Review: Moto Guzzi V85 TT

The midweight adventure bike segment is getting pretty crowded lately. We already double-tested the new BMW F 850 GS and the Triumph Tiger 800 last year, and this year the KTM 790 Adventure and the Yamaha Ténéré 700 are causing quite some buzz. You’d almost overlook an Italian bike that mingled in quietly: the Moto Guzzi V85 TT. A brand-new model with a brand-new engine.

I wouldn’t say the Guzzi is a direct competitor of the aforementioned four. For that, it lacks the off-road capabilities. Just look at its 19″ front wheel and the 170 mm suspension travel. The other four have a 21″ in the front and at least 30 mm more travel.

Nor does the V85 TT compete with the less off-road oriented Kawasaki Versys 650, Honda NC750X or Suzuki V-Strom 650. No, the Guzzi has something that these bikes don’t have, and that’s a good portion of emotion and a distinct look which also characterize the BMW R nineT Urban G/S and the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled. These aren’t typical adventure bikes, but motorcycles that combine the sturdy looks of an adventure bike with a classic design and a distinctive engine.

Off to the Pyrenees!

I took the Moto Guzzi V85 TT for a trip to the Pyrenees (still working on the report). On that 4,464 km trip it regularly Continue reading

Review: Moto Guzzi V7 III Special

Moto Guzzi isn’t really the most top-of-mind motorcycle brand. Nonetheless, the Italian brand covers quite a few pages in the history books. It’s the European motorcycle manufacturer with the longest continuous production, it has a rich racing past and it pioneered in many areas. Think of the integral brake system, the centerstand and the eight-cylinder engine.

Last year, the Moto Guzzi V7 celebrated its fiftieth birthday and got an update. The Roman three in its name indicates it’s the third update of the V7 generation that was introduced in 2012. The V7 III comes in a handful of variations. The Rough for example has scrambler accents, while the Racer has the sportiest look.

Garage Chris Smeyers lent me a demo V7 III Special for a week. In their showroom I also spotted a limited edition V7 III Anniversario with a beautiful chrome fuel tank, of which 750 are produced for the occasion of that fifty-year anniversary.

The Special has the most vintage-inspired style of the V7 range. The orange and gray lines on the fuel tank and flank panels nod to its ancestors, the Blu Zaffiro paint has a wonderful retro look, and the well-considered harmony between chrome and matte black powder coated parts proves that the North Italian designers don’t lack taste. The slightly upward bended double exhaust gives a sporty touch. And there’s also the nicely ribbed saddle, the passenger handgrip that twists beautifully around the back of the saddle and the (well, that’s been a while) unvarnished spoke wheels. Base price of the Special: $ 8,990 (USA) or 8.540 euro (Italy).

The V7 isn’t very generous on technology. ABS and (adjustable and disengageable) traction control are standard, and Continue reading