Full Disclosure: I already loved this bike before I ever even laid eyes on it. MV’s stunning Rivale got my heart racing and when I first heard they were considering a long-legged sport-tourer with an 800cc-Triple, I didn’t even need to hear its sublime “Turismo Veloce” naming before I knew I wanted one. Then came the aggressively voluptuous visuals followed by a long wait between the time we shot a video of the bike’s unveiling in late 2013 and this actual first ride in spring of 2015. Many of us began to wonder if the bike had been stillborn, the victim of some budget cut or other ignoble fate. Alas, our fears were simply due to our own high expectations and MV deciding to really take their time nailing their first ever touring motorcycle. Now it’s time to see if that wait has paid off.
MV launched three new bikes in 2015, the F4 1000 RC superbike, plus the Turismo Veloce 800 and Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso siblings. At those recent launches MV has also hinted that next year will see the debuts of four more new models, namely a revised 1000cc inline-Four-powered lineup, F4, Brutale, RR variants, etc. And that’s a good thing, because MV’s U.S. sales were actually down 6% for Q1 even though it has an aggressive growth target of +237%, so they’ll certainly need every bit of new-bike excitement they can muster.
MV’s recently announced partnership with Mercedes-AMG should help them capture a portion of the additional market share they’ll be needing. Under that agreement, MV will be attending/sponsoring co-Branded events with AMG, including the Roland Garros tennis series, the Cannes film festival and the UEFA Champion’s Cup (soccer/futbol), all of them events which cater to MV’s well-moneyed core demographic.
With an eye to future growth, MV also let slip that a 1000+cc four-cylinder version of the Turismo Veloce is probably a logical asumption, even if that four-cylinder version may take about three additional years to develop. MV reps wouldn’t go so far as to confirm the bigger bike’s existence, but they also refused to deny one was in the pipeline.
Getting back to this current leggy dual-funbag-equipped Italian beauty, MV took pains to emphasize how much time engineers spent on its development, a lengthy process that began with initial sketches back in 2007. Although related to the F3 800 family, MV takes great pains to describe the Turismo Veloce as “completely new” and their “first ever touring platform.” According to MV, the new Turismo Veloce shares only its crank, connecting rods, engine cases, rear hub, some bearings and assorted fasteners with the rest of the F3 family.
The reason for the emphasis on how not-like the F3 800s it is comes down to the fact MV fully intended for this Turismo Veloce to be a dedicated touring platform, not simply a sportbike fitted with some accessory bags. Then again, MV really doesn’t mind us calling it a sport-tourer, hence the Veloce in its name. Not to mention it’s a freaking MV Agusta… a company that doesn’t really do “slow” or “conservative.”
MV says it placed a priority on the bags with its earliest concept sketches and through the progression of all engineering mules to ensure the final production bags could both be large enough to each swallow a full-face helmet, yet also tucked-in tight enough to keep overall width at the widest point of the Turismo Veloce’s bags narrower than its handlebar ends. That emphasis paid-off handsomely in the form of a novel subframe that is visually light and airy, as well as being strong enough to support a large American-sized passenger while also carrying a total of 60 liters worth of payload in the bags. When following a bag-equipped Turismo Veloce, it is striking how close-together the inner walls of the bags are considering it still offers clearance for the 190mm wide rear tire to move between them.
Available in Metallic Silver, or MV’s attractive signature two-tone Red/Metallic Silver combo (my favorite), the 2015 MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 has a “base” MSRP of $15,998. Its up-level Lusso sibling is available in that two-tone red/silver combo, but adds a very sharp looking two-tone Pearl White / Avio Gray option. Priced at $17,998, the Lusso adds electronically adjustable Sachs suspension components and MV’s Skyhook-like MVCSC chassis stability-control system, plus heated grips and a center stand. Those last two items are extra-cost options for base models. I wish I could comment on the Lusso and its upgraded suspension, alas, the press bikes were first edition base models equipped with a ton of accessories, not actual Lussos.
No matter which trim level you choose, you’ll definitely want to add $1,377.07 to its base price so as to equip it with the side cases for which it was originally designed. It seems incongruous that those very bags which were priority #1 from the beginning, are not included as a standard feature on the first-ever MV “Touring” motorcycle.
