2019 Moto Guzzi V85TT First Ride - Guzzi’s Retro-tastic V85TT

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Words: Peter Louisson
31 Jul 2019

By targeting a niche sector, that of retro-ADV, Moto Guzzi looks like it might have a minor hit on its hands with Stelvio’s replacement, the V85TT.

The TT has little to do with racing at the Isle of Man, more with going over the hallowed mountain on trails less travelled. Or perhaps around the island circuit in comfort and style rather than at breakneck speed.

TT stands for Tutto Terreno, meaning all surfaces. For this is a dual purpose bike, and comes in two hues, literally and figuratively. The standard model is black with grey or blue tank and bodywork, while the Premium model stands out with its garish sounding yellow and red bodywork over a red trellis frame. It might remind of liquorice allsorts, but it actually works. It’s easily seen too. It’s $1000 more than the standard model, and comes with more off-road oriented rubber (Michelin Anakees) than the Pirelli Scorpions of the standard bike.

We’d run a news story in NZ Autocar late last year about the V85TT and months later I ran into a motorcyclist on his Indian Scout having a coffee at the Pink Store in Kaiaua. We got to talking and he mentioned that he’d just ordered a V85TT Premium on the basis of our news piece.

Well he also turned up at the launch day, and reported that he was thrilled with his purchase and was getting ready to sell his Indian. A win for Guzzi already then.

As he said, the V85TT does it all, and that’s what has made such bikes so popular lately. They are the new tourers, and are analogous to SUVs in the four-wheeled world; they can go off road when you want them to but pretty much never do, not with the bigger expensive ones at any rate. But they are at least as comfortable as tourers because of their long travel suspension.

The downside is that they are often too tall for average sized adults. Not this bike though; it offers a user friendly seat height of 830mm. And it’s easy as to swing a leg over.

Our day was undone by bouts of rain and hail so the ride was on wet roads and I cannot report how this handled. But it was interesting to ride this after being aboard one of its competitors, the KTM 790 Adventure S. The Guzzi looks and sounds better, offers a more comfortable ride, and beavers away more convincingly at lower real world revs. The KTM is quicker, lighter and a bit more agile. They’re priced similarly at just over $20k.

The Guzzi’s engine is largely new, though is based on the V9’s. It breathes better, and with friction-reducing initiatives also revs quicker. There’s more output too, 80hp and the same Nm figure. The latter is produced at 5000rpm but there’s over 80 per cent on tap by 3750rpm. So it slugs away down low with intent. From 4000rpm onwards (100km/h in top) the action is all on, through to the 8000rpm signoff. There’s not too much in the way of vibes using the meat of the midrange.

Suspension feels excellent, as does the seat and riding position, offering a beautifully plush ride that both tourers and commuters alike will enjoy. A great turning radius and fuel use in the fours are two other pluses worth mentioning.

Standard items include a TFT dash, three riding modes, TC and ABS, radial Brembo stoppers, hand guards, and cruise control. Lights are LEDs. No quickshifter here, but a lightweight clutch compensates. There are plenty of accessories available, special packs included (urban, adventure, touring) and lifestyle apparel too.

We look forward to bringing you a full test on dry roads of this luscious new Guzzi in the near future.


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