I’ve had my bike since February 1’st, but it hasn’t been started since it left Italy since I’ve been waiting for good weather and no salt on the roads. Today is what I’ve been waiting for.
Decided to start the bike before I got dressed for riding. Didn’t use the choke and didn’t need to charge the battery. It started immediately. Impressive considering the bike was crated around September. So it’s been 6 months since the bike was last run in Italy. I wanted to let it run until the fans kicked in to make sure they worked, but after about three minutes (145 F) it started to die. I twisted the throttle and just before the engine completely died I thought it must be running out of gas so I shut it off.
I decided to check the oil even though before running it the level was between min and max. I look at the sight glass and NO OIL :jsm: Now panic sets in. Have I seized my engine … is it dry (the oil before running it, had just settled from somewhere) … how am I going to tell my wife I killed my new bike and hadn’t even ridden it yet :rant: OK, relax, go eat breakfast and come back in a few minutes.
When I come back it occurs to me to take the bike off the front and rear stands and tip it to see if oil shows up in the sight glass. IT DOES … I am saved Damn that was close. I am such a moron! I check the radiator fluid and it is perfect. The level is just where the manual specifies. I had removed some fluid before starting it since it was way overfilled.
Go to gas station get gas … come home and fill tank (I measured 4 gallons 5 pints = 4.6 gallons) and take off a couple of fairing pieces so I can add oil. Top off the oil. Now I can run the bike and watch the fans come on. By the way, I checked the fan wires that some guy posted the other day saying his melted. I immediately see what happened to him. His fan wire is supposed to be between the metal housing of the fan and the radiator. His was routed incorrectly. That would be an easy mistake if you took off your fan and didn’t pay attention to exactly how the wires were originally routed.
Start the bike again (starts right up confirming bike didn’t seize!). I let it run till the fans come on. Both fans kick in at exactly 215 F. As they run, the temperature decreases to 209 F and seems to stabilize. I shut down the motor and look down. Damn, there is coolant leaking all over the floor. At least I’ve read this is common, so I don’t sweat it and just clean it up.
The bike has exactly 3 miles (5km) on the odometer. I guess they ran it on a rear wheel dyno. Hmm … you can’t break in an engine that fast, so they must just run it to make sure no obvious problems with the bike before crating it up.
Get dressed and I am finally ready to go. Start the bike and roll to the bottom of the driveway. Traffic clear and I take off. Going up the hill I shift and think wow that is a smooth transmission. Make a left onto a straight road and as I am ridding I am thinking this is the most aggressive ergonomics I’ve ever experience. Am I going to be able to ride this thing? I accelerate through three gears and I just can’t believe how smooth and precise the transmission is. Not only that, but the engine feels silky smooth. The impression is of fine engineering.
I turn on to a much faster road and get up to 45 mph and rock the bike from side to side. It feels slightly sluggish compared to the ZX10. Now I get to some twisty sections of road and at speed I crank it over through left right turns … Wow, it’s hard to describe, but the bike gives this incredible feeling of front end security. I’ve heard that some bikes give good feedback from the front end, but to be honest, I can’t really say I can tell the difference between the ZX10 and my 03 GSXR1000 or any of my earlier bikes. They all seem to be fairly similar. But with this bike, now I understand what the reviewers were experiencing. This bike gives an immense feeling of solidity, accuracy, precision … just amazing how nice it feels. Very impressed. The bike is forgiven for leaking fluid on my garage floor.
I end up doing about 40 miles and go through some seriously nice twisty roads and the bike just confirms earlier impressions of high quality engineering. I get to my friends place (he riders a ZX10 also), and as he walks over to the bike he says, hey what’s coming out of your bike. I look over and see more blue coolant. Damn. Welcome to the world of Italian bikes.
After a while I leave and head home. The bike tends to run around 195 F (air temp is 75F). But if I accelerate up to 80mph, the temp drops to 181 F. Back on the twisties I am in love with the handling of the bike and the turbine smooth engine, and that incredible transmission. I’ve ridden a lot of bikes. Each bike week in Daytona I test ride 10 different bikes at least (so that’s 30 bikes in three years). And over the last 15 years of owning bikes, this MV has the single best transmission I’ve experience … ever. No fluffy hype because it’s my bike … the transmission is other worldly precise and smooth. The whole bike exudes quality … fine engineering.
At 35 mph the ergonomics are ridiculous … brutally uncomfortable. By 60 mph its turns into a decent, but aggressive riding experience. But at 80 mph everything comes into focus. Boy does this feel nice. Just perfect … handle bars, seat, crank it over and I am in heaven. The whole package makes sense, but only when riding at a decent pace.
In traffic it cooks me. I’ve never had a bike where the seat got warm. This bike’s seat gets so hot I wonder if it’s about to start burning me! Once I am out of traffic, the seat cools off and everything is good again.
I stop a few times on the way home to stare at the bike and hope no one notices what I am doing. I guess it’s kind of like having a kid, when its yours you love it. When I get home my ass is sore from the edges of the seat! That’s after only 80 miles.
I put the bike on stands at home and let it run up to 215 F degrees and this time there is no coolant fluid overflow. After some experimenting and paying attention to what my bike is doing, here is how my bike behaves with respect to fluid. With the fluid level at the min mark, the bike holds the temperature at around 210 F (fans running) without any fluid leaks (overflow). I realize that the only time my bike leaks fluid is when it’s on the side stand. This is because the fluid goes up into the overflow area due to leaning over. So if I wait a minute before putting my bike on the side stand, I don’t have any problems.
Conclusion from first day. Love this bike. It is hard to describe the feeling of security and precision if feeds to me through the clip-ons. I don’t know if it’s due to the 50mm Marzocchi’s or quality Crome Moly frame or what … all I know is its amazing to ride. It makes my ZX10 feel twitchy which leaves a feeling of being unsure about what its doing.
The MV has attitude. I used to ride horses and after a couple of years of lessons I was allowed to ride a high strung high performance horse. Exhilarating. That’s what I think of with this bike … a high performance, high strung animal with attitude.
I think I made the right choice.