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THROTTLE JOCKEY SUSAN CARPENTER
There's fast, and then there's this
Susan Carpenter
October 18, 2006


SMOKIN'. That isn't just a reference to the F4-1000R's top speed. It's what I wanted to be doing after riding MV Agusta's '07 model sport bike. I don't even like cigarettes, but there's something about a tach topping out at 17,000 rpm that makes a girl want to light up.

The new F4 is freakishly fast. For 2007, MV Agusta has eked an extra seven horsepower from its 16-valve system and shaved 8 1/2 pounds from its wheels, chassis and electrics. It now boasts a maximum, out-of-the-box speed of 187 mph and horsepower of 174 — a feat MV Agusta hopes to exploit if the American Motorcyclist Assn. approves its entry into superstock racing next year.

Until 1980, when the Italian manufacturer put the brakes on motorcycle production, MV Agusta was the bike to beat. It had claimed 75 world championships and 275 grand prix victories with Giacomo Agostini and other legends at the controls. Almost 30 years later, the recently reincarnated MV Agusta Motorcycles has set its sights on reclaiming the brand's title as manufacturer of the winningest bikes in the world with its newest F4-1000R. During the 58th annual Bonneville National Speedweek in August, the bike reached the highest recorded speed for a production class 1000cc motorcycle: 187.726 mph.

That was on unmodified showroom stock — the same model that's available at dealers and that will, at some point, be scraped from the pavement on suicide corners throughout the country. The warning sticker on the tank doesn't say it, but I will: The F4-1000R is for experienced riders only, preferably ones with a racing pedigree.

The F4-1000R's power band is like a stick of dynamite. It's all fuse until about 5,000 rpm, when it completely explodes. It wasn't until 10,000 rpm that I'd reached maximum torque and 11,900 that I'd maxed out my horsepower, which was tweaked for '07 with a state-of-the-art, flashreprogrammable ECU fuel injection system to control each cylinder individually instead of two cylinders at a time.

As I rocketed toward Angeles Crest Highway on California State Route 2, I attempted to test the gear ratio, but I didn't get far. MV's specs said I'd be able to reach 78.5 mph in first gear at 13,000 rpm. I managed to hit 74 at 12,500 before the rev limiter flashed red. I clicked into second, and cracked 100. The bike wasn't sweating, but I was. As for hitting 129 mph in third, 153 in fourth, 174 in fifth and 187 in sixth, I'll have to take MV Agusta's word for it. Needless to say, I spent most of my time in first gear as I turned Angeles Crest into an unofficial racetrack on a recent weekday.

Lest the horsepower fool you, the F4 isn't a one-trick pony. My friend Flicka was more than agile in canyon country. In addition to reducing the diameter of the tubing in the chassis trellis to save weight, MV Agusta improved maneuverability by reducing the bike's rotating mass and unsprung weight. It put the wheels on a diet for '07, slimming each by 2 pounds with ultra-light, forged-aluminum Brembos and spokes that narrow to the diameter of a pencil.

The chrome-moly frame and 50-mm front fork — the largest diameter fork of any production motorcycle — also did their part, improving stability and control by increasing rigidity. With antifriction coating smoothing movement and anti-top-out springs helping on the rebound, the top-of-the-line Marzocchi was especially helpful accelerating out of corners. Rather than making me look like a failed tryout for the StarBoyz stunt crew, it kept my front end planted.

There are reasons the F4-1000R has been dubbed the Ferrari of sport bikes — reasons that extend beyond a shared Italian heritage, commitment to high style and racing legacy. Ferrari engineers inspired the radial valve design that's become a hallmark of the new MV Agusta. Radial valves allow the engine to breathe in and out of the combustion chamber more effectively, especially at higher rpms. For the '07 F4-1000R, the longitudinal distance between the valves was increased by a seemingly minuscule 2 millimeters, but the increased intake valve angle allows better tumbling of the gases into the cylinder for a bigger bang of power.

The legendary sports car maker was also the inspiration for the F4's exhaust. By ripping apart a Ferrari, designer Massimo Tamburini came up with the idea to route the F4's pipes under the seat, with a four-intotwo-into-one system routed back into two into four. Tamburini first routed the pipes under the seat on the other legendary sport bike he designed — the Ducati 916 — but he's tweaked it with the F4, not only for aesthetic appeal but to help MV Agusta create its own immediately recognizable and appealing exhaust tone, à la Ducati and Harley-Davidson.

