MV Agusta Announces Restructure in Face of Financial Concerns

So it turns out those rumours in the Italian press last month regarding MV Agusta being unable to repay up to €40 million of debt to creditors were at least partially true. Today, MV Agusta has announced a large corporate restructure in order to satisfy the concerns of those creditors and to hopefully turn the company around. The fact that it even got to this stage is alarming, however.

Keep in mind that Mercedes bought a 25% stake in MV Agusta at the end of 2014 – less than two years ago. It seems since then, MV has gone on a debt binge to expand the company rapidly – they just seemed to forget that they would have to repay the interest on that money at some stage in the future. It’s not the first time an Italian company has all the skills to create brilliant motorcycles but perhaps not the financial nous needed to keep the lights on permanently.

The press release below is fairly light on detail and was probably released more to stave of further rumours and keep things positive. Another part of those rumours was that Mercedes would buy out MV Agusta in full – and they may well end up having to in order to keep their original 25% investment safe.

Varese, 22 March 2016 – The MV Agusta brand, and the family heritage which has reestablished its presence internationally, is based on the values of passion, motivation, perfection and ambition. These values have led the company to close 2015 with a turnover of 100 million euro together with an increase of 30% over the previous year.

Our bikes have become the undisputed icons demonstrated with a 30% sales growth rate compared to a 12% market growth. To create improved visibility, content and the greatest potential possible in emerging markets, we have invested more than 15% of the annual turnover in Research & Development, to enter new segments and ensure undisputed excellence in terms of quality and performance standards that fans expect from this
brand.

Without this continual innovation, investment and entrepreneurial passion, the Made in Italy, of which MV Agusta represents the “upper-premium” segment in the two-wheeler market, would not exist. In recent months it has been reported through the press the news regarding the necessary financial needs in MV Agusta to sustain this organic growth.

MV Agusta has decided to hold its ground together with the employees and its creditors by means a composition with creditors proceeding to request continuity that will allow the company to be able to restructure and generate positive growth returns for its stakeholders.

MV Agusta is a company with tremendous potential, as demonstrated by the trend of the last five years, with a growth from 30 to 100 millions of turnover, in the unique unmistakable nature of its products and especially in its reinforced Italian identity. We are currently a company that is continually growing, boasting a strong order book for 2016 and a backorder generated by new models which marks an increase of 42% over the previous year, as well as improved sales of +36% for March 2015.

With the active involvement of all its employees and a reinforced management structure, MV Agusta has already identified the strategy aimed at consolidating and strengthening corporate values, as well as the protection of the company’s stakeholders. We are confident that – overcoming the current situation of financial liquidity – our company will recover and achieve economic results that satisfy the expectations of our employees and our creditors.

2016 MV Agusta Turismo Veloce Review

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.

2016 Mv Agusta Turismo Veloce Review (16)

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.

2016 Mv Agusta Turismo Veloce Review (13)

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.

2016 Mv Agusta Turismo Veloce Review (17)

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.

2016 Mv Agusta Turismo Veloce Review (19)

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.

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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
automatically.

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.

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MV Agusta to Release Six New Bikes in 2016

MV Agusta is currently launching the upgraded Brutale 800 in Spain, but they’re also letting us know what their plans are for 2016. In addition to the beautiful new Brutale 800, a total of five new bikes will make their way from the Varese factory this year – two more nakeds and three sportsbikes. And one of those sportsbikes is the F3 ‘Solarbeam’.

MV Agusta to Release Six New Bikes in 2016

The F3 ‘Solarbeam’ will head into production this year.

The ‘Solarbeam’ was unveiled last September to mark the fact event of Mercedes AMG buying a 25 per cent share of MV Agusta. Today, company president Giovanni Castiglioni confirmed that it will go into production and become the first production bike that will link the German and Italian brands together. Other than the unique (and gorgeous) colour scheme, we don’t know if the F3 Solarbeam will sport any distinct mechanical changes but it’s likely to receive some bespoke additions to justify what will probably be a premium price tag.

Of the other bikes that will definitely come out this year, MV Agusta will update the Dragster 800 to be inline with the new Brutale 800 (that means the latest electronics and a number of engine changes) and similarly, the Brutale 675 will get a mid-life refresh.  That leaves two sportsbikes yet to be disclosed – here’s hoping for an all new F4 Superbike being one of them.

MV Agusta to Release Six New Bikes in 2016

The 2016 Brutale 800, the prettiest naked on the market?

 

Updated 2016 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Looks Even More Gorgeous

In our humble opinion, MV Agusta currently offers some of the most attractive motorcycles on the market today, and a ‘leaked’ video of next years Brutale 800 shows that the Italian company has made some tweaks to the machine that turn the appeal up to 11. Not that the Brutale needed it, but we’re not complaining.

Aside from some tweaks around the front of the bike, the biggest modification is to the tail section which now has a void similar to the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce. The whole bike looks more aggressive and seems to take some cues from the Dragster.

