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.
Ever wonder what it would be like to ride Luca Scassa's factory Superbike racer? I'm guessing it would be exactly like riding this F4CC, which, on the street, exhibits the same taut manner and barely contained ferocity of a full-on racing machine. I subjected the F4CC to a bit of everything on my ride from Half Moon Bay to L.A., from the tight turns of Skyline Boulevard to the fast, sweeping curves of Highway 33. On those occasional moments when I was able to put aside the fact that the bike costs more than a decent starter home in any Midwestern city, the F4CC proved an absolute dream to ride, too. At street speeds the bike is utterly composed and downright mocking in its competence-turn-in is alarmingly precise, braking with those massively powerful Brembos is never more than a one-finger affair, and the engine is a pure, visceral delight. This is the best-sounding inline-four since Ago's GP bikes of yore, and the acceleration, especially ripping through the upper revs, is outrageous.
All of the above (plus the matching, coordinated Trussardi leather jacket and number-matched Girard-Perregaux wristwatch, included with every bike) somehow adds up to that breathtaking $120K. And though I couldn't stop worrying about wadding it, such concerns likely won't bother most CC buyers-the vast majority of these collector's items will never see the light of day anyway, much less the open road.
Which is a shame. In addition to absolute luxury and exclusivity, $120,000 also buys you what might be the very finest-performing sportbike ever made, a machine that dreams-and the occasional nightmare-are made of.
Loosely based on the standard F4 1000 R, with an upsized, 1078cc engine hand-built by the MV Race Department fitted into a Superbike-spec chassis studded with high-end, hand-built components.
No equal in terms of exclusivity or elegance (if not outright performance), save perhaps Ducati's forthcoming $65,000 Desmosedici RR.
Engine type: l-c inline-four
Valve train: DOHC, radial 16v
Bore x stroke: 79.0 x 55.0mm
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed, cassette
Measured horsepower: 163.7 bhp @ 12,500 rpm
Measured torque: 81.1 lb.-ft.@ 9050 rpm
Frame: Steel trellis with magnesium pivot plates and single-sided swingarm
Front suspension: 50mm Marzocchi inverted cartridge fork, adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension: Single Sachs shock, adjustable for spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping, ride height
Front brake: Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 310mm discs
Rear brake: Single Brembo four-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Pirelli Dragon Supercorsa Pro
Rear tire: 190/55-ZR17 Pirelli Dragon Supercorsa Pro
Rake/trail: 24.5/4.1 in.
Seat height: 31.9 in.
Wheelbase: 55.4 in.
Fuel capacity: 5.5 gal.
Weight (tank full): 441 lbs.
Weight (tank empty): 408 lbs.
Warranty: Two years, unlimited mi.
A bold statement from the most prestigious brand in motorcycling.
They Say: "Treat it as if it were a priceless painting."
We Say: "Make space in the Louvre and award Signore Castiglioni an honorary fine-arts degree."