adventure motorcycles

Moto Guzzi V85TT - Detailed Technical Specifications and Honest Review

Moto Guzzi V85TT - Detailed Technical Specifications and Honest Review

Established in 1921, Moto Guzzi, an Italian motorcycle manufacturer, is renowned for crafting highly capable retro-style bikes that stand out not only for their distinct attitude but also for challenging the status quo of the modern motorcycle market. In addition to its flair for creating Italian motorcycles, Moto Guzzi is particularly in the headlines due to the high sales of the V85 TT motorcycle and its exciting range introduced at the 2023 EICMA. Best known for riding with the toughest conditions, the V85 TT is also popular for its unique cruiser character and competent touring capabilities. Symbolizing the essence of freedom, the V85 TT has carved a name for itself in the mid-sized adventure motorcycle market.

Highly unconventional yet practical, Moto Guzzi has approached many aspects differently with the V85 TT. From shaft drive to air/oil-cooled engine, simple ride modes, and minimalist retro styling, V85 TT is a completely different breed in the pool of high-tech, fully decked touring motorcycles. This might just be the reason behind its phenomenal success. This article brings you all the information about the Moto Guzzi V85 TT’s technical specs, features, performance, and mechanical upgrades to help you determine whether it is the motorcycle that checks all the boxes of preference for you.

1. Moto Guzzi V85TT: An Overview

Moto Guzzi first shared the adventure-oriented V85 Concept with the world at the 2017 EICMA. Filling the gap between the V7 and V9 Moto Guzzi lineups, the V85 motorcycle concept signified the resurgence of Moto Guzzi’s long-lost history with award-winning off-road machines that bagged four gold medals in the 1939 Six Day Reliability Trial and the 1980s Paris Dakar Rally wins. At the time of its announcement, Moto Guzzi claimed that their newest creation was designed to rekindle the spark for adventure among motorcycle enthusiasts.

“The V85 is designed to appeal to riders who, while never ceasing to dream of Dakar, yearn for a bike that revives the spirit of adventure on their daily journeys.”

(Moto Guzzi)

Designed for riders of varying sizes and riding expertise, it was revealed that the V85 Concept would be powered by Moto Guzzi’s signature transverse 90° V-Twin engine but with a completely new character that would complement the debuting V85 chapter. The Italian manufacturer also guaranteed “great character and the spectacular force at lower running speeds.”

Eventually, in 2018, the images of the production-qualified V85 TT motorcycle surfaced, officially confirming the fact that the adventure motorcycle market would soon welcome a new two-wheeler that symbolized Italian flair for craftsmanship. Ever since Moto Guzzi unveiled the realtor-inspired vibrant yellow/red V85 TT at the 2017 Milan Motorcycle Show, it became the most anticipated motorcycle in the industry. 

Finally, in 2019, the Italian manufacturer announced pricing and bookings for the V85 TT as the bike became ready to make its way to the showroom floors in the United States in May 2019. In its market debut year, the V85 TT was available in two distinct trims:

  • The Moto Guzzi V85 TT, an entry-level adventure bike starting at $11,990, is available in Grigio Atacama (gray) color scheme.
  • The Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure was the same as the base model but decked with aluminum side panniers and a top case. Starting at $12,990, the V85 TT Adventure was available in two distinct color schemes: Giallo Sahara (yellow) or Rosso Kahalari (red). 

The V85 TT (tutto terreno/ all terrain) boasted an entirely new frame designed to live up to the bike’s all-terrain personality. Featuring a resistant tubular chassis with a trellis frame, the new V85 TT heavily depended on its power plant as the main stress-bearing part, enhancing the frame's sturdiness and simultaneously alleviating the need for additional weight.

