Cagiva And MV Agusta - Euro Notes

Cagiva/MV Agusta is experiencing both pain and pleasure as it struggles to satisfy overwhelming demand across its entire model range, from the 125 Mito 'stroker to the F4, Massimo Tamburini's two-wheeled work of art.

Indeed, every model in the MV/Cagiva catalog is back-ordered, as the five production lines at the company's new Cassinetta factory struggle to keep up. Demand for the TL1000S-engined Raptors and Navigators far outnumber the 7500-unit ceiling imposed by Suzuki, and with more than 10,000 firm orders for the F4S, the 4500 bikes that will be produced during this year will barely have the existing backlog.

MV Boss Claudio Castiglioni is pleased at the reception his company's products are receiving, but frustrated at the inability to satisfy demand. There's also suspicion that MV is undercapitalized in terms of fueling the runaway success. Because of this, Castiglioni has revealed he's engaged in negotiations to sell up to 15 percent of the equity in MV Agusta SpA in order to fund a step-up in production facilities as well as new-model development. "We need to expand our ability to meet demand," he says. "[And] it's imperative we have a strong financial direction which will allow [us] to develop new models."

The first of these is the Massimo Tamburini-designed, and F4-based, Brutale 750 naked roadster (see illustration). Think of the Brutale as a naked F4S, with every bit of the F4's trickness and exclusivity retained. Alongside the Brutale will appear MV's response to Suzuki's new GSX-R750, which leapfrogged the F4S in performance terms. The bike is the F140, a power-up version of the current F4 developed by engine chief Andrea Goggi's R&D; team to produce a claimed 140 crankshaft horsepower in street-legal guise. Uprated chassis parts including plenty of titanium and carbon-fiber will help slash dry weight by at least 10 kilograms-still not as light as the GSX-R, but right there. 2001 will certainly be an interesting year for MV Agusta and Cagiva.