The 2016 MV Agusta Turismo Veloce is the best MV Agusta we’ve ever ridden. That might seem strange given it’s a sports tourer when MV has always been a sportsbike company first and foremost, but the Italian brand is going through a transformation at the moment and starting to widen its scope. And despite this being their first attempt at the category, it comes close to being the best tourer on the market, it’s that good.
The Turismo Veloce marks somewhat of a minor milestone for the company as in addition to be the first tourer they’ve developed, it’s also on an all new platform. This isn’t a rehashed Brutale 800 – in fact the brand new Brutale 800 which will be hitting showrooms over the next few weeks actually derives a lot of its new parts – including the reworked 800cc triple – from the Veloce.
For the designers and engineers, this meant a lot of new areas that were somewhat new to the marque – comfort, luggage capacity, reduced fuel consumption and long service intervals. That’s not to say other recent MV Agusta’s don’t share a lot of these traits – it’s just that now these issues are just as important as outright speed and performance for a touring bike.
Believe it or not, the Turismo Veloce was first unveiled back in November 2013 and it’s taken two years to finally reach showrooms. Such delays might be seen as a cause for concern – a troubled development perhaps that results in a below par machine. But According to MV, it was becuase they wanted to ensure this bike was everything it needed to be – a comfortable long range tourer with that characteristic MV Agusta allure – as well as brilliant performance. It was worth the wait becuase they nailed it.
I might sound like I’ve drunk the kool-aid a bit, but it really is an impressive machine. Looking at it in the photographs, I was apprehensive of its appearance at first but in real life it’s beautiful. Perhaps not girl next door pretty, but more catwalk model – very distinct and unique but still very attractive. Where other manufactures are content to put a few flowing lines in, MV Agusta designs everything to the highest percentile. The cutouts on the front fender, the void between the pillion set and subframe, the sculpted rear grab-rail that looks just as pretty as it is functional.
Then there’s the not immediately obvious touches, such as the running light that is an outline of the main headlight, the hand guards with their integrated blinkers and the now famous vertically aligned triple exhaust. It’s a near perfect looking bike save for the awful looking muffler that sits underneath it all. I don’t know if one can make a pretty looking muffler but the units MV Agusta uses looks particularly ugly and boxy and they stick out like the proverbial on an otherwise incredibly good looking bike.
The not so great extends to the dash. While it’s nice that MV Agusta has decided to provide the rider with as much information as possible, it’s a pretty cluttered mess. Frustratingly, it also takes a number of seconds (we counted up to 10) after turning the bike on before it lets you modify any settings – that includes even if you want to simply reset the trip computer. We also found the display slightly lacking in brightness when the intense summer sun was shining directly on it – although switching it from ‘day’ mode to ‘night’ mode helps with that a bit, ironically.
But honestly, these are small quibbles. Turn the key and hit the starter button and you’ll immediately get a huge grin on your face. The machine gun like starter motor shoots into life and a beautiful exhaust growl greets you. The Turismo Veloce sounds as good as it looks. Twist the throttle and you’re met with an immediate yet controlled rush of speed.
On our first ride with the bike in sports mode, we actually found the throttle response a little jarring – even surge like both on and off. It reminded us a bit of the Suzuki GSX-S1000 we rode a few months ago. But unlike the Suzuki, it’s easily rectified. Change the bike from sports to touring mode and instantly it feels like another machine. Touring mode lessens the throttle response and engine braking, but also reduces horsepower to 90 from a peak of 110, which isn’t ideal.
Thankfully, you can fully customise your engine mapping, too. I turned everything up to maximum save for engine braking which I set to low and for my personal preferences it was ideal – a fast, quick responding machine that slows down in a gentlemanly manner. Whoever out there still doesn’t like the prevalence of these electronic packages, take note because we’re now at the stage where a single motorcycle can have multiple personalities based on what you want. It’s win-win.
Like the rest of MV Agusta’s triple cylinder range, the Turismo Veloce is a thoroughly engaging bike to ride. Unlike its fellow stablemates however, this particular engine has been designed for as evenly a distributed power band as possible instead of for outright power and torque. In fact, peak torque is a fairly considerable 20% down on the Brutale 800, but is available at much lower engine speeds. This is due to to redesigned cam profiles, a new piston, new dedicated intake and exhaust system.
You do notice that the bike isn’t as quick as the Brutale or recently released Stradale, but they of course do sit in a different bracket. The Turismo Veloce is by no means slow, it’s just not as blisteringly quick as the other 800’s in MV Agusta’s Range.
Handling wise, it’s another gem. MV Agusta has really sorted things out for its production machines and even on the base model we were riding which uses conventional suspension (and not the semi-active unit that is found on the next model up Lusso), it handles bumps and potholes with ease. It also feels super sharp and unlike many other tourers, leans over into corners incredibly easily. The bars are at the ideal width to provide great swathes of leverage to push through tight turns, and the comparatively short wheelbase of 57.5 inches isn’t far off other bikes with bigger sportsbike credentials.
Even with that shorter wheelbase, the Turismo Veloce feels beautifully planted and stable on long stretches of road. And unlike the Stradale we tested last year, the Turismo Veloce is extremely comfortable and well suited to taller people. Where the Stradale attempted to ensure I’d never have the chance to father children whenever I went hard on the anchors, the Veloce provides ample room to move backwards and forwards on the seat. In fact the whole ergonomics of the bike make it a pleasure to ride. Bars are just wide enough and positioned in a way that leaves you feeling relaxed yet totally in control at the same time. The seat is extremely comfortable and the rider triangle feels spot on.
On the flipside, the seat height has the potential to scare a few people off. At 850 mm, you’re going to need to be fairly tall to feel comfortable scooting around at low speed or when stopped, although the seat is relatively narrow. Another complaint is the rear brake pedal. I like to have my boots on the outside of the pegs which normally isn’t a problem, but the Turismo Veloce’s pedal sits quite close to the bike meaning you’ve either got to have your feet hugging the frame or you need to angle your foot in quite dramatically.
Adding further to its touring credentials, the Turismo Veloce gets a hydraulically controlled clutch which feels so light you could probably pull it in with your pinky finger. It also features a mechanical slipper clutch instead of the electric type as featured on the Stradale. We’re not sure the reason why though as the Stradale’s did a fine job without the additional mechanical weight.
Electronics wise, MV Agusta continues to be near the pointy end of the field with what it offers. As we mentioned before, engine modes are available being sport, touring and rain, as well as the custom option. Some of the parameters that can be customised are the engine torque curve in-line with power output (two levels), rev limiter cut-in point (hard or soft), throttle sensitivity (three levels), engine braking (two levels), engine response (two levels) and of course the traction control (eight levels). ABS can either be on or off. In worsening light, a photodiode switches the the running lights to low-beam
MV Agusta claims that the development and release of the Turismo Veloce was a bold move on their part and that’s a fair claim. Prior to now they’ve only played in the superbike and roadster market with only slightly deviations from either. It shows how much of a purple patch the company is in at the moment that they’ve nailed it so well.