2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure and V85 TT Review
The 2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure Touring platform marks a return to the ADV bike segment for the iconic Italian brand, as the category had been left vacant with the departure of the Stelvio.Now, with entirely new ADV bikes in the stable, Moto Guzzi has managed to stay true to their roots stylistically with what they’ve dubbed as a “classic travel enduro” appearance, giving riders a unique take on the adventure touring lifestyle.
With its hybrid of vintage styling and modern performance, the 2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT platform’s performance sees it firmly planted in the adventure touring realm, and direct competitors will come in the form of the BMW F 850 GS, in regards to function, while aesthetics push in the direction of the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled.We packed our bags and headed off to the picturesque Mediterranean island of Sardinia to put the 2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure and V85 TT to the test to see what these new bikes had in store. Without further ado, here are the Fast Facts.1. The 2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT comes in two flavors. Two models of the V85 TT will be available in the North American market and are most easily distinguished by their color and accessories. The V85 TT Adventure will feature sturdy aluminum panniers and a top case, along with more off-road worthy Michelin Anakee Adventure tires, and striking colors. Meanwhile, the standard model will be available in plain grey accompanied by street-centered Metzeler Tourance Next tires, with optional panniers. Note that the panniers were not on the V85 TT Adventure in the photos, but they will be part of the standard package in the United States.2. The 853cc transverse V-twin, with a longitudinal crank, hits the sweet spot with performance. Positioned firmly as a middleweight, the all-new air-cooled 90-degree V-twin captures all the charm Moto Guzzi aficionados have come to know and love while achieving a whole new level of refinement. This is without a doubt the most silky smooth Guzzi to roll out of the Mandello del Lario factory. Offering up a claimed 80 horsepower at 7750 rpm and 59 ft/lbs of torque at 5000 rpm, this V-twin begins pulling from a smidgen above idle, with ample low-end, great midrange, and will happily rev out to the redline with ease.3. The V85 is Guzzi essence brought into the modern era. Taking a quick look at the spec sheet, you might be led to believe that it’s a carryover from the V7 III platform. Though they utilize similar architecture, such as the familiar pushrod valvetrain, Guzzi engineers have opted for titanium intake valves, aluminum rods, and optimized roller tappets to eke out the performance numbers we’ve already discussed. Working in conjunction with those advancements is a new low-profile piston and revised crankshaft that boast weight savings, as well as an increase to the rev ceiling. What we feel is all positive, as the Guzzi’s engine is incredibly smooth.4. Engineers dropped the weight, not the style. In many ways, we can see the 2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT platform as a replacement to the Stelvio. Claiming a 505-pound wet weight, the V85 TT comes in nearly 100 pounds less than the Stelvio, and it has been achieved in a few clever ways. The engine’s crankcase has been stiffened for use as a stressed member, which allows the trellis frame to ditch the cradle arms. Also, the cylinder heads and sump have been trimmed down. This prevents your knees from conflicting with the engine and increases ground clearance.
5. A full suite of rider aids is present on the 2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT motorcycles thanks to ride-by-wire technology. Owners have three riding modes to select from—Road, Rain, and Off-road—which come with defined levels of ABS and Traction Control intervention. Riders will have the option of Road, Rain and Off-road, which alter throttle mapping, ABS, and traction control settings to a noticeable degree. Notably, a customizable mode is not available, though cruise control is standard. For those who feel the need to be unrestrained, traction control and ABS can be disabled with a deep dive into the menu.
6. Road mode has the longest leash, as its best paired with fair-weather street conditions. Road mode offers the most direct throttle connection, edging towards what I’d consider being sporty without ever becoming snatchy.7. Rain mode features a dramatically softened initial throttle response, which would most definitely come in handy when riding in inclement weather. Rain’s ABS and TC response is far more proactive, and rightly so.8. Off-road mode is equipped with a unique traction control map. Off-road mode’s throttle strikes a middle ground between the other two, making it easier to modulate the power when bouncing around the trail. This lets you spin the rear up, but without ever truly letting go. Rear ABS is disabled.
9. By the gods! An oil sight-glass? Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. This Moto Guzzi features a sight-glass on the crankcase, meaning that the endearing dipstick has its days numbered.
10. The 2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT retains the brand’s traditional shaft drive. For riders set on gobbling up miles, the shaft drive has an advantage in that it requires far less maintenance than chain-driven bikes, but the benefits now go beyond that. Of interest is how Guzzi engineers have been able to improve the riding experience by reducing driveline lash when shifting. This improvement can be attributed to what Moto Guzzi describes as a “flexible coupling” from the transmission to the driveshaft. The result is immediately noticed as it reduces negative feedback through the drivetrain, especially when shifting aggressively.11. A round of applause for the six-speed transmission, please. Thanks to a new wholly revised single-plate dry clutch, shifting has greatly improved from the Eagle Brand. Now, banging through the gearbox isn’t met with an ounce of hesitation. As a bonus, the clutch pull is light with a friendly friction zone, allowing riders to modulate adjustable levers in traffic without excessive fatigue.12. The all-new chassis is as stable as can be on the road. The V85 TT pulls no punches when it comes to spec sheet figures—it’s sporting a roomy 60.2-inch wheelbase with a relaxed 28-degree rake. Taken together, the numbers coming out of the new trellis frame and swingarm make for stability in the corners. Despite that, the bikes aren’t sedate when the pace picks up—not by a long shot. You can hustle them through the twisties in a hurry, though you might be finding the footpeg feelers, so be conscientious of foot position. If anything, the V85 likes some direction on entry; once it’s set on relatively smooth asphalt, the bike is on the proverbial rails.
