After months of speculation and sightings of a new 675cc three-cylinder sportbike, MV Agusta released photos last week of what looks like a pre-production model. According to rumor, speculation and educated guesswork, the bike could be under 400 pounds gassed up, make about 120 horses at the wheel and be priced somewhere in the low teens. But will the bike be enough to finally turn MV into a profitable venture?
Although there is no information about the bike on MV’s website, plenty can be inferred from gazing longingly at the high-resolution photos. That the bike is ready for production is likely; the parts look like production parts, down to the heat insulation on the exhaust collector and the embossed MV logo on the sidestand. The bike’s “budget” (compared to other MV models) nature is clear, too: the suspension doesn’t look like big-bucks Öhlins, and though the four-piston, radial-mount brake calipers are Brembos, they lack the signature red lettering of the fancy race stuff the F4 has. Also, more parts—like the top triple clamp—appear cast rather than machined. Expect to spend more time riding this machine than gazing lovingly at it in your dust-free, climate-controlled garage.
But that shouldn’t be a bad thing, either. The frame looks like Tamburini’s signature chromoly-tube birdcage, and the partly exposed motor has a tough, industrial look to it. If MV’s engineers used Triumph’s 675 mill as a benchmark, expect this motor to best it by 10 or 15 percent—maybe as much as 140 hp at the crankshaft. Italy’s Motociclismo reports the bike will have F4-style radial valves, a cassette gearbox and weigh in at 354 pounds dry. I’d expect pricing to be within 10 or 20 percent of what Ducati is charging for the 848 EVO, which starts at $12,995 in the USA (and I am looking forward to doing the comparison test). Anticipate a naked Brutale version in the next year as well.
Will this new model change the fortunes of struggling MV Agusta, a company that for many years has lost much more money than it’s earned? Five years ago, the answer would have been a much more solid “yes.” However, in the new Great Recession world, the shrunken market for large motorcycles and tight credit markets make it a less clear bet. An email to MV Agusta USA netted a promise for more information in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.