2009 Milan Show: 2010 MV Agusta F4

MV Agusta redefines perfection: A lighter, faster flagship superbike.

2010 MV Agusta F4 at the 2009 Milan Show
2010 MV Agusta F4 at the 2009 Milan Show

Claudio Castiglioni is a charmer, gifted with the ability to hypnotize an audience and lead it wherever he wishes. At the unveiling of the new MV Agusta F4, Castiglioni, the president of the company recently put up for sale by owner Harley-Davidson, played "martyr" at the expense of the nasty Americans from Milwaukee and proclaimed his total dedication to the cause of MV. It was a smart passion play that drew applause from the audience, especially when he said he will always stand by his workers.

In 2005, Castiglioni bought Cagiva-MV Agusta back from the Malaysian Proton company at the symbolic price of 1 euro after they had paid a fortune for it the year before. That will not be the case with Harley-Davidson, so he is knocking at every door looking for a partner. He recently was seen talking to Gabriele Del Torchio, Ducati's very tough CEO, and a week earlier, he visited Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's brother, Paolo, who recently revived Garelli, one of the oldest Italian moped makes. Castiglioni is searching for a wealthy partner who will pour cash into MV Agusta (including the money needed to buy it back from Harley-Davidson) and let him lead the company.

Castiglioni has a genuine passion for extreme motorcycles and through the years has been able to fan this fire in all his men. The result is the new F4, a supreme superbike with a sharper, leaner design than the previous one. It's powered by a lighter and more powerful version of MV's 998cc inline-Four. It retains its 76 x 55mm bore-and-stroke measurements but now has a staggering 13.1:1 compression ratio, a larger airbox, 49mm Mikuni throttle bodies with variable-height velocity stacks, lighter but stronger con-rods and a lighter crankshaft. It's claimed to produce 186 horsepower at 12,900 rpm and a very solid 84 ft.-lb. of torque at 9500.

The frame is more compact and lighter than the previous one, and its chrome-moly steel trellis structure is integrated by a pair of cast aluminum plates that clamp the rear engine mounts and solidly locate the axle of the single-sided swingarm. The arm is now lighter, stiffer and longer, but the compact, 56.3-inch wheelbase remains, as the swingarm axle was moved closer to the countershaft sprocket for better traction and more effective rear suspension.

Like the previous edition, the new F4 uses a Marzocchi 50mm USD fork and a Sachs shock, both fully adjustable. Brembo's celebrated Monobloc radial calipers operate in combination with twin 320mm front-brake rotors. Electronic assistance systems are down to a minimum, with not even ABS on the spec sheet. But then, anyone who rides a 186-hp MV Agusta F4 is not supposed to need any.

2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
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2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4