OKAY, first things first – TT is nothing to do with knee-down hero worship on the Isle of Man – sorry. It stands tor tutto terreno, or all-terrain to you and me.
The V85 TT is a strange bike, in that it sits in a class of one: it’s a retro-styled tourer, adventure bike, commuter and B-road scratcher, all rolled into one. When you think of comfortable, long-legged, mid-weight touring bikes, the Multistrada 950S and Tiger 800 automatically spring to mind. But until now there wasn’t really anything for those of the retro-persuasion.
Without going into too much of the tech-detail (I’ll put that in the full review), the V85 TT is a brilliantly executed exercise in just having the right amount of everything. The engine is lively and exciting, but not intimidating. The suspension is budget but perfectly tuned for the size and weight of the machine and it’ll rooster-tail on an off-road trail with the best of ‘em. The brakes are by Brembo, and while the four-pot calipers are far from the top of the range, the bike doesn’t need anything flashier. It all just works, perfectly.
The biggest surprise for me today was how well the bike handles on the open road – with it’s lanky(ish) legs and adventure styling I fully expected it to turn into a Blancmange at the first sight of a fast left-hander, but it seems to get better the faster you go. There’s a tad of dive from the front on the brakes, pre-load and rebound settings can be tweaked if it’s too much, but there is no bouncing or lunging about mid-corner. It’s all very well-mannered and easy going.
To sum up this bike, I think I’d have to say it’s surprising, massively entertaining, but above all surprising - in every way. It’s quicker than it should be, as comfy as an armchair, looks a million dollars and with 80hp and an 830mm seat, it won’t scare away newer riders either.
What’s not to love!