What a great time to be a motorcyclist!
MV Agusta’s Turismo Veloce 800 is the latest adventure-inspired sport touring bike to enter the market, and what a machine it is! If you are in the market for a sport bike that can take you on long trips with comfort you should take a closer look at this bike.
This bike has just arrived at the MV Agusta dealer network in the United States and a couple of weeks ago I took one of these beautiful machines on an extended ride.
This bike represents a major move from MV Agusta. It joins BMW, Ducati, Aprilia, KTM and others at the higher end of the growing adventure inspired sport touring segment. Similar to the S1000XR, the Multistrada DVT, the Caponord and the 1190 Adventure, the Turismo Veloce 800 delivers sport bike performance, it is packed with the latest riding technology, it is put together to deliver ergonomics for comfort travel, and has the luggage capacity for long distance travel.
Lighter and more compact than the other bikes in this segment, the Turismo Veloce opens up the possibilities by delivering great urban manners, excellent handling characteristics, accompanied by the raspy exhaust note of a free-revving three cylinder motor. On this segment, the Turismo Veloce is the least powerful, but likely the most engaging of them all.
Daring to show up with no beak nor double headlights I would argue the Turismo Veloce is also the best looking and sexier motorcycle in this segment, if not beyond. Welcome to what’s new in the motorcycle touring world!
A Touring Motorcycle from MV Agusta, you said?
This bike’s DNA makes the Turismo Veloce somewhat of a surprise entry on the touring world. MV Agusta is known for its racing history, it has more Moto GP Championships than any other manufacturer, all coming from their dominance on race tracks spanning across three decades, from 1952 to 1974.
Despite a few changes in ownership along the years, MV Agusta has remained a sports bike manufacturer and only lately started diversifying its product lines, adding naked bikes, street fighters, and roadsters to line up alongside the F4 and F3 sport bikes.
The Turismo Veloce is the latest and a most radical example of MV Agusta’s product line expansion. Although this bike can be considered an unexpected move from MV Agusta, there is a reasonable explanation for investing on this segment when we consider the increasing popularity of adventure and adventure-styled machines of the last several years. Ducati’s successful venture with the Multistrada is a point in case.
The Turismo Veloce’s motor is a variation on the F3 motor, where the 800 cc three-cylinder motor has been re-worked to prioritize torque over horse power, ridability over race ability. The result is a very docile machine when on touring mode (the bike has three pre-set engine performance maps you can choose from: rain, touring or sport), perfect for a relaxed ride, if you so wish for, which works great for city riding as well – fueling is spot on!
But the power is there, and although 110hp and 62 lb-ft of torque may be viewed as small numbers when compared to the Multistrada DVT and the S1000XR, the Turismo Veloce has a sport map where you will experience a nice rush of power, especially felt at the mid-range of the torque curve.
It happens to deliver power where we spend most of the time when in spirited riding, when having fun still at reasonable speeds. Unless you are racing for a prize, I bet the BMW and Ducati bikes won’t be able to shake this MV Agusta down on street and canyon riding. Add to this equation this bike’s lighter weight (when compared to the BMW and the Ducati), riding this bike is quite an engaging experience.
Aside from the F3 motor and MV Agusta’s racing history, the Turismo Veloce’s DNA is clearly shown in its looks as well. The cornerstone of MV Agusta’s latest incarnation as a motorcycle manufacturer was the F4 machine, designed by the late Massimo Tamburini (Cagiva Research Center – CRC- chief designer) and launched in 1997. The F4 design was worth of making that motorcycle the center piece of the Guggenheim museum’s “The Art of the Motorcycle” exhibit.
It is not surprising the Turismo Veloce is one of the most beautiful adventure-inspired touring machines out there. You can see in it the F4’s shape with its flowing lines, the diamond shaped headlight, and in the case of the red version, the juxtaposition of red and silver. Just like in the original F4.
