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MV Agusta F4SPR review

The SPR is distinctive, surefooted and most of all, blindingly quick. This black bullet deserves its very special place in the limelight
Details
Manufacturer:
MV Agusta
Category:
Sportsbikes
Price:
£ 15850
Overall
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)
143bhp makes this the quickest of the 750cc F4 range
Dated when compared to the 1000s

Now MV is back in business, this hotted-up and distinctly cool looking version of the F4 is being built at last. What the SPR lacks in colour, it makes up for in horsepower. Its max output of 143bhp makes this the most powerful streetbike ever built by MV Agusta.

The SPR is a faster, racier, more focused version of the F4, intended mainly for the track. It comes as a black-finished single-seater only, with carbon fibre used for various bits including the ignition cover, fairing inners, front mudguard and chainguard. Silver graphics, grey seat and polished aluminium wheels contrast superbly with the dark paintwork.

All this year’s F4 units have been updated to EV03 spec, with new Mahle pistons and cylinders, revised combustion chamber, oil jets beneath the pistons, and 1kg lighter crank. The SPR takes the mods several stages further, with hand-finished inlet ports, reshaped exhaust ports, new exhaust valves and inlet valve springs, hotter cams and higher-compression forged pistons.

Other changes include closer ratios for the six-speed removable cassette gearbox, stronger clutch plates, and a rev limit pushed up to 13,900rpm. Those 143 horses arrive at 13,000rpm, and give the SPR a 7bhp advantage over the standard F4. MV also offers an optional race pipe and chip that gives a further 3bhp.

Chassis spec is close to that of the standard F4 and the frame is identical. That means a mix of chrome-moly steel tube and aluminium sections. Marzocchi provides 50mm usd forks with TiN coating, where the standard F4 makes do with 49mm Showas. And although the rear shock is Sachs, who also supply the F4S, this unit is of superior race-quality, with adjustability for both high- and low-speed compression damping.

MV’s Varese factory sent me across the border to affluent Switzerland to pick up my test bike. Off I headed along the Lugano lakeside, immediately conscious of the racy riding position. The tall first gear, thumb-trapping steering lock and engine’s feeble response below about 3000rpm made slow-speed riding a pain, as would the motor’s tendency to get hot in traffic later on. Being lanky I couldn’t see the warning lights because of the low screen. But this bike ain’t built for traffic and sure enough, once I left the town behind the MV immediately started to feel good, shooting forward at the slightest opportunity.

The MV motor needed a few revs on the dial to come alive, but was more flexible than I’d thought a breathed-upon 750cc unit would be. For strong acceleration, you really need about five grand showing. That was 60mph in top, with the bike geared low using the biggest of the three rear sprockets that come with the SPR.

The SPR’s a rocket when it’s revved. The motor pulls hard by 7000rpm, by nine grand it’s really hauling and still very smooth. Keep heading for the 13,900rpm limit and the sound hardens to a magical scream of induction noise that just forces you to keep the throttle pinned. Flat-out on the motorway, the best I saw on the digital speedo was 175mph. As there was more to come, that’s probably close to the true top speed.

Handling was good and the MV’s typically compliant suspension was ideal for some very bumpy roads. Jostling with big trucks to get pics on a downhill 180-degree bend with several surface changes and strips of overbanding wasn’t much fun. But the MV has heaps of ground clearance, its Pirelli Dragon Evo Corsas never lost grip and the super-powerful six-pot Nissins didn’t let me down.

Steering was very precise and pretty much perfect for the road, with the help of the transverse-mounted Öhlins adjustable damper. At 188kg even this carbon-clad F4 is a few kilos porkier than the most anorexic opposition, but it was very flickable. Suspension at both ends coped with road bumps efficiently and gave enough feedback. They’d be ace on a racetrack given a bit of firming-up.

You’d have to be pretty keen on track days (or very rich with a fetish for matt-black paint) to spend nearly four grand more on the SPR over the F4S. But although the SPR isn’t a limited-edition model, it will be much rarer and more exclusive, as MV only expects to build about 350 SPRs this year and five times as many standard F4s.
The SPR’s reign as MV’s fastest streetbike won’t last long, because the Varese firm will finally unveil the long-awaited, 170bhp-plus 1000cc F4 (probably called the F4 Mille, not the F5), at the Milan Show in September for production next year.

Now MV is back in business, this hotted-up and distinctly cool looking version of the F4 is being built at last. What the SPR lacks in colour, it makes up for in horsepower. Its max output of 143bhp makes this the most powerful streetbike ever built by MV Agusta.

The SPR is a faster, racier, more focused version of the F4, intended mainly for the track. It comes as a black-finished single-seater only, with carbon fibre used for various bits including the ignition cover, fairing inners, front mudguard and chainguard. Silver graphics, grey seat and polished aluminium wheels contrast superbly with the dark paintwork.

