Guzzi V85TT is the one and only shaft-driven tour-enduro motorcycle in the below 1000cc category. Designed as an all-road motorcycle suitable for long-range touring with comfort and style. 

Stand Out Features

Despite falling into the middleweight adventure category, Guzzi has plenty of features that are usually seen on top-end bikes. First of all, it has a ride-by-wire throttle, which means you have full-fledged and super-accurate cruise control – an amazing feature for longer rides. Also,  this feature is absent on many more expensive motorcycles, for example, cruise control was absent on the more expensive Honda Africa Twin until 2020.

Guzzi V85TT cruise control

Guzzi V85TT has 3 riding modes which adjust ABS, traction control, and ride-by-wire throttle settings for riding in off-road, rain, and normal conditions. 

In off-road mode, ABS is turned off for the rear wheel. Traction control intervention is greatly reduced to allow more advanced usage of bike chassis potential. Moreover, the throttle is less sensitive to rider input to compensate for accidental hand movements on bumps.

A rain mode is similar to offroad for throttle settings; however, ABS and traction settings are set to the highest to prevent any wheel lock or spin. Finally, standard road mode makes the throttle more precise and twitchy while slightly lowering ABS and traction intervention compared to rain mode. 

Guzzi V85TT Engine

As Guzzi’s name suggests the engine is an air-cooled V-shape 2-cylinder 853cc unit producing 80 horsepower and 80 Nm of torque available at 5000 rpm. With 90% of torque available just at 3750 rpm, this engine is amazing for relaxed touring with enough power for overtakes without down-shifting. Also, low-end torque is a valuable resource when going off-road.

Most V-twin engines are located parallel to the frame and often have problems with rear cylinder cooling. This reduces engine reliability and longevity. Guzzi V85TT does not suffer from such problems since both cylinders stick out on the sides of the bike and get equal airflow and cooling while the bike is moving. 

Moto Guzzi V85TT

Riders often complain about side sticking cylinders making cylinder heads more vulnerable when the bike falls. For most stand-still dropping-the-bike situations, you can get away with installing basic engine guards. Also, the benefits of super easy valve maintenance without the necessity to disassemble half the motorcycle to check valve clearance greatly surpass any other inconvenience, at least for me.

Another benefit of perpendicular engine placement is crankshaft rotation similar to the final shaft drive rotation. It allows for more efficient power-to-wheel transfer since only one differential is required between the shaft and rear wheel.

Guzzi V85 Shaft Drive

Nowadays shaft-driven adventure bikes are rear. Most shaft-driven adventure bikes usually have around 1200cc engines like BMW GS1250, Triumph Tiger 1200, and Yamaha XTC1200 Super Tenere. While these bikes are great, they all are heavy and expensive both to buy and maintain. Many consider these motorcycles as overkill in terms of power and complexity. 

This is where the Guzzi V85TT stands out. It is a much more simple design and user-friendly bike. Taking into account the shaft drive and 23-liter fuel tank its wet weight is just 229 kg putting it right into the middleweight adventure category. Guzzi is the only under 1000cc adventure bike with shaft drive on the market, at least in 2020.

Benefits of shaft drive include little final drive maintenance with constantly similar final drive operation, compared to the chain. When the chain gets dirty you can feel more vibrations and bike behavior changes.  Also, with a shaft drive motorcycle gets less dirty since chain oil does not cover all parts around it including the rear swingarm, rear wheel, and front sprocket area. 

Even though shaft drive has its disadvantages including increased unsprung mass. It is one daily maintenance task less to think about, which is a huge benefit in the long run.

Guzzi V85TT Suspension

The suspension is good enough to put Guzzi into the adventure category with 170 mm of travel both front and rear. The front fork and rear shock are adjustable for preload and rebound damping. V85TT is equipped with spoked wheels – 19-inch front and 17 rear. Good for both carving canyons and blasting through poor-quality gravel roads.

Final Thoughts

Guzzi V85TT

Moto Guzzi got it right. V85TT is a beautifully balanced motorcycle that provides a joyful riding experience. Guzzi did not cut corners with component quality. The bike has enough modern technology where it is appropriate with ride-by-wire throttle, cruise control, ABS, traction control, and decent chassis. While still remaining a simple adventure motorcycle without unnecessary complications in the engine construction. Other modern motorcycle manufacturers should learn from Guzzi and hire more motorcycle engineers instead of marketing personnel.

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