Although the Turismo Veloce is an Adrian Morton design, current senior designer at the CRC, this bike makes it clear Massimo Tamburini’s influence is still alive at the CRC. Overall, this bike makes sense under MV Agusta’s “Motorcycle Art” moto.
Selected Technical Data
The Turismo Veloce 800 comes in two models, Turismo Veloce (Red/Silver or Silver/Gray) and Turismo Veloce Lusso (Red/Silver or Pearl White/Gray). I have only seen and tested the standard version. Main difference between the two is in the suspension. The Lusso comes with a Sachs semi-active suspension, while the version I tested has Marzochi fronts and Sachs rear, both manually, but fully adjustable.
Other differences between the standard and the Lusso versions are accessories, such as grip warmers, GPS, center stand and a data logger which are standard equipment on the Lusso.
Although the bike was partly designed to look good and slim with bags, you need to purchase the bags separately.
Some key numbers:
- Displacement: 798 cc
- Power: 110 hp at 10,000 rpm
- Torque: 61.2 lb-ft at 8,000 rpm
- Electronic quick-shift (assisted shift): MV EAS 2.0
- Wheelbase: 57.48 inches
- Maximum speed: 143 mph (230kmh)
- Dry weight: 421 pounds (191 kg)
- Fuel tank capacity: 5.8 gallons (22 liters)
- Front Suspension (standard model): Marzocchi “upside down” telescopic hydraulic fork with rebound-compression damping and spring preload external and separate adjustment. Fork travel: 6.3 inches.
- Rear Suspension (standard model): Progressive Sachs, single shock, absorber with rebound and compression, damping and spring preload adjustment. Wheel travel: 6.5 inches.
- ABS System: Bosch 9 Plus with RLM (Rear wheel Lift-up Mitigation)
The ABS system is the Bosch 9 Plus, with rear wheel lift up mitigation (RLM). It is not clear whether this version of the Bosch 9 Plus offers the motorcycle stability control (MSC) which comes on the 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure and newer models, 2015 Ducati Multistrada, and BMW 2016 S1000XR.
Up Close and Personal
When I arrived at the Bellevue MV Agusta shop, in the Seattle area, the bike was sitting outside the store, the bright MV Agusta red shining under the sun light. First impression, it looks even better in the metal than on photographs. Second impression, it is a compact machine! Third impression, after throwing a leg over it you will notice it is tall but feels very light on side to side balancing – for a reference, with a 30 inch inseam I’m not flat-footing the bike on both legs, but did not feel the need for that at any time during my ride which included stop-and-go traffic, stops for photos, one stop for gas, and a few u-turns on tight roads for a good measure.
The bike has a nice color TFT display with operation information and several settings to chose from.
From a switch on the left side of the handlebars you control the settings. On the bottom of the display, from left to right you have:
- Settings menu: This is where you work on general settings. Among them you will find the quick shift settings, which has an “off” or “on” position, and when “on” you can select active when changing gears up only or active for both up and down.
- Grip warmer (Lusso model only)
- Suspension settings: Operates semi-active suspension, available on the Lusso model only – looking at the bike’s manual, it is similar to other bikes with Sachs semi-active suspension.
- ABS: Two positions, on or off. It can also be operated from a switch on the right side of the handle bars.
- Traction control: Eight levels of intervention.
- Trip information: Trip counter 1 and 2, odometer from start, odometer with reserve fuel, average speed, duration of the ride. Comment: It is interesting to note this bike does not show miles to empty or any fuel consumption data – perhaps something that is only available on the Lusso model’s data logger – the bike does have a fuel level gauge the amber light for reserve, and a trip meter starting from zero when the reserve light comes on.
- Map: Selection of engine map. Rain, Touring, Sport or Custom. Custom being the one map you customize for your riding style. Custom includes gas sensitivity (normal low high), engine torque (full power or low power), engine brake (normal or low), engine response (fast or slow), RPM limiter (soft or hard). Maps operate independently of ABS and Traction Control levels. Comment: I do not know what levels of each of these variables are pre-set for the rain, touring and sport maps. I assume sport modes has all the goodies on (high gas sensitivity, fast engine response, full power, normal engine braking, hard RPM limiter) .