All this year’s F4 units have been updated to EV03 spec, with new Mahle pistons and cylinders, revised combustion chamber, oil jets beneath the pistons, and 1kg lighter crank. The SPR takes the mods several stages further, with hand-finished inlet ports, reshaped exhaust ports, new exhaust valves and inlet valve springs, hotter cams and higher-compression forged pistons.

Other changes include closer ratios for the six-speed removable cassette gearbox, stronger clutch plates, and a rev limit pushed up to 13,900rpm. Those 143 horses arrive at 13,000rpm, and give the SPR a 7bhp advantage over the standard F4. MV also offers an optional race pipe and chip that gives a further 3bhp.

Chassis spec is close to that of the standard F4 and the frame is identical. That means a mix of chrome-moly steel tube and aluminium sections. Marzocchi provides 50mm usd forks with TiN coating, where the standard F4 makes do with 49mm Showas. And although the rear shock is Sachs, who also supply the F4S, this unit is of superior race-quality, with adjustability for both high- and low-speed compression damping.

MV’s Varese factory sent me across the border to affluent Switzerland to pick up my test bike. Off I headed along the Lugano lakeside, immediately conscious of the racy riding position. The tall first gear, thumb-trapping steering lock and engine’s feeble response below about 3000rpm made slow-speed riding a pain, as would the motor’s tendency to get hot in traffic later on. Being lanky I couldn’t see the warning lights because of the low screen. But this bike ain’t built for traffic and sure enough, once I left the town behind the MV immediately started to feel good, shooting forward at the slightest opportunity.

The MV motor needed a few revs on the dial to come alive, but was more flexible than I’d thought a breathed-upon 750cc unit would be. For strong acceleration, you really need about five grand showing. That was 60mph in top, with the bike geared low using the biggest of the three rear sprockets that come with the SPR.

The SPR’s a rocket when it’s revved. The motor pulls hard by 7000rpm, by nine grand it’s really hauling and still very smooth. Keep heading for the 13,900rpm limit and the sound hardens to a magical scream of induction noise that just forces you to keep the throttle pinned. Flat-out on the motorway, the best I saw on the digital speedo was 175mph. As there was more to come, that’s probably close to the true top speed.

Handling was good and the MV’s typically compliant suspension was ideal for some very bumpy roads. Jostling with big trucks to get pics on a downhill 180-degree bend with several surface changes and strips of overbanding wasn’t much fun. But the MV has heaps of ground clearance, its Pirelli Dragon Evo Corsas never lost grip and the super-powerful six-pot Nissins didn’t let me down.

Steering was very precise and pretty much perfect for the road, with the help of the transverse-mounted Öhlins adjustable damper. At 188kg even this carbon-clad F4 is a few kilos porkier than the most anorexic opposition, but it was very flickable. Suspension at both ends coped with road bumps efficiently and gave enough feedback. They’d be ace on a racetrack given a bit of firming-up.

You’d have to be pretty keen on track days (or very rich with a fetish for matt-black paint) to spend nearly four grand more on the SPR over the F4S. But although the SPR isn’t a limited-edition model, it will be much rarer and more exclusive, as MV only expects to build about 350 SPRs this year and five times as many standard F4s.
The SPR’s reign as MV’s fastest streetbike won’t last long, because the Varese firm will finally unveil the long-awaited, 170bhp-plus 1000cc F4 (probably called the F4 Mille, not the F5), at the Milan Show in September for production next year.

Length (mm)2006
Width (mm)685
Dryweight (kg)190
Seats0
Seat Height (mm)789
Suspension FrontUpside-down telescopic hydraulic fork with rebound-compression damping and spring preload
Suspension RearProgressive, single shock absorber with rebound-compression damping and spring preload
Wheels Front3.50 x 17
Wheels Rear6.00 x 17
Wheels Made OfAluminium alloy
Tyres Front120/65 ZR 17
Tyres Rear190/50 ZR 17
Brakes FrontDouble steel floating disc
Brakes RearSingle steel disc
Wheelbase (mm)1398
Ground Clearance (mm)130
Trail (mm)103
ChassisCrMo Steel tubular trellis
Cubic Capacity (cc)749
Valves16
Max Power (bhp)135
Max Power Peak (rpm)13300
Torque Peak (rpm)10500
Bore (mm)74
Stroke (mm)43
Valve GearDOHC
Compression Ratio12
IgnitionElectronic
Valves Per Cylinder4
CoolingLiquid-cooled
Fuel DeliveryMultipoint electronic injection
Stroke TypeFour Stroke
Top Speed
143bhp makes this the quickest of the 750cc F4 range
Dated when compared to the 1000s