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V85TT First Impressions.

Saturday 13th July 2019.

We attended the world launch of the new Moto Guzzi V85TT in September 2018 at the factory in Mandello del Lario. First impressions were very good. The V85TT’s specifications and overall dimensions ticked every box and it looked stunning, especially in the two-tone colour scheme with a red frame.

When the new model became available in the UK a test ride was booked at Teasdale Motorcycles in Thirsk, North Yorkshire. That test ride confirmed the V85TT was everything I thought it would be. The large enduro style seat is very comfortable and the relationship between the wide bars and footrests is spot on. It’s quite tall with a seat height of 830mm. I’m 6ft 3” and the whole machine fitted me like the proverbial glove.

I absolutely loved it and decided to buy one later this year. Then fate stepped in and we bought one earlier than expected….

The V85TT we collected on Saturday 13th July from Cobb & Jagger Ducati/Triumph in Shipley had been traded in for a Ducati. It was first registered on the 6th June and had only covered 223 miles in the 3 weeks the original owner had it. We saved £900 on list price and we had what was effectively a new motorcycle without a mark on it. I don’t think any V85TT’s have appeared on the second-hand market yet. We were very lucky to hear, completely by chance, about the one we’ve bought before it was advertised on the Cobb & Jagger website. Timing is everything.

It's been described as a premium quality machine and I would agree. Paintwork on the engine, frame and bodywork is thick and lustrous. There’s a host of neat design touches like the tapered handlebars, modern switches, alloy footrest plates, full LED lighting and easy to use digital TFT instrumentation. The clean, uncomplicated layout of the machine means it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep it looking good.

The V85TT is powered by an air-cooled, two-valve per-cylinder, 853cc, pushrod V-twin with shaft final drive. Claimed power and torque is 79 bhp @ 7750rpm with 80 Nm @ 5000rpm. The engine is unmistakably Moto Guzzi, and, in this platform, it works perfectly. During the running-in process it’s averaging 63mpg.

The first service is booked for the 13th August and I will write a second report after the running-in period has been completed.

Chris Jessop, 16th July 2019.

V85TT Second Impressions.

Moto Guzzi Factory Gate, Mandello del Lario. Monday 9th September 2019.

As of 14th November 2019, our V85TT has covered 5,000 miles. It has proved to be a very accomplished machine and it’s easy to see why it’s been so popular. Worldwide demand currently outstrips production. The V85TT is one of the most successful models produced by Moto Guzzi in recent times. Almost 6,000 units have been made since it was launched earlier this year.

The last bike I bought was our 08 spec XB12X Ulysses in November 2007. Having a motorcycle equipped with ride-by-wire, ABS, full LED lighting, traction control and switchable riding modes is quite a revelation. I can’t fault the instrumentation, the TFT screen is clear and it’s viewable in any weather conditions. The display automatically adjusts itself to suit either day or night riding. Clever stuff. All the other controls and features are easy to use and well thought out. It also has cruise control, but I’ve never used it and I don’t think I ever will. The twin LED headlights, both on dip and full, are brilliant (pun intended) and are by far the best I’ve ever had on a motorcycle. The daytime running light is a bright white LED eagle motif across the front of the twin headlights. There’s also a LED fog light kit available as an official Guzzi accessory. Its prewired for these and has mounting points on the headlight and instrumentation subframe.

The V85TT makes a great all-rounder and its very comfortable over long distances. The 830mm standard seat is just about right for me at 6ft 3” but Moto Guzzi also offer seats in both 20mm higher and 20mm lower versions. They’re not cheap but if you find the standard seat not to your liking then there are alternatives available.

The petrol tank has a 23-litre capacity. With an average consumption of around 62mpg this provides a 300+ mile range. The worst consumption I’ve seen is 58mpg and the best 74mpg.

Just in time for the cooler weather, on the 5th October I had the Guzzi heated grip kit, part number 2S001325, fitted by Teasdale Motorcycles in Thirsk. The kit includes a new ride-by-wire throttle body as part of the right-hand heated grip so it must be calibrated by an official Guzzi dealer. This new throttle body has a lighter spring than the original unit and is so much better in operation. The V85TT is prewired for heated grips and already has a button on the left-hand switch unit for them. They’re very effective and have three different heat levels. There’s an icon on the TFT display showing which level you’ve selected.

The engine, gearbox and shaft drive are new generation designs based on the V9. They’re smooth in operation and gear changing is almost clunk free once you’ve got the unit warmed up. When new there was an annoying high frequency buzz at 4,000rpm but that’s just about disappeared now. Our high mileage 06’ 750 and 05’ 1100 Guzzis have required 25,000 to 30,000 miles to feel properly run in but this V85TT will probably only need 15,000 miles to feel the same. The engine is very flexible and will quite happily run at low rpms in high gears without feeling snatchy. The crankcase has a user-friendly oil level sight glass.

Suspension is very good. The easily adjusted factory recommended settings work well for solo riding and for touring with luggage. I’ve not ridden the bike with a pillion yet. Guzzi offer an Ohlin rear unit as an upgrade but it’s around £800.

Dislikes – all of which have been addressed:

At 800 miles or so, 2 of the 4 bolts that hold the sump guard on fell out and the remaining 2 were loose. Loctite 243 to the rescue. This is a common problem reported worldwide with the first versions.

Lack of front mudguard as standard.

Neither of the wheel spindles were greased at the factory and various fasteners in corrosion prone areas were fitted dry. A couple of hours in the workshop armed with tins of copperslip and grease is time well spent and saves problems later.

The massive (and ugly) Euro 4 spec catalytic convertor under the gearbox runs at extremely high temperatures. Combined with a lean mixture to meet Euro 4 regs, it means the engine and rider get hot and bothered in heavy traffic in warm weather. Many owners have removed the cat and fitted aftermarket Y-pipes with fuelling modifiers.

Likes:

Engine.
Shaft drive.
Suspension.
Comfortable enduro style seat.
Fuel range and economy.
Italian design and style.
Colour scheme.
Character.

Modifications carried out:

Remus Y-pipe, part number 0103-455519.
‘Boosterplug’ fuelling modifier, part number MOTO-GUZZI-8151.
R&G fork protectors, part number FP0020BK.
Aprilia Caponord Rally 1200 front mudguard, part number 2B0024475. The V85TT uses the same front forks.
Moto Guzzi clutch cable/wire guide, part number 2B006501. This stops them rubbing against the bottom of the TFT display housing. This is fitted as standard on later V85TT’s.
Moto Guzzi heated grips, part number 2S001325.

Chris Jessop, 14th November 2019.

  • Aprilia Caponord Rally 1200 Mudguard.

  • Remus Y-pipe.

  • R&G Fork Protectors.

  • Moto Guzzi Heated Grips.

Breva 1100, 14 years old and 95,000 miles.

26th August 2019. Only 5,000 miles to go....

27th August 2019.

Breva 1100, owned from new, bought 27th August 2005, 14 years old today.

Mileage to date 95,077. It has proved to be an outstanding machine with no major problems. Routine servicing and regular use, including many visits to Mandello and tours all over mainland Europe, have helped to keep it running reliably. The finish has held up very well, with no major corrosion issues.

25th August 2019. Howden, Yorkshire.