2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT Ride Review

We try out the other Italian middleweight V-twin adventure tourer, the 2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT…

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

Say Italian bikes nowadays, and everyone thinks of Ducati. Maybe Aprilia, maybe MV Agusta. But it wasn’t always that way: indeed, there was another brand that was just as big, perhaps even more so, right up to the final quarter of the last century.

Moto Guzzi is the name of course: a brand that’s dripping in heritage and history, on the road and in racing. It celebrated its centenary as a bike maker in 2021, it’s got eight Grand Prix world championships, eleven Isle of Man TT wins, and even took a unique V-8 racebike to the 500GP series in the 1950s.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

The firm’s roots were in aircraft engineering – so its factory in Mandello del Lario actually boasted a wind tunnel to develop the aerodynamic performance of its bikes. And Guzzi’s trademark engine layout – a transverse V-twin engine with shaft drive – did well right up until the 1980s, when it lost ground to the much more powerful powertrains from Japan.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

Fast forward to 2024, and Guzzi is now part of the massive Piaggio group, and is carving out a new niche for itself. The brand is well on-trend for the 2020s, with its blend of retro style, heritage and classic engineering, boosted by some advanced tech from the wider Piaggio group – especially Aprilia. And it’s launched a couple of new adventure bikes for 2024, which we’ve been trying out in Spain, near Almeria.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

That’s some of the background to this test – the second of the two new 2024 Moto Guzzis launched in Spain last month at a special riding event. This is actually day two of the event – on day one we were out on the new-for-2024 Stelvio, which is the V85’s bigger, posher, higher-tech sibling.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

But as I swing a leg over the middleweight Guzzi, I’m not at all sad about today’s ride – because I actually have some very fond memories of the old Moto Guzzi V85 TT. I borrowed one for a couple of weeks back in the midst of Covid in 2021, and got on very well indeed with it.

Surrounded by the misery of lockdowns and other restrictions, the little Guzzi was a charming time out from reality, and its simple, fun riding experience was a proper treat.

Sure, it was a bit down on power compared to more flash machinery, and some of its tech setup was a little bit on the quaint side. But it was genuinely fun to ride, looked good in a classy retro way, and the easy handling was largely flawless for the type of bike, and the performance.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

Now, three years later, the V85 has had a comprehensive overhaul for 2024, with a new EU5+ emissions-friendly variable-valve engine redesign, a new three-bike range of V85 models, and a host of new equipment options (see the tech section below for more details).

We’ve got some incredible riding roads, more sunshine than the Sahara, and a full line-up of the new V85 models to sample. I’m on a Travel edition first; I sneaked down early and put my lid on the top-spec luggage-equipped touring version, mostly so I could stuff my spare jacket and rucksack into the panniers.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

This bike is also loaded up with heated seat and grips (not needed at all today), more wind protection and the Bluetooth phone link as standard, which all adds to the long distance experience (though I couldn’t get the Guzzi app you need to connect working on my phone, duh).

That aside, it’s a fairly luxurious captain’s perch, complete with sensible seat height. I’m 5’8” with 30” inside legs, so tending toward the stumpy of stature, but could easily get both feet down on the deck.

A manually-adjustable windscreen has five positions, and is simple and easy enough to use once you adapt, while the handguards and extra air deflectors on the Travel model keep much of the wind blast off me.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

The first impressions of the new V85 are quite a contrast to the Stelvio we rode yesterday. The V85 engine is decidedly low-tech in comparison to the water-cooled four-valve Stelvio lump (it’s fairly low-tech full-stop actually): an air-cooled 90° V-twin with two valves per cylinder, operated by a single camshaft in the crankcases, via pushrods.

It’s festooned in tech though, with advanced ride-by-wire fuel injection, catalysts, oxygen and knock sensors, all aimed at keeping the emissions super-clean. But none of that can cancel out the old-school sounds and feel, and it’s a much noisier, rougher powertrain than you’d expect in 2024.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing of course: if you like your motorbike to rattle and rock a little like, er, a motorbike, then this Guzzi ticks that box for sure.

