The updated 2022 Moto Guzzi V85 TT rolled onto showroom floors late last year, Nick took the Travel edition for a spin to see how it tackled Australian roads... Photos: HMC Photography
The Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel boasts a few minor upgrades from last year’s model. We had it out and about across all manner of terrain for three weeks and really got to know the bike. Here’s what we think about the middleweight, transverse V-Twin, shaft-drive adventurer.
The V85 TT is an interesting bike, and in all honesty, my first real experience on a Guzzi. It does a bit of everything, quite well, and does it without much effort. Compared to the 2020/21 model, there aren’t many upgrades, aside from some new colour schemes (e.g., Sabbia Namib, which look fantastic) and a few versions to choose from.
We had the V85TT Travel in for review, which was kitted with various tech and accessories for, well, travel in comfort, as the name suggests. Whether this be traveling to work via the motorway, travelling out bush or simply travel out through the local twisties, the Guzzi seems to have you covered. Our bike came fitted with a huge windscreen, which is fantastic for the freeway commutes at higher speeds, hard and lockable panniers, heated grips, cruise control, LED spotlights and a centre-stand. All of which make for a pretty complete travel package!
Starting with the power, the V85TT is powered by an 853cc transverse, air-cooled V-twin. As standard with Guzzi, it boasts the usual, long and labouring torque curve, 80hp and around 80Nm of torque. The rumbling and wobbling of the transverse engine takes a bit to get used to, especially for myself who has barely ridden such a configuration.
As the throttle twists, you twist, it really is quite a strange feeling. Despite the quirks, it’s plenty of power and torque for the chassis and makes for a solid ride. The bike grumbles down the freeway on cruise control with ease and seems as though it’s barely working, chugging along as though it’s just firing. Most of the power is found in the lower to middle end of the rev range and the torque begins to flatten as you get higher into the revs.
There is a bit of hesitation in the quicker starts and a bit of coughing and spluttering in the lower rev ranges, especially at first start in the morning or after stalling in the tighter bush trails. Once it’s warm, it idles like a dream. The 853cc’s make for a subtle, yet convincing exhaust note. No aggression, no pops, or crackles, just the standard, low grumble of a big old air-cooled four-stroke.
The V85 TT is also economical. I rode it quite aggressively and fuel preservation certainly didn’t enter my mind over the three-weeks. The consumption jumped between 4 and 5L/100km depending on my riding style, meaning you could get anywhere up to 500 or so kilometres from the moulded plastic tank.
In terms of getting that power to the rear wheel, the clutch and gearing are faultless. The bike offers a dry single disc clutch and a six-speed ‘box powering the rear wheel via a shaft drive. There isn’t much I’d change here in this department; it is smooth and geared well for the power output offered by the Guzzi twin.
The shaft-drive obviously contributes to the somewhat cumbersome nature of the bike, but I’m not complaining, that’s what all you Guzzi fanboys and girls like, right? If it means less maintenance, less chain tensioning and adjustments, I’m happy! I do get worried about dumping the clutch on a shaft-drive, but it held up well. A quick-shifter wouldn’t be a bad idea for upcoming models, given the relatively short gearing.
The brakes are immense and offer more than enough stopping power and feel for the bike. The big Brembo callipers are a fantastic addition to this type of bike and for what it is, I wouldn’t recommend changing a thing. Moto Guzzi offers several customisable traction and ABS options to get the rear wheel unlocked (or locked depending on your riding style) on the dirt roads.
The bike came fitted with some Michelin rubber, which again, were adequate for the bike’s purpose. On the road, I found the Michelins to be more suited and forgiving, whereas they lacked a bit in the sand and gravel, especially once a bit of water was involved. This isn’t an issue, as you’d pick tyres depending on the terrain you’d find yourself tackling the most.
The suspension, chassis, and handling characteristics of the V85 TT are a little different to what I’m used to. My immediate impressions centred around how ‘top-heavy’ the bike felt, but after a few hundred kilometres this feeling had faded. The steel-tubular frame and 170mm of travel at the front and rear make for a fairly compliant and soft set-up, particularly on the dirt.
“My immediate impressions centred around how ‘top-heavy’ the bike felt, but after a few hundred kilometres this feeling had faded.”
While it doesn’t have the travel capacity and set-up akin to the bigger adventure bikes in the market, it can handle some aggressive terrain and has decent ground clearance. Despite the adjustable preload and rebound, I still found it bottoming out on some of the bigger ruts and bumps. On the tarmac, the suspension is adequate and facilitates some solid, fun rides in the twisties.