Consequently, the 2019 release, weighing 505 lb, Moto Guzzi V85 TT, proved to be 100 lb lighter than its predecessor, the Moto Guzzi Stelvio. The transversal 90° V-Twin 850 cc engine of the new V85 TT was capable of generating about 76- 80 hp of horsepower, taking full advantage of the bike’s Euro 4 emission standards. The engine of this trail-dedicated motorcycle was coupled with a six-speed transmission that transmitted power to the rear wheel via a clean, low-maintenance shaft drive, making the V85 TT the only two-wheeler to use the shaft drive setup in its segment at that time.

To deliver on the promise of all-terrain performance, Moto Guzzi equipped the V85 TT(tutto terrono) with a 170-mm travel suspension setup; comprising an inverted front fork and a preload-adjustable rear shock. Furthermore, the bike not only offered a ground clearance of 210 mm for engine safety when riding on rugged, uneven trails but also featured a standard aluminum skid plate for protection, allowing riders to enjoy moderate off-roading on this two-wheeler. The three adaptive riding modes — Rain, Road, and Off-Road —  provided much-needed assistance to riders to tackle diverse terrain. In addition, the 2019 V85 TT came with several features that enhanced comfort and range, including 5.54 gal fuel tank capacity, a plush and supportive saddle, handguards, and a tall windshield that ensured that the wind wouldn’t hinder the rider’s ability to travel long distances.

The adventure-oriented “TT” model of the V85 remained essentially the same in 2020 with no exciting upgrades to report; however, its sales continued to increase. Due to the overwhelming response V85 TT enjoyed in 2019, the Italian manufacturer decided to expand the family by introducing a more comfortable touring variant, the 2020 V85 TT Travel, that came with a wider windscreen, heated grips, and spacious side panniers as standard features.

In 2021, Moto Guzzi introduced several upgrades in its high-performing all-terrain V85 TT, to further substantiate its trail and touring-focused credentials. The transverse V-Twin power plant was revised and received an updated pushrod valve system to increase the low-end and mid-range torque production. The riding modes were increased from three to five with the addition of Sport and Custom modes. The fully customizable riding modes allowed adventure enthusiasts to enjoy more control over throttle response, traction intervention levels, and ABS settings.

Moto Guzzi also changed the wheels of its 2021 V85 TT model, fitting outer spoked wheels for tubeless tires. This drastic change improved the bike’s already excellent touring capabilities, as this setup made it easy to deal with punctures en route. Furthermore, this wheel and tire setup helped reduce the bike’s weight by 3.3 lbs. As for the aesthetic upgrades, Moto Guzzi chose to preserve the bike’s original retro-inspired adventure motorcycle look.   

In 2022, the Moto Guzzi V85 TT remained unchanged mechanically; however, it received “Moto Guzzi’s new evocative colorways.” In addition to the two standard mono-tone schemes, Green Ataj and Black Etna, Moto Guzzi also introduced two adventurous graphic options: Uluru Red and Mojave Yellow for a slightly higher price.  

In November 2023, Moto Guzzi unveiled its updated V85 TT motorcycle range for the 2024 model year at the 2023 EICMA. The new V85 range includes:

  • The iconic middleweight dual-sport Moto Guzzi V85 TT is the pioneer of this range.
  • A highly on-road-focused motorcycle called the Moto Guzzi V85 Strada.
  • The ultimate adventure touring specialist is called the Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel. 

Collectively, all three motorcycles are called the 2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Range as the TT variant was where it all started. All three motorcycles share the same engine improvements and chassis upgrades; however, they differ widely in terms of electronics, riding modes, electronics, display features, and attitude.

The all-new, class-leading V85 TT motorcycles are Euro 5+ compliant, and this new emission standard has positively impacted the bikes’ throttle response and horsepower and torque production compared to previous models introduced between 2019-2022. It is claimed that the variable valve timing and addition of knock sensors have also helped improve the engine’s power production capacity in the V85 TT range. In addition, the V85 TT and V85 TT Travel models also feature sophisticated electronics, such as cruise control and six-axis inertial measurement units; however, the V85 Strada only has these features as optional. While there is more to the V85 TT trio that can be discussed, compared, and reviewed, we will maintain focus on the Moto Guzzi V85 TT model to narrow down the scope of this review.