- speed limiter (I did not try this function…)
- cruise control: It’s operation is very intuitive, with levels of speed +/- settings, or it is also operated by a button on the right side of the handlebars which is basically a one touch operation, adjusting it for the speed you are riding at the time of engagement.
- bluetooth (I did not test the bluetooth function)
- data logger: This is a GPS data logging, Lusso only. According to the manual, this function enables data logging from the GPS navigation system and from bike’s sensors. Comment: I do not have the list of information the data logger collects and displays nor whether it can or not be downloaded to devices via bluetooth.
Wen pressing the button on the top, you can maneuver left and right the items on the bottom part of the menu. For example, I set traction control to level 4. On the photo below we can’t read the numbers, but it goes from “off” on the left to level 8 (most interference). And most of the settings can be done on the fly, no need to stop the motorcycle. Although I would recommend stopping and setting it up before you get going.
You can also work on your settings via a smart phone app which will communicate to the motorcycle via bluetooth. I downloaded the app to my IPhone to learn more about it via a demo mode. You can set the engine configuration for the custom map (custom tuning of all the settings) and on the Lusso, with its semi-active suspension, you can work on the suspension settings. You can also log your trips via the app.
I tried the custom tuning demo but somehow it did no come up on my demo version. The suspension setting worked though and in a short time I was able to play with some settings.
It allows you to work on rebound and compression, for front and rear, and allows you to save various settings for future use. You can pre-program several suspension settings, and save them for specific use (the standard names below are eclick 1, 2, 3… etc and you can rename each of them for your specific set up purpose – passenger, urban, race).
On rebound you can set it by changing stiffness (soft, medium and hard) or stroke speed (slow, medium, fast). Same for compression. And you can do it for front and rear, of course. After you set up several different settings, with this app you can change them very quickly, allowing you to experiment with several variations of rebound and compression and finding which setting works best for you for any given type of riding.
As mentioned before, the app will also log your trips.
It will show a map of where your ride took place, and you can zoom in and out of it and move it around by swiping on your phone’s screen. You will also be able to review speed, roll angle, and throttle levels. You can also log the photos of your trip, making it into a complete trip report.
It is a very neat application and considering the bike’s bluetooth communication system, its various sensors and computer(s), one can assume this app can be modified as things evolve, other apps can be developed for this bike by independent developers, new variables could be included. It’s a fun new world.
Back to analog controls, on the right side you will find the other controls. It is great that this bike has a handlebar on/off switch for ABS. Same for cruise control, which is also very easy to operate.
In summary for managing settings, this bike offers several entry points for different items. In the case of ABS, you can do it via a switch on the right side of the handlebars or via the button on the left that operates the settings menu in the dashboard screen. And for suspension and engine map, you use the phone app or the settings menu on the dashboard screen. Both the settings and the phone app seem to need a bit of an improvement, though. With all of these electronics, I did not find any information that would show miles to empty for example. The phone app’s engine settings were not working on the demo version of my app, and it seems to have some lost in translation items, that are probably working or better explained on the non-demo version. You can download it and check it for yourself.
Back to the motorcycle, the mirrors are small but their shape and position offer great rear view.
The seat, while it looks slim, is very comfortable. How did they do that? More than one hour into the ride I remembered to check for comfort, and I have no complaints about it. Not sure whether a passenger would enjoy the rear seat though.
Some bikes seem to have bags which look like they were an after thought. This is not the case for the Turismo Veloce. The capacity to carry bags for touring was an intrinsic element of the bike’s design. The rear of the bike is tall and has a unique, and good looking subframe which accommodates the bags. The bags are large (30 liters each) but a portion of them sit under this tall subframe, to where they attach via two insertion points each bag (check the four plastic caps which hide the two insertion points for each bag). The other attachment area for each bag is at the passenger foot peg. The Seattle store had not received this bike’s bags in time for this test ride.
