The Italian brand Moto Guzzi is a magical name in the world of motorcycling. Their iconic V-Twin engines have adorned machines for one hundred years—Jeremy Webb ventures out on one of the latest models from the company, the V85 TT Travel 850.
Moto Guzzi calls their V85 TT Travel a Travel Enduro and not an Adventure bike, but after riding one for a couple of weeks around the country, I say it allows the rider to get out and adventure. It has an 80 hp V-Twin engine which all motorcycle enthusiasts can instantly recognise. The engine has been inserted into a brand new frame and suspension system, making for a fast, light, and agile bike—ideal for both road and off-road activities.
The V85 TT Travel has a shaft drive system allowing for ultra-smooth gear changes perfect for all riding situations. I found the transmission works seamlessly with the 850 cc engine, and you can power through the box or hold the revs in each gear depending on how you want to ride. It is a real bonus when going downhill on steep descents off-road.
The riding position is ideal, with nice wide handlebars high, giving the rider an upright position allowing good posture. It means longer riding times for those of us not in our prime years. You can also get up on the pegs easily and manoeuvre the bike quickly when navigating green lanes or trails. The rider can flip the machine around with great control and agility.
Moto Guzzi has catered for any size rider to get on the V85 TT Travel without any issues. The saddle is 830 mm from the ground, allowing your feet to touch the ground for excellent safety and control when manoeuvring either when Enduro riding or if you need to move the bike around when in town.
Although the windscreen is small compared to full touring bikes, I was impressed with how much wind and rain it deflected off me. Even at high speeds, the wind did not buffet me, and my riding position remained upright and comfortable. You can purchase a taller screen to meet your height and riding style. The handguards on the handlebars protect your fingers from the cold and lousy weather helping to make the V85 TT Travel ideal in any season.
The old Enduro look is backed up with fork stanchion protection, an exhaust system with the silencer located high up on the bike. The beautiful double front headlight and high front mudguard are also in keeping with Moto Guzzi history.
Along with the above practical parts necessary for the modern Adventure bike, the V85 TT Travel has a 23-litre petrol tank which, combined with the efficient engine, enables over 240 miles of riding. Ample to get you covering long journies at cruising speeds.
Handling is excellent both on and off-road; this stems from the superb chassis on the Guzzi. A high resistance steel tubular frame, complete with beautiful rider footpeg support plates in die-cast aluminium, gives an ideal position for the rider to get their legs working and bum off the saddle when taking on the bumpy surfaces, although this could be the UK roads, to be honest. It has an entirely new lower cradle, reducing weight while increasing engine clearance from the ground, essential for off-road riding.
The rear section maximises load capacity and offers the pillion two wide and practical grab handles. A Topbox can be mounted on the functional luggage rack, while optional panniers can be fastened to the sides.
Three different riding modes are available on the V85 TT Travel, Road, Rain, and Off-road to make riding easier and safer in particular situations. The Modes corresponds to a different engine mapping and a different calibration of the bike’s Traction Control and ABS, as well as a different response from the Ride-by-Wire throttle control:
Road: designed for smooth riding while still retaining an element of fun. A medium level of traction control calibration, ABS active on both channels and a prompt throttle response.
Rain: ideal in situations of reduced grip to ensure maximum safety while riding. A higher level of traction control calibration, ABS active at both wheels with more gentle throttle response.
Off-road: making the most of the chassis and engine during off-road exploits. The lowest level of traction control intervention. ABS is only active at the front wheel, which can be deactivated. More gentle throttle response is assisted by more significant engine braking.
Cruise Control is fitted on the V85 TT Travel to maintain a pre-set speed without acting on the accelerator. On long journies, this is a blessing and simple to operate. Increase or decrease speed with just one button, taking the strain of the right hand.
The TFT display is excellent, with all information a rider needs clearly shown. The colour and background of the characters adapt to different light conditions thanks to a built-in sensor. In addition to the classic speedometer, rev counter, mileage counter and clock, the information displayed include selected gear indices, air temperature, fuel level, and selected Riding Mode.
The rider can set a maximum number of revs for the gear shift light sensor, useful when limiting fuel consumption. a USB port sits alongside the TFT display with the provision for a second port under the seat.
Built-in daytime running lights (DRL) when on, projects the Moto Guzzi Eagle logo onto the road. They work in conjunction with the full-LED headlight assembly, while the taillight uses LED technology to render a 3D characterisation similar to a jet’s afterburners during take-off.
Your smartphone can be connected to the V85 TT Travel via MIA, Moto Guzzi’s multimedia platform. Music can be played; phone calls made or taken when combined with a helmet system and Navigation links with the instrument cluster.
My two weeks with the V85 TT Travel flew by, living up to the adage; Time flies when….,. I certainly had plenty of fun and made the most of the bike, taking it on Green Lanes, some Byways to test its true off-road capabilities and of course, plenty of tarmac riding.
The bike is light, so it can be flung around on the dirt, and combined with the power delivery, you feel in control all the time. The bike responds to your control inputs and movements supremely well. This is mirrored when riding on the road, allowing you to push on at pace and take corners fast with confidence.
Your body never gets stressed while riding as the saddle is lovely and comfortable, as is the riding position with wide bars at the ideal height.
Moto Guzzi has created a machine that looks Retro, but it is thoroughly modern. If you are looking for an adventure in life, you would be wise to start your journey with a Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel.
Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel 850 – Where and How?
Prices start from £12.250. Other 850 models are the V85 TT, V85 TT evocative, and the new V85 TT Centenario. The Centenario is a limited edition model marking one hundred years of Moto Guzzi production. You can find out more about Moto Guzzi and view their current range of motorcycles at https://www.motoguzzi.com.
Thanks to Dearden Motorcycles for loaning the Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel to us for this review features. For more information on Dearden’s, visit https://deardenmotorcycles.co.uk.
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