Warren
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I have always wanted to know what the Moto Guzzi side ways V Twin engine felt like and I also thought this bike might be decent alternative to a BMW GS if I wanted a large ADV style bike in the future.

I found a lot to like about the V85TT. First of all the size. For a large capacity ADV bike is not too big or too heavy. The current BMW 1250GS dwarfs the Guzzi. The V85 is really as big as I would want an ADV bike to be, accommodating for luggage and a full size guy but still manageable.

I am six foot and found the V85TT all day comfortable. Seat is good. Ergonomics are good. Long travel suspension soaks up bumps but still holds a line in corners well. Only weak point in comfort is the standard small windscreen. Like all ADV bikes there is turbulence and if it is bug season the rider gets splattered by them as I did. The screen is non adjustable which is a another weak point. If you fit the bigger screen option you should get a better setup but a hand operated adjustable sliding screen would be nice.

The engine is their older air cooled item not their latest but I found it fine. It is modest power but that means you can actually open the throttle up more often and let the engine rev out from time to time and not be risking loss of licence. On a high speed mountain pass I was working the engine to it’s max to pass cars but actually that was fun. How often can you work a modern high powered engine like that. Unless on a racetrack, never.

The engine has that typical nice V twin note to it and the air box gets a nice induction sound when you are wide open which again being modest power you actually can do in a couple of lower gears and not be going 180. I know I go on about less power is more on the blog but it really is so much fun to have an engine you can open up. Ryan at Fort Nine gets it.

The engine has quite a flat power curve feel with good torque so you need not be worried about being in right gear like small capacity engines and being a lower tech engine should be low maintenance and not expensive servicing.

The gear box was little hard to find neutral and initially sometimes easy to miss a gear but then I got use to it and the shifting was very smooth. The gearing was well matched to the bike and I had no trouble shifting up or down without the clutch despite not having a quick shifter just using old school throttle unloading.

The clutch is light and the brakes have plenty of feel and do the job. I never thought about either much more than that which means no complaints.

The final drive is shaft and it is the best shaft drive and I have sampled. There is very little lash. I forgot I was riding a shaft drive. I don’t know how Moto Guzzi have done this, but they really have produced a nice final drive. My Yamaha had very noticeable lash and BMW’s I have ridden the same and the Gold Wing I am on as I write this also has lash in the final drive. Best final drive other than a belt drive I have ridden. (Update – it is so good due to Moto Guzzi’s new patented drive engagement system in the gearbox)

The bike handles very well. For a high riding ADV bike with big front wheel it cornered very confidently at all times and was also very easy at low speed, car park like stuff and U turns were dead easy. Some bikes I do not get the same amount of joy riding in corners, that hang time defy gravity thing is important to me, some bikes deliver less of that to me, but not the V85, it has a nice balance and delivers a lot of riding satisfaction.

The dash is very small. It is only 4 inch. Initially I could not make out anything other than the speed. But with time my eyes adjusted and it does offer considerable information and the colour scheme is very good. It is visible even in brightest desert 44 degree direct sunlight. But the screen size is really small by current standards.

You have a daytime LED running light the shape of the Moto Guzzi Eagle but I switched the lights on to low beam for some extra visibility (even though the research says it makes absolutely zero difference). Bright white LED lights, I cannot say about night time performance.

The wheels are spoked but tubeless unlike the Tenere 700 or Transalp. Get a flat on either of those and you have a world of pain taking wheel off and patching a tube. If I had got a puncture on the V85TT I could have plugged it and pumped up with my ultra compact travel compressor and been back on the road in no time.

It has electronic cruise control which I used extensively on tour and really that is the only electronic gizmo I insist a new bike I look at has. I left the bike in road power mode no need for other maps or other electronic aids. The ABS seemed bit basic, I briefly locked up on loose surface unexpectantly but I find lots of ABS bikes do that and never assume ABS is a replacement for proper brake application.

I found the fuel range met my touring needs. Because I was in USA and I was filling in gallons and travelling miles I cannot give a accurate metric breakdown. But my daily routes were average of 350km and I could do that on one tank from morning and have about 70-80 ‘miles’ range left on the trip computer so I’d say with tank fully topped off it has about 450km range with touring throttle application. (Update – it is confirmed the bike will do up to 500km on a tank)

A unique feature of riding a Moto Guzzi is the bike was a magnet for attracting former bikers that rode Moto Guzzi’s. Literally everywhere I stopped I was soon in a conversation with someone about the bike and hearing how they used to ride a Le Mans or a California or many other models. If you do not want this then don’t buy a Moto Guzzi but I loved it, I met heaps of nice people I might not have on another bike. A bonus good buying point for me.

But apart from that the bike actually delivers an enduring riding experience and it has all the main features I would want in an ADV bike at almost half the price of a GS. Furthermore it is not Ford F350 big, it does not have BMW service costs. It does not come with yet another cost saving parallel twin engine or chain final drive.

If I decided to buy a large ADV bike this would be the one.

6 Comments

  1. A mate at work has the V85 and really rates it.

    • I liked it a lot Dave.

      Still, unsure I will buy another ADV bike. I will do a further tour on my little GS next year and that will tick off all the gravel I wanted to ride.

  2. 馃憢 Hi Warren. May I ask whether this review was for a 2023 bike, or the (slightly revised) 2024 model?

  3. Geoff Smith

    I am the proud owner of a 2019 V85 TT, and can only agree with your review.
    It is an excellent machine, and a pleasure to ride.

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