When does a ride on your dream bike start to resemble a nightmare? For me it was five minutes into the photo shoot on a dusty, potholed side-road high in the hills above Half Moon Bay, a road better suited for strafing on a supermotard than going knee-down on the world's most expensive and exclusive sportbike. But lensman Kevin Wing was adamant. "Can't you lean that bike over farther?" he shouted in my helmet. "Go around that last pothole and just throw it down on your knee, OK? Then we'll go do some wheelies."
Easy for him to say, standing safely behind his camera. Meanwhile, I'm shaking like Lindsay Lohan on her third day of rehab, fixated on the fact that the bike beneath me is worth twice my annual salary. Even a 2-mph tipover could easily exceed the MSRP of a base-model F4R. I didn't even want to touch the bike, much less shoot photos. Forget riding it 500 miles from Half Moon Bay back to the offices in L.A. My kingdom for a Rent-A-Wreck...
MV Agusta will build just 100 examples of this stunning, $120,000 F4CC-the "CC" designation a tribute to company founder Claudio Castiglioni, who designed this model himself with the singular aim of constructing the finest motorcycle ever made. What, you might reasonably ask, makes a sportbike worth $120K? Everything. MV claims 90 percent of the components on this bike are handmade, including the fork bottoms, upper triple clamp (complete with a platinum tag engraved with the bike number and the owner's name), steering damper housing, fluid reservoirs, levers, rearsets and even the sidestand, all machined individually by CRC (Centro Ricerce Cagiva or Cagiva Research Center). The bodywork (including the fuel tank) is pure carbon-fiber couture, the protective ducting mesh is made from titanium and the saddle is covered in the finest faux suede from Alcantara, just like the Maybach parked in your garage.
The F4CC engine comes straight from the MV Racing Department, assembled under the watchful eye of racing director Andea Goggi himself. Based on the standard F4R inline-four, bore is increased 3mm to 79mm (to displace 1078cc), lighter pistons and stronger connecting rods are fitted and the combustion chamber geometry is optimized. Exotic materials are used wherever possible: titanium valves and magnesium gearbox, clutch (a special slipper clutch unique to this model) and alternator covers, all contributing to the claimed 8.8-pound weight savings compared to the standard F4R engine. Bigger 48mm throttle bodies (46mm for the F4R) fed by MV's patented "Torque Shift System" variable-length velocity stacks, a full titanium Corse exhaust and special racing ECU further contribute to a stout, 163.7 rear-wheel horsepower on our dyno.
The F4CC chassis is similarly upgraded. The trellis section remains chromoly, but the lower sideplates shift from aluminum to magnesium, as does the forged, single-sided swingarm. The Brembo Monobloc brakes are identical to those used on factory Superbikes, and Brembo contributes the forged aluminum Y-spoke wheels as well. The 50mm carbon nitride-coated inverted fork is a specially calibrated, fully adjustable Marzocchi piece. Shock is from Sachs.