The star of the 2010 EICMA motorcycle show held in Milan this week was undoubtedly the new MV Agusta F3. Though many of the specifics of the new three cylinder 675cc F3 have not been revealed, MV claims it has the smallest motor and the most horsepower (138 bhp) of any middleweight bar the Ducati 848 V-twin. The engine uses a counter-rotating crankshaft (claimed to partially balance the gyroscopic effects of the wheels to make a more nimble machine), and comes with ride-by-wire, traction control and multiple engine power maps – all firsts in the class.
Though the bike might be a bit short on detail, what is clear is that the MV Agusta name remains at the extreme end of capability and it's heart-warming to see it still at the forefront of motorcycle engineering.
MV Agusta was once the best known motorcycle brand in the world, and the pride of Italy. It was the motorcycle upon which Giacomo Agostini, John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Phil Read et al won 17 world MotoGP (then 500cc) riders championships.
In the previous four-stroke era of motorcycle racing, MV Agusta was simply unbeatable - it won 17 consecutive MotoGP (500cc) titles before the two-stroke engine came along, rendering all four-stroke machinery uncompetitive. Its percentage of race starts versus race wins will never be surpassed. Ducati is often likened to being the Ferrari of motorcycles, but MV Agusta has a heritage far more akin to that of the Maranello brand.
In terms of the number of MotoGP riders titles, MV Agusta ceased competing at the end of 1976 yet still has more championship wins (18) than either Honda or Yamaha which have 14 titles apeice. Hence simply hearing the sound of
The frame is similar to its larger brethren in being a mixture of steel tubing lattice and aluminum side plates. It also has a single-sided swingarm with adjustable Sachs suspension unit, while the front forks are adjustable upside down Marzocchis. The brakes employ a Nissin master cylinder and Brembo radial calipers and discs.
That’s as much as we know about the specifications at this point, but you don’t need to be a Rhodes Scholar to recognize many of the visual elements of its larger stablemate and the evolution of one of the most beautiful and balanced motorcycles ever created. MV has without doubt met its obligations in maintaining the style, technology and tradition of the brand in the new F3.
MV is apparently shooting for a price in the vicinity of EUR11,500, though how that will translate into showroom prices in countries outside Europe is still to be determined.