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


Photo special: Bikes at the C-mine

Bikes at the C-mine is a new motorcycle event which takes place three times this summer at the photogenic C-mine in Genk (Belgium). The concept is simple: a laid-back get-together of motorcycle riders and enthusiasts. You’ll mainly see classic bikes and customs, and if you’re thirsty or hungry, you’ll be taken care of.

Photographer Michele Micoli took his camera to last Wednesday’s event (which was the 2nd edition). This is what he saw:

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Review: Harley-Davidson Iron 1200

It’s hard to ignore the fact that in recent years Harley-Davidson has been broadening its range to seduce a wider audience. The most talked about models that Harley will soon launch are the electric LiveWire (already in September of this year!) and an adventure bike that will see daylight only next year but that’s already causing quite some stir. It’s safe to say both bikes belong in the “pretty particular” category.

Luckily, Harley doesn’t forget the beginner bikers. Proof of this is the 750 engine that was introduced in 2015, first in the Street 750 and later in the Street Rod.

Still, the lightest Harley isn’t always a novice’s first choice, which is why the Sportster range was expanded this year with the Iron 1200. Indeed, a big 1202 cc engine, but in the slender body of the Iron 883. Yet its price is just slightly higher than the 883’s: the Iron 1200 starts at £ 9,395 while you ride a new Iron 883 from £ 9,045.

So isn’t that bigger twin cylinder engine too much for a beginner? Well, I found the Iron 883 to have a nice engine but it lacked some excitement. The Iron 1200 wants to remedy that. The newcomer delivers 96 Nm and 67 hp while the 883 does 70 Nm and 52 hp. But other than a clear difference between the engines Continue reading

Tournée Pyrénée: ready, set …

Finally! Tomorrow morning we’ll be heading for the Pyrenees. After the first draft, we’ve updated our routes, spending a bit more time on Spanish ground. I won’t be riding my own bike but a Moto Guzzi V85 TT. If you’d like to hop on virtually, I’ll try to post something every now and then on Instagram and/or Facebook.

Click here for a bigger version of the map.

Gear-update 2019

Alpinestars Toucan boots
In February 2017 I bought a pair of Alpinestars Toucan boots and there hasn’t been anything to complain about. After two years they’re still perfectly waterproof, they only show some slight traces of use despite using them very often, and there’s no Sidi squeak. Recently however, I noticed cracks in both of the boot’s shafts. I asked Rad, the shop where I bought them, if this was normal, knowing the boots just passed their 2-year warranty period. Rad contacted Alpinestars, who took their time to answer (three weeks!) but luckily had great news. They said they believed this was subject to wear, but exceptionally they wanted to take the boots back and exchange them for a new pair. Using the new pair for a few weeks now. Me happy!

Klim Badlands motorcycle pants
Also for more than two years in use (and still to my great satisfaction): my Klim Badlands motorcycle suit. One shortcoming: the zipper of the pants began to close worse and worse until it finally gave up. A broken tooth. Time to find out if Klim’s lifetime warranty – which doesn’t cover regular wear and tear – is worth something. I contacted Klim and got a reply within a few hours: send your pants in, we’ll replace the zipper. Meanwhile the pants with the new, perfectly fixed zipper already found their way back to me. Me happy!

Doubletake mirrors
Allroadmoto gave me a pair Continue reading

Photo special: Matchlight Motorcycle Show 2019

Yesterday the second edition of the Matchlight Motorcycle Show took place in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. As the organizers describe it: “a carefully curated collection or hand-picked vintage and custom motorcycles by some of Europe’s best builders”. A few pics I took:

Very impressive, supercharged 1975 Ironhead by Kruyswater Motorfietsen:

Descendant Of A Weapon by Simon’s Custom:

1970 Shovelhead by Pancake Customs:

Piss Yellow Panhead by James Bull:

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Improving my off-road skills with BMW and Grondpadman

Adventure bikes are everywhere, however only a few go off-road. The manufacturers for their part, would of course like to see more adventure bike riders exploring the off-road capabilities of their motorcycle (“unbelievable what my bike can do!”). So more and more manufacturers are starting collaborations with local off-road instructors.

Since this year BMW has two off-road training partners in Belgium: Grondpadman and Backtrail. When BMW invited me to an introductory day to discover their off-road training facilities and the off-road qualities of their motorbikes, I immediately said yes.

Because riding off-road with a big GS isn’t something I’m allowed to do every day. I decided to go to the event at Grondpadman, since I already knew Backtrail (and approved their course, after having followed an advanced training in the Ardennes last year). I’m the guy wearing the green jacket and white helmet by the way.

The Grondpadman team consists of Piet Lievens (who’s authorised to put a BMW Certified Offroad Instructor badge on his jacket for quite some years now), instructor Bart and sidekick Annelise. On their training grounds, Enduropark Mandes in Ingelmunster (Belgium), they offer a basic and an advanced off-road training and training for women only. You can participate with your own GS, but you can also rent one (from the 310 to the 1250). You’re not allowed to ride Continue reading