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ADV NewsSurprise Success: Moto Guzzi V85 TT Sales are on Fire

Surprise Success: Moto Guzzi V85 TT Sales are on Fire

Moto Guzzi’s V85 TT is converting riders and flying off showroom floors.

Published on 08.08.2019

It appears Moto Guzzi’s new V85 TT adventure bike might be the magic bullet the Italian manufacturer needs to regain relevance in the mainstream motorcycle market. According to an article in the LA Times Business section, Moto Guzzi has had to double the workforce in its Mandello del Lario plant to keep up with demand for the well-received model – the first bullseye for the brand in recent history.

As an illustration, the Times quoted Ed Cook of AF1 Racing — one of the U.S.’s top sellers of European bikes — as saying he had more pre-sales of the V85 TT than any model his shop has ever sold. After 8 units quickly flew off the showroom floor in 45 days he ordered an additional 12, saying customers seemed particularly excited by this model’s fresh design.


Even more interestingly, the Times reported that more than 70% of trade-ins on purchases of the V85TT are bikes of other brands. “That was our goal, to take new customers from the other brands,” said production manager, Nello Mariotti.

Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure Motorcycle sales

The storied manufacturer – Europe’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer in continuous production – is no stranger to success, having for decades been Italy’s leading brand, producing bikes like the Guzzino 65, which for 10 years was Europe’s best-selling motorcycle. Guzzi was wildly successful in worldwide racing in the 50’s and 60’s, and as an example of how far-reaching its success, its California model was the bike of choice for the Los Angeles Police Department during much of the 70’s.

As the brand’s founding members had all passed away by the 1960s, remaining family members seemed lacking the vision and financial savvy necessary to ride out the storm of modernization driven by the sudden popularity of Japanese models. The company traded hands multiple times, barely limping along for decades until Piaggio finally breathed a bit of life back into Guzzi after purchasing it from then financially-ailing Aprilia in 2004.

During those many years of stagnation, Guzzi models remained centered around the brand’s unique 90-degree transverse V-twin engine first released in the 60’s. Over the years this distinctive mill has became to Guzzi what the trademark flat twin boxer configuration is to BMW, an instantly recognizable signature. Today, this same quirky, yet thoroughly evolved mill remains the heart and soul of all current Guzzi offerings, including the V85, the first off-road intended offering from Guzzi since the Stelvio, and the only shaft-driven middleweight adventure bike currently on the market.

Moto Guzzi V85 TT classic enduro

Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure Motorcycle sales

The new-for-2019 engine, complimented by a raft of modern, technical attributes certainly surprised our own test rider, Justin Coffey, who wrapped up his review of the bike saying: “Throughout the test ride day I found myself a bit bewildered at how well the V85 TT handled. How stable the chassis felt, how well it stopped, and how smooth the gearbox was. This wasn’t the chugging, clunking, bouncy Italian bike I presumed we would be riding. Instead, I sat atop a modern iteration of a classically themed middle-weight adventure motorcycle, clad in a colorway pulled straight from the company’s long history, with a motor unmistakably Moto Guzzi.”

Ewan McGregor, a longtime fan of the Guzzi brand, is also smitten with the V85 TT and even signed on to be the official ambassador of the model. (Yes, he’s undoubtedly getting some cash for the duty, but he’s also someone with enough social clout in the motorcycle world to demand the pick of the world’s adventure bike litter.)

Ewan McGregor Ambassador for Moto Guzzi V85 TT
Ewan McGregor has signed on to be the official ambassador for the V85 TT.

When speculating about the TT’s strong sales numbers one also has to consider its seductive pricing: just $11,990 for the V85 TT and $12,990 for the V85 TT Adventure, which comes accessorized for off-road riding, including full-sized panniers and a top case.

Whatever the grounds for the V85 TT’s sudden popularity, Moto Guzzi is poised to deliver as much product as its artisan factory can pump out.

And so the exciting and ever-expanding ADV segment continues to grow!

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge

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26 thoughts on “Surprise Success: Moto Guzzi V85 TT Sales are on Fire

  1. So good to hear, looks like a brilliant, simple bike carving a niche of its own … well done Moto Guzzi, hope you go from strength to strength!

  2. Hmm. Ewan as ambassador, and a new Long Way series about to be filmed… Who’s going to be surprised to see motoguzzis for this edition?