Pull away, and that feeling continues, though you soon get used to it, and it does smooth out once you’re moving. There’s good low-down urge, and while the gearchange is a bit notchy, trundling through the outskirts of Almeria and heading out to the countryside is a treat.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

That fuel injection is progressive and clean, with a nice throttle response, and the new engine has a lovely power delivery.

The revised lump has more torque than before, over a wider rev range, and while the V85 motor is still a little bit off a modern water-cooled powerplant in the 850-900 class, it’s not a weedy unit. Sure, a Triumph Tiger 900 or BMW F900 GS is much stronger, but that’s a different sector, and the V85 is a different beastie.

Perhaps surprisingly, it’s the handling which impresses me most throughout the day. Our lead rider has got the bit between his teeth in the mountains, and since he’s been riding on this challenging route for a few days already, he’s going pretty quick.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

I’m sticking with him, pushing as hard as I can, and the little Guzzi is working incredibly well. The Dunlop Meridian tyres have plenty of grip, and there’s loads of ground clearance on the adventure chassis of course, so you can throw the V85 right on its ear without any grief.

The suspension is on the soft side, again as you’d expect, but it works well on the road, and once you adapt to the movement on and off the brakes, there are no worries at all.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

Speaking of the brakes, the four-piston Brembo calipers give excellent power and feel, letting you push the front pretty hard heading into a bend, and the ABS didn’t bat the proverbial eyelid at any of the nonsense going on today.

Through one five-mile section of mountain road, the V85 had me giggling in my lid, feeling more like a cheeky supermoto than a soft retro-styled adventure machine. Top marks to the Moto Guzzi chassis engineers and test riders – especially since the V85 shaft-drive is a simple system with no complex parallelogram linkages as you get on BMW’s shaft-drive bikes.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

Of course, for most prospective V85 riders, all this heroic handling hoodoo is as much use as a search for survivors on the Titanic. Very few people will be buying this bike to chase mental factory test riders up a Spanish mountain pass – but it’s nice to know that it’s got the cojones to cope. And it’s also a very solid tourer too.

We spend a bit of time on the Almeria A-7 Autovia motorway, and with the screen up and cruise control engaged, you do feel like you could travel a very long way in some comfort.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

The cruise control switch is a little bit counter-intuitive, but easy once you know how, and the colour TFT dash is a treat (though some of the text readouts are a little bit small). If you manage to get your phone linked up then you’re into proper luxo-adventure touring I’d say.

So, the new V85 range offers a very decent alternative to the mainstream adventure touring machines out there. Is it perfect? Well no: it’s missing a quickshifter, strangely, and the engine is showing the limits of a two-valve air-cooled design in the modern era.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT
2024 Moto Guzzi V85 TT

But it makes up for these quibbles with charming character, retro-styling, high equipment levels and capable chassis performance. If you want the fastest, most high-tech, or the best off-road adventure bike, then you might want to look elsewhere.

But if you fancy something a bit different, with bags of plain old riding fun, then the new V85 range is most definitely worth a test ride we’d say.

The new Moto Guzzi V85 range is out now, priced at £11,200 for the base V85 Strada with cast wheels and minimal kit, £12k for the posher V85 TT model and £13,300 for the luxury-touring V85 TT Travel which I spent most time on. More info: www.motoguzzi.com



The V85 engine is one of the simplest units around: a 90° V-twin air cooled, two-valve heads, with pushrod operated overhead valves. But it’s been updated with variable valve timing for 2024, partly for a little more power and torque, mostly for Euro 5+ emissions regs.

It’s a cunningly simple setup, similar to that on the last Suzuki GSX-R1000: steel ball bearings are moved outwards by centrifugal force, moving up ramps which rotate the drive sprocket on the camshaft.

That advances the timing by 14 degrees as the engine speed rises, altering the timing for both inlet and exhaust valves, since there’s only one camshaft for all four valves.

