Published on May 14th, 2017 | by Boris
2017 MV AGUSTA TURISMO VELOCE LUSSO REVIEW – ANGER MANAGED
There is always a sense of occasion when you throw your leg over an MV Agusta. There’s just something about them, a certain, almost-lunatic je ne sais quoi that separates them from other bikes.
I have always been an unashamed fan of the marque, and to this day, I have not seen a higher speed on a motorcycle than I saw on an F4 on a deserted Snowy Mountains Highway some years ago.
Did the early bikes have issues? Sure. But MV has not exactly been sitting on its hands in addressing them.
Do they still have issues? Sure, but not the ones you might think.
Are any of these issues deal-breakers? Not remotely. And certainly not for me.
It’s all part of MV’s ineffable ‘otherness’ – yes, they are motorcycles, but they are somewhat special motorcycles and not at all like other bikes.
Once you ride one, you’ll understand this.
And so to the Turismo Veloce Lusso, the most approachable and utilitarian of the MVs, and hence, one of the best MVs ever made.
The model name translates literally to ‘Touring Fast Luxury’, and you’ll never be able to pronounce it in Italian, so let’s just move on, shall we?
So is it fast? Yes. That 800cc triple is the crowning glory of the bike and one of the most exciting and aurally-pleasing engines ever wedged into a motorcycle. It does not emit an exhaust note. It provides you with a symphony.
And it feels like a much bigger-capacity bike. On paper, the performance offered by the triple is 83Nm (available from 3500rpm) and 115 horsies. In real life, it feels like you’re on something with at least 200 more ccs. It bangs, and it bangs well hard, producing about 15 per cent more torque than the Brutale. Big torque-spread equates to big happy.
MV has spent some quality time getting the ride-by-wire throttle to behave in a holistic and meaningful fashion, and mated it to an excellent up-and-down quickshifter – which is happiest under load like most of them, and blips the throttle for you on downchanges.
To assist you in your endeavours, the Lusso delivers one of the most sophisticated electronic rider-assist thingamies MV has yet offered. Four engine modes, Sport, Touring, Rain and an all-encompassing Custom mode where you can adjust the engine response, throttle sensitivity, engine braking (seriously?), and even apply a rev-limiter. And you can do this through the dash or via the App. You can even connect the bike to as many as nine Bluetooth devices and see it all displayed on the dash. So those of you who take phonecalls while riding, dictate legal precedents, or enjoy floating in the iCloud, are sorted.
Does it tour? Of course it does. The Lusso iteration comes with panniers the same width as your handlebars to facilitate lane-splitting, and it carries gear, apparently a prerequisite for a ‘touring’ motorcycle in these modern times. It’s also relatively smooth at touring speed (110-140), another ‘must-have’ for a bike to be considered a competent tourer. I know this because I have toured extensively on an early F4, and while that monster was a lot of things (great, mental and terrifying all at the same time), it certainly wasn’t as soothing as the Veloce.
I liked the manually adjustable screen, which did its job in lessening the onslaught of the wind, but I did find the seat less than ideal for long hours. It’s a narrow arse-cupping jobbie that is firm and supportive, but tends to restrict arse-wriggling when you’re droning along the freeway. I found myself standing on the pegs from time to time, but since the Lusso provides genuine stand-up ergos, this is not a bad thing. Snake-hipped trend-setters will have no issue, but if you’re up a dress-size or two from your ideal fighting weight, I’m just letting you know you might wanna rethink that lapsed gym membership. And it’s kinda tall at 850mm. So you might wanna work on those hamstrings. You’ll need them to co-operate each time you go to throw your leg over it and not have your knee-cap brutalised by the rear of the bike. Or you can climb onto it like a horse, using the footpeg as a stirrup. Just mind you don’t snag your dress.
The luxury aspect? I’m thinking MV considers ‘luxury’ to be an abstract concept. And rightly so. Luxury is a concept better suited to and defined by furniture and hotels than by angry motorcycles.
So you get heated handlebar grips, cruise control, a bigger TFT dash, LED lights, panniers, a centrestand, and electronically-controlled suspension on the Lusso. This makes it $3000 more expensive ($23,499) than the standard Veloce ($20,449), and is really a no-brainer. I’d spend the extra three kay without a thought.
Like all MVs, the Lusso has to be properly set-up in the suspension department. Failure to do this will leave you scratching your head and wondering what all the fuss is. Set it up right, and your MV will astonish you.
The Lusso comes with Sachs electronic suspension which can be adjusted by that free App I mentioned. It allows you to fiddle easily with the damping and pre-load, and if you have no idea what you’re doing, you’ll be able to screw your suspension up so completely, drunks on Harleys will round you up in corners.
Or you’ll get it right and your Lusso will delight you.
