talian roads are seemingly built for sport-touring. With a land mass just a smidge larger than Arizona, 40 percent of which is mountainous, a streetbike like MV Agusta’s Turismo Veloce is perfect for connecting small town dots and burning across Italian countryside, luggage in tow.And that’s just what we did during MV Agusta’s recent press introduction for its new and improved 2019 Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso. Part sport, part touring, and certainly part fun, this charismatic Italian bike is an apt companion on our around about tour of the Campo dei Fiori Regional Park.

Much like the chiseled architecture that defines this boot-shaped land, the roads are equally classic…and narrow…and sometimes bumpy. So it’s important to ride a motorcycle that is as good over the rough stuff as it is nimble. And that’s exactly what you get with this 423-pound Turismo Veloce.

MV Agusta 2019 Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS
The Swiss army knife of MV Agusta’s motorcycle lineup, the 2019 Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS.Gigi Soldano/Milagro

Typically touring bikes with hard cases dangling off either side can be a bit of a handful on narrow country roads. Not so with this one: It gallops across pavement, ready to change direction in a moment's notice. The wide upright handlebar gives good leverage when carving deep esses through the shaded green canopy covering much of the pavement. The riding position and seat in general are comfy, albeit a tad tight for a 6-foot-taller rider. It makes sense, considering MV engineers its bikes for small, European-size rider. Despite shade, and thick humid air, the Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tires dig into the blacktop delivering a surprising amount of grip for adventure-touring-labeled rubber.

MV Agusta Turismo Veloce sport-touring rig
MV Agusta’s Turismo Veloce sport-touring rig offers an ideal balance between sport performance and touring comfort and functionality. It looks and sounds the part too.Gigi Soldano/Milagro

Here we’re working mostly in second or third gear. The electronic quickshifter makes for fast and easy gear exchanges between each of the six cogs. Although we can’t necessarily feel it, the transmission has been updated for 2019, for better durability. It’s something the Italians are taking more seriously, investing in stationary testing rigs that run nonstop—simulating 18,641 road miles in 10 days. MV says this is allowing it to boost reliability.

The Sachs electronically adjustable suspension further complements handling—giving a good balance in terms of suppleness over cobblestone surfaces and poise at speed on smooth blacktop. Damping adjustments are made on the fly, via a push of a button. Even during our solo ride, we preferred the extra damping of the maximum, two-up, bags-loaded setting. Spring preload adjustment is made via a hydraulic preload-adjustable knob. On a side note, MV updated the way the engine mounts inside the steel-trellis chassis for extra torsional rigidity during hard braking.

Turismo Veloce 800 on a tight road
Nimble and light on its feet, the Turismo Veloce 800 is an exceptionally fine-handling sport-touring motorcycle, especially on tighter roads.Gigi Soldano/Milagro

Playful, torquey, and fun, the 798cc inline-three engine is an absolute gem, providing enough oomph to squirt out of tight bends with 90-percent of its torque available from 3,500 rpm. The engine boasts an updated 12-valve cylinder head designed for added reliability as well as a reduction in unwanted mechanical noise. Power builds in a euphoric rush—just like your co-workers as they exit the office at 5 o’clock. Equally as pleasing is the Maserati-like exhaust note emanating from the trio of organ-shaped pipes. This sound makes you want to twist the throttle deeper until you reach the stop. True, there is a bit of engine vibration, but it works well with the engine’s lively character—making for a more exhilarating ride.

centrifical auto clutch designed in conjunction with Rekluse
New for 2019, MV Agusta introduces a newly developed centrifical auto clutch designed in conjunction with Rekluse. The design boasts a more durable design to withstand the rigors of a streetbike with electronic control.Gigi Soldano/Milagro

A full-color LCD display keeps tabs on the engine's vitals, as well as being the adjustment point for the bevy of electronics standard on the MV. Most folks will appreciate the well-rounded performance of the engine in Touring mode. However the real secret is the Custom map.

Inside you can manipulate key aspects of the engine’s powerband including throttle response, crankshaft inertia, rev limiter, and engine-brake—all electronically, of course. Dial in these settings to your liking and ride happily ever after. Another plus is the ability to make on-the-fly traction control changes while riding.

slash-cut organ-shaped exhaust pipes
Style and subtle attention to details are what makes MV Agusta motorcycles so special. Note the slash-cut organ-shaped exhaust pipes.Gigi Soldano/Milagro

We preferred TC Level 2, but would occasionally disable it when it's time to loft a wheelies. Cruise control is also standard as is an easy-to-use iOS app that allows you to track your ride route and adjust the electronic settings of the motorcycle via Bluetooth. Although it takes a few minutes, the pairing and download process is simple and straightforward.

Criss-crossing our way through small towns we arrive at the idyllic lakeside town of Lavena Ponte Tresa—situated on the Swiss border. Thick traffic has us rolling from stop to stop. Fortunately, we’re not fazed courtesy of MV’s SCS (centrifugal auto clutch with electronic control).

Bright LED lighting front and rear
Left: Ready for two-up riding. The Turismo Veloce boasts finely crafted (and comfortable) rider and passenger seats. The seating position is a tad cramped for taller American riders.
Right: Bright LED lighting front and rear helps you stand out on the road. We didn't get a chance to sample the Turismo Veloce's lighting after dark this time.
Gigi Soldano/Milagro

Co-designed with Rekluse, the clutch uses high-end billet components that not only look cool but are designed to hold up to the rigors of everyday street use. A transparent Lexan cover shows off the hardware, spinning to life when the throttle is cracked. The clutch includes electronic control. So say, if you try to launch from a stop in top gear, the engine will provide just enough power to safely launch from a stop but will restrict acceleration until the appropriate gear is selected. Simply downshift into second or first gear, and you’re again on your way.

MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800
The Turismo Veloce 800 is as mild or wild as you want it to be. A comprehensive electronic suite allows the rider to fine-tune the powerband and Sachs electronically adjustable suspension.Gigi Soldano/Milagro

Complicated in design but simple in action, the SCS simplifies the riding experience making riding more pleasurable—especially in stop-and-go city traffic. Of course, if you feel the desire to work the clutch lever, you still can. But trust us, you’ll likely drop the clutch habit quicker than a smoker in a room full of lung cancer patients.

MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800
The 2019 Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso checks a lot of boxes for the modern sport rider. Problem is, where do you purchase one in the US? Service and reliability are also potential caveats. MV says its working toward a solution. We’ll see…Gigi Soldano/Milagro

Quite often, Italian bikes prioritize form over function. But after an afternoon spent on MV’s new and improved sport-touring rig that stereotype is changing. Equipped with a solid set of luggage, that’s actually easy to operate (and even remove!), along with a refined riding experience that still checks the sensory boxes while maintaining a reasonable degree of comfort, the Turismo Veloce would be a good option for riders seeking a sport-touring rig outside the norm. Still, there is one problem: Where do you buy one? MV Agusta understands that it has serious work to do and says it’s working toward a solution. We’ll see…