It’s not continuously variable: there are two set positions for the timing, and a sensor tells the ECU what state the camshaft is in.

The 2024 engine also gets new knock sensors and a Euro5+ exhaust system with an extra Lambda sensor.

The result of all this is an extra 4bhp – up to 80bhp from 76bhp, and 5-10 per cent extra torque between 3,000 and 4,500rpm, with peak torque up one Nm to 83Nm@5,100rpm.


The steel tube main frame is unchanged, but there’s a lighter cast aluminium rear subframe and front fairing mounting, which helps save up to 4kg over the old V85 TT model.


Nothing too saucy, but there is spring preload and rebound damping adjustment at both ends, with 170mm of travel on the 41mm USD fork and single side-mount rear shock. The TT and Travel have a remote preload adjuster wheel for easier rear shock fettling.


Solid kit: Brembo monoblock four-piston brake calipers up front, and new floating 320mm discs that are 0.29kg lighter than before.


The Strada has cast aluminium wheels, the TT and Travel versions have tubeless wire-spoked rims, with Dunlop Trailmax Meridian tyres.


The TT and Travel variants come with an IMU-assisted suite of riding aids, including lean-sensitive traction and ABS, while the IMU is an optional extra on the cheaper Strada model.

The engine power, engine brake, traction and ABS settings are set for the riding modes: Sport, Rain, Road, plus Off-road on the TT and Travel. The Travel has an extra customisable riding mode where all the variables can be tweaked, and that is an option on the other bikes too.


All bikes have a 5” colour TFT dash and new switchgear with cruise control buttons, and there’s an optional Bluetooth link (standard on the Travel) as well as LED lighting and USB sockets.


There are three variants of the new V85: the base Strada, the TT and the Travel. The Strada has cast wheels, lower-spec electronics with no IMU cornering function, and a lower mudguard, but does get premium features like the colour dash and cruise control.

The TT adds the fancier electronics, including cornering ABS and traction control, an extra off-road riding mode, plus handguards, aluminium sump guard and rear rack, and a remote preload adjuster on the rear shock.

Finally, the Travel version gets hard panniers as stock, heated grips and seat, taller windscreen and lower wind deflectors, together with an extra customisable riding mode and the MIA Bluetooth phone link as standard.


All of the extra kit on the Travel and TT version can be bought as accessory parts for the Strada – so you can load up with the luggage, hot grips, sump guard, rear rack, handguards and the IMU-assisted ABS and traction control functions.

There’s also loads of other goodies available: from aluminium panniers and top box or soft luggage to LED auxiliary lights, engine bars and even an Öhlins rear shock upgrade.

2024 Moto Guzzi V85 Specifications

Engine: Transverse air-cooled 90° V-Twin, two valves per cylinder (titanium intake valve), variable valve timing

Displacement: 853cc

Bore and stroke: 84x77mm

Compression ratio: 10.5: 1

Horsepower: 80hp@7,750rpm (claimed)

Torque: 61.2ft lb@5,100 rpm (claimed)

Fuel: Electronic fuel injection; 52mm single throttle body, Ride-by-Wire

Clutch: Dry single disc

Transmission: six-speed gearbox

Frame: Tubular high-strength steel frame

Front suspension: 41mm USD fork, adjustable for preload and rebound damping; 170mm travel

Rear suspension: Cast aluminium swingarm, preload/rebound damping adjustable monoshock, 170mm travel

Front brake: Dual 320 mm stainless steel floating discs, Brembo monoblock four-piston radial-mounted calipers

Rear brake: 260 mm stainless steel disc, floating dual-piston caliper

Wheels/tyres: wire spoked (V85 Strada: cast aluminium)/Dunlop Meridian tubeless, 110/80 19 (F), 150/70 17 (R)

Fuel capacity: 23 litres

Seat height: 830mm

Claimed kerb weight: V85 TT: 230kg, V85 TT Travel: 243kg, V85 Strada: 226kg

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