With company finances back on track and production delays a thing of the past (for now...), the long awaited F4 1000S is finally, eventually, here. At last...
Long hailed as one of the gorgeous motorcycles ever, MV's F4 family of bikes has suffered from a lack of cc when compared to the competition with its capacity of only 749cc. The F41000s is here to make amends.I'm tonking along near-empty roads in the hills near MV Agusta's factory at Varese in northern Italy.
The blue and silver bullet storms forwards with a gorgeous howl and a vicious burst of acceleration that no previous F4 could match. I'm a bit quick with the throttle exiting one steep hairpin, and the bike jabs forward with an unexpected wheelie. But the Öhlins steering damper does its job, and the clip-ons barely twitch before the MV is back under control and heading towards a top speed which - given much more space than I've got - would be close to 190mph.
That's far faster than any MV Agusta streetbike before, and no wonder. Apart from its paintwork and graphics, the F4 1000S looks almost identical to the 750cc four with which MV made its dramatic return back in 1999. But beneath that fairing is a 998cc four-cylinder engine that gives the Italian marque an open-class contender at last.
The arrival of a large-capacity MV four has been postponed many times before. Cagiva's initial four-cylinder project involved an open-class motor, before Claudio Castiglioni revived the MV Agusta name and decided to debut the F4 as a 750, intending to go World Superbike racing. Then came further financial delays. But the F4 1000S is finally in production, just as Castiglioni and design ace Massimo Tamburini always intended.
The new motor retains the 750cc unit's radial 16-valve layout and uses many of its castings. "We developed the 1000cc engine without enormous investment," says Andrea Goggi, the engineer who has been involved with the project for more than a decade (and who tested an 864cc prototype as long ago as 1994). "But we have worked very hard to find performance and save weight. Almost 70% of the internals are new."
That 998cc capacity comes from bore and stroke dimensions of 76 x 55mm, splitting Yamaha's slightly shorter-stroke R1 unit and Honda's longer-stroke Fireblade. Those 76mm pistons are lighter than the smaller F4 750's equivalents. The new motor's con-rods weigh less too. The crankshaft has lost more than 1.2kg; clutch and primary transmission gears are lighter despite being stronger. Claimed max output is 166bhp at 11,750rpm, within a few horsepower of its Japanese rivals.
The new MV's chassis, like its bodywork, is essentially that of the 750. The frame combines chrome-molybdenum steel tubes with cast aluminium sections around the single-sided swing-arm's pivot. This bike's upside-down Marzocchi forks are 50mm in diameter, (the 750S has 49mm units), but angled half-a-degree less steeply at 24.5˚.
Other chassis mods include the uprated Sachs shock, which can be tuned for preload by turning an Allen key in an adjuster at its top. Footrests are adjustable, and another neat touch is that the rear sprocket can be replaced without unbolting the rear wheel. The 1000S weighs 192kg dry: hardly obese, but roughly 20kg up on the lightest of the Japanese.
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