2. Moto Guzzi V85TT Detailed Specs

 Moto Guzzi V85TT Quick Specs & Features
General Info
Manufacturer Moto Guzzi
Official Website Moto Guzzi V85TT
Motorcycle Size & Category  Middleweight Italian Adventure Motorcycle
Announced In 2017
Production Years 2019-Present
Production Status In Production
Replaced Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX
Base MSRP 2022: $12,190
2024: Not Announced Yet
Engine Type Transversal, V2, Four Stroke Engine
Other Details 90° V-Twin
Displacement 853 cc
Bore 84 mm
Stroke 77 mm
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Cooling System Air-Cooled
Starter System Electric
Valve Train Two Valves per Cylinder
Fuel Delivery System Electronic Fuel Injection System with Ride-by-Wire
Fuel Control Overhead Valves (OHV)
Emission Standard Euro 5+
Performance Figures
Maximum Horsepower 80 hp at 7,750 rpm
Maximum Torque 61.2 ft-lb at 5,100 rpm
Drive Train
Transmission System Six-Speed
Clutch Dry, Single-Plate Clutch
Final Drive Shaft Drive
Frame Tubular Steel Trellis Frame
Swingarm Double-Sided Swingarm in Box-Type Aluminum
Tire Type Tubeless
Front Tire Size 110/80-19
Rear Tire Size 150/70-17
Wheels Wire Spoke
Front Wheel Size 19 x 3 in
Rear Wheel Size 17 x 4.5 in
Front Suspension 41 mm Hydraulic Telescopic USD Fork
Spring Preload and Hydraulic Rebound Adjustability

*Preload Adjustable via Handwheel

Front Wheel Travel 6.7 in/ 170 mm
Rear Suspension  Single Shock
Spring Preload and Hydraulic Rebound Adjustability

*Preload Adjustable via Handwheel

Rear Wheel Travel 6.7 in/ 170 mm
Anti-Lock Braking System Standard
Front Brake Dual 320mm Discs
Brembo Radial-Mounted Opposed Four Piston Calipers
Equipped with ABS 

*Metal-Braided Brake Lines

Rear Brake 260 mm Single Disc
Floating Two Piston Caliper
Fuel Tank Capacity 6 US gal
Seat Height 32.7 in
Rake Angle 28.0°
Wheelbase 60.2 in
Ground Clearance 8.3 in
Trail 5.0 in
Curb Weight
(*incl. all fluids and 90% fuel)
507 lb
LED Lighting
Instruments and Display Features
Five-in Full Color TFT Display
Electronics & Accessories
Adjustable Windshield
Protective Handguards
Aluminum Rear Grab Handles
Aluminum Skid Plate
Cruise Control
Six-Axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)
Handlebar Switch Gear
Cornering ABS
Four Standard Riding Modes Rain
Custom Mode (Optional Accessory)
MGCT Traction Control
Engine Management (ECU) with Knock Sensors

2.1 Moto Guzzi V85TT Model Colors

2024 Moto Guzzi V85TT Color Options
Two-Tone Rosso Fuji with Grigio Tambora Livery Two-Tone Rosso Fuji with Grigio Tambora Livery 
2022 Moto Guzzi V85TT Color Options
Nero Etna Nero Etna
(Translated to Volcano Black)
Verde Altaj Verde Altaj
(Translates to Green Mountain)

3. Moto Guzzi V85TT Engine Performance and Transmission

The transverse 90-degree V-Twin engine of the V85 TT is air/oil cooled and also has a distinct character, appearance, sound, and feel. Many riders compare the V85 TT’s engine with the BMW R1250GS’s power plant due to its transverse mount and shaft drive; however, unlike the BMW R1250GS’s engine, the V85 TT engine does not feel as smooth. At high speeds, riders can feel engine vibration through the handlebars and the frame; however, it does not make the riding experience unpleasant. Quite the contrary, it enhances the engine’s unique character.

