh yes!,

3 out of 5
28 September 2020 by Unstoppable_lv

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £250

Design is nice, but there are a lot of problems with the bike. I would recommend this bike to people, who do NOT(!) need 130 km/h+ cruise speeds. I did almost 17000 km on the bike in EU trips, this bike is not meant for highway use. The bike itself is unreliable. I am changing this bike after ~1 year of use to a 2020 V-Strom.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Front brake is good. Rear brake is not enough. Ride quality is ok, but well underpowered motor makes it not the pleasant on highways.

Engine 3 out of 5

Underpowered motor, that consumes oil on hot days. The rev range is small, you have to shift a lot.

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

Engine guard swap after 6000 km. Engine swap after 9000 km due to excessive oil consumption. The air filter box hand a gap and was letting sand into the engine. There is still excessive oil consumption even after the engine swap. Final drive seal leakage after 14000 km. I would not take my chance to travel somewhere far from the dealer's reach with this peace of...

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

250 Euro for the first service (oil and filter change only in the engine) is to high... Did not do a second service due to engine swap.

Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5
07 July 2020 by Night_Wolf

Version: V85 TT Travel

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £600

First bike I have had with Cruise Control, gear & temperature displays & selectable ride modes. 500 km range & a seat comfortable enough to enjoy that 500 km. First bike I have ridden in years that doesn't put my hands to sleep. When selling a bike as a "package" MG should ensure the complete bike is delivered & not missing accessories. Still waiting for the side cases for my Travel & why the 4 star rating.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Brakes seem more than adequate for the task; Tried a couple of "quick" stops to see how the bike (& me) reacted & both were predictable

Engine 5 out of 5

Motor has more "get up & go" than I was expecting & coming form a pair of DL 650 V-Stroms with similar power #'s & 90,000 km under my butt. that surprised me.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

So far so good, no issues at 750 km

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

I think the bike is priced "right" and the Travel edition is a solid value, if you would be adding a taller shield, fog lights, heated grips & the MIA blu-tooth interface. In Canada servicing costs are stupid expensive as that $600 cdn is over $450 USD and I hear dealers are offering the first service in the $350 USD range. I have a feeling after the initial service I will NOT be back at the dealer

Equipment 5 out of 5

With the exception of the MIA interface (do you really need your cell connected to your motorcycle) the heated grips, fog lights, windshield & luggage (when they finally arrive) make this an exceptional value, as many riders would choose these options anyway

Buying experience: Purchased through a local dealer; salesman was great; finance lady, not so much

4 out of 5 V85TT
23 May 2020 by Kevin

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £250

After 4 years of waiting this bike is exactly what was expected. Not for everyone but brilliant. It is a modern Motoguzzi.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

This is what I call a three hundred mile bike. It will do 300 miles on a tank and your happy to do it.

Engine 4 out of 5

The engine is a transverse V twin it won't set your pants on fire but is more than enough for this kind of motorcycle. It also has that Motoguzzi V twin charm.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

This is a quality motorcycle but not built for winter use. The polished finishes and fastenings will corrode if not very well cared for. There have been recalls and problems none that I will mention but are all on line and none serious, all have been sorted by Motoguzzi.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

This price is an estimated as I haven't been able to get a service due to covid 19. But, they have to have your bike overnight as servicing has to be done cold. Servicing is relatively easy and this is why most long term Guzzi owners do their own.

Equipment 4 out of 5

This bike is not a techno missile or a GS but that is the point.

Buying experience: Bought from Teasdale Motorcycles who I Can't recomend enough. They are very friendly and helpful making the whole experience a pleasure.

5 out of 5 A fantastic bike for all roads and all purposes
12 May 2020 by TBR

Year: 2019

The qualities of this bike grow on you. I have stepped "down" from a 1200cc class bike and the V85 is better (for me) in every way. I use it for all sorts of riding, on/off road, touring with pillion, solo scratching, commuting. The bike does it all with ease and has a real sense of playfulness. It's the sort of bike that generates an emotional response, and that is important to me. I just love riding it as much as I love looking at it.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Standard fit Michelin Anakee Adventures are surprisingly good. Brakes are great. Rider and pillion comfort is great. Suspension is fantastic and I don't have any issues with ground clearance. Gearbox is beautiful and has a very positive feel engaging all gears. Clutch is the lightest I have ever used. I don't understand the comment in the main review about a quickshifter, it just isn't needed. I also don't understand the comment about vibration affecting touring ability or the mirrors - it isn't an issue on my bike. I have the standard screen, I'm 6'0 tall and I find it comfortable. The handling is exceptional - very nimble but not flighty, shrugs off pillion and luggage. This bike feels nowhere near its weight on paper - it feels like the lightest bike I've owned (20+). I have no qualms taking this bike offroad even though it weighs the same as my old Africa Twin, which I sold because it carried its weight so badly at low speed. The Guzzi just lets you take it where you want to, without that overbearing sense of responsibility that I always felt with bigger ADV bikes. It also feels way lighter that the T700 I test rode, even though it isn't. I guess all the weight's down low - very well balanced.

Engine 5 out of 5

Great engine, lots of air cooled character. Good lowdown grunt and a very surprising midrange - it flies 4,000-6,000 rpm if you want it to.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Beautifully designed and built. Some minor issues with early bikes were quickly addressed via recalls or service updates. It's too early to rate longevity, but I just intend to ride this bike and enjoy it.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Servicing is straightforward. Fuel consumption is 55-65 mpg (imp) in mixed riding. Tank range close to 300 miles.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The overall package is great, such a breath of fresh air to find a bike that addresses all the important things - aesthetics, dynamics, range, ruggedness, flexibility, whilst ditching all the unnecessary technology, plastic, weight, weird design etc that blights most other adventure bikes. The dash is good and easy to use. The cruise is a nice addition. The switchgear looks good but is a bit fiddly at first, but you do adapt quickly.

5 out of 5 Stylish tourer / adventurer
29 April 2020 by Alfa male

Year: 2020

Stylish, comfortable, superb torque. Outstanding tank capacity. Allegedly OK off road but have no intention of taking mine there! Bought it for fun and tours.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

No evidence of the fork dive on braking in some reviews. Stable, comfortable, long legged.

Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Superb build quality, a pleasure to own. My only concern is the agricultural quality of the gear change - when cold, not so bad when warm.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Unique Bike and lot of fun
31 January 2020 by Nik Dimitrov

Version: V85TT Blue Atalante

Year: 2019

Great balanced bike whit superb style

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
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