13. Tire selection will have an impact on handling. The V85 TT Adventure features Michelin Anakee Adventure tires, while the standard V85 makes use of Metzeler Tourance Next rubber. Both are tubeless but require a tube due to the wire-spoke wheel construction and have defined scopes of work. However, they do impact the handling to a noticeable degree. With the blockier Michelins in play, it slows the turn-in rate of the V85 TT Adventure, while the street-biased Metzeler tires give the standard V85 TT a bit more pep in its step.
14. Brembo brakes get the job done in a hurry. Equipped with dual four-piston Brembo calipers, accompanied by 320mm floating rotors, the front brakes offer quite a bit of feel and stopping power. In the rear, a single two-piston caliper clamps onto a 260mm rotor with feeling that’s softer than the front. Although not ideal for spirited street riding, it helps when in low grip situations, letting you modulate the rear brake carefully.15. Don’t stop when the pavement ends, my friends. Moto Guzzi has been incredibly forthright regarding the off-road capabilities of the V85 TT bikes; they see it as being light off-road capable, and I’d agree with that sentiment. Fire roads, dirt roads and the like will allow you to scamper off into the hills without any issue. This is made possible by standard issue items such as the bash guard that protects the throaty 2-into-1 exhaust, as well as the engine itself. It’ll come in handy, too as the ground clearance sits at 8.2 inches, which gives the rider something to work with.
16. Spoke wire wheels don’t just look the business—they’re meant to take a bit of abuse off-road. Solid alloy wheels are great for the street, as they’re stiffer and typically lighter than wire-spoke wheels. However, wire-spoke wheels are still king of the dirt. With the 19-inch front/17-inch rear wheelset, the V85 TT bikes can straddle the on and off-road worlds, though it shows true strengths on the street. Off-road, the 19-inch front helps it track through sand, rocks, and terrain that are found in the ADV bike’s natural habitat, negotiating them with competency.
17. The 2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT’s new KYB suspension is part of the stability puzzle. The inverted 41mm KYB fork features spring-preload and compression-damping adjustment only, so we’re stuck with the preset rebound-damping settings. It’s the same story for the KYB shock. With some off-road riding in its itinerary, it does flaunt a leggy 6.7 inches of travel at either end. In practice, the V85 TTs are well balanced, avoiding any of the seesawings that some ADV machines are prone to do. In the canyons, all of that translates to a motorcycle that is predictable when the throttle is twisted, with settings that edge toward the softer side, yet are well matched for pavement and light off-road use.18. A six-gallon fuel tank will keep you on the road for a while. Riders looking to tackle long distance or commuters that valiantly battle the urban fray will be pleased to know that the Guzzi’s range approaches 300 miles thanks to an estimated 48 mpg fuel consumption rate. Better yet, the sculpting of the tank makes for an excellent anchor point when cornering.19. All-day ergonomics are a winner. Adventure bikes have a reputation for being inaccessibly tall, and that isn’t the case with this Dakar Rally inspired machine. The 32.6-inch seat height is more than accommodating because of the narrow chassis, allowing my 32-inch inseam to plant boots on the ground, firmly. This is one of the few, if not the only meaningful displacement adventure bike where I can do that. The seat is comfortable, and Moto Guzzi offers both a high and low option (0.8 inches in each direction). The wide riser handlebar gives you lots of leverage over the bike and encourages a neutral riding position.20. Moto Guzzi sees its first TFT display. Carried over from the Aprilia RSV4, Tuono, Dorsoduro and Shiver bikes; the V85 TT machines now sport a clear and easy to read TFT display. The menu is easy to navigate with the switch controls, and straight forward – nowhere near as enigmatic as older Aprilia motorcycles. Poke around a bit, and you’ll get it. Building on all of that is Bluetooth connectivity capabilities, with turn-by-turn navigation provided by the Moto Guzzi MIA app.21. Accessories are available, and thankfully, many of them are functional. Moto Guzzi wants riders to explore the possibilities of touring, urban, and off-road riding with its new bikes. To help everyone along, Guzzi offers a bevy of nifty accessory items. Pannier cases, taller windscreens, and heated grips are a few of the options that touring or urban commuters will gravitate towards, while cylinder head crash bars will draw those attempting the trails. If you’d like, you can swap out the shock for a fully-adjustable Öhlins unit. In all, the accessory options are less farkle and more about setting the bike up for your needs.22. The 2020 Moto Guzzi V85 TT and V85 TT Adventure are more than styling exercises—they are solid motorcycles, too. Moto Guzzi has always marched to the beat of its own drum and, from the looks of it, that rhythm won’t be changing any time soon. Luckily, this bike has me tapping my foot along with it. This is one of those rare occasions where fashion and form are working in harmony to create a respectable adventure touring platform, with highlights coming in comfort, handling, and a refined engine. Moto Guzzi has combined those attributes with a favorable MSRP, so we’re looking at an attractive option, physically, and financially.Photography by Alberto Cervetti, Marco Zamponi, et alRIDING STYLE
KTM Super ADV R + Lightning Motorcycles’ Richard Hatfield
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends—the weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams rides KTM’s new 1290 Super Adventure R. This hardcore ADV bike is big, powerful, and a true expert-level machine. Interestingly, it has multiple points of adjustment within its highly capable electronics package, and Don discovered several big surprises where the bike changed personality completely. His is an intriguing look at one of the most capable off road ADV bikes on the market today.
In the second segment, I chat with Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning motorcycles. This silicon valley based manufacturer was founded in 2006, and having racked up several notable race victories (including Pikes Peak in 2013 with the late Carlin Dunne on board) Lightning have certainly dominated in racing terms. In another first, Lightning has just announced a new rapid-charging battery technology that may well bring electric motorcycles into becoming real-world, practical transport.
So from all of us here at Motos & Friends… we hope you enjoy this episode!