  3. Like the Italian leather shoe and the creative design in clothing it’s a fashion statement and a heavy one at that. So beef up that upper body strength if one is thinking of taking this pony over the mountain into the sunset !
    If the mapping is on tap with the throttle going from below to well above sea level then the 850 power band the rider may not have to jab the spurs into the flanks.
    Hopefully, the rear suspension to the swing arm is similar to the V9 which is forged allot beefier than that of the Stelvio which had a few fracture and snap. Having survived first hand experience with one failing at 65mph !
    Like the V7 over time, usually the first year of ownership, you’ll see a few listed in the classifieds and on the dealership used inventory list.
    Anyone, that likes wrenching on there own bike, Guzzi will fit your program, and it would be wise to learn how to set the valves. Not to forget mentioning going through a learning curve of kicking this steed loose off a stoplight with the aid of a dry clutch. Especially, if one has a history of riding a wet clutch system. Initially the response is similar to a weight lifter doing a cling&jerk lift!
    Spending 15k up here in Canuck land on a fashion statement I’d sooner squeeze my knees into the Yamaha XT 700 or the Honda AT. Heck I could be even swayed to spin a few more loonies $$$ out for a KTM 790 and assure I get back home.

      • That would be a tough call having a couple of each! The Kawi Voyager XII usually gets the call to duty for long haul slab trips. The 69 750S gets the Sunday morning coffee run. The 95 Yamaha XTZ 750 is definitely the back country go to. The Guzzi’s enhance my wrenching skills and patients lol.

        • Open your other eye mate. Obviously have not had much to do with Guzzi’s and yet you seem to know a lot more than experienced riders. The reason a lot of people work on their own bikes is that they are one of the few that you can.

          • They’re wide open – what em I looking for or what did I miss over the last 40 years flipping between Guzzi – Norton’s – Kawi – Honda – Yamaha ? Maybe there are more reliable out there – time will tell !

  4. Man i want one so bad. By far the best looking adv on the market, its priced right, and it’s pretty capable. I wouldn’t be suprised if I pulled the trigger on one too! I do like the brand, really unique bikes, great sounding too! Now with tech and reliablity…. BMW better watch out if this thing proves itself as a true adv bike. The Italians are making a comeback!

  5. “Doubling the workforce” sounds so much better than “they had to add 20 workers” because of this bike. I jest of course…I like this bike a lot and am not surprised it is doing well. Though I have a KTM 790 Adventure R on order with the Yamaha 700 Tenere having been 2nd choice, the V85 TT was next in line.

  6. The article doesn’t really say how many more bikes they are selling except the 8 bikes mentioned. The LA Times article also mentions the bike “is no match for muddy Alpine meadows recently exposed by melting snow” and “it doesn’t have the power or the build quality of its BMW, KTM, Triumph or Ducati counterparts” and “their dealer base is pretty weak” and “it’s going to be difficult for them to gain a foothold”.

    • The Times article says the bike’s stock tires are no match for muddy alpine meadows. No surprise there. And true about build and power, which the author explains to the gen public are trade offs for the agreeable pricing. Again, no surprise to our ADV-savvy audience. Your remaining comments are about the company, not the motorcycle. What is a surprise is that we’re all talking about Moto Guzzi for the first time in years, even you!

      • “The Company” is 50% of most motorcycle sale success – warranty – parts – dealer support ! This a weak point with Guzzi outside big city limits in North America. Mexico south virtually non-existent. AF1 Racing organizes their own parts shipment by bringing in their own shipping containers of inventory. Otherwise, Guzzi (Piaggio) contracts out the parts distribution, dealers submit bi-annual stock orders, the contractor then organizes all orders to fill a container before shipping to a distribution centre in NY USA.
        The Guzzi history is similar to the John Deere tractor – faithful. Has completed some amazing hurdles. Yet has had some pitfalls with the advent of the ride by wire era. The MG logo is a survivor and has a dedicated following. Yet being a year short of turning 100 years of building they have remained isolated as to others such as BMW Yamaha Honda etc.
        The 850TT model and market it’s directed at may change the historical facts. The design may just draw in a new generation of Guzzi enthusiasts.

  7. So how soon will BMW counter with a simplified, up-to-date R800? THAT is a bike which will stir the hearts of aging Beemerphiles looking to downsize to a lighter bike.

  8. First, it’s a Crossover Bike. I don’t care how good, or ingrained the manipulative marketing is, no one bike can be labeled an “Adventure Bike” because they all are. That said, I’m glad they’re selling well. I hope to pick up a lightly used one in a few years

  9. Love my Stelvio & have no intention of replacing it with this beautiful bike. That said this is a step up for Guzzi. One would hope that they can get their dealer network to expand a bit & then improve their parts network. If that can be achieved there might be real hope for the company here in the States.

  10. Would be interested to know if they (on fire) are ordering the “Ronald MCDonald” version or the more conservative grey/black ones…? ie is it a hipster (look at me) bike or a conservative choice these buyers are making?


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