I can only sympathize for the Moto Guzzi engineer that got the design brief on the new V85 TT adventure-touring model. It probably read like a list of impossibilities, and represented a gauntlet of technical challenges.
An ADV bike is already a tough space to tackle, and right now the middleweight segment is hotter than ever. Even with a blank-sheet design, it is hard to create a motorcycle that can compete in this space, but for Moto Guzzi, creating the V85 TT must have felt like fighting with one arm tied behind its back.
It is one thing to create a motorcycle with 80hp and 500 lbs of wet mass, and then make it capable of handling both road and dirt. Customers in this segment demand a bevy of electronic features as well, so those must be developed as well. And then, make it cheap…because no one wants to hock a $20,000 motorcycle into a forest of trees each weekend.
But for Moto Guzzi, and that intrepid engineer, the task is even more complicated. You are married to the Italian brand’s “transverse” 90° v-twin engine design, which has always been a heavy and bulbous proposition. Oh, and this new 853cc twin-cylinder engine is to be air-cooled…because, Moto Guzzi.
True to the brand’s image too, this new bike will play on vintage themes, all while balancing the modernity that the market demands.
Indeed, this is a design brief filled with unique challenges, and I don’t envy the team that had to meet these lofty goals. The moto-journalist’s burden is to ride the creation though, and as I have often said, we are the spoiled children of the motorcycle industry.
The Moto Guzzi V85 TT is quite easily going to be the best selling model in the company’s lineup for 2019 – that is a low bar to achieve right now – but they are doing it with a bullet. The V85 TT is a stout all-rounder, that punches well into its weight class, for a bargain price. Let me explain.