As I wrangled the F4, I attempted to keep my ear tuned to the bass tones of the pipes. Yes, they were more appealing than the high-rpm shriek of its Japanese competitors, but MV Agusta would need to import more than the 490 F4s it's bringing to the U.S. this year for moto aficionados to pick up the subtle sonic differences from the melee of competing pipes. That won't be happening. Unlike Ducati, which has retained its exotic and high-performance cred but lost its exclusivity, MV plans to make one less bike than market demand to retain its high-end allure.

MV Agusta's F4-1000R is the sort of bike that appeals to snobs — scusi — men with refined tastes. The sort of men who own espresso machines and wine cellars and stables of other two-wheeled toys. The sort who are old enough to drop $23,000 — cash — but young enough to take the abuse of a riding position that rests their body weight on the wrists and their chins on the ignition. The sort who should, before buying, consider purchasing another item of Italian descent, if only to aid in after-ride recovery: a Jacuzzi.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[email protected]

*

(INFOBOX BELOW)

2007 MV Agusta F4-1000R

Base price: $22,995

Engine: liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke, 16-valve, across-the-frame four-cylinder

Displacement: 998 cc

Transmission: Six-speed

Bore and stroke: 76 mm x 55 mm

Maximum torque: 11.3 Kgm at 10,000

Horsepower: 174 at 11,900 rpm

Seat height: 31.87 inches

Dry weight: 423 pounds



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interesting indeed. guess i need to go out and buy an espresso machine. OOPS, i don't own an R i only have a lowly 750. so back to hot chocolate, herbal tea and 7-11 donuts. :D
 

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Just have to say... Sue is a really motorcyclist! I had a chance to meet her a few months back, and she rode a bunch of bikes. She really has a feel for what they do and don't do...
 

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Yeah, I guess audience context is key. My first reaction to some of the language is "come on.... :blah: ".

Even then, some of the "facts" border on nonsense. "16 valve system", what? "test the gear ratio"? Maybe that's a typo and it should read "ratios", but even then, I've never heard of anyone "testing the gear ratios".

I don't know. I tend to be pretty harsh on journalists.

On the one hand, if you're writing for a non enthusiast audience, that's great, that's not something anyone here is geared towards.

But some of the facts are overly complex for a non enthusastic audience, and end up sounding like gibberish. I don't know if I would call out some of it as wrong, it's just messy.

But I did get something out of it. I didn't realize 1st was so short. The Japanese bikes are pushing 100 mph or are over that in 1st.
 

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MV-999R said:
All i wanna know is if she's hot or not? :naughty: :naughty:
+1 one of my first thoughts! :naughty:

i also noticed there was not one comparison or mention of any other bike for reference..good or bad. and i wondered about the shorter 1st gear too. my first thought was torque spread. the r1 needs that tall first gear to stay in the powerband for the rest of the gears which are closer ratio. if it topped out at 72 or so, it probably would be at an acceleration disadvantage. of course that's my uneducated opinion. :nerd:
 

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The ZX-10R does over 100 in first too. First time I rode it I only used 1st, 2nd and 3rd at the track I ride at. Kinda weird, but it did work OK. I kinda shudder to think of what a "properly" geared one would do in the lower gears...

Maybe that's why the MV seems like such an animal or something. I think the 750 tops out somewhere around 70 in first too?
 

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I'm bummed that Dan Neil didn't do the review. The guy is hilarious!

He reviewed the Ducati 999R (I think). And a Paul Smart.

Dan is the only automotive journalist to have won the Pulitzer Prize.

Alex
 

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JamesC said:
Am I missing something or did some of you not notice that an MV Agusta review was just in the LA Times? :laughing:

a most excellent point...
a nice follow-up So Cal article to:

http://twistingasphalt.com/index.php/archives/2005/10/20/mv-agusta-brutale-910-show-me-dont-tell-me/


MV Agusta Brutale 910 : Show Me, Don’t Tell Me
Posted by Dylan in Reviews


It’s late in the afternoon on a Friday, a mere hour before dusk and I’m ripping through the Malibu Canyons listening to the one of the most evocative sounds I’ve ever heard while on a motorcycle when I’m reminded of the mantra, “show me, don’t tell me”. Oddly enough because this bike does both; it’s hot, it’s stunning and it also happens to fly.