We’re not expecting any major mechanical changes, as MV Agusta has stated it is now swinging its focus back to its four cylinder engine for the next few years, but there may be a few minor enhancements – if anything to maintain emission regulations.

Source: Moto.it

What Does the Volkswagen Emissions Saga Mean for Ducati?

The biggest story in the auto industry for many years that has been saturating the news over the last few days is how Volkswagen has admitted to cheating on emissions testing in the United States, potentially involving up to 11 million vehicles. So what effect may this have on Ducati which is owned by Audi under the Volkswagen Group umbrella?

Audi purchased Ducati only a few years ago for approximately $1.12 billion. That was a rather huge sum of money for a manufacturer that at the time only sold 40,000 motorcycles (last year it sold a record 45,100) which points to the fact that the purchase by Audi had nothing to do with profits, it was prestige – prestige in being able to own one of the most desirable motorcycle brands today.

The purchase was driven by then CEO Ferdinand Piech who had long desired to include a motorcycle arm underneath the VW Group’s banner. In fact, Piech is said to have turned down an opportunity to buy Ducati back in 1985 for what he described as “peanuts.” Piech was ousted from the company earlier this year by rivals on the board.

“The Ducati purchase is driven by VW’s passion for nameplates rather than industrial or financial logic,” stated Credit Suisse analyst Arndt Ellinghorst to Reuters in an interview at the time of the purchase in 2012. “It’s an unnecessary sideshow to VW’s main challenges.”

And this is where it might get interesting. In all the hullabaloo of what Volkswagen has done have been a wide range of analysts taking a guess at what the outcome will be. Fines upwards of $18 billion, the exit of the company from the US market, mass layoffs and even the bankrupting of the company once lawsuits commence are all theories put forward.

There’s about zero chance of the company going under. Given how much money the German government handed out to Greece and other nations to keep the European Union from imploding, there’s no way they wouldn’t do the same to keep one of their largest companies and employers in business – and that’s if it even comes to that.

But what this could all mean is that the new CEO and board members of the Volkswagen Group may decide that Ducati is nothing but an unnecessary distraction at a time when the brand will have a huge amount of work to do in rebuilding consumer confidence and more importantly rebuilding sales in their core market – selling cars. It’s currently tipped that Porsche brand chief Matthias Mueller will take over the reigns at the company along with a nearly entirely new board.

Should Ducati be sold, what will happen? Probably not a great deal. It’s well known that Mercedes Benz were very keen on Ducati as well until VW pulled the carpet out from underneath them. Despite Mercedes Benz since buying into fellow Italian brand MV Agusta, the company may still be interested in adding it to their stable. It’s just as likely though that a cashed up buyer from China or India would love to get their hands on such a prestigious brand too. But even if this does occur, it’s likely that Ducati will continue on as it always has – making a limited amount of motorcycles that everyone wants to ride and just doing things as they see fit.

Possibly the worst outcome may be a private equity firm buying them up which is what happened to Dainese late last year. And while so far Dainese seems to continue to operate as it was, we’re not sure that a brand with a quirky history like Ducati wouldn’t lose some of its desire should it be squeezed for all its worth such as what has happened in recent years to Formula 1. Only time and the desire of those wishing to punish Volkswagen as much as possible will tell what will eventuate.

 

MV Agusta F3 RC but not as we Hoped

As was reported just a few weeks ago, rumors were circulating that MV Agusta was preparing to release an RC version of their F3 in both 675cc and 800cc guise. Sitting under the Reparto Corse name, we were hoping to see high end and lightweight supersport machines for a category that has been neglected by manufacturers for the last few years while they refocus again on liter bikes.

Today, MV Agusta has announced a limited edition run of the F3 RC, available in either engine configuration but disappointingly it’s really just a branding exercise. Only 350 of the bikes will be produced and the only differences they will have over the standard F3 bikes are race livery and some minor cosmetic changes.

Those cosmetic changes amount to some blanking plates for when you remove the mirrors and pillion pegs for the track, some levers and rearsets from Ergal, a nice tail tidy as well as a fancy looking single sided rearstand that will probably raise the price of the bike by $500 alone. Oh, and you get a pretty plate certifying the bikes authenticity that is signed by MV Agusta president Giovanni Castiglioni.

Pricing for the F3 675 RC is €15,600 plus dealer charges and the F3 800 RC is €17,210 less what the dealer stings you with. That’s a massive premium over the standard models of  €12,700 and €13,999 respectively for what amounts to a custom paint job, but they do look very pretty… No word on international pricing but we’re assuming that the 350 bikes will be released in various markets worldwide.

 

 

2015 MV Agusta Stradale 800 Review

The holy grail for many motorcycle riders is to have a bike with both performance and practicality, something that can put a smile across even the most jaded of faces while remaining comfortable. Enter the MV Agusta Stradale 800, a first for the Italian company who up until now has produced only either dedicated sportsbikes or nakeds. And while the Stradale 800 is billed as a Sports Tourer, its definitely the former that is the foundation for this machine.

