For anyone less than a die-hard fan, MV Agustas can be confusing. They’ve been around seemingly unchanged for years and there are a bewildering amount of different F4s and Brutale models to choose from.
These gorgeous Italian-built bikes are full of contradictions as well. Once upon a time they were the leaders on the track in the hands of legends like Phil Read and Giacomo Agostini. Now they’re rarely to be seen.
And despite all the chest-puffing speed and power claims from the factory MV never quite manages to beat its European and Japanese rivals in magazine group tests.
Although, today, not all MVs are wallet-crushingly expensive, top of the range models have always been priced for the well-heeled, so never featured on the average biker’s radar.
Now that’s all changed and you can now pick up an early F4 750 superbike or Brutale super naked for as little five grand. That’s genuine ‘exotica’ (a term originally coined for the MV) for Suzuki Bandit money.
The kind of MVs we’re talking about here are the first-generation F4 750, F4 1000 and Brutale – anything before the new-generation Brutale which came out in 2009 and F4 in 2010.
These older bikes are raw, single-minded and not for the faint-hearted, unlike the newer versions, which are, relative-speaking, softer and more user-friendly.
So, a used MV is now affordable, but is it advisable? Will it spark the beginning of a passionate love affair or turn out a nightmare? Should you avoid a bargain MV in the same way as a cheap Lamborghini or Ferrari?
“A lot of people liken an MV to a Ferrari because it’s exotic, Italian and expensive to run, but it’s not true”, says Martin Westwood, owner of MV dealer Forza Italia at Silverstone.
“They also lump MVs in with old Ducatis and worry about the cam belts and dry clutches that can make Ducatis expensive to look after. The MV has a conventional engine - it’s no different to a Honda in the way it’s put together. It’s as well-built as anything else out there, really, so there are very few mechanical problems.
“There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with any of the MV range. Like anything it will always be down to whether or not the bike’s been looked after and what its history is. You’ve just got to look at everything from the mechanicals to electrics to the chassis - it’s all the usual stuff you’re looking at on used bikes, really.”
So the advice is buying a used MV is just like any other mainstream motorcycle – check it’s been well-maintained and looked after and you can’t go wrong.
Here's four models of MV Agusta which can now be had for as little as £5000.
MV Agusta F4 750S, 1999-2004
Over 12-years-old but still stunning in the flesh. Performance isn’t electrifying – there’s little power down low and they’re revvy, but they handle superbly too.
Price range: £5000-£6000
MV Agusta Brutale 750S, 2003-2006
Handled like a racer, howled like a wounded lion and made pulling wheelies child’s play. It’s cramped and uncompromising, but massive fun in small doses. It made way for the bigger 910 version in 2005.
Price range: £5000-£6000
MV Agusta F4 1000, 2004-2006
The F4 got the power and torque we were all pining for when MV slotted a 1000 engine into that sexy chassis. For once it had the power and speed of its Japanese superbike rivals, but it was too fussy to really challenge them.
Price range: £5000-£8500
MV Agusta F4 R 312, 2007-2009
The F4 1000’s final flourish before the new- generation F4 hit showrooms in 2010. MV Agusta claimed a whopping 312km/h top speed (193mph), hence its ‘312’ tag.
Price range: £7000-£10,000