According to others who have already reviewed this bike with its bags installed, the width of the bike at the bags is narrower than the width at the handlebars. It makes for a perfect urban riding machine. We can assume there are other benefits associated with this narrower profile, better fluid dynamics for touring, for example. The bags are symmetrical (no cutout for exhaust) and MV Agusta claims each bag will fit a full face helmet.
I don’t know if you would ever take this motorcycle on a dirt and gravel adventure but if you decide to do it, besides the ABS on/off switch at the handlebars this bike comes equipped with Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires.
And what about those beautiful 12-spoke wheels!
The bike has four sources of power for accessories. It includes two USB plugs below the dashboard.
The other two connectors are SAE style plugs, one for the rider, the other for the passenger, perfect for electric vests.
I almost forgot the lights! It has LED lights, and the frame of the diamond shaped lights are the running lights.
Let’s take it for a ride!
Never ridden an MV Agusta before I was a bit unsure about what to expect and had been waiting for this opportunity since I’ve first heard about this motorcycle. The triple motor sounds similar to my Tiger 800XC motor, but it has an edge to it, a bit raw, it is a lot more inspiring for its sound and in action a lot more engaging for its higher torque and hp when compared to the 800XC motor. Part of the experience about riding this bike, the sound and the power delivery, this is something about this bike that keeps bringing me back to that ride. I’m glad I have it on video for when I feel like listening to it again (eventually I will edit some of the video action for another post).
My plan for this test ride was to find some curvy roads on the west slope of the Cascade Mountains not too far from Seattle on either side of Hwy 90. But I first had to navigate the heavy traffic of this busy area of the state of Washington. I started my ride on the Touring map and while still on stop-and-go traffic I decided to change it to sport. The touring map delivers very linear acceleration, it is perfect for riding in town and I would assume it would work on the road as well. The change to sport mode is very noticeable. The sport map unleashes action on the middle of the RPM range, begging you to stay on the 5K-7K of the RPM range where the motor becomes very responsive to throttle input. I assume the sport map has all the fun engine options on the “on” position (see above for custom map choices).
Unless you are racing or really pushing a motorcycle to its limits, you will want to spend most of the time in the middle of the RPM range, right? At least that’s where I like to stay, riding fast, but with plenty of degrees of safety. And this is a key aspect about this motorcycle: it is extremely fun to ride it at that mid range of its RPM curve! I did not try it faster, so I will not say anything about that. For more information on that, though, I included a few videos on this report where you can see journalists and a couple of professional riders exploring the limits of this bike during its launch in Europe. You will notice that some of those journalists agree with me (well, I agree with them), this bike delivers plenty of excitement at reasonable speeds.
It is clear to me after riding it for almost two hours, this bike is a serious contender for guys looking for a sport touring motorcycle. This could be riders who are looking to move to a more comfortable sports bike, people who want to downsize from their heavy adventure motorcycles after they realized they mostly ride on pavement anyway, or riders who are just starting to discover the fun of multi-day riding.
This bike feels very light on several aspects. The throttle and clutch action feel very light. It feels very light when in motion, very responsive to minor counter steering input, it likes to lean into curves. Its tallness and short wheel base, together with wide handlebars are probably responsible for that feel. It requires attention at greater speeds, but it never turned into a compromise. That is, I say you will probably enjoy a lot more the much it offers on tight curves than what little it may take away from you on long sweeping fast curves.
The acceleration is great, it sounds phenomenal, the quick-shift works great, has a quick turn in, ergos are spot on (for me, at least). This bike delivers plenty of fun at slow and faster speeds.
I did not adjust the suspension, the bike’s default setting was what I used on this ride. Only thing I noticed was a bit of front dive when hard on brakes. I believe this can be fixed by a proper suspension set up. And the Lusso will have that taken care via the Sachs semi-active suspension.