Sufficient fuel capacity for a long day on the road was another priority from the start. At 5.8 gallons, the Turismo Veloce’s tank is decently large. However, my own reality intruded on MV’s narrative when, after flogging my Turismo Veloce over 137.3 spirited miles with the ECU in “Sport” mode while blasting over a twisting route with nearly constant acceleration and deceleration, its fuel gauge showed it down to less than 1/4 of a tank and the yellow low-fuel light was glowing on the dash. To be fair to MV, it’s important to note that another, shall we say less-aggressive, journalist rode that same route with their bike’s ECU set in “Touring” mode and their Turismo Veloce still had close to half a tank remaining at that same distance, so your mileage will definitely vary depending on the aggression of your right wrist.
The mostly-new “touring” version of its F3 800 based engine was re-engineered to enhance low- to mid-range torque and is notably graced by an extended 15,000km service interval, which is up significantly from the previously very short 6000km (3700-ish mile) requirement.
Following my time in the Turismo Veloce’s saddle, I can definitively say the new engine’s 110-hp peak shouldn’t be a limiting factor in the real world, as the 800 Triple makes loads of midrange torque. Much to the detriment of my social life, I can be a harsh critic at times, and one of my favorite traits about triples is how they howl at high rpm. That means I wasn’t at all predisposed to cut much slack to this re-tuned for torque Italian; so I and was pleasantly surprised when its vivacious character shined through on the road, particularly through a frankly impressive midrange surge. It was good enough to make this critic stop focusing on the top-end and just enjoy surfing its torque out of even the tightest hairpins dotting the Alpes Maritimes above France’s Côte d’Azur.
True to its demographic position, MV Agusta always chooses the swankiest spots for press launches, but as impressive as the scenery was, the locale also felt a little douche-centric at times. None of that was my concern during the ride however, as the sexy Italian sweetheart continued to entertain and draw my undivided attention whenever I was in her presence, or better yet, on top of her. And in that happy place, there was honestly precious little about which to complain.
There were a only a couple of brief moments on our guided group ride where I could really get down to business and hustle the MV through a few curves, at speed, and those fleeting moments gave little cause for concern. True to her design brief (and this whole motorcycle type in general), the new Turismo Veloce was happy to let me ride right down to the edges of her tires and then twist her love handle until she screamed for more. The traction control tuning was pleasantly unobtrusive, yet still effective, and the fully-adjustable 43mm Marzocchi fork and Sachs shock -which offer 6.3” and 6.5” of travel, respectively- maintained their ability to damp the bumps and support my considerable load at speed.
Speaking of loads, the Turismo Veloce has a remote rear spring preload adjuster that offers enough range to level the chassis for my girth and riding style. Getting to it can be a little crowded though, thanks to its proximity to the bottom rail of the subframe and the passenger’s 12-volt power outlet, but it was easy enough to adjust from the saddle while stopped (right-hand) as long as it’s gripped from behind. One might expect to find Öhlins at this price point, but MV claims to have had fewer “problems” and warranty issues with the Marzocchi and Sachs components compared to their swanky Swedish competition. I can’t comment on reliability, but I will say that fork stiction was somewhat noticeable from the base Turismo Veloce’s Marzocchi unit, that’s something rarely exhibited by the sliders and seals on an Öhlins fork. Perhaps the fix is as simple as a slick coating for the Marzocchi’s sliders, which really doesn’t seem like too much to ask from a bike of this caliber.
MV is justifiably proud of the electronics suite on their new Turismo Veloce 800. In addition to traction control and selectable ride modes in its bespoke Eldor ECU, and Bosch ABS 9-plus with rear lift mitigation (plus a convenient bar-mounted “ABS-OFF” button), MV has also equipped this alluring machine with two 12V power points for rider and passenger, and a clever pair of 5V USB slots under its rubber steering stem cap. MV’s all-new 5-inch TFT digital dash offers clear data and makes it easy to adjust the large array of modes and settings in its sub-menus, once you’ve mastered the left and right switch clusters, of course. The attractive unit also includes Bluetooth connectivity for phones and intercom systems, and its display remained bright and easy to read in direct-sunlight.
