Is this the bike that saves MV Agusta?

Italians seem to be pretty happy that MV Agusta is back in Italian hands, “where it belongs” according to Italian motorsport enthusiasts. Sadly, though, while Harley-Davidson gave MV a reprieve from an untimely death, it remains to be seen whether that temporary reprieve turns into a permanent salvation.  Hiring Massimo Bordi, who did fantastic work making Ducati successful, as MV’s new CEO is a good first step, but some of MV’s old problems are still there. Before the Harley purchase, MV produced fantastically expensive bikes in very small numbers.  Reliability problems were an issue, and troublesome one, as MV Agusta dealers were few and far between.  The slightest mechanical problem might keep an MV off the road for weeks or months while some arcane part was produced and shipped from Italy.

2011 MV Agusta F3 Spy Shot
2011 MV Agusta F3 Spy Shot

But that may be changing.  In an interview with the Italian web site Il Solo 24 Ore (Italian), MV’s new owner–or is that re-owner–Claudio Castiglioni, opens up about the bike he hopes will save the company.

Pictured at left is the brand new MV Agusta F3.  According to Castiglione, the F3 is powered by a 675cc triple, just like the Triumph Daytona 675.  This bike will come in a base model, as well as an upgraded “sport” model.

Where things get really interesting is that Castiglioni quotes a base model price of €9,000 ($11,520 at today’s exchange rate), and a price of around €10,500 ($13.440) for the sport edition. The actual price in US terms probably won’t reflect straight exchange rate calculations, however, so, we might see a price of around $10,000 here in the US.  They’re also planning an as yet unnamed Brutale-like model of this bike, which will probably go for somewhere in the vicinity of $9,000, pleasing the fans of naked bikes.

At that price point, the F3 seriously undercuts the $12,995 sticker price for the base model of the Ducati 848, and even puts it in direct competition with the Triumph Daytona’s MSRP of $10,000. With pricing at that level, Castiglioni hopes that MV can sell 10,000 of these bikes next year.

Having said that, it’s still an open question whether MV even has the capacity to produce 10,000 supersports in the next year. If they can–and they can sell them–then MV stands a good chance of not returning to it’s pre-2009 state of slowly running into the ground.

Yamaha V-Max vs Triumph Rocket III

The Yamaha (or Star Motorcycles, as I guess we’re calling that branch of the company now) V-Max has been the archetypal hooligan/power/super cruiser since its debut in October, 1984, at the dealer show in Las Vegas. In 2010, we’re so jaded about “superbikes” and whatnot, that it’s hard to remember sometimes, just what a revolutionary–and frightening–machine that 1985 V-Max was. There were professionals who were frightened of the thing back then.

Many years–and several generations of engine power upgrades–have passed since then, but after a bit of an absence, the V-Max returned in 2009, with the original 1200cc V-4 replaced by a monster 1700cc V-4, with a claimed output of nearly 200HP.

But, Triumph’s response to the V-Max is the 2300cc triple of the Rocket III.  With the largest motorcycle engine in regular production–the Boss Hogs notwithstanding–the Rocket III is no slouch in the musclecruiser category.

Now, Motorcycle USA has tested these two bikes head-to-head. At the end of the test, the difference between the bikes–aside from the much lower price of the Rocket III–really is a tale of the Dyno.

Triumph Rocket III Roadster vs. Yamaha V-Max: The difference is in the Dyno.  Simply choose your preference: torque or horsepower
Triumph Rocket III Roadster vs. Yamaha V-Max: The difference is in the Dyno. Simply choose your preference: torque or horsepower

With its much higher torque and low RPMs, the Rocket has grunt to spare, starting below 1,000RPM.  The V-Max, on the other hand, requires a more sportbikey riding style, dragging the power out of the high-RPM horsepower.  Either way, these bikes have tire-shredding, front-wheel-lifting power to spare.