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MV Agusta F4 750

(Travels with Guido series #270, by Guy ‘Guido’ Allen, December 2020)


Is there anything wrong with an unquenchable thirst for motorcycles?

There’s plenty of evidence that there’s some weird element in the human psyche that drives us beyond the level of simple satisfaction, to an unquenchable thirst, when it comes to the things we love. Like motorcycles.

While one or two members of the family are prone to suggesting that, due to the healthy number of bikes in the shed (18-ish), a court-based intervention order is not out of the question, I keep insisting that this acquisitive behavior is in fact perfectly normal. Over the objections and snorts of derision, muggins tries to point out that there are many more like me out there, and that number would balloon if others thought they could get away with it.

And while such activities could be interpreted as being on the far side of loony, there’s some comfort to be drawn from the fact there are many worse out there.

One bloke I know could single-handedly flood the international historic market for his favourite marque and cause a price crash. Another has a motorcycle for every year he’s been alive – and, believe me, for this gentleman green tomatoes have become a questionable investment. A third has, literally, lost count.

I suspect part of the problem is that, once you start skipping down the path to being a collector (now there’s a loose term), you see it through a totally different prism to that used by an outsider.

For example, at the moment, I’m quietly pondering how to get my hands on a decent MV Agusta F4 750, That’s the original revival model for the brand, launched in 1999.

The pedigree (an essential ingredient for a keeper, if it’s to hold its value) is pretty good. It was designed by none other than Massimo Tamburini who, up to that point, was most famous for what was arguably the world’s most beautiful motorcycle – the Ducati 916.

The F4 wasn’t just a thing of beauty from a distance. If you got up close, and even peeled away the bodywork, you would come across countless little components that showed someone really cared when they put this motorcycle together. Tiny little bespoke details abounded.

As a bonus, MV has a proud racing history and former world champion Giacomo Agostini was more than happy to see his name again associated with the brand. The only thing that could have improved on this would be if the factory had then gone out and won a world superbike championship with it. But that’s a big call, particularly for a firm which at the time seemed to be skating on very thin financial ice.

It was a pretty decent ride, too. You could argue it may not have been quite as quick as some of the Japanese supersport bikes of the day (notably the GSX-R750), but it had nothing to be ashamed of. From a punter’s point of view, it was more than capable and, frankly, a pretty miraculous first effort.

Get on board and you were confronted with a beautifully-crafted layout with a hard-edged sports feel. Definitely no compromises. The four pipes under the tailpiece let out a distinctive yowl, backed up by very respectable performance. Braking was sharp, and the chassis was excellent, with a lot of tuning potential built in.

The catch? Well, at mid-twenties, it wasn’t exactly cheap. And, for some, it also represented a giant leap of faith given this was, despite the historic name, effectively a new manufacturer with an unproven design.

Time has dealt reasonably kindly with them – today it would still be a good ride. However the prices (for the Strada – not the Serie Oro!) have dipped into the mid-teens, which surely can’t last forever, particularly given they are a very functional piece of exotica.

Now, you see? There’s a reasonably cogent argument for buying one and adding it to the fleet. I see it as a single-bike issue, while all the critics see is the full scope of the ‘problem’, namely (now) 18-ish motorcycles. They miss the individual beauty and justification.

It’s a conundrum. To paraphrase actor WC Fields (and an ancient Scottish proverb): Everyone talks about how much I drink. Nobody talks about how thirsty I am.

See our MV Agusta F4 750 profile here

More Travels with Guido columns here



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