Between you and me, even though I’m not 70 years old, I do love a good sports tourer. You can piss about all day, hoon your tits off and still arrive at your destination with your wrists and bum cheeks intact. The problem is though, even the sportiest of sports tourers aren’t really sharp enough, so when the invite came through to test out the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS which is said to accelerate almost as quickly as a World Superbike, I couldn’t wait to get my mits on one…
With a price tag of Rs 17 lakh (excl. Indian taxes and duties), you’d like to think that the Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS is packing some serious punch in the tech department – and thankfully the Italian brand haven’t disappointed. The big hitter on offer here is the clutch, which will leave your left hand free to flick people off as you effortlessly hit 100kmph in an impressive 3.15 seconds. Sounds weird, right? Well this is all thanks to the SCS, or Smooth Clutch System, which means you don’t have to touch the clutch lever whatsoever, whether stopping, starting or manoeuvring at slow speeds, although the lever is still there for the purpose of popping minging wheelies – or something like that. Don’t mix the SCS up with the weighty DCT or un-sporty CVT styles you’ve seen before though, as it’s essentially a standard manual gearbox with an automatic Rekluse clutch, which engages in gear as the engine revs, and is then electronically controlled via the ECU to balance the amount of clutch slip to how much gas you’re giving.
“Throw that combo into the same gorgeous chassis from the previous Turismo Veloce with some new electronically dampened Sachs suspension, and you’re left with the lightest bike in its sector, with the best power to weight ratio in its class”
So basically, the ECU takes over from your left hand! Clever, eh? And it’s not just the clutch that’s new either, as MV have equipped the same powerplant you’d find in the Brutale 800 (with the same upgraded jazz to meet Euro 4 regs with the same power figures) with new transmission, balance shaft, primary gear set and a load of ECU algorithms for good measure. Throw that combo into the same gorgeous chassis from the previous Turismo Veloce with some new electronically dampened Sachs suspension, and you’re left with the lightest bike in its sector, with the best power to weight ratio in its class. Die hard tourers shouldn’t fret though, as it’s not all sport and no tour; MV has cleverly equipped some slightly lower pegs and higher bars (with heated grips), a 21.5 litre tank, impressively designed 30-litre panniers and a range of engine maps for a smoother ride – if that’s what you fancy.
For our first taste of the Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS, MV let us loose in a parking lot where they’d set out some CBT style cones so we could try the Smart Clutch System at slow speeds. Jumping on, the cockpit felt instantly comfortable and not too high, with a crisp TFT dash giving all the information you need, although things did get a little busy when looking on the go. The controls were well placed and firing up the engine induced that stunning soundtrack before I gave the MV its first real test. It’s a funny old feeling not touching the clutch, and the gearbox flicked effortlessly into first as I doused the power on and drove out, with the refined ride-by-wire throttle making starting and slow speed manoeuvring smoother than Hugh Hefner’s pick-up lines. The real test came with a quick launch though, and to see if the head of R&D’s claim of being able to go from 0-100% with the bike taking care of the rest was true. Not one to turn down such a kinky proposition, I gave the MV a fistful from nothing and closed my eyes as the MV fired off in the smoothest, fastest fashion; a start you could only dream of having while sitting on a starting grid as the algorithms worked like guardian angels, keeping everything from wheelspin to wheelies in check. Sh*t, this really could be the future…
“The word ‘refined’ and MV Agusta don’t always come hand in hand, but the Italians have genuinely pulled of a corker with the Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS”
It wasn’t just the car park where the MV impressed though, as we headed out on the roads to get a true taste of the Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS. Starting off in the ‘touring’ maps to get through city traffic, the peaky motor was instantly levelled, quiet and easy to ride, with the clutchless action and refined shifter making the stop/start process easier than Boothy after a few pints – so much so that I didn’t even touch first gear, just rolling around happily in second. Even the design of the panniers being within the width of the handlebars made life easy, flicking through traffic without the worry of clobbering mirrors everywhere. It didn’t take long for the touring box to be ticked, before we found some open roads to see if it really was an F3 800 under that skin… and it’s safe to say it was. As soon as I flicked it back into ‘Sport’ mode (on the fly, may I add) the engine burst into life, screaming its tits off as I threw gears in return for that gorgeously engineered soundtrack – okay it would’ve been nice to have a little extra punch (and a few hundred more cc) but I didn’t feel cheated, and that 110bhp does enough to keep you entertained, being just as happy pushed hard as it is pottering on a motorway. It’s when we entered the twisties though that the MV really came into its own, with those big ol’ Brembos offering a monumental amount of stopping power and feel, before abusing the gorgeously plush chassis to the point where you really could show up a sportsbike or two. As ever, ground clearance is exceptional and the Semi-active suspension works nicely on the sporty base settings, although if I had one myself, I’d have to bugger about with the mechanical preload slightly for a firmer ride. But no one’s perfect, and the more miles we crunched, the more at home I felt.
The word ‘refined’ and MV Agusta don’t always come hand in hand, but the Italians have genuinely pulled of a corker with the Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS. Okay, it comes in at a fair wad of money, but chances are if you fancy an MV that’s not going to be a worry. After a long day’s riding the seat did leave my ass a little sore, but aside from that, the Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso SCS exceeded my expectations. It’s a sporty machine that you could crunch some miles on, and bloody fast. And once you try a launch on that SCS clutch, you’ll be instantly converted…
Nope, it’s not a spelling mistake! Think of Rekluse as the clutch equivalent of your Brembo brakes, or Ohlins suspension – a company based around one sole element of a machine, for the best, most focused results. The brand was founded in 2002 all the way over in the States, and now 16 years down the line, Rekluse have become a huge brand in the off-road world. Besides starting to do work on the roads with MV Agusta, Rekluse supply a whole host of Motocross teams, including the factory KTM and Husqvarna squads.
Words by Carl Stevens