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2019 Moto Guzzi V85TT First Ride Review

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MotoNews

Published in: Bikes

Since Moto Guzzi discontinued the hefty Stelvio after a successful twelve-year run, there was a void to be filled in the Guzzi adventure bike segment. Enter the all new V85TT. Could it truly qualify as a formidable mid-sized engine TT (Tutto Terreno meaning “All Terrain” in Italian)? Will this Guzzi have character and feel authentic as the 98-year-old company exudes? Let’s find out.

For North America, this classically-designed enduro will come in three different color schemes, all with 6.08 gallon fuel tanks. With a MSRP of $11,900 for the solid “Grigio Atacama” color with the Metzeler Tourance Next tires, and $12,900 for the two-tone Giallo Sahara or the Rosso Kalahari, with the Michelin Anakee Adventure tires, top case and panniers, you get a lot of bike for your money.

As soon as you sit on the bike, you’ll notice the lack of discomforting, harsh angles. Instead, there’s a certain relaxed comfort. All the information on the dash is easy to see from the seat and easy to manipulate via the handlebars. Also to be noted is the non-cramped standing position, for the first time ever I felt that I didn’t need bar risers to accommodate my 5-foot,11-inches height with a 32-inch inseam.

Suspension

The suspension offers 6.7-inches of travel front and rear while the 41mm forks and rear shock are both fully adjustable for preload and rebound damping. Ground clearance is an adequate 8.3-inches and the seat height is 32.7-inches. For my size, I was flat-footed and found that paddling the bike around was effortless. Further, I didn’t experience seat discomfort even after the all-day spirited riding event. The stock set up seemed just about right for my 220 lb. frame. On the street, while hard front braking, there was no significant nose diving, but a confidence-inspiring reduction of speed. Besides the fully tunable suspension, you have three preset riding modes:

  • Road: Medium level of MGCT, Moto Guzzi’s proprietary traction control , ABS active on both wheels, and a “reactive” throttle response.
  • Rain: High level of traction control, ABS active on both wheels, gentle throttle response.
  • Off-road: Low level of traction control, ABS only active on the front wheel (can also be fully deactivated), optimized throttle response and increased engine braking.

Fortunately, I had the option to take the bike on some mild off road to get an idea of how it felt on dirt. And that left no doubt that this is truly a TT-rated bike. You don’t get the heft of the typical 1000cc+ sized adventure bikes, but you do get a sufficient amount of power, torque, and engine breaking. While in “Off Road” mode, the traction control was nicely set up to give a little bit of rear wheel spin, if so desired, with a quick crank of the throttle.

Power and Torque

I feel that the 80hp on this 505 lb. (wet) bike with the typical Guzzi air-cooled transfer 90-degree twin cylinder was more than adequate for my riding needs. The power comes on linearly, probably due to the “ride by wire” status on this all hand-built bike with titanium valves. There’s more perceptible low-end torque through the twisties and off road, too. I didn’t feel a need to constantly be shifting to match the engine speed with road speed. In other words, it was difficult to lug the engine within reason, it just pulled hard from way down low. My understanding is that 90% of the 59 ft./lb. torque is available at 3,750 rpms. And according to my butt dyno, that seems true enough. I never experienced any harsh off-throttle deceleration, either, which was common in some of their previous models. Economy is a reasonable 48 mpg, thus yielding an adequate range of at least 275 miles per tank.

Accessories

If you feel the need to add more “stuff” to enhance the bike’s capabilities, there are plenty of options. They even put together three presorted packages for you to choose from:

  1. Urban Package: Plastic/aluminum panniers (28L/37L), center stand, electric anti-theft, and Moto Guzzi“Mia” which is an interface with your smartphone.
  2. Touring Package: All-aluminum panniers (33L/39L) and 41L top box, Tall windscreen with 60% more coverage, engine guard, LED fog lights, center stand, and “Mia.”
  3. Sport ADVenture Package: “Arrow” titanium slip-on exhaust (50% weight reduction), Öhlins adjustable rear shock, engine guard, and folding mirrors.

Besides the three packages, you can à la carte these items as well as add heated grips. The stock pannier system seems decent enough in both the “Urban” option, which is made out of aluminum with hard plastic parts, and the “Adventure” version, which is all-aluminum, a bit more robust with slightly more capacity. On both you have a separate key for the panniers/top box. A very minor complaint is that both the ignition and the pannier keys are identical to the eye, and easy to confuse.

Aesthetics and Feel

The multi-colored TFT dash is clear and uncluttered with the right amount of data being just a glance away. It shows you the clock, trip meter, odometer, accurate fuel level, ambient temp, average and current mpg., and gear indicator. The multi-function controls on the handlebars are intuitive and easy to toggle the settings to your desire. Next to the dash, on the left side, you will find an all-weather covered USB port and provisions for adding another under the seat. To check the oil level before a ride, Guzzi provides an easy to view sight glass. While I was down there, I noticed that the stock skid plate seemed adequate for under-belly protection and didn’t take away from the Guzzi’s classic lines. However, oil changes will require the removal of the skid plate. I was told by one of the technical guys, that the service intervals for oil changes is 6,000 miles. The gearbox oil and final drive oil should be changed every 18,000 miles. Full synthetic is recommended.

What can I say, just looking at this bike with the classic lines, high front fender, the illuminated eagle logo across the front headlamps and the stock mini-windscreen gives you a feel of the older adventure-style bikes from Guzzi’s colorful history of TT travel. Such as the Quota 1000, V65TT Baja, and the older Lodola Regolarita. All wonderful assets to the company. I see this bike breathing new life into the adventure bike segment for this brand from Mandello Del Lario. It gives you an athletic performance in a mid-weight bike at a reasonable price point. Pretty refreshing, actually.

MotoGuzzi.com

PROS:

  • Unique mid-weight class bike with character
  • Authentic Italian feel
  • True on road and light/medium off-road capabilities

CONS:

  • Currently no tubeless spoked wheel options
  • Weak dealer support options
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