As for the 2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT, the engine is Euro 5+ compliant and produces comparatively more power, offers greater amount of low-end to mid-range torque in addition to a sharper throttle response than the 2021 onward models. Though the engine design is similar to the 2021 model — air-cooled, has an 853 cc capacity, 90-degree V-Twin layout — it also features variable valve timing and knock sensors for cleaner combustion, performance optimization, improved fuel efficiency, and enhanced performance fingers at various speeds. As for the performance figures, the updated engine can produce 80 hp of horsepower at 7,750 rpm and 83 Nm at 5,100 rpm, while the engine in the 2021 onwards model generated about 76 hp of horsepower and 81 Nm of torque. The shaft final drive and six-speed gearbox sum up the transmission system. The clutch operation and gear shifts are not smooth and you will feel the “clunk” when shifting; however, it still feels smoother than the older BMW GS models.  

From the maintenance perspective, the V85 TT power plant is quite easy to service; moreover, you can easily perform the valve checks on this bike. Being the only bike with a shaft drive in its size range/category, the V85 TT’s final drive also makes it a highly low-maintenance adventure motorcycle.

4. Moto Guzzi V85 TT Chassis

Based on the same robust tubular steel trellis frame of the 2021 model year, the Moto Guzzi V85 TT features a 41mm inverted front fork and an aluminum swingarm with a rear monoshock. Both front and rear suspension offer preload and rebound adjustability, in addition to 170 mm wheel travel. At 170 mm, the suspension travel may seem inadequate on paper, but it is quite functional if you avoid wild off-road maneuvers and hardcore dirt riding. On highways and even gravel paths, the suspension feels well-damped. Thanks to the bike’s geometry, the front end does not get stuck when riding in the sandy patches, making the Moto Guzzi V85 TT a practical bike for enduro desert riding and light sandscape touring.

Weighing around 505-507 lbs, the Moto Guzzi V85 TT does not feel heavy while riding, and hence, it is quite flickable no matter the model year you choose to own. Due to the well-balanced chassis and reasonable weight, the Moto Guzzi V85 TT is one of the most easy-to-handle adventure motorcycles. It is worth mentioning that when it comes to high speeds, you might struggle a little on this bike, especially if you are riding on soft mud or thick sand.

4.1 Moto Guzzi V85TT Braking System

The Moto Guzzi V85 TT’s braking setup comprises 320 mm stainless steel Brembo front disc brakes with radially-mounted four-piston calipers and 260 mm single rear disc brakes with two-piston floating calipers. Both front and rear brakes are equipped with a standard ABS, offering a powerful braking function and halting mechanism. Moreover, when riding in the Off-Road mode, riders can switch off the rear ABS for better adaptability, traction, and control. 

4.2 Moto Guzzi V85TT Wheels and Tires

The 2024 V85 TT features a pair of new cross-spoke tubeless 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels. This feature, like in the older V85 TT models, came as a disappointment for many, considering the 21-inch front wheel is more off-road friendly, which obviously this stock wheel is not. Luckily, the tubeless tires and spoke wheel combination support the dual-sport nature of this bike, allowing you to easily transition to roadless paths during your motorcycle touring expeditions. 

4.3 Moto Guzzi V85TT Ergonomics

The handlebars are rotated too far back on this bike, which may be a downside for some people; however, the handlebars can be rotated forward to fix this issue. The saddle position, contour, and shape is designed to provide maximum comfort to ensure the rider does not have to stop due to fatigue or general discomfort. When in the saddle, riders feel inspired to cruise for long hours on this bike. The seat height, at 32.7 inches, is also quite manageable for a wide range of riders, allowing them to flat foot for confidence, stability, and control.

