The F4 Mille is not the only fancy Italian playboy that Robin, former Miss Texas and Hawaiian Tropic International Swimsuit Pageant winner, has had the chance to evaluate. She also test the Ducati 999R05 for us.

MV Agusta 2005 F4 1000 -page 2

Twising the Throttle
The stock F4-1000 has already been doing well in 5-bike shootouts in the European magazines against the current crop of 2004 Japanese 1000cc Superbikes, both in the handling and performance departments. What the Mamba Kit addresses is the F4s only significan fault, it's big pasta belly 423 lb dry weight. The Mamba kit with its lighter forged wheels and carbon fibre bodywork susposedly drops the bike down to the 399 lb. contender weight category where it should be, now giving it a marked advantage advsange when comparing it to the Japanese competition.

We also had the opportunity to get in about 30 minutes of saddle time on the special edition F4 1000 Ago which was graciously loaned to us by Italina sportbike owner and enthusiat Cammie Coe, who received the first Ago on the West Coast in November. In our minds the Ago's Red / Silver livery is the only correct color for the MV as it pays historical tribute the original colors of former World Champion Giacomo Agostini's winning MV in-line four grand prix racer from the late 1960's - early 1970's. The Ago gets much of the same carbon fibre bodywork found the Mamba kit, along with the lighter forged Marchesini wheels, and a slight power upgrade and weight reduction with the slip-on Race Silencer Kit at the rear and an EPROM chip upgrade. Priced at just $24,995 the Ago is a bargain compared to the pricier Mamba Kit without the Race Silercer Kit. Unfortuately, all Ago's were pretty much presold, with Cammie having ordered his almost 2 years earlier.

The F4 1000 Ago -talk about a Hollywood trophy wife, the looks alone are worth the price of admission. The red suede leather saddle could makle a girl cream in her jeans.

The F4 Mille (Mille means l000(cc) for those of you who don't know Italian) is a big, top heavy brute when it came to this girl pushing it around on the street for our photos, even in the 15-20 lb.lighter Mamba and Ago versions. Climbing on board is also a difficult proposition as this bike is extreamely tall, even more so than other current open class superbikes .It's akin to getting on a long suspenion dual purpose bike. Once in the saddle myfeet's reach to the ground with a 34' inseam was still on tip toes and the fear of dropping the Italian Stallion was always foremost in my mind.

Once rolling and under power the F4 Mille feels very similar to the iconic Italian bike handling of Tambourini's previous masterpiece, the Ducati 916 Superbike. In fact, it feels and handles very much like the 916 since the F4 was the first bike Tambourini designed after leaving Ducati. Unfortunately, he had to contend with stuffing a much larger, taller, and top heavy inline-four cylinder lump in a space previously occupied by a slender and lower V-twin. As a result the F 4 Mille feels much like a 916, but it is physically taller and much more top heavy with the upright 4 cylinders and their accompanying valve gear.

This is despite the fact the new 1000cc engine design has been lightened internally considerbly with lighter pistons, camshafts and such compared to the initially designed F4 750 to modernize the engine and allow it to rev quicker and higher for even better performance than just a 250cc displacement increase. Hopefully the 750cc version will reap thesame lightening and performance gains of its new big brother in the near future.

The chassis geometry is quick, nimble and precise on the Mille just like Tambourini's 916, but you've got that taller height and all that weight to contend with. On tighter canyon roads like the switchbacks of Latigo or above the Rock Store on Mullholand, the bike is not fun. It is just too tall and bulky and it takes a lot of effort and concentration to manage all that weight and height. Just the week before we had taken a current '04 Honda CBR1000RR down the same roads and the Honda was much more noticeably smaller, lighter and easier to handle.

With those beautiful gold 6-piston Nissin brake calibers hanging off the front of the Ago's beefy Marzocchi 50mm forks I expected some pretty impressing stoping performace, but the brakes on our Ago were nearly unuseable. Each application of the front binders provided almost no stopping power whatsoever, and it would take nearly a full second of dragging the brakes to get them to heat up enough to finally bite, and which point they did do their job very well. Bike owner Cammie warned us of the problem before we took the bike out, and he said different compound pads were on their way from Italy to correct the problem. Typical exotic Italian superbike hassles from never having tested the brake pad compound compatability with the brake rotors used on the Ago. Unfortunately, I wasn't be able to stuff the Ago hard into any corners no knowing when the pads would finally bite.

Both ends of the Ago were extreamly stiff, which is close to how I like by own bike's suspension setup for better control, but with the Mille's mass it did need to be softer . At high speed the suspension felt much better, but it still needed to be dialed in for the street, which requires lots of time and patience and possibly a race track, all of which I didn't have for my ride.

