The MV Agusta F4 as reviewed by Ultimate Motorcycle (April, 2010)
The MV Agusta F4 is probably the most elitist motorcycle you can imagine, but don't hold that against it. It is that way because the people behind it have always wanted the F4 to be the best, the fastest, and the most desirable object in motorcycling. It has been all of those things at various stages of its lifespan.
Last year's RR312 1078 was starting to stagnate. It was too heavy, and it wasn't going in the same high-tech direction as its competitors. The 1078 is still a fantastic and desirable bike, but to stay competitive, the new 2010 F4 (though MV eschews model years, and prefers to simply continue to call it the F4) has arrived on high time. All the latest technology, such as traction control and a double riding mode (Sport and Rain), are now in place. While being competitive in WSBK and winning customers with inexpensive high performance motorcycles drives the Japanese brands, something that can be described only by the word "passion" drives MV Agusta.
I fire up the new F4 in the Misano pit lane and I'm greeted by a racy, aggressive sound exiting the four square organ style pipes. I've already fiddled with the 8-stage traction control and have chosen level 4 for my first session. Exiting the second and third gear corners on Almeria on the first two laps, the traction control on level 4 worked just fine, allowing me to worry about my lines and warming up the tires, rather than being too cautious.
As soon as the Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa SP tires were warm, I wanted a less intrusive setting. There's a lot of grip and stability in the latest version of the F4 chassis, so as soon as I had done the warm up laps the high level of intrusion started to frustrate me. I changed down to level 2, and then 1, in my following sessions. It's only in the early and late life of the tires I really need the higher levels of traction control on the MV Agusta F4. It is also very easy to turn off the traction control completely as in reality there are 9 levels where 0 is off. When I had optimal tire grip, I got all the feedback I needed from the chassis to handle traction with my right hand.
The MV Agusta F4, with 22 pounds shaved off its delicious lines, is more nimble than its predecessors. Directional changes from one extreme lean to the next are now more of a blast rather than a chore. The handlebars have been raised a little, making it easier to take the bull by its horns, and so the F4 is less demanding to ride. Along with a shortened and smaller fuel tank the seat is now roomier and comfier. The fuel tank is now in a conventional 4.5-gallon size rather than the old 5.5-gallon tank, and it's made of rotational nylon saving an additional 2.6 pounds of weight compared to the old one. The new 3/4-inch longer swingarm is one of the major contributors to the weight savings. The adjustable chassis has in fact been lightened, and torsional rigidity has been increased.