The distance seat-to-pegs felt good, I would have preferred a bit more leg room – but it was not a problem. The handlebars came right up for a perfect sit up position, they felt right where they should be, very similar to my Multistrada, and better than my Tiger 800XC. Now that I think about it, the entire ergos, from leg room (seat-to-peg distance) to position of the pegs, to handlebar position is better in the Turismo Veloce than on my Tiger 800XC. That is surprising considering the 800XC was really meant to be an adventure machine.
There are three issues that I did not like on this bike. The first one is the windshield which was not very helpful for me. Similar to my experience in the BMW 1000XR, having it up or down did not make much difference. I kept it on the lowest position and still got a lot of dirty air right at the helmet level. I have this problem on my Tiger 800XC, used to have it on the Multistrada, solved it by using the Multistrada’s short carbon fiber screen. Not sure how to solve it for the MV Agusta, someone will eventually come up with alternatives that will reduce air turbulence. But this is a personal thing, different riders experience different results from the same level of wind protection.
The second issue was the lack of information regarding fuel consumption. Yes, I’ve become dependent on the miles-to-empty data on other motorcycles. On top of that, the Turismo Veloce does not show instant or average fuel consumption either. The Lusso model has a Data Logger, maybe some of that information is available there. If not I will assume it may eventually be possible to have that information available for this bike via software development. On the other hand, with a 5,8 gallon fuel tank this bike probably has a solid 200 mile range, which ameliorates the issue.
The third issue is the wide turning ratio. I had to do a few u-turns as I was exploring unknown to me roads on this test ride. All of the u-turns where left turns and on all of them I hit the turning lock. On the first one I dabbed my foot on the ground, as it caught me by surprise on a tight one lane road u-turn. After that I learned it was coming and managed the situation better.
None of these three issues would be deal breakers to me. Wind buffeting problems are common for most adventure-styled motorcycles and what doesn’t work for me may work for somebody else – that’s how windshields are for motorcycles. Fuel consumption is something that can be learned after a few tank fill-ups. The turning radius issue was just a question of knowing whereabouts the handlebar stops.
What others say about this bike?
I have collected a few videos about this motorcycle, all from the time it was launched in Nice, France. If you haven’t seen these videos yet I recommend you check them out as they provide great information about the bike.
It’s straight from the adventure bike brief and it’s become instead something brilliant, it’s a comfortable sportbike (…) It’s the smaller Multistrada Ducati isn’t making. Steve Farrell @ Visor Down
I get what Steve Farrell is talking about. The Turismo Veloce reminds me of the Ducati Hyperstrada. Both bikes are similar in ergos, power, torque figures, and weight. The Hyperstrada is a motorcycle I really enjoyed riding, but something was missing from that experience. Ducati kept it pretty much as a motard and simply added bags, fuel capacity, and a small screen. That bike is fun, but in my opinion it needs to mature some more to enter the touring world. This is what the Turismo Veloce offers, a motorcycle package which brings it closer to the Multistrada, but with the riding characteristics, the fun you get on the Hyperstrada.
The layout of its chassis and ergonomics strike that same magic balance between comfort and handling as other upright seated, wide barred and properly suspended sport adventure themed bikes. Sean Alexander, Motorcycle.Com
(…) it sounds the business, looks like Sophia Loren in her prime, is comfortable, handles well, and MV has made a strong case for its pre game homework on this, its first ever Touring model. Sean Alexander, Motorcycle.Com
If the new Turismo Veloce truly offers the same level of comfort and stability as its competition, but also turns inside them, accelerates harder, sounds better, and looks much better, than I think a strong case can be made for actually spending all that extra cash to get an MV. What a great time to be a motorcyclist.” Sean Alexander, Motorcycle.Com
No question, I agree, what a great time to be a motorcyclist! But… Sophia Loren in her prime? That means it has been a long time since an Italian woman has been identified as synonymous for what a beautiful woman should look like. At least we have here a beautiful Italian motorcycle to become one of the next icons of beauty in the moto world.
