If you’re jumping on to the MV Agusta from a Japanese sportsbike you’ll get a shock to the system. The F4 is cramped, tall and has super stiff suspension, so it takes some getting used to, compared to a soft, plush Japanese bike. As the miles or laps pass by, it’s something you get used to and at flat out speeds the extreme riding position does make sense. Ride at normal speeds, or any distance, and the MV will punish your body, especially wrists and knees, if you’re tall. On a smooth surface the MV flies, but on the bumps it struggles slightly. It’s not necessarily down to hard suspension, which can be adjusted to suit conditions, it’s more like the chassis is super-stiff and unforgiving until you push hard. The F4’s forte is high speed three-figure speed sweepers, rather than tight twisty B-roads.
Enlarged for 2008, the MV Agusta’s 1078cc radial valve four-cylinder engine is a rabid powerhouse of a thing. Its basic architecture was designed by Ferrari back in the late 90s (hence the ‘F’ in F4) when it started life as a 750. Now it comes with monstrous power and torque splilling from every bit of the rev range. The motor has a very hard edge and transmits lots of its vibes to the rider. The throttle response at low rpm is very snatchy, which makes tackling slow corners and town riding tricky. That’s why we’ve only given it a four out of five. Although the new slipper clutch makes entering corners much smoother, this still is no super-smooth Honda FireBlade. But it has a howling engine note to die for and 190 thoroughbred horses to play with, if you’re brave enough.
The MV Agusta is a class act and made to the highest standard, but reliability can be hit and miss. Over the past few years we’ve had F4 test bikes come with niggling problems from minor electrical problems, to full-on engine and gearbox faults. Now that Harley Davidson owns MV Agusta, things like this will hopefully change in the future.
You can a lot of power, handling and beauty for your money, but things have moved on a lot in the world of superbikes lately, making the MV seem like less value for money than it once was. For ten grand you can have a Yamaha R1 with a MotoGP derived engine, a Ducati 1198S with traction control for under £15,000 or even the beautiful new Aprilia RSV4, which should be cheaper than the MV when prices are announced. Find an MV Agusta F4 1078RR 312 for sale.
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For your money you get one of the most beautifully designed motorcycles ever built, right up there with the Ducati 916. It’s no coincidence that both machines were designed by the same person: Massimo Tamburini. Build quality is exquisite and you get a slipper clutch, Brembo Monobloc calipers, 50mm Marzocchi fully adjustable forks and a Sachs rear shock as standard. Now, though, compared to the latest competition from Ducati, Aprilia and the Japanese, the MV doesn’t come with the latest bells and whistles.