MV Agusta's flagship sportbike gets a makeover for 2010
Lighter. Stronger. Faster. The three main buzzwords when it comes to new bike introductions, but in the case of the new MV Agusta F4 those words actually ring true. As much of an icon as the previous F4 1000 was, it desperately needed a makeover. To that end, the entire bike was given a thorough once over to see where the fat could be trimmed and muscle could be gained.
The result is an all-new MV Agusta, simply called the "F4" that sheds considerable amount of weight from before. It's also visibly slimmer. So much so that MV claims its width rivals that of some V-Twins. In the engine bay the biggest difference addresses the abrupt throttle response of the last model with a heavier crankshaft for greater inertial torque. Among the other changes, the all-new engine receives a similar top-end to that of the previous F4 1000 312R with higher-lift cams, titanium valves, and variable-length intake tracts. All this means the new F4 puts out a claimed 184 horsepower to the crankshaft. About par with today's current crop of literbikes.
Change also swept through the chassis department and the new frame is now lighter, narrower and stronger than before. To prove just how agile the new F4 is, I was invited to the Circuito de Almeria in southern Spain to put the bike through its paces. We were greeted by cold weather and a threat of rain that meant that we would need to evaluate quickly. But thankfully the rain gods smiled upon us that day.
The first thing I noticed was the high footpeg position and aggressive sportbike ergonomics, though handlebars didn't seem any lower than Ducati's we've ridden before. On the track the F4 hides its 423lb dry weight well and handles like a dream. Turn-in is precise and the Marzocchi suspension inspires gobs of confidence--so much so that yours truly was able to achieve elbow-dragging lean angles (unfortunately this wasn't caught on camera). Part of that is due to the superb Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa race tires (Diablo Supercorsa SP tires come standard) that provide phenomenal edge grip.
On the engine side, the heavier flywheel adds a noted improvement in driveability, especially on corner exit. Power delivery is much calmer and not as hyper as before. Top end speed didn't feel as potent as, say, a Kawasaki ZX-10, but it's by no means a pig.
There are a host of other little changes that are outlined in more detail in the June issue of the magazine. But for now I'll leave you with this quick ride impression and these photos.