5. Moto Guzzi V85TT Styling

The Moto Guzzi V85 TT has a relaxed retro vibe with minimalistic accessories, electronics, and features. Sleek and sporty, the V85 TT attracts riders through its competent performance and extremely practical look. Unlike other adventure motorcycles, you won’t find many decorative elements on the V85 TT. Its loud and attention-grabbing features include vibrant paint schemes, a dominant engine, a commanding fuel tank, and a simple windshield. In the style profile of the 2024 V85 TT model, we have seen an addition of the five-inch TFT full-color display further enhancing the bike’s aesthetic charm. Overall, the V85 TT is a simple motorcycle with a subtle allure that makes this machine irresistible.

6. Moto Guzzi V85TT Electronics and Accessories

The 2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT boasts an all-new handlebar switchgear and a five-inch TFT display. Furthermore, the cruise control, cornering ABS, and a six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) come as standard features for enhanced safety across diversifying terrains. The 2024 model also features five standard riding modes, including Road, Rain, Off-Road, Sport, and a Rider-Customizable mode, much like the 2021 onward V85 TT models. In the earlier models, all of the controls in the cockpit appeared quite old-school, but the addition of the full-color TFT display brings a splash of futuristic elements to the V85 TT. All of the V85 TT models feature a wide windshield, but unfortunately, it fails to provide adequate protection against wind buffeting. 

7. Moto Guzzi V85TT: A Quick Look at Pros and Cons 

Moto Guzzi V85TT
Pros 👍 Cons 👎
Plenty of low-end to mid-range torque Some riders may find it to be low-powered
Ideal for long-distance travel on asphalt, gravel, and sandy paths Not suitable for extreme trailblazing
Low-maintenance shaft drive Wind buffeting experienced at high speeds
Tubeless tires help reduce punctures during highway travels Really small dashboard in the older models
Spoke wheels support mild off-road riding Not suitable for high-speed rides off-road
Well-damped suspension system Wheel travel seems unsatisfactory in some situations
Comfortable ergonomics Engine vibrations can be felt
Large fuel tank capacity offers increased mileage Clunky gearbox
The bike has a fun and sporty character Dry clutch
Excellent motorcycle for relaxed cruising and long hauls The 19-inch front wheel is not suitable for aggressive off-road rides

7.1 Moto Guzzi V85TT: Worth Buying or Not?

Similar to all other motorcycles available on the market, the Moto Guzzi V85 TT offers multiple reasons to buy and not to buy it. One of the main reasons why many motorcycle enthusiasts prefer Moto Guzzi over other brands is because of the company’s unique direction and pace, a characteristic also reflected in the technology and engineering design of the V85 TT. Other adventure motorcycles have a 21-in front wheel, high-end electronics, inline two-cylinder engine, advanced luggage systems, more wheel travel, chain drive, and a wet clutch; however, the V85 TT uses shaft drive, 19-inch front wheel, transverse V-twin engine, comparatively smaller wheel travel, only necessary electronics, no standard luggage system, a dry clutch, and old-school styling.

Just because of its unconventional appearance and systems, the V85 TT is categorized as an attractive bike. Plus, it performs really well, living up to its all-terrain spirit — excellent slow-speed maneuvers, sporty feel at high speeds, well-balanced chassis, improved electronics, and a comfortable riding stance. Therefore, the bike is worth buying for riders who enjoy long-distance rides with light off-roading, and sports riding, and need a reliable two-wheeler for everyday commutes.

8. Final Thoughts

The V85 TT by Moto Guzzi is a creative approach to motorcycle technology. The bike is a highly capable adventure motorcycle designed to perform without conforming to the norms of mainstream adventure riding. Powered by an air-cooled transverse engine in this age of inline V-Twin engines, the V85 TT holds a special place without much effort. Affordable and practical, this motorcycle, with all its flaws and shortcomings, is a reliable partner on welcoming highways and daunting routes, and you will never find it short in performance. A cult classic, the V85 TT also offers various customization opportunities to riders who want to upgrade the appearance and touring comfort of this motorcycle.

Looking to improve your adventure touring experience on your adventure bike, Viking Bags offers the best quality touring luggage bags, including tank bags, side cases, bottle holsters, tail bags, and backpacks, specially designed for ADV tourers.

Photo Credit: @motoguzzi

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