Once the canyons opened up and I got into sweepers above 60 mph/100 kph the Mille feels much better. The top heavy feeling receeds and the bike's sheer bulk helps keep it more stable and secure, together with its very stiff suspension, both front and rear. The Mille above 80 mph now maneuvers more easily like a 600cc class sportbike, but you are still somewaht daunted by being positioned in the seat so so high above the ground. The F4 is very agressive and precise when it comes to picking lines and moving around in a corner, but it is handicaped by its sheer bulk and the rider's height perchedon top of it.

As the pavement opens up and it becomes time to start wicking the power on.... Whoa Daddy! Then you can really appreciate the Ago's big bike power as it explodes down the pavement. The remapped and repipped Ago we spent most of our time on was really scarry strong. Pulling like it was supercharged from about 4,000 rpm and really comming on tap at 7,000. The roads were to tight to get it much above 100 mph anywhere, and the power was just too strong too rev it out hard in any gear. The power is very linear and turbine smooth, but as it rushes above 8,000 you really do need to be on a race track as it becomes very intimidating, very fast.

In comparison to the old MV F4 750, the new 1000 not only has significantly more power, but 50% more torque which makes you very wary at first when it comes to feeding on the gas. But once use to it, the power is much more friendly and useable than the Open class Japanese bikes. The stock '04 Honda CBR1000RR which is the closest in performance, is just dead in the mid drange in comparison. While the R1 Yamaha doesn't start to come on strong until until about 7,000rpm. But that's not to say the Honda and the other jap bikes couldn't be dialed up as well with a full race pipe system and a computer remapp, and for a lot less money. Plus, the latest generationJapanese superbikes are much smaller, lighter bikse, better suited for all around sportbike riding.

The F4-1000's power deliver really impresses for its 164hp, and the lighter Mamaba chassis kit helps to make it shine. For MV customers wanting more power (I can't imagine why!) there will be the Tamburini version of the engine, available in the upcoming Tamburini and Corsa (track only, no lighting) special editions, which bump the power up to 176hp with patented variable length intake stacks and a race tuned exhasut system and matching ECU. Here you'll find an extra kick of top end power coming on around 9,500rpm and pulling you along strongly when the soft rev limiter kicks in at 13,000. I know I'm almost there, enjoying the rush, as the dash shifter light winks at me at 12,500.

And how does the 2005 MV Mille, and in particualar the Ago we spent the most time on, compare to its main Italian rivals the new 2005 Ducati 999 base, S and R models? For design, looks, finish quality and exclusitivity the MV Agusta is the hands down winner. If I owned one I'd park it inside my living room and get off on it twice a day.

But sportbikes are for riding, and beauty for a superbike needs to be more than skin deep. The new Ducati 999s may be crude and raw in comparision, but the Ducati remains in another class by itself when it comes to riding. Nothing compares to the Ducati Testastretta engine's strong, user friendly power. The 999 V-twin power is there instantly at any RPM, easy to contol and ready to pull you through any corner and catapult you onto the next straight. The Mille needs time to spool-up before it scares you with its sheer power. Handling wise, the Ducati remains unmatched as the most functional, confidence inspiring superbike ever built. A bike which you feel directly part of and which anticipates every move for you, whether you are thinking of it or not.

Pierre Treblanch at Ducati had the advantage of taking Tambourini's landmark 916 design (on which the F4 was cast) and Terblanch improved on it further my lowering the seat height for better rider control, comfort and agility, and he increasing the swingarm length for improved stability. While the F4 required Tambourini to comproimise on his masterpiece in order to fit in the bulkier, taller MV engine. Compared to the Ducati, or the new crop of Japanese downsized lightweight superbikes, the F4 Mille's design is 2 generations behind.

That said, the MV Agusta is one of the most beautiful superbike creations on earth. If your a lover, not a fighter, like a lot of exotic bike collectors are, the F4 Mille and its limited edition versions like the Mamba, Ago and future editions will be the showpeice of your collection. Cio baby! XOXOX, Robin.

Underseat quad exhausts, single side swingarm, nice ass..... reminicent of Tamburini's 916 Ducati.

...more MV Agusta F4-1000  Intro Page 1Ride Page 2 Details Page 3

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MV Agusta F4 1000S / 1+1 EQUIPMENT:
Here are some of the changes in terms of equipment in the chassis that differentiate the F4 1000S from the 750cc version
* New handlebar risers / clip-ons.
* Recontoured windscreen.
* Adjustable foot rests.
* Rear quick-release rim.
* Catalyser.
* New Sachs Racing rear shock absorber equipped with hydraulic control of the pre-load spring.

Robin Screensavers
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MV Agusa Website with Bike Models and Descriptions

MV Agusa USA Website

MV F4-1000 Spec Sheet

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MV Dealer, California
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