And by fly, I mean it rips up the road in front of you with such a wild ferocity that you are fairly certain that even the speedo can’t keep up.

Whipping around each successive corner I feel like a kid again. I’m mesmerized by the same sensation that I remember having on dirtbikes as a child – only now I’m an adult who’s riding on the street and enjoying breathtaking scenery that I’ve witnessed a million times before fly past me in a whole new way.

Like most riders, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on the sensation that comes from going fast. It’s one of the reasons why people ride in the first place because on some level we like to thrill ourselves. But then you get on a bike like the new MV Augusta Brutale 910 and you realize that whatever physical reaction you’ve felt from going fast is nothing compared to what you feel on this bike when you come out of a corner and get on it hard.

Without hesitation, the second you begin to twist the throttle the Brutale fires you straight ahead and by the time your mind catches up with the bike you find yourself half a mile down the road smiling inside your helmet. It’s amazing. As sensations go, I’m sorry you can’t bottle this sort of emotional and physical excess. It’s that much fun.

To be perfectly honest this all started out innocently enough, I was hanging out at ProItalia before I headed up to Willow Springs and had some time to kill. So I did what any self-respecting gearhead would do, I spent some time kicking tires. This as it turns out is a much more dangerous activity than heading to a track.

Fast forward a few days later and I’m walking into PI again when Bill tosses me a set of keys and says, ‘Take the Brutale out for the weekend. See what you think’. Less than an hour later I find myself heading off towards the canyons riding a bike I never would have thought I’d be interested in simply because a bunch of gearheads I trust have told me it’s worth checking out.

The new MV Agusta Brutale 910 is the bigger, badder follow up to MV’s rousing Brutale 750 success. A machine that’s engine has more displacement than the 750 but actually weighs less. It’s a bike that has a lot of impressive statistics and attributes; a 408-pund dry weight, 136 horsepower, Nissin brakes, a Sachs rear shock, and Marsocchi forks just to name a few.

Leaving the shop on the Brutale I’m pretty skeptical. Why would I be interested in a standard bike? Don’t get me wrong I thoroughly get the street-fighter bike ethos and it’s definitely cool, but I’ve never considered myself someone with that particular sensibility. I don’t exactly have the fancy Italian scuffed up leather jacket to go with the look. But looks as it turns out can be rather deceiving. This bike might look gutsy and MV Agusta might bill it as ‘Motorcycle Art’, but in reality it is a completely exposed racehorse of a sportbike with a soul that wants to do one thing only, go fast. Very, very fast.

By the time I fight my way through cross-town traffic on the 101 freeway during rush hour all of the usual Italian cycle characteristics appear to be present. The mirrors are basically unusable. They shake and rattle to the point you wonder why they even bother putting them on the bike. A fix it ticket would be easier to deal with than watching traffic with these things. After an hour of stop and go, the seat feels like you’re sitting on a three hundred degree cranked-up oven. As I start working my way across the lanes just after the 405-101 merge the temperature gauge never moves from it’s pegged low 200’s position. Of course no matter how hot I feel, it’s not nearly as hot as everyone else appears to think this bike is. In true Italian fashion everyone stares at it. Cell phone conversations cease in the cars next to me. Eyes shift and heads turn. Even though all sorts of other sportbikes and cruisers lane split past me, none get the reaction from the freeway audience that the Brutale gets. None get the magical parting of the sea effect while navigating through the traffic either. People simply seem to understand that this is a special bike.



If I was riding a Ducati Monster I doubt the public reaction would be quite the same. I would imagine it’s not a great stretch to believe that the Monster is MV Agusta’s main competition in the high-end, high-performance, semi-exotic naked streetfighter market. The Monster S4R stands at a comparable price point, but weights more (425 lbs vs. 408 lbs) and has less power (113 hp vs 136 hp). Between the two I’m not sure there is much of a choice. At least I don’t see it.

Finally hitting the canyons, it’s remarkable how quickly you can feel comfortable on this bike. There’s something altogether charming about sitting up in the saddle with wide, relatively raised handlebars as you swing around the corners. Physically the Brutale does not feel very large while you’re sitting on it. I’m only 5’10 and I feel like I’m hanging all over this bike. However within minutes of my first few left, right, left combinations it becomes clear that riding this bike is an exercise in leverage. And leverage as it turns out is fun. A heck of a lot of fun. Especially in empty canyons near sunset when the roads are clear, the visibility good and the views spectacular.



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