Ducati may hog the limelight, but Italy is home to quite a few storied motorcycle brands. Ducati itself wouldn’t be where it is without Cagiva’s help, for instance. Energica has cornered Italy’s electric bike scene. Then there’s Moto Guzzi, perhaps the oldest European motorcycle company still in business. The V7 III neo-classic bike may be the brand’s bread-and-butter, but it does have more to offer. And if you’re looking for an adventure bike, the Moto Guzzi V85TT offers a few unique features.
2020 Moto Guzzi V85TT specs and features
The Moto Guzzi V85TT’s biggest distinguishing feature is its V-twin engine. Not because it’s the only adventure bike with a V-twin. Ducati and KTM both offer V-twin adventure bikes. And, if and when Harley’s Pan America comes out, it will as well. But what makes the V85TT’s V-twin unique is that, as with the rest of the Moto Guzzi lineup, it’s transversely-mounted.
In the V85TT, the 853cc V-twin puts out 79 hp and 59 lb-ft and is linked to a 6-speed transmission. Also, just like BMW’s high-end ADV bikes, the Moto Guzzi V85TT is a shaft-drive motorcycle. However, unlike many other ADVs, Roadshow reports, the V85TT is completely air-cooled.
Although the engine may be a bit old-school, the bike’s tech isn’t, Revzilla reports. The Moto Guzzi V85TT has a TFT dash, through which riders can control its traction control, cruise control, and ABS. It also has 3 adjustable riding modes, Autoweek reports, for road, rain, and off-road. These modes change the V85TT’s traction control, ABS, engine output, and throttle response.
Moto Guzzi’s adventure bike comes standard with Brembo brakes, an Ohlins rear shock, and adjustable front forks. The Travel trim adds heated grips, fog lights, a larger windscreen, and plastic panniers. The Adventure model replaces the panniers with aluminum cases. All models, though, have 6.7” of suspension travel, 2 aluminum skid plates, handguards, and 8.3” of ground clearance, ADV Pulse reports.
What’s the Moto Guzzi V85TT like to ride?
The Moto Guzzi V85TT isn’t necessarily a fast bike. Its 505-lb wet weight isn’t that heavy for an ADV motorcycle. However, its competitors from Ducati, KTM, and Triumph do make more power. But, the V85TT’s strength isn’t that it’s quick; instead, it’s simply an easy-to-ride bike.
The light-weight clutch and the V-twin’s low-end torque mean the V85TT can easily be a commuter bike, Rider Magazine reports. The riding position is upright and relaxed, ADV Pulse reports, and the seat is all-day comfortable, Roadshow reports.
On pavement, the suspension handles bumps and imperfections well. And despite its ground clearance, the bike never feels overly-heavy or unwieldy. It’s also fun on dirt roads, Autoweek reports, though, for longer off-road trips, you’ll want off-road tires. Luckily, the Adventure model does come with those. And, while the V85TT is a stable highway tourer, the larger windscreen is recommended for extended freeway rides.
The Moto Guzzi V85TT, like many adventure bikes, isn’t a replacement for a dirt bike or dual-sport. But, for commuting and the occasional gravel road, it’s an excellent choice.
Pricing and competition comparison
The base 2020 Moto Guzzi V85TT starts at $11,990. The Adventure, with its added features and red frame, costs $1000 more. The Travel model starts at $13,390.
That’s quite a bit more than the Royal Enfield Himalayan. However, that bike’s single-cylinder engine means it’s not that good on the highway. The V85TT, meanwhile, is comfortable at highway speeds. It also has more features and more sophisticated suspension.
The Honda Africa Twin does have more suspension travel, and its 1084cc two-cylinder makes more power, Cycle World reports. However, even the base model is about $1000 more than the Moto Guzzi V85TT Travel. And the Adventure ES model, with the larger windscreen, fuel tank, and added suspension travel, costs $2800 more than that.
The V85TT’s closest competitors are the Triumph Tiger 900 and the BMW F 850 GS. The Tiger starts at $12,500; its 888cc three-cylinder is also more powerful. And it comes with a torque-assist slipper clutch, for smoother shifting. However, it has a smaller fuel tank than the V85TT. And by the time you add panniers, the Triumph will likely be noticeably more expensive.
The F 850 GS, meanwhile, is more expensive than the V85TT or Tiger 900. It starts at $13,345; the Adventure models starts at $14,445. Unlike the R 1250 GS, though, it has a chain drive, not shaft drive. And its standard skid plate is made of plastic, not aluminum, though the latter is an optional extra.
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