I have to give MV Agusta thumbs up and thank you for bringing some style to the touring world. Tor Sagen
Right on, Tor. It was about time for and adventure-inspired motorcycle to actually look great. In a certain way, it is a sport motorcycle and without bags it looks a bit like one. Just that it offers a different experience about riding a sports bike. One that I actually enjoy more.
Would I buy it?
Yes, this is a great time to be a motorcyclist, once again, I agree. On the other hand, the more and better options we get, the more difficult it is to select which bike best fits the bill. After riding the Turismo Veloce I can see this bike as a strong candidate to join the others in my shed. And I would go for the Lusso version just because I’ve been enjoying the semi-active suspension in my Multistrada!
There is however a great deal of distance from my house to the closest MV Agusta dealer, in Bellevue, WA (just outside Seattle). That’s 300 miles each way. The next dealer is in Reno, 400+ miles away, or in San Francisco, 500+ miles away. It’s a long haul to get a computer re-flash and do all the services while hoping nothing will go wrong in between.
For now I will enjoy this motorcycle from a distance. Literally. But yes, I can see this motorcycle in my shed, the first one on the line, the favorite for short rides around town, for spirited rides on the special roads I know well, or just for touring around the state. It would not replace the Ducati. I would leave the Multistrada for longer touring trips and for the times when I need a fix of V-twin power delivery and sounds.
The Turismo Veloce would not substitute my Tiger 800XC in its adventure riding job either, as I see them as completely different bikes. Nonetheless I could see taking a Turismo Veloce to Dead Horse, Alaska, do the end of the road through the Arctic Circle, doing hundreds of miles on gravel roads. I don’t think the late Claudio Castiglione had that type of riding in mind when he drafted the plan for this motorcycle. In my case such a ride with this machine would be more for making a point, even if I think it would actually do it reasonably well.
Was this post the first time you’ve heard about this bike?
This bike has not generated the same media hoopla other sport touring bikes have received here in the United States. I don’t even know whether this bike has had an official launch for the United States media or not. If it hasn’t that would be a shame, this motorcycle is an amazing piece of machinery that deserves media attention and exposure to riders who are in the market for a new motorcycle.
I want to thank Bill, Mike, and Brett at the Bellevue Motors store, in Bellevue (Seattle area). I contacted them as soon as I heard this motorcycle would be available in the United States. Bill was my point of contact for organizing a test ride, keeping me appraised on the status of this bike’s arrival. He was was nice to set aside the time for me to have an extended ride on the demo bike. It was great meeting those guys in person, guys who genuinely appreciate motorcycles and talking about bikes. They are all enthusiastic about the Turismo Veloce! Give them a call and take this demo bike for a spin!
This is the official MV Agusta video about the Turismo Veloce. I call this video the “Tiramisu motorcycle”. Tiramisu means “pick me up” or “lift me up” in Italian, the name of the dessert, a reference to the good dose of caffeine in it. The bridge of the song on the video starts with “Lift me up, I’m moving on…” or something like this. The name of the song is “Give our dreams their wings to fly” (thanks for the Shazam app to help me find the song’s name). Yes, this bike is engaging, it tira mi su!
This last video shows the bike being ridden fast on the roads above Nice during its European launch. No music, no words, just the sounds of the machines at work. Enjoy!
The bike depicted on this photo was MV Agusta’s first touring bike in the early 1950’s. So “Turismo” is not a new word on the MV Agusta line up, nor is the Turismo Veloce its first touring bike.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions about my experience riding this bike please send me a note, I will be glad to respond or discuss or add something I may have missed to report about my ride on this bike.
As always, don’t take my word for it. If you are lucky to have an MV Agusta dealer near you, call them and take one of these bikes for a ride. If you can’t resist the purchase after the test ride, don’t blame me. This bike in particular, it may talk to you. It talked to me. My bank account is happy this bike lives 300 miles away.