MV Agusta F4 Strada - Road Test

Is $19,000 Too Much For A Piece Of Motorcycling History? When The Bike Actually Works, The Answer Is No

By Marc Cook, Photography by Kevin Wing

Test Notes
Speedo error:60 mph, actual 58

Largely lumpfree and evenly spread, the MV's power output is a commendable achievement for a small manufacturer.

Compared with the current GSX-R, the MV trails in torque and horsepower.Their horsepower curves touch at 3500 rpm, and nearly come together again at 5500 rpm. The biggest gap (at 9250 rpm) is 12.6 hp.

*Performance corrected to sea-level standard conditions (59 degrees F, 29.92 in. of mercury)

**Wet weight plus 170-lb. rider divided by measured horsepower

Off The Record

Age: 30
Height: 6 ft.
Weight: 205 lb.
Inseam: 32 in.
Most exotic possession: the Betty
Dispassionate journalism aside, there's a lot of pressure swirling about the MV. There's the pressure not to crash it, the pressure to dress your poseur best (Blue jeans and a ratty leather jacket? Please.), the pressure to be completely impressed by the exotica of the thing and-finally-the pressure not to be too impressed. Ugh. Luckily, youth and enthusiasm prevailed, and I immediately found myself looking to see who was looking at me. And when you ride the MV, they all do. Dare I mention to them that one's thumbs can get horribly pinched between clip-on and airbox cover? Or that, in town, I'm grimacing in ergonomic pain beneath my darkened visor? Or that my buddy on his GSX-R750 has left me in his dust? Of course not. Why would they care? And for that matter, why should I?-Greg McQuide

Age: 40
Height: 5 ft. 7 in.
Weight: 150 lb.
Inseam: 30 in.
Most exotic possession:half bottle of Bushmill's
As a guy who's never been in a financial position to think of motorcycles as collectibles, I honestly don't feel qualified to comment on this one but why let that stop me? Sure it's beautiful, sure I'd love to own one. But if I did, I'd be afraid to ride it, or not really afraid as much as unwilling to put miles on it, because miles as everybody knows, drive down the worth of the bike. OK, I'd compromise and disconnect the odometer. But seriously, this is a bike for a person who owns more than one, and if that were me I'd ride something else most of the time just because, while the MV does everything fine, it's no sharper and no more interesting to ride than a GSX-R or a 929. If Kawasaki or Yamaha had built this bike, I'd have to say it's a bit heavy and slow (but beautifully turned out). And for twice as much money as a Japanese bike I expect at least equal performance. See how jealous I am?-John Burns

Age: 38
Height: 6 ft.
Weight: 225 lb.
Inseam: 32 in
Most exotic possession: trick Italian espresso machine
The big surprise with MV Agusta's new F4S is that it works nearly as good as it looks-an amazing thing considering it's arguably one of the most beautiful and desirable sportbikes ever built. As with many Italian two-wheelers, perceptual context is key: Ride the F4S back-to-back with Suzuki's giant-killing GSX-R750 (as I did during our test) and you come away feeling the F4 is functionally superb, but just a few clicks aft of the new GSX-R. But ride it far from the GSX-R's long and very dark shadow (as I did when I rode Alan Cathcart's personal F4S at the Isle of Man) and you can't help but feel it may be the most flickable, hard-wired back-road device yet built. I'd make a lot of sacrifices to own one of these things. -Mitch Boehm

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