MV used its new second generation MVICS 2.0 (Motor & Vehicle Integrated Control System) which lets the rider select from three presets plus a fourth “custom” maps. “Turismo” mode limits power output to a maximum of 90 hp and helps fuel economy and softens throttle response. “Sport” mode increases power to the maximum of 110, and “Rain” mode limits peak output to 80 hp while also setting TC to its maximum level. The ‘Custom’ mode allows the rider to select various parameters like two levels of peak engine power, hard or soft rev limiter intervention, selectable three-level throttle sensitivity, selectable two-level engine braking, selectable two-level engine response, and of course the eight-level (plus off) traction control.
Another impressive element of electronic tuning is the programming of the Turismo Veloce’s standard quick-shifter, which is a bi-directional (works both up- and down-shifting) unit that feels very intuitive and is not sensitive to varying techniques, unlike some other systems. I could shift this new Sport-Luxury-Utility-Tourer like a race bike, or any other way I wanted, with clutch, without clutch, blipping, not blipping, throttle open, throttle closed, quick, slow or lazy, and it never missed a shift, caused a concern, or acted in an unnatural way. That’s an elusive detail to get right, and MV nailed it.
Picking nits, I would say that although MV has largely and commendably put the F3 platform’s fueling concerns in its past, the tuning of its ride-by-wire throttle did seem a little unnatural, specifically the engine’s torque output in response to movement of the right grip. MV brushed it off as supreme accuracy, claiming that twisting the Turismo Veloce’s right grip X%, results in exactly X% of the engine’s maximum available torque (at that particular rpm). Therefore, with its strong midrange torque and hyper-accurate throttle mapping, they say it could seem non-linear at times for riders with an untrained wrist. Granted, it’s likely that many riders might never notice this peculiar throttle-response, and actual owners would probably subconsciously re-train their wrists to match their Turismo Veloce’s particular throttle responses over time.
My whole point amounts to an assumption that owners of premium motorcycles probably shouldn’t be forced to re-train their wrist for each different bike they own. besides, I’m pretty sure that if MV had just tuned its FI system so that X% of grip twist equaled the exact same percentage of throttle plate position and injector load (absent TC intervention, and regardless of peak power/torque mapping), then it would have automatically felt 100% “natural.” As it sits, MV seems reluctant to admit that with selectable throttle maps (compounded by careful tuning to smooth-out low-rpm responses) their ECU’s low-end throttle damping percentages will still have to “catch-up” with the right grip’s actual position by the time it reaches 100% WFO… and if that catching-up occurs anywhere near their engine’s torque peak, it might feel to the rider like the engine was over-reacting to and/or chasing the rider’s throttle inputs… which I think this one does at times. Perhaps somewhat more than would be ideal for an expensive machine ridden by those blessed with refined senses. It might also make wheelies a very exciting proposition for the few rich guys inclined to commit such atrocities.
The Turismo Veloce’s attractively curvaceous and contrast-stitched seat proved itself to be wide, supportive, and comfortable during our fairly short ¾ day test ride, but its width and the tall nature of the Turismo Veloce’s chassis did make footing a bit challenging for a couple of the shorter editors in our group. All that seat height usually results in an extra-roomy cockpit but, in the TV’s case doesn’t translate into much extra legroom. My 34-in. inseam resulted in sharply-bent knees by “touring” standards, as you can clearly see in the accompanying photos.
The MV’s overall comfort is still excellent however, and much like all the other motorcycles in this sporty/adventure genre, the Turismo Veloce’s riding position does afford excellent visibility, balance, and leverage. Those are all traits that can make almost any motorcycle more fun to ride. That comfy cockpit is capped by an attractive windscreen which can be easily adjusted while underway. Even though that adjustable screen only covers a 2.4-inch spread between its high and low positions, I was never bothered by wind noise or aerodynamic buffeting. Seeing as aerodynamics are a crucial consideration for any long-distance touring machine, MV clearly took the time to nail them for the Turismo Veloce.
Below that sleek adjustable screen, MV has thoughtfully included its supersport-style faired-in headlight system that includes an attractive diamond-shaped LED halo ring that acts as a daytime running light and encircles the full-LED high/low-beam and cornering lights. The effect is beautiful, day or night, and the main beams are coupled with an ambient light sensor that switches them on automatically when needed. A nighttime bonus ride which I snuck and video’d while the other journalists were tucked safely inside the hotel, revealed the lighting system works especially well on low-beam where its pure blue/white color temperature did a great job exposing surface and roadside details in high-contrast. The high-beam also performed well but seemed to lack the eyeball pleasing drama of the low beam. One can only assume the full LED tail light did its job effectively.
