MV Agusta is one of the most evocative names in Italian motorcycle design. The firm dominated Grand Prix racing throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, before financial problems closed the firm down. Resurrected by Italian firm Cagiva in the early 1990s, Agusta released the 750cc F4 – a super-high-performance sportsbike, designed by Massimo Tamburini. Tamburini had designed the iconic Ducati 916, and the F4 received the same plaudits for its beautiful styling.
Its 750cc engine lacked ultimate performance though, so it was no surprise when MV released a 1,000cc version in 2005. The F4’s inline-four engine was originally developed in conjunction with Ferrari, and was installed in a frame combining steel trellis sections and cast magnesium/aluminum plates. The front forks were super-stiff, wide, 50mm Marzocchi units, with Nissin brakes giving supreme control and braking. A single-sided rear singing arm was heavier than an equivalent dual-sided arm, but looked incredible. Special limited-edition ‘Oro’ versions of the F4 used exotic lightweight magnesium castings for its swingarm and frame pivot plates, to further reduce mass.
The latest 2008 version of the F4 has expanded its capacity to 1,078cc, and the ‘1078RR 312’ has a claimed top speed of 312kph – 193.88mph.