The MV Agusta Turismo Veloce is meant to be the fastest sports tourer out there. Isn’t that what the Millennium Falcon is in a parallel universe?
The Turismo Veloce 800 reminds me of my childhood days; the Hot Wheels collection of Star Wars to be precise. Millennium Falcon; the fictional lightweight freighter was one of my prized possessions back then. A beautiful intergalactic space traveller that could carry 34 passengers along with cargo at lightning speeds. In fact, as per the Star Wars cinematic universe, it’s the fastest ship to jump from one galaxy to another. The MV Agusta that we have with us is very similar. It’s the lightest sports tourer with 109bhp on tap, allowing for the best power-to-weight ratio in its class. It’s tech-laden too, and the best part is that it’s comfortable and can carry you along with your baggage from one continent to the other. Is it the Millennium Falcon of our universe is the question to answer then.
Well, that’s not completely true. MVs are exotic and the Turismo Veloce oozes sex appeal any which way you look at it. It may not seem imposing, but in the flesh, it has a lot of road presence. The headlamp bezel as well as the fairing seems to be carried over from the F4 and that’s no bad thing at all. Remember, it was designed by the legendary Tamburini. Everything from the indicators to the bash plate and even the side stand seems like ‘Motorcycle Art’ as MV claims its superbikes to be. The split seat itself deserves a place of its own in Italian art museums with its multi-layered design. The cavity below the pillion seat is astonishingly beautiful and the rear-end would feel perfectly at home on the Millennium Falcon itself.
The same cannot be said for the instrument cluster though. Thankfully, unlike previous-gen MVs, the Turismo gets a coloured display but the resolution is fairly low. The Settings tab reminded me of the BIOS setup on my dated Windows 7 PC. Quality has improved drastically but it still has a lot of Italian quirks. The switchgear, for example, is fairly complicated to use and takes a lot of time to get used to. But an MV is not about all trickery, is it?
MV has plonked the same three-cylinder powerplant from the Brutale 800 with slightly retuned mapping for touring purposes. It gets the upgraded jazz to meet Euro 4 regs and the power figures are exactly the same too, at 109bhp and 83Nm. You also get a new transmission, counter-rotating crankshaft and a load of ECU algorithms for good measure.
The seat is quite high at 853mm and when combined with the large inseam means it’s difficult for even a 6-footer like me to get both feet flat down on the ground. The rider’s triangle is the most relaxed I’ve witnessed on an MV with slightly rear and lower set pegs and typical, wide handlebar. The bike we rode came with 2018 decals sans the SCS clutch that’s found on the premium, top-of-the-line variants which are acquired only on order as SKDs to India. But let go of the lightweight clutch and the typical MV traits come to the fore.
I began the ride in Sport mode, remembering the fun I’ve had in the past on the Brutale’s saddle. It has enough horses to keep you entertained but the additional 17kg mass makes it slower than its naked counterpart for obvious reasons. Not that MV is cheating you; the Turismo is fast in its own right. The torquey triple develops truckloads of twist in the low revs. But being an MV, the fun starts after 7,000rpm and the insane delivery catapults you into the horizon, before you realise that you’re doing unwarranted speeds. The feeling is not as intense as the Brutale but the Turismo is no slouch. MV claims a 0-100kmph timing of 3.15sec with SCS but with the brilliant quickshifter at your disposal, don’t expect it to be any slower than 3.5sec. And mind you, this is a sports tourer! Not a gut-wrenching, faired supersport like the F3 800. At its full potential, the motor lets out orgasmic sounds through the triple organ pipes, asking you to push it to the limiter. The typical triple whistle is quite similar to the backburner of an aircraft, or even the Millennium Falcon in that case. But the tractability of the triple allows you to cruise in sixth gear with no problems whatsoever, so you don’t really need to push it hard to experience the Thrill of Riding, unlike a Ducati L-twin, for example.
On the flip side, there are prominent vibes after 5,000rpm felt in the seat, which make it an unpleasant experience on a long ride. And considering that this motorcycle is meant for long-distance touring, it is quite questionable. MV’s fuelling ensemble has improved over the years but still isn’t as precise as, say, a Triumph or even the FTR 1200 S that I rode back to back with the Turismo. In Sport mode, it’s very twitchy and there’s a certain lag. The Touring mode does it slightly better but there’s scope for improvement still.
Every sport tourer is set up on the softer side, maybe with the exception of the Ducati Multistradas. But the Turismo stays true to its MV genes.
The counter-rotating crankshaft does wonders to the agility and just like the Brutale, the Turismo too behaves like a Velociraptor from Jurassic World. In fact, it’s so agile that it mandates a steering damper. A lot of brownie points for the wide ‘bar for the added agility. However, it makes for a super twitchy motorcycle at highway speeds, especially in our conditions where there are as many craters and bumps as you’d find on the moon. Add to that the cramped seat and you already have minimal space to move around.
The handling takes a beating though. The stiff setup and short wheelbase lends it a very unpredictable demeanour. The stability is not so impressive especially when you’re pushing the limits, mid-corner. The likes of the Ducati Multistrada 950 and BMW F 750 GS may have spoiled us to the core, but for a MV-badged sports tourer, the Turismo lacks in this department for sure. You win some, you lose some after all.
Collector’s item only?
“We just don’t build motorcycles, we engineer emotions,” says the maker of MV Agusta – Giovanni Castiglioni. Like its brethren, the Turismo too is a piece of art but with an added dose of practicality. It will look great in your basement or even your drawing room but that doesn’t mean you cannot live with it on a daily basis. This is the most ‘practical’ MV Agusta in the market today. It has the characteristics of the F3 800 on which it is based but you can ride to work on one, without needing a subscription to a chiropractor. The engine is a badass and would require an altogether different story for itself. It has enough grunt to take you to the moon and back in the fastest way possible without bottoming out on the craters. The exhaust note has a supercharger-ish whine to it even. However, just like the Millennium Falcon, it costs a fortune. The base variant is priced at Rs 18.99 lakh while MV hasn’t disclosed the prices of the more upmarket Lusso and Lusso SC variants, which are available on order basis only. However, that makes it over six lakh rupees costlier than its closest Italian rival; the Ducati Multistrada 950. But just like my Hot Wheels Millennium Falcon toy, the MV too has a soul. And you cannot put a price tag on that. We could test it for barely a few hours before handing it back to Motoroyale. But I won’t be surprised if I remember the machine 25 years from now, just like my Hot Wheels set.