It’s hard to look past the gyroscopic effect of the transverse-mounted engine and this makes for some quirky characteristics when changing direction quickly on the twisties. The configuration of the motor almost adds another level of stabilisation that you can feel at the more aggressive lean angles, it’s hard to explain. For the road, I wouldn’t change anything, for the dirt, if you’re anticipating some more aggressive terrain, I’d suggest looking at fork upgrades at the very least.
In terms of ergonomics and comfort, for the road at least, it’s fantastic. The 830mm seat height (which is customisable) is quite comfortable for me as a taller rider, the ‘bar width is great for my arm span and the upright riding position is very comfortable for the longer rides.
On the dirt, the seat is quite low in comparison to the bars and peg position, which makes for continuous standing and sitting over changing terrains quite tiring after a while. As always, a set of bar-risers wouldn’t go astray, and tilting the bars up slightly for that added height is a must for the taller riders like me (197cm).
The ‘pegs are slightly smaller than I’m used to, and I’d like to see a bit more space down there, or at least some upgrade options soon. Combining the width of the bars, the standing/seated position and the weight and mounting configuration of the motor, you’re left with a very stable, well supported bike on both the road and dirt! Watch the rubber /pegs, they get slippery off road.
“The configuration of the motor almost adds another level of stabilisation that you can feel at the more aggressive lean angles.”
Moto Guzzi offers several options to customise how you get the power to the rear wheel. The V85 TT Travel has four custom ride modes, which are immensely difficult to navigate through. I’m not sure why this is so difficult, given the beauty of the huge TFT dash. After reading the owner’s manual it was clear, however, the method to change these maps is certainly not intuitive.
Road, Rain, Off-Road, all with differing power outputs and ABS settings to suit the intended terrain, confusingly Custom is displayed at all times. I opted for full power and disabled rear ABS for most of my rides, especially on the dirt where the rear ABS can usually ruin things on most adventure bikes.
The V85TT’s styling is top-notch in my books, especially the colour scheme we were given. The body work and lines flow nicely and are complemented by the Guzzi front headlight and LED spotlights. Given the lack of any engine cradle, the big transverse V-twin sticks out and is the centrepiece of the design. It’s simply a very nice-looking bike.
Overall, it’s a solid contender in the soft-adventure market, you just have to be sure to ride it within its context. If you’re looking for a bike to commute on and hit the trails on the weekend, it’s worth a look. If you’re intending to hit some aggressive terrain, it might be worth looking upmarket.
It does well within its bounds and is a blast to ride. It’s big, heavy and lugs along, yet it’s punchy with plenty of torque when required. It’s quirky, and a Guzzi, what else would we expect? It’s kitted out with some awesome tech, comfortable and more than capable of tackling almost everything I threw at it, don’t look past it, it’s a ripper of a bike for how much you’re paying.
I did a few hundred kilometres on the Guzzi TT Travel and enjoyed almost every second. I say ‘almost’ because I made a very rare mistake and had a bit of an off during a shoot, on the very trail you see below. I’ve used the same erosion mound for adventure jumps for over a decade but despite a dozen passes, on the final run I over did it and came off. It was quite a fast one and I went 20m into the bush, clipping three large gum trees. I was very lucky, so was the V85, as it is repairable. I was gutted to damage the bike, as I really, really like the TT Travel and have a soft spot for it.
Aside from adoring the looks of the TT Travel, from the curves to the fantastic colour, I just love the character of the bike. The engine and chassis combo are so unique that it adds a refreshing experience to motorcycle riding, at least it does for me. The engine is smooth, with flat torque but a slight pep from 4000rpm. It has a light, easy clutch and gearbox (but still holds first gear up on some shifts, so you have to back off before the lever returns).
It has deceptive acceleration, it feels slow but you actually get going on it pretty quickly, and it has lovely fuelling, is quiet with minimal mechanical noise and is smooth. There is a huge fuel range thanks to the big tank, but there is some heat that comes off those cylinders and warms the legs…
The riding position is super luxo, with massive, soft seat and rubber footpegs. The rider triangle is touring friendly and the screen excellent. The dash and switches are good quality and easy to deal with, but the cruise control can be clunky at times.
The super soft suspension means the bike floats along. I added some rear preload, but decided I prefer comfort over cornering compliance and the geometry is good enough to mean the bike still handles well, even when super soft… The brakes are great at both ends, and generally the handling is brilliant, one of the best in the class.
