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Surprise Success: Moto Guzzi V85 TT Sales are on Fire

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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 in Austin, Texas, as saying he had more pre-sales of the V85 TT than any model his shop — one of the nation’s top sellers of European bikes — 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.


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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!

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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.

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