An Öhlins TTX36 shock handles...
An Öhlins TTX36 shock handles rear suspension chores, with both rebound and compression damping adjustment knobs within easy reach. Footpeg and gearshift/rear brake levers are adjustable for height via eccentrics.
But that noticeable front-end bias seemed more extreme than the 52/48 percent claimed by MV, not only by the way the front wheel felt so totally planted in corners from the usual great feedback from the Öhlins fork, but also by the way the back wheel lifted under the superlative braking delivered from high speed by the Brembo radial monobloc front brakes. Squeezing the adjustable lever to access this brings an immediate response — I’m not sure how easy it would be to gauge this on a wet road surface in the absence of ABS — and totally effective stopping power, to the point that I can’t think of another streetbike that stops as well as the F4RR with its brake package worthy of a Superbike racer. The very effective and sweetly set-up slipper clutch, whose presence is confirmed by the trademark click on the clutch lever when you work it to shift down the gearbox, has a little vestigial engine braking left dialed in. And although its usage of course means you don’t have to blip the throttle on downshifts, it’s hard to resist doing so on the F4RR just to revel in the music from the quartet of square-section exit pipes under the seat, from what has to be the best-sounding engine in the Superbike showroom. Let the music play; this could only be an Italian bike!
The chromoly steel trellis...
The chromoly steel trellis forward section of the hybrid chassis (it bolts to the cast aluminum swingarm pivot section) allows MV Agusta to easily alter the frame for various uses with the same engine, instead of having to design a whole new frame. Note the shaped coolant tube with bleed screw.
That front-end weight bias gives confidence entering a turn, although you soon learn to enhance stability under braking by using the rear brake first, in order to settle the rear and reduce the weight transfer delivered by the aggressive front brake package. Otherwise the MV can become very nervous when hard on the brakes (maybe that’s why the MV surprisingly has a four-piston caliper grabbing the rear disc, whereas most other sportbikes have just a twin- or single-piston caliper). Get it settled down nicely so that the back wheel isn’t waving around, and the F4RR steers beautifully into the apex of a turn on the brakes, although it’s harder work lifting it up again for the exit, and it definitely takes some physical effort to flip it from side to side in a second- or third-gear chicane. This isn’t helped by the fact that those adjustable footrests are rather slippery, with smooth ends that need to be better corrugated for grip.
I rode the MV using default suspension settings from the factory, so it could be that the physical riding style required to get the best out of it on the track could be solved with some adjustments. The now multi-adjustable nature of the chassis geometry, allied with the benchmark Öhlins suspension — which by the way gave good ride quality over the Pirelli test track’s stretch of rough-surfaced road, even though I didn’t start playing with the suspension settings because of time — surely means you could alter this to suit any rider’s tastes. And at simulated road speeds on the Pirelli test track the F4RR paradoxically seems lighter steering and more responsive to changes of direction than the old F4. I can’t wait to get it out in the real world and see for myself if that’s really true.
The F4’s classic organ-pipe...
The F4’s classic organ-pipe exhaust design originated by Massimo Tamburini is retained with just a subtle reshaping by designer Adrian Morton.
Build quality on the new MV Agusta seemed pretty good, at least as well finished off as you’d expect for a bike of this price level, although except for the quad exhaust and the new dash, there are no longer the numerous detail features you’d only ever find on an MV Agusta. It’s more mainstream than it used to be — or maybe we just got used to all the quirky stuff like the single-sided swingarm. The new LCD dash uses italic numerals and script, which look distinctly different in their own way, but frankly the dash is hard to read on the go at any sort of speed because the contrast isn’t high enough, especially in bright daytime conditions; you have to spend too long peering at it even to check what level you’ve got the traction control set at. As on other such streetbike systems from Magneti Marelli, there’s a choice of eight different levels (with 8 the most intrusive and 1 the least, plus you can switch it off), accessed via the twin thumb buttons on the left clip-on. The system is pretty overpowering in the higher numbers (I suppose that’s your solution for riding the MV in the rain) and I ended up using Level 3, and couldn’t feel any telltale hesitation accelerating out of turns, nor any loss of grip.
The combustion chambers of...
The combustion chambers of the F4RR cylinder head are machined instead of cast-in, allowing tighter control of tolerances and volume. Larger titanium valves (all four instead of only titanium intakes in the past; 31.8mm vs. 30mm intake, 26mm vs 25mm exhaust) are set at a true 2-degree radial angle to each other .
Italian-made two-ring forged...
Italian-made two-ring forged pistons use just a single compression ring, and force a compression ratio of 13.4:1 versus the previous 13.2:1 setup. These run in a Nikasil-lined cylinder block made by Mahle that is no wider than the previous block despite the larger bores.
The all-new nitrided crankshaft...
The all-new nitrided crankshaft features a central cam chain drive, and completely reshaped flywheels with more overlap on the crankpins for greater rigidity. Steel connecting rods are likewise all-new, and are longer for reduced side-loading of the pistons at high rpm.
But the real star feature of the F4RR is that stellar new Corsacorta engine’s appetite for revs, which only the class-leading BMW S 1000 RR can really hold a candle to. Having spent half a day lapping Monza on an almost box-stock version of the German bike just three weeks earlier, I had the basis for comparison, and while I’d say the MV certainly feels just as powerful as the much less costly BMW, it isn’t quite as well-rounded an electronic package, and certainly seems less well equipped from that standpoint than the same-priced Aprilia. The MV has no anti-wheelie program, no rain map, no ride-by-wire throttle, and no powershifter, all of which the Aprilia has. The F4RR has better low-end performance and midrange grunt than the Kawasaki ZX-10R against which it seems likely to have comparable top-end performance, but the MV definitely isn’t as agile and nimble in changing direction as the KTM RC8R or Aprilia. But it is indeed undisputedly thrilling to ride, has the best brakes in the business, and possesses that ever so slightly rough-edged appeal that’s one of the characteristic traits of an old-style Italian superbike or supercar, which inevitably always came with stellar styling. And it’s got the MV Agusta badge on the fuel tank — even if they unaccountably forgot to add the tricolore Italian flag alongside it!
The new Corsacorta motor makes MV Agusta a contender again. Thanks, Harley! SR
2012 MV Agusta F4RR Corsacorta
||Liquid-colled, transverse DOHC inline-four
|Bore x Stroke
||78.0 x 58.9mm
||Mikuni fuel injection, 49mm throttle bodies, dual injectors/cyl.
||120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Diable Supercorsa SP
||190/55ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP
||23.5 deg./3.95 in. (100.4mm)
||56.3 in. (1430mm)
||32.7 in. (830mm)
||4.5 gal. (17L)
|Claimed dry weight
||423 lb. (192kg)