1984-1987 Moto Guzzi V65TT

The Moto Guzzi V65TT was a light, nimble and reasonably fast dual sport, but wasn't without its issues.

  • 1984-1987 Moto Guzzi V65TT
    Motorcycle Classics archives
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1984-1987 Moto Guzzi V65TT
Years produced:
Claimed power:
48hp @ 7,400rpm
Top speed:
106mph (claimed)
643cc air-cooled OHV, 90-degree V-twin
5-speed, shaft final drive
405lb (curb)/45mpg (approx.)
Price then/now:

Guzzisti everywhere revere Lino Tonti for the light, rigid frame he designed around Giulio Cesare Carcano’s 1967 V-twin engine to create the iconic 1971 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. They’re sometimes less generous in recognizing his other main contribution to Guzziology: The V35, V50 and V65 “small block” engines. Nevertheless, it was the 650cc V65 transverse V-twin engine that powered Guzzi’s first foray into dual-sport motorcycles, the V65TT Tutto Terreno, or all terrain.

The V65TT story really starts when French Guzzi importer SEUDEM converted five V50 Monza street bikes with bigger gas tanks, 21-inch front wheels (retaining the crack-prone cast rear wheel as no suitable spoked wheel was available) and entered them in the 1979 Paris-Dakar race. One even finished, in 48th place. So when Guzzi decided to build a dual-sport bike to compete with BMW’s all-conquering R80G/S, the fragile rear wheel was pretty much the only thing they really had to reinvent.

The company’s notoriously cost-conscious owner, Alejandro de Tomaso, would have required the use of as many stock parts as possible, so the TT inherited the V65 2-valve engine rather than the troublesome 4-valve Lario version. A pair of 30mm Dell’Orto PHB carburetors fed the Heron-head engine, which was slotted into an essentially stock V65 frame (although it was the stronger Lario design using tapered steering head bearings), with a detachable cradle section to facilitate engine removal. The suspension used a Marzocchi 42mm “enduro” front fork and dual rear shocks, and the bike wore wire-spoked wheels with 3 x 21-inch front and 4 x 18-inch rear tires.

The 643cc V65 engine produced 48 horsepower and drove an engine speed clutch, with a 5-speed transmission and shaft final drive delivering power to the rear wheel. The 18-inch swingarm, borrowed from the V65 Custom, was almost 2 inches longer than the standard V65’s. Brakes were Brembo single-disc front and rear.

The result was a light, nimble and reasonably fast dual sport that Which Bike? magazine in 1985 said “handled light and steered very quickly,” while having “an overriding impression of leanness and compactness … that makes BMW’s 80 G/S feel unwieldy by comparison.” The same magazine found that the engine was the TT’s “finest revelation … feels so crisp, free and responsive, you’d think it’d collected at least another four valves.” They put these characteristics down to “the shrunken all-up weight (compared with the V65 Spada) and the improved torque characteristics of the exhaust,” giving it “an urge which feels almost Oriental.” They concluded by comparing the V65TT to BMW’s R80G/S, calling the V65TT “cheaper … and frankly every bit as competent.”

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