MOTO Guzzi has thrown out a bit of a tease with an 850cc concept retro-off-roader.

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When we saw the official Guzzi press release a few weeks ago (that’s where we got the nice photos, above and further down), we assumed it was a ridgy-didge new model about to hit the streets (or the gravel or whatever).

But when we approached Guzzi’s Aussie importer to see if we could join the queue for a test ride, we were told it was “just a concept” — with the tantalising addition of “… but we hope it goes to production and makes its way to Australia.”

The concept bike broke cover at the recent Milan motorcycle show, EICMA, and Moto Guzzi’s public statements seem to suggest a production version is likely, some time between now and the company’s 100th birthday in 2021.

The bike in Milan wore Ohlins suspension front and rear, with Guzzi suggesting “very generous wheel travel for optimal off-road use”.

Of course, Moto Guzzi did give us the Stelvio a few years ago which was a thoroughly modern high-tech adventure bike, and there was also the 650 Baja and 1000cc Quota back in the 1980s.

But we really liked these early (like, very early) Guzzi off-road bikes we tracked down on the web:

This one is a GT20 (we think), which was the bike Moto Guzzi used for its first tilt at the International Six Day Trial in 1939. They won four gold medals, which wasn’t a bad first-up effort.

And this one is the Lodola, which ran from the mid 1950s to the mid-1960s, in 175 and 250cc variants. Pretty cool, hey?

Meanwhile, here are some pics of the V85 …


CAPTION: Moto Guzzi says the V85 engine is good for 60kW, which is about 80hp in the old money. Seems a bit odd to be quoting horsepower figures for a bike you can’t buy, we reckon. Presumably the engine, if not this bike, is on its way.
CAPTION: Exhaust slings under the engine. That wouldn’t be our routing choice for a bike with any off-the-beaten-track aspirations, but it does look nice. Protection looks serious enough, at the front anyways.
CAPTION: Ohlins forks, twin Brembo brakes, Pirelli tyres. We think she won’t be cheap, if she makes it to production with all the concept kit.
CAPTION: Sub-frame looks ready to take a decent load.

CAPTION: Front-end styling seems to have evolved from BMW’s duck-face adventure school.
CAPTION: Right-hand side boasts a shock absorber.
CAPTION: Left-hand side gets an exhaust instead.


And in case you’re really interested, here’s Moto Guzzi’s media release:


Moto Guzzi Announces the introduction of the all new V85

Moto Guzzi looks to the future while paying homage to its rich tradition of adventure. The new V85 is dedicated to motorcyclists that want the versatility to go anywhere in style. Furthermore, this new V-twin producing 60kW is the technical platform that Moto Guzzi will use to build a new Family of motorcycles.

 Moto Guzzi has been producing authentically Italian motorcycles since 1921. Nearly a hundred years of tradition and passion; almost a century of magnificent motorcycles all built in Mandello del Lario, combining the best technologies and the most valuable elements of Italian manufacturing and style. The next goal for the marque is to celebrate its 2021 centenary with an ever-expanding range of motorcycles.

The V85 is a step to the future with features that place it between the classic V7 and V9 family and the 1400 large cruisers, covering the gap left by Stelvio. It is a motorcycle that has travel in its blood and the unmistakable spirit of Moto Guzzi. The V85 comes from the best tradition of Moto Guzzi, built out of authenticity, which is the guiding principle of the factory in Mandello. The engine boasts a significant increase in power and guarantees rideability and fun. It is dedicated to travelling in its purest form, recalling the epic rally raids of the 1980s, a point of reference from which it inherits style, charm and thus emotion, but which has been designed to take on both everyday routes and long-distance routes, using the most cutting edge technology available.

Life is a journey and the V85 offers an adventure every day.

 Moto Guzzi boasts a solid off-road tradition: the first proof of this arrived at the Six Day Reliability Trial in 1939, which took place in Austria, where Moto Guzzi participated with the GT 20, winning four gold medals. The true season of reliability continued in 1957, with the Lodola Regolarità, and then with the Stornello Regolarità in 1962. With this tradition, Moto Guzzi took on the Paris-Dakar in 1985 with the V65 Baja and the following year with the V75 Baja, strictly based on the standard models, appreciated for their lightness and the characteristics of their engine, which was robust and reliable.

The V85 is dedicated to those who, while never ceasing to dream of Dakar, yearn for a bike that revives the spirit of adventure on their daily journeys. The Moto Guzzi prefigures a modern motorcycle, fully equipped and with a strong character, but also a pure and essential motorcycle with its shapes that originate directly from Moto Guzzi’s own history.

The V85 is the first Classic Enduro

 The design is the meeting point between technology and functionality with a classic Moto Guzzi style. This timeless design defines the Classic Enduro genre and remains accessible for riders of all sizes and experience. No compromises have been made to the detriment of comfort and usability, resulting in a comfortable bike for two, with bags installed on the chassis frame. The fuel tank design harks back to the tradition of the Moto Guzzi models set up for the African rally raids. In line with the Guzzi story, there is also the high front mudguard and the beautiful double front headlight, stylistic and functional solutions already present on the NTX 650 from 1996 and the Quota 1000 from 1989. Modern technology elements – such as the fully digital instrumentation and the front LED DRL light series on the front headlight – combine classic styling with the off-road world.

Character, lightness and ease of use

 The frame is completely new; in pursuit of lightness, rationality and accessibility, it is made of steel tubes and exploits the engine mounting points to create a rigid structure which delivers precision on the road as well as robustness and the right feel for off-road riding. The beautiful asymmetric aluminium swingarm has a curved shape on the left side, useful for designing a highly linear exhaust pipe pattern so as to minimise the lateral dimensions. The right arm on the swingarm houses the new shaft drive transmission. The mono shock absorber directly connects the chassis to the right arm of the swingarm which facilitates access to the hydraulic and spring preload adjustments, thus allowing free space for the exhaust system layout. The suspension systems offer a very generous wheel travel for optimal off-road use, thanks to a substantial engine floor clearance, as well as comfort on the most commonly-used roads.

A new engine, a classic of the future

 The V85 construction design is a two-cylinder 90° transverse air-cooled 850cc which, thanks to its complete redesign, has 60kW (80 HP) of maximum power. It is an engine that, fully in line with Moto Guzzi philosophy, announces itself as a classic for the future, providing rewarding performance on every kind of route, as well as guaranteeing great character and the usual spectacular force at lower running speeds.

The technical platform of the V85, including its mechanics – as always leveraged inside the body of the vehicle, with all its beauty being deliberately left in sight – is the technical basis for the development of a series of new motorcycles. It will be a family of medium-sized twin cylinder bikes, for a range of different intended uses, combined with strong character, generous performance and a style which is typically Moto Guzzi.

Also see:

Moto Guzzi’s V8 racer

CAPTION: There was a time when the world of grand prix racing was dominated by Moto Guzzi. This extraordinary beast — a water-cooled 500cc V8 weighing just 148kg and with a top speed of 275kmh — was the technological pinnacle of that chapter in Guzzi’s history. When not being towed to the pits, it amazed everyone who saw it, and terrified anyone who rode it. Read more about it here.
Peter Terlick