Don’t be fooled by the Turismo Veloce’s fairly modest 110-horse peak power rating or its almost pedestrian sounding 143-mph top speed. The layout of its chassis and ergonomics strike that same magic balance between comfort and handling as other upright-seated, wide-barred, and properly suspended sport/adventure themed bikes, and I’ve always said splitting the difference between the lithe 58-hp Versys 650 LT and the large 130-hp Multistrada 1200S, by using an 800-ish Triple would be the sweet-spot for this type of platform. Now with the new Triumph Tiger 800 XRT, Yamaha FJ-09 and MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 we’ll actually get to find out, and you know that isn’t going to suck!
At this point, I’m leaning in the MV’s direction, if only from visceral and an aesthetic perspectives. It sounds the business, looks like Sophia Loren in her prime, is comfortable, handles well, and MV has made a strong case for its pre-game homework on its first “touring” model. The fact that it’s light and has a modest wheelbase means the new Turismo Veloce 800 will probably have a much sportier feel compared to those other new motorcycles once it meets them head-to-head in an upcoming Motorcycle.com shootout.
If the new Turismo Veloce truly offers the same level of comfort and stability as its competition, but also turns-inside them, accelerates harder, sounds better, and looks much better, then I think a strong case could be made for actually spending all that extra cash to get an MV. What a great time to be a motorcyclist!
|+ Highs ||– Sighs |
|2015 MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 Specifications|
|Engine Type||Three cylinder, 4 stroke, 12 valve|
|Timing System||“D.O.H.C” with hydraulic chain tensioner|
|Displacement||798 cm3 (48.7 cu. in.)|
|Bore x Stroke||79 mm x 54.3 mm|
|Max. Power (claimed)||110 hp at 10.000 rpm|
|Max. Torque (claimed)||61.2 lb-ft. at 8000 rpm|
|Cooling system||Separate liquid and oil radiators|
|Engine Management System||Integrated ignition – injection system. MVICS 2.0 (Motor & Vehicle Integrated Control System) with three injectors.|
|Engine Control Unit||Eldor EM2.0, throttle body full drive by wire Mikuni, pencil-coil with ion-sensing technology, control of detonation and misfire. Torque control with four maps, Traction Control with eight levels of intervention with lean angle sensor|
|Electronic Quick Shift||MV EAS 2.0 (Electronically Assisted Shift)|
|Clutch||Hydraulic clutch, wet multi-disc with slipper clutch|
|Transmission||Cassette style; six speed, constant mesh|
|Alternator||450W at 5000 rpm|
|Wheelbase||1460 mm (57,48 in.)|
|Overall Length||2137 mm (84,13in.)|
|Overall Width||900 mm (35,41 in.)|
|Saddle Height||850 mm (33.46 in.)|
|Min. Ground Clearance||140 mm (5.51 in.)|
|Trail||108 mm (4.25 in.)|
|Dry weight||191 kg (421.1 lbs.)|
|Fuel tank capacity||22 l (5.81 U.S. gal.)|
|Maximum Speed||230 km/h (143 mph)|
|Frame||ALS Steel tubular trellis (MAG welded) with aluminum rear swing arm pivot plates|
|Front Suspension||USD 43mm Marzocchi telescopic hydraulic fork with rebound-compression damping and spring preload external and separate adjustment. 6.3-inches of travel|
|Rear Suspension||Progressive Sachs, single shock absorber with rebound and compression damping and spring preload adjustment; 6.5-inches of travel|
|Swingarm||Single-sided aluminum swingarm|
|Front Brake||Brembo radial-type, with 4 pistons; Double floating 320mm steel rotors|
|Rear Brake||Brembo with 2 piston caliper; Single steel disc with Ø 220 mm dia.|
|ABS||Bosch 9 Plus with RLM (Rear wheel Lift Mitigation)|
|Front Wheel||Material/size Aluminum alloy 3.50” x 17”|
|Rear Wheel||Material/size Aluminum alloy 6.00” x 17”|
|Front Tire||120/70 – ZR 17 M/C (58 W)|
|Rear Tire||190/55 – ZR 17 M/C (75 W)|
|Other||Immobilizer, Bluetooth, cruise control, adjustable windshield|
|Options||Bags* (30 l – 7.92 U.S. gal. each) |