There is no storage, or even a tool kit, under the seat but the panniers are a good size and easy to fit or remove as well. There is a charge point, too, and overall the Moto Guzzi TT Travel is a great machine worth looking at, as it is a lot of bike for just over twenty grand – Jeff Ware.
Moto-Guzzi V85 TT Travel Tech Talk
According to Moto Guzzi – Following the success the V85 TT, Moto Guzzi have built off the chassis to create a retro inspired “enduro travel” bike. Combining the charm of the unique Transverse 90° V twin powerplant, 21st century technology and the classic Guzzi styling.
The powerhouse of the V85 TT is the 90 degree transversal, air-cooled V-twin using pushrod and rockers with two-valves per-cylinder (intake cylinders in titanium). With a bore and stroke of 84 x 77mm, the V85 TT remains at 853cc. Moto Guzzi say this is their most advanced engine yet and is able to deliver a maximum power of 80hp and 80Nm@5,000rpm, with 90 per cent of the torque already available at 3,750rpm.
The unit now has greater torque at low and medium rpm thanks to Moto Guzzi revising the pushrods and cams as well as adapting more tech to the V-twin. Moto Guzzi introduced three different riding modes on the V85 TT for 2022: Road, Rain and Off-road. Each of these Riding Modes corresponds to a different engine mapping, a different calibration of the MGCT traction control (which can be disabled) and ABS, as well as a different response from the Ride-by-Wire throttle control.
Moto Guzzi have made a brand-new frame for the V85 TT. The tubular structure uses the engine as a load-bearing element to ensure the bike feels planted and stiff, Moto Guzzi claim this helps with balance during “light enduro use”. Suspension is sorted by a 41mm hydraulic telescopic USD fork at the front which is adjustable for spring preload and hydraulic rebound. While the rear utilises the double-sided box-type aluminium swingarm by mounting a single shock on the right side, adjustable spring preload and hydraulic rebound.
The Travel features Michelin Anakee Adventure tyres, 110/80 – R19in at the front and 150/70 – R17in at the rear, wrapped around 2.50 x 19in and 4.25 x 17in wheels. Mounted are two 320mm stainless steel floating discs combined with Brembo radial-mounted calipers featuring four opposed pistons and a 260mm stainless steel disc, floating caliper with twin-pistons at the rear for great stopping power.
Moto Guzzi say they have designed the V85 TT so it can be used by riders of any level or experience thanks to its 830mm seat height and narrow width to allow freedom of movement. The V85 TT has a 23-litre fuel tank able to handle a claimed range of more than 400km. The Travel model builds on the V85 TT with a higher Touring windshield, offering riders greater air protection, thanks to a 60 per cent larger surface area, as well as two lightweight “urban” style panniers with aluminium inserts specifically designed alongside the V85 TT itself (37 litres for the right-hand case, which can hold a full-face helmet, and 27.5 litres for the left).
Also included as standard are the heated hand grips with buttons already incorporated in the original left-hand switch block and a pair of additional LED lights. The range of special equipment is rounded out with Moto Guzzi MIA, the multimedia platform that allows the rider to connect a smartphone to the vehicle, extending the functions of the instrument cluster.
The Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel is offered in the exclusive Sabbia Namib colour: the grey frame is paired with the matte colour of the chassis, while the tank and side panels have dedicated graphics. The Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel is in dealerships now with an RRP of $21,690 plus on-road costs.
2022 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel Specifcations
Price: $21,690 plus on-road costs.
Colours: Sabbia Namib
Kerb weight: 242kg
Fuel capacity: 23L
Engine: 853cc four stroke, Transversal 90 degree V-twin, 2-valves per cylinder, 84 x 77mm bore x stroke, 10.5:1 compression, EFI 52mm single throttle body, Ride by wire.
Gearbox: Six-speed, shaft drive
Clutch: Dry single disc
Frame: Steel tubular
Suspension: 41mm hydraulic telescopic USD fork, adjustable preload and rebound. Double-sided swingarm with monoshock adjustable for preload and rebound.
Brakes: 320mm stainless steel floating discs Brembo radial-mounted four piston calipers, single 260mm rear brake twin-piston caliper.
Wheels & Tyres: Spoked 2.50 x 19, 4.25 x 17, 110/80-19, 150/70-17
Seat height: 830mm
Ground clearance: N/A
Instruments: TFT Cull-colour dash, with Moto Guzzi MIA.
Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel Gallery
The Verdict | Review: 2022 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel