2010 MV Agusta F4 | Review

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Misano, Italy

The MV Agusta F4 is probably the most elitist motorcycle you can imagine, but don’t hold that against it. It is that way because the people behind it have always wanted the F4 to be the best, the fastest, and the most desirable object in motorcycling. It has been all of those things at various stages of its lifespan.

Last year’s RR312 1078 was starting to stagnate. It was too heavy, and it wasn’t going in the same high-tech direction as its competitors. The 1078 is still a fantastic and desirable bike, but to stay competitive, the new 2010 F4 (though MV eschews model years, and prefers to simply continue to call it the F4) has arrived on high time. All the latest technology, such as traction control and a double riding mode (Sport and Rain), are now in place. While being competitive in WSBK and winning customers with inexpensive high performance motorcycles drives the Japanese brands, something that can be described only by the word “passion” drives MV Agusta.

I fire up the new F4 in the Misano pit lane and I’m greeted by a racy, aggressive sound exiting the four square organ style pipes. I’ve already fiddled with the 8-stage traction control and have chosen level 4 for my first session. Exiting the second and third gear corners on Almeria on the first two laps, the traction control on level 4 worked just fine, allowing me to worry about my lines and warming up the tires, rather than being too cautious.

As soon as the Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa SP tires were warm, I wanted a less intrusive setting. There’s a lot of grip and stability in the latest version of the F4 chassis, so as soon as I had done the warm up laps the high level of intrusion started to frustrate me. I changed down to level 2, and then 1, in my following sessions. It’s only in the early and late life of the tires I really need the higher levels of traction control on the MV Agusta F4. It is also very easy to turn off the traction control completely as in reality there are 9 levels where 0 is off. When I had optimal tire grip, I got all the feedback I needed from the chassis to handle traction with my right hand.

The MV Agusta F4, with 22 pounds shaved off its delicious lines, is more nimble than its predecessors. Directional changes from one extreme lean to the next are now more of a blast rather than a chore. The handlebars have been raised a little, making it easier to take the bull by its horns, and so the F4 is less demanding to ride. Along with a shortened and smaller fuel tank the seat is now roomier and comfier. The fuel tank is now in a conventional 4.5-gallon size rather than the old 5.5-gallon tank, and it’s made of rotational nylon saving an additional 2.6 pounds of weight compared to the old one. The new 3/4-inch longer swingarm is one of the major contributors to the weight savings. The adjustable chassis has in fact been lightened, and torsional rigidity has been increased.

The suspension, which consists of a fully adjustable quick release (good for fork stanchion leg service and front wheel change) 50mm Marzocchi fork and a Sachs fully adjustable rear shock, are high quality items specified to MV’s requirements. They give plenty of feedback through the corners and it’s easy to feed the throttle mid-corner. I had some pretty interesting headshake moments far into third gear a couple of times despite there being a steering damper in place.

With the F4’s massive speed potential, only the best brakes will do and the Brembo monoblocs are in place. The hardest braking on Almeria happens on the start/finish straight and on the back straight where speeds of up to 150 mph needs to be brushed off all the way down to around 45 mph. Through the 50mm Marzocchi fork and onto the front Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa SP an immense amount of forward moving energy is transformed into heat. MV Agusta has tested the top speed of the F4 to 190 mph in sixth gear, which we never come close to at Misano. The stability on the brakes is impressive and the feel is progressive. I had no problems with fade during my day in the saddle, despite the fact that the new 320mm front discs are 5mm thinner than before.

It’s a pure delight to feed in the revs down the straights at Misano, as there’s so much power on tap. The engine peaks at 186 hp @ 12,900 rpm with a further 600 rpm before the rev limiter kicks in. From 9,500 rpm, where max torque of 84 ft/lbs has been reached the acceleration is fabulous. I’ll recommend the MV Agusta F4 for the scientists at CERN for chasing the Higgs boson. High-speed acceleration above 125 mph from third gear and up is a very strong side to the F4 package.

I hardly used first gear at all around the circuit, even though I could have with traction control in place and all. The torque delivery in second gear was enough, but I could have wished for a slightly lower second gear to really go for it without having to resort to first gear. I felt the traction control kick in more often in the long left-hander after the back straight than other places, as it’s a hard acceleration second-gear corner where I switch to third while still leaned over. The g forces keep me firmly in a left corner position, so I use my upper body to help getting the bike upright ahead of another hard braking area and the following right-hander.

The 2010 MV Agusta F4 will do 155 mph in fourth gear, which is all you need on Misano. I still made my way up to fifth a couple of times just to sample the acceleration even when the revs are not at optimum. It’s all good, and working the six-speed cassette type gearbox is a delight and the clutch feels lighter and easier to use than before. Working my way down the gearbox ahead of heavy braking areas is also easy helped by a very good mechanical slipper clutch. The F4 keeps its line and shape to perfection whether you’re accelerating or decelerating.

The new 998cc in-line four is more compact than older versions and, along with considerable weight savings, there’s also more space for a larger air-box. This has contributed heavily to the 186 hp max power figure. The new oil and water cooling is now a lot more efficient also at lower engine speeds which many MV Agusta owners will welcome. I’ve had a few very warm moments riding in traffic on the old MV myself so this is really good news. The re-engineered engine is now one that’s up there with the best in all areas rather than just relying on massive power and torque figures. The 2010 MV Agusta F4 has got huge potential, while the F4 RR312 1078 was at the end of its engineering cycle as far as the engine goes.

The new all digital instrument panel is a treat for the eyes and it can be adjusted for night or day usage. On the previous models it was sometimes difficult to see the warning lights in sunlight; this problem has been completely eliminated with a flashy looking new instrument console. A gear sensor is in place with the current gear selection showing up on the digital panel along with traction control setting and all the necessary data on a big and easy to read instrument panel.

I believe that the 2010 MV Agusta F4 1000 R has spent an equal amount of time in the air tunnel testing its aerodynamics as bikes such as the Suzuki Hayabusa. Some very cleverly designed aerodynamic funnels now feature all over the new fairing. The mirrors are just as much a part of the aerodynamic design of the F4 as any other part. Aerodynamic funnels in place underneath the mirrors to deflect high speed turbulent air into a smooth flow passing the riders elbows rather than crashing into the rider.

MV AGUSTA F4 Specifications

ENGINE
Type Four cylinder, 4 stroke, 16 valve
Timing system “D.O.H.C”, radial valve
Total displacement 998 cm3 (60.9 cu. in.)
Compression ratio 13.1:1
Bore x stroke 76 mm x 55 mm (3.0 in. x 2.2 in.)
Max. horse power – r.p.m. (at the crankshaft) Full power version: 137 kW (186 HP) at 12900 – Lim. 13500 r.p.m. / Restricted power version: 73 kW (100 HP) at 9200 – Lim. 10800 r.p.m.
Max. torque – r.p.m. Full power version: 114 Nm (11.4 kgm) at 9500 r.p.m. / Restricted power version: 90 Nm (9.0 kgm) at 5500 r.p.m.
Cooling system Cooling with separated liquid and oil radiators
Engine management system Magneti Marelli IAW 7BM ignition – injection integrated system with Mikuni throttle body; induction discharge electronic ignition;
Sequential timed “Multipoint” electronic injection ; Variable height intake ducts with Torque Shift System (TSS)
Clutch Wet, multi – disc
Gear Box Cassette gearbox; six speed, constant mesh
Primary drive 50/79
Gear ratio
First gear: Speed* 13/38 128,2 km/h (79.6 mph) a t 13500 r. p. m.
Second gear: Speed* 16/34 176,4 km/h (109.5 mph) at 13500 r. p. m.
Third gear: Speed* 18/32 210,8 km/h (130.9 mph) at 13500 r. p. m.
Fourth gear: Speed* 20/30 249,8 km/h (155.1 mph) at 13500 r. p. m.
Fifth gear: Speed* 22/29 284,3 km/h (176.5 mph) at 13500 r. p. m.
Sixth gear: Speed* 19/23 305,0 km/h (189.4 mph) at 13500 r. p. m.
Final velocity ratio 15×41

ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT
Voltage 12 V
Alternator 350 W at 5000 r. p. m.
Battery 12 V – 8,6 Ah
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT
Wheelbase 1430 mm (56.27 in.)
Overall lenght 2100 mm (82.63 in.)
Overall width 750 mm (29.51 in.)
Saddle height 860 mm (33.84 in.)
Min. ground clearance 115 mm (4.52 in.)
Trail 100,4 mm (3.93 in.)
Dry weight 192 Kg (423 lbs.)
Fuel tank capacity 17 l (4.49 U.S. gal.)

PERFORMANCE
Maximum speed* Full power version: 305,0 km/h (189.4 mph) / Restricted power version: 249,0 km/h (154.6 mph)

FRAME
Type CrMo Steel tubular trellis (TIG welded)
Rear swing arm pivot plates: material Aluminium alloy

FRONT SUSPENSION
Type “UPSIDE – DOWN” telescopic hydraulic fork with rebound-compression damping and spring preload external and separate adjustment
Rod dia. 50 mm (1.97 in.)
Travel on leg axis 120 mm (4.72 in.)

REAR SUSPENSION
Type Progressive, single shock absorber with rebound and compression (High speed / Low speed) damping and spring preload adjustment
Single sided swing arm: material Aluminium alloy
Wheel travel 120 mm (4.72 in.)

BRAKE
Front brake Double floating disc with Ø 320 mm (Ø 12.6 in.) diameter, with steel braking band and aluminium flange
Front brake caliper Radial-type, single-piece with 4 pistons – Ø 34 mm (Ø 1.34 in.)
Rear brake Single steel disc with Ø 210 mm (Ø 8.27 in.) diameter
Rear brake caliper With 4 pistons – Ø 25,4 mm (Ø 1.00 in.)

RIM
Front: Material / size Aluminium alloy 3,50 ” x 17 ”
Rear: Material / size Aluminium alloy 6,00 ” x 17 ”

TYRES
Front 120/70 – ZR 17 M/C (58 W)
Rear 190/55 – ZR 17 M/C (75 W)

FAIRING
Material Thermoplastic

MV Agusta is committed to the constant improvement. Therefore the information and technical characteristics of the vehicles are subject to change without notice. * = Top speed attained on closed course. Rev. 1 – 10/27/09