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Moto Guzzi Builds A BMW GS 30 Years Too Late (And Just On Time)

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At EICMA 2017, Moto Guzzi took the wraps off an ADV that goes a different direction than the current crop of techno-laden ADVs, such as the 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 and 800, and 2018 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sport. If anyone can master a retro air-cooled motorcycle, it’s Moto Guzzi. Perhaps that’s because the Mandello factory never abandoned old-school technology in the first place. Staying true to tradition, Moto Guzzi introduces the V85, an all-new adventure-ready platform more reminiscent of the original BMW R80G/S than any of BMW’s nods to its own past.

Since it’s still a concept, details are scant (we’re not even sure when it will reach production), but we like what we see. Up front are LED lights, a digital dash, inverted Öhlins fork, and Brembo radial brakes. Past that things get a little less cutting edge, but all the more reason for Guzzi faithful to rejoice. The engine appears to be the 80-hp, 850cc, air-/oil-cooled, 90-degree transverse twin from the V9 series. It’s utilized as a stressed member in the steel tube frame. Check out that badass-looking steel trellis subframe.

Sure, cynics can criticize Guzzi for jumping on the ADV bandwagon, but frankly, the V85 looks so cool we could care less. If the production model looks this good, it will tap into ADV origins like no other retro bike out there. And it’s a Guzzi, so it’ll have the agricultural charm to go with its throwback ethos.

If/when it goes to production, we’re curious to see if its dual-purpose prowess will keep pace with its dedicated ADV looks.

What do you think? Is the V85 merely a styling exercise meant to exploit a trendy category? Or does it offer an alternative expression of a kind of bike that’s typically saddled with tons of tech?