Moto Guzzi V85 TT
Price: Rs 12.63 lakh (ex-showroom)
Configuration: Air-cooled 90° transverse V-twin Valve-train: OHV pushrod, two valves per cylinder Displacement: 853 cc
Bore x Stroke: 84 x 77 mm
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Fuelling: Electronic fuel-injection, 52-mm throttle body Maximum Power: 80 hp @ 7,750 rpm
Maximum Torque: 80 Nm @ 5,000 rpm
Clutch: Dry single-disc
Transmission: Six-speed, shaft final drive
Type: Steel trellis frame
Front Suspension: 41-mm telescopic, 170-mm wheel travel, adjustments for preload and rebound damping
Rear Suspension: Single shock, 170-mm wheel travel, adjustments for preload and rebound damping
Front Brake: Twin 320-mm discs, twin four-piston Brembo radial calipers
Also helping on longer trips was its ergonomic blend of roomy, slightly leant-forward riding position and usefully efficient wind protection. Being very tall I hadn’t expected too much of the screen, which isn’t heightadjustable but can be pivoted on its mount. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that in its most upright position it kept the breeze off my chest while generating minimal turbulence, something few bikes manage.
The hand-guards’ protection was useful, too, although they could be larger and I’d regard the accessory heated grips as essential. I had no complaints about the broad seat, which I found comfortable although its pronounced pillion step limits the rider’s ability to move around. With the TT returning close to 17 km/litre, its 23-litre fuel tank gave a realistic range of well over 300km, if not quite the 400 that Guzzi claim.
Roadgoing handling was very good, blending respectably light steering with stability, despite the big front wheel and generous suspension travel. The TT pitched into turns in response to light pressure on the wide bars and had sufficient damping to keep its cool even when cranking through bumpy bends at a healthy pace. The Metzelers gripped impressively and the foot-rests occasionally scraped, though not hard enough to cause any problems.
Ride quality was usually as good as you’d expect with all that suspension travel. On a few occasions big bumps kicked through the seat with spine-jarring force, but the KYB units generally did a sound job and the standard settings were a reasonable compromise. The forks even coped well when I was making use of Brembo’s front brake blend of 320-mm discs and four-piston radial calipers, which gave plenty of stopping power if not the two-finger ferocity or cornering ABS of some rival systems.
My off-road excursions were limited to a few brief dirtroad diversions, where the Metzelers coped fine without doing anything to suggest they were designed for the task. At least, there was that sturdy bash-plate to protect from stones or jumps. For serious off-road use you’d ideally fit Karoos or even knobblier rubber.
It’s hard to imagine very many owners leaving tarmac for long, although the TT looks as though it would be sufficiently robust to take off around the world, especially if kitted out from an accessory list that includes crash-bars and aluminium panniers as well as smartphone integration. That’s a suitably varied selection of extras from a bike that blends old and new in engaging fashion.
As for the secret of the V85 TT’s success, when you add up all the things it has going for it, the Guzzi’s popularity shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s not brilliant at anything but scores a solid seven or eight out of 10 at just about everything: it’s respectably quick, sweet-handling, comfortable and versatile, as well as reasonably priced.
Equally importantly, it’s also good-looking, distinctive, and bursting with slightly laid-back charm — a bike that seems to have a smile on its face and the ability to put one on its rider’s, too. Last year’s pre-launch hype was justified. The V85 TT is far from the most spectacular motorbike to come out of Italy recently. But in this increasingly crazy world it is, in many ways, the one that makes most sense.