I rode both the Lusso and standard version with David Song the day Nick Edards was shooting the pictures, and the difference between the two is quite remarkable. The Lusso just felt more planted and precise than the standard version, and I hadn’t even started to screw around with the App yet.
And so to scratching. After all, you’re not planning on buying an MV to sieve smashed avocado through your girl-beard, are you?
MVs have always been pro-level riders’ bikes. They reward the skilled and dedicated and laugh at the hesitant and unsure. Which is another reason I admire the marque’s dedication to rider-purity so much.
The triangulated steel frame comes off the Stradale, but has revised steering geometry with one extra degree of rake, and the triple clamps have been offset by 30mm. The swingarm pivot has also been lowered six millimetres, which ensures the rear suspension behaves more neutrally to chain-pull. But this is only something you’ll care about when you’re balls-deep in a three-bastard corner with your manhood at stake.
It does not tip into bends with the lightswitch aplomb of a great sportbike. And it shouldn’t. It’s not a sportsbike. But it is certainly eager and competent in the twisty stuff. I defy you to ride it in anger and then not tell yourself just how much faster you could have gone if only you’d been braver. It is most certainly a hugely rewarding bike to punch hard on. And don’t diss the Pirelli Scorpion Trail tyres. You probably won’t see a metre of dirt on the Lusso unless you get lost, but the hoops work just fine on the road.
I’m not sure there’s a better-handling bike in this class. Big call? Sure. But eminently fair.
So what’s the catch? It’s an MV, you say. There’s got to be a catch. What about the issues?
Firstly, I thought the position of the rear-brake pedal to be too far down. You really have to angle your right-foot down to get at it. I’m not sure this is adjustable and I did check. It’s not a negative, so much as it is a matter of getting used to where it is compared to other bikes. And I’m thinking MV put it in that position just to remind you what its bikes are all about, and that’s MV not being like other bikes.
What I did struggle with was the dash. It is certainly a vision of TFT splendidness. But it is needlessly complex to use. Sure, familiarity would have gone some way to alleviating my angst, but there are better ways of doing multi-function dashes. Yes, I know. Shut-up. It’s an MV.
But there was one other aspect of the dash which made me a little crazy. It has two modes. Night mode and day mode. And seeing as how I am obviously the only reviewer who rode his Lusso at night, I’m here to tell you the daylight dash is so bright, you will die blind and crazy if you try it at night. And changing it to night mode is not easily done on the fly. I found myself on the deserted industrial streets out the back of Eastern Creek after midnight trying to find the night-mode setting for the dash. I struggled because a) I was unfamiliar with where in the menus the dash settings were; b) my retinas had been burned and each time I closed my eyes, pinwheels of light flooded my brain; and c) there was a car full of obvious criminals giving me the stink-eye.
I ended up putting a glove on the dash and riding home to deal with it in a safe and controlled environment. I found the setting and headed back out, but even then the big numbers, which were now the same glaring white as the dash had been in daytime mode, were still pretty damn bright.
Certainly, this could be an aspect of my advanced age. My eyes may just not be as keen to have laser-beam brightness shining into them as they once were. But the dash is very, very bright in either mode. That’s great in the sunlight. It’s like holding your Smartphone up to your face in the dark.
So these were the issues.
Like I said. There’s not a deal-breaker here.
Nor is there one in two-up touring. I do not have any concern for pillion comfort, now, in the past, or in the future. Don’t carry them much. Don’t care about their needs. But I acknowledge some people do. So I asked David to get on the back, and to scream if things got too funky.
David did not scream.
I was concerned by the lumpy bit at the front of the pillion seat, given how men’s plumbing is arranged. But ladies’ plumbing is different. I asked Dave to pretend he was arrayed like a woman, but then he told me that would be weird, so I just noted the lump was there, and having told you about it, I have moved on. If it concerns you, then take your lady with you on the test-ride. I’m sure she’s not as big as David was. But even despite his manly size, the Lusso is so well-balanced and has its weight-distribution so sorted, even compromising it with a pillion didn’t upset it. Most impressive.
The Lusso is a great bike. It is beautifully finished and certainly lives up to its premium aspirational tag in that regard. People will and do admire it because it is an MV Agusta. It remains a product of sheer passion more than one of rational thought. It is, despite its configuration, a quintessential MV Agusta.
It ticks all the boxes it purports to tick in a uniquely MV kinda way. It’s raucous and innate anger has been nurtured and mollified by its electronics. And instead of denaturing the end-package as you might think, it’s actually made it far more rideable.
Brother Silverback, the font of much wisdom, once stated every man must own an MV once in his life so he can understand what primal motorcycling is truly all about. And with the advent of the Lusso, that understanding is now available to more people than ever before.
I think I’m really good with that.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NIC EDARDS OF HALF LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHIC
THANKS TO DAVID WOOJU SONG AND MV AGUSTA AUSTRALIA
You may view the specs and obtain further details HERE