It’s hard to explain what I feel right now. I know I’m supposed to tell you everything there is to know about this beautiful MV Agusta with great ease, but my heart and mind are engaged in a bit of a conflict. You see, the money that the Turismo Veloce 800 demands seems exorbitant and unjustified when you look at the spec sheet. But that fist-sized organ in the left of my chest keeps pounding every time I look at the bike. It tells me that a sheet of paper cannot solely define a motorcycle. It’s the feeling it evokes and the overall experience that also matters. And this especially holds true in the case of this wondrous sports-tourer that we sampled on this particularly rainy day.
Dressed to kill
Traditionally, motorcycles with high ground clearances, long-travel suspension and ergonomics that offer globetrotting levels of comfort aren’t designed to look pretty. In most cases, it’s function trumping form, which is why most road-biased sports /adventure tourers look good but not great or exceptional. But then there’s the Turismo Veloce, an Italian diva that threw the rule book out of the window on the way to the sports-touring party.
Just look at it! It seems like MV Agusta’s finest craftsmen got together to meticulously form the lines on the Turismo to come up with a truly distinct design, in this category of motorcycles. There’s an almost poetic flow to the shape of the body panels, like, for instance, the half-fairing and the fuel tank. Another design highlight is the radiator shroud that extends from the bottom of the fairing to the fuel tank, forming an air-channel that’ll probably make an aerodynamicist appreciate it.
I also like the way the diamond-shaped LED headlamp sits neatly in the centre of the fairing, and that the turn indicators double as hand guards on the handlebar. The manually adjustable windscreen (can be raised by 60mm) has also been cleverly integrated so that it sits flush with the rest of the fairing at its lowest point. It’s this cohesiveness in the design that instantly grabs your attention and then when you look at it from the rear, your mind is blown away. This has to be among the most striking subframes I’ve seen on a motorcycle. The stalk-like aluminium frame emerges from the back of the rider’s seat and swoops up to form the base of the pillion’s perch. Finished in a contrasting shade of grey, it truly is a work of art, especially when you look at the way it’s shaped to lend a floating pillion seat effect. I must have spent many minutes just staring at it as well as at the LED tail-lamp. Talk about arresting looks!
But I can’t go further without mentioning the new and improved switchgear, the swanky, but cluttered TFT instrument cluster, the lovely single-sided swingarm, triple-stacked exhaust pipes and the turn indicators mounted on the tyre hugger. This MV Agusta is simply gorgeous and feels so special it wouldn’t look out of place parked next to Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’!
Speaking of special, it’s the familiar and delectable MV Agusta triple-cylinder motor that heightens the appeal of this machine.
Heart of the matter
The Turismo Veloce gets the same engine as the MV Agusta Brutale 800, albeit in a slightly different state of tune. This motor develops 110hp and 83Nm of torque, which seem modest when you consider the fact that some cheaper, street naked motorcycles produce more power at half the price. But as I’ve mentioned, specifications only represent one side of the coin. Flip it, and as you fire up the 798cc inline triple, you are greeted by a sound that instantly sets the mood. You almost immediately get a sense that this motor is up for some fun, a feeling that’s cemented when you gently blip the throttle and watch the revs rapidly rise and fall.
The engine’s state of tune is such that it produces 80 percent of its torque at just 3,800rpm and that translates to a seriously tractable motor. Negotiating Pune’s infamous and haphazard traffic, hence, was easier than I’d thought as the engine is eager to respond to throttle inputs. All you need is a gentle twist to slice past traffic.
The only gripe I had was with the mild stream of hot air being thrown on my feet when the traffic slowed to an absolute crawl, but it wasn’t excessively bothersome.
Out on the highway, the motor comes into its own, letting out a glorious soundtrack as you whack the throttle open and watch the free-revving motor zip to the redline. Honestly, I was having a whale of a time keeping this motor on the boil, satiating the boy racer inside in. Adding a layer of fun to this exercise was the seamless up-and-down quickshifter with an auto blipper that enriches the whole experience.
Seeing how quickly the speeds rise, the 110hp figure doesn’t come across as underwhelming anymore. Yes, it does get slightly buzzy in the pegs and handlebar at certain RPMs but that’s easy to overlook considering the performance on offer. Crucially, when it comes to cruising at a steady pace, the vibes are negligible enough to be of any bother.
The engine’s wide spread of torque allows you to stick to highway speeds at relaxed RPMs and when you decide to turn up the wick, the motor is happy to oblige. It’s this dual nature that makes this MV suited to our riding conditions, and what’s also helpful in this regard is the Veloce’s clever suite of electronics.
Despite the inclement weather, I refrained from choosing the Rain mode and instead stuck to Touring mode as it offered full power without too much electronic intervention. However, besides the lovely engine, what makes me lean harder towards the Turismo is the way it rides.
I can’t really put a finger on one aspect alone. To me it’s the combination of the relaxed ergonomics, feedback-rich trellis chassis, the engine with its counter-rotating crankshaft and the suspension that makes the Turismo Veloce such a sweet motorcycle to ride.
While I was wary about riding this expensive MV over the worst possible roads – a common phenomenon every monsoon – I was surprised to see how well the fully adjustable Marzocchi fork and the Sachs monoshock coped with the punishment. Although the low-speed ride is a tad firm, this is the first MV we’ve ever experienced that does a good job of tackling potholes, letting only the sharpest of bumps filter through. The dynamics remain uncompromised and this bike is such a joy to push hard in the corners.
Despite being seated at a lofty 850mm off the ground and considering the long-travel suspension, I wasn’t expecting the front end to offer crisp feedback, allowing me to hustle the bike around the bends. Sure, it’s no F3 but it feels close to it while inspiring confidence to lean further. The leverage offered by the wide handlebar also made it easy to switch direction, while the Bridgestone Battlax Super Sport tyres offered superb grip in the wet.
The MV Agusta is a scintillating motorcycle to ride, one that can be termed as a sensory treat, be it visual or aural. From the way it looks to the performance and thoroughly engaging handling, the Turismo Veloce is terrific. And the best thing is that it is as much of an everyday motorcycle as it’s a touring machine. However, just remember that it’s not a bike that you’d want to ride off-road.
It is frightfully expensive and I’m not going to tell you that this motorcycle offers ‘value for money’, but that’s the price you pay for exclusivity.
While the debate whether the Turismo Veloce makes sense at Rs 18.99 lakh (ex-showroom, India) continues in my heart and mind, I have only this to say – despite being soaked to the bones, the smile inside my helmet was constant throughout. It’s difficult to put a price on a motorcycle that makes you feel that way, no?