MV Agusta has been on a big expansion of late, releasing the Dragster, Stradale and Turismo Veloce all within a relatively short period of time. And who can blame them? The 798 in-line three cylinder engine that powers its mid-range models is one of the best powerplants currently available. I say that with a bit of bias as I find that engine configuration to be the best for the real world, a perfect combination of power and flexibility. The success, both critical and commercial of three cylinder powered bikes like the Triumph Street Triple and Yamaha MT-09 would seem to indicate a lot of other people agree.

The engine found in the Stradale has been retuned slightly in comparison to the F3 800 and Brutale 800 it has been in used in before. Overall power of the engine has been reduced slightly to 115bhp and torque to 79 Nm but of that, over 80 per cent is available from 2,000 rpm. That translates into an extremely responsive and flexible engine that doesn’t necessitate a lot of gear changes. Not that you wouldn’t want to ring the engine out all the way up to its 12,000 rpm redline – MV Agusta continues to make some of the best sounding motorcycles currently on sale and the Stradale 800 is no different. It’s motorcycle music and well worth a twist of the wrist.

As has come to be expected from MV Agusta, the electronics package is fairly comprehensive. The Stradale 800 uses MV Agusta’s latest system which provides ride by wire throttle, four engine maps (Sport, Normal, Rain and Custom), eight stage traction control, anti-stoppie control and an electronic quick shifter. There’s probably five too many options for traction control but the custom engine mode setting is great. It allows you to modify 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, naturally, traction control. That’s a great deal of control made available to someone to get the bike exactly where they want it.

 

The other highlight is the aforementioned quick shifter. As you’d expect, it allows for clutchless upshifts but this unit also enables clutchless downshifts with automatic throttle blipping. Essentially, this turns to the Stradalde 800 into a semi-automatic motorcycle should you desire to use it that way. All one needs to do is push up or down on the clutch lever while rolling off the throttle and shifts happen automatically. It’s all done electronically but it’s incredibly smooth. In fact, so good is it that it theoretically makes mechanical systems like Honda’s DCT redundant. Why bother with heavy components (and another mechanical feature that may break) when electronics will do the job just as well for a fraction of the price and weight?

It’s all the more impressive because just over a year ago, electronics were MV Agusta’s Achilles’ heel. While the F3 and Brutale bikes were great, they suffered from some awful throttle response and fuel mapping. That’s firmly in the past now as the Stradale 800 proved fantastic to ride. Even at low rpm in first gear, acceleration was predictable and linear and coming off the ride-by-wire throttle was just as good.

The quality of the engine is carried over to the rest of the bike. Despite essentially being a mass produced motorcycle, you could quite easily describe the MV Agustra Stradale 800 as bespoke in its quality. The fit and finish is exemplary – everything about the bike screams class. The switch gear feels expensive and the entire bike has been designed with aesthetic purpose. Even without the saddlebags fixed to my test bike, the lines and design of the bike are great.

My only complaint is that in at least one respect, form has won out over function. The stylishly sculpted seat looks great, but for reasons which I can only assume are aesthetic there’s a large triangular piece of rubber right where your derriere rests. What it does is prevent you from moving further back in the seat, which really limits your sitting positions. At 6’3″, I was virtually looking over the windshield which resulted in a decent amount of wind buffeting. It also meant that I was wedged right up to the fuel tank. Those planning of having children may want to consider freezing some swimmers before riding this bike – especially under heavy braking.

 

The ergonomics just didn’t work for me from a comfort point of view given my dimensions. It’s also odd given that at 870 mm (34.25 in), the seat isn’t exactly low so you’ll probably need to be approaching 6′ in height to feel comfortable on the bike anyway. There is an aftermarket option which lowers the saddle by 20mm however which will help accommodate a lot more riders.

Ergonomics from a riding perspective however are great. Being over the bars, your leverage is greatly improved and cornering is a breeze. Ironically, due to the wind noise I often found myself going far faster than I realized in corners. But the Stradale 800 handles that with no problem. The suspension is set fairly hard at stock but that’s not really an issue as both the front and rear are fully adjustable.

The quality handling of the bike is no doubt because MV Agusta spent plenty of time in designing the geometry of the frame. They could have quite easily used the dimensions from the Brutale, changed the looks of the bike and called it as sports tourer without anyone really caring. But instead they worked hard on creating a motorcycle they felt would blend touring and sportsbike riding and they’ve largely succeeded. A steering head angle of 25.5°, a 110 mm trail and a 1460 mm wheelbase provide a chassis that is comfortable and compliant when cruising along but more than capable when riding aggressively.

The MV Agusta Stradale 800 is a beautiful motorcycle. It’s a quick and brilliant handling motorcycle and it’s an awesome sounding one too. It could well be the perfect all rounder bike – just see if you can get something done about that piece of rubber on the seat and it would be close to perfect…

With special thanks to MotoSport Gold Coast.

 

2015 MV Agusta Stradale 800 Specifications

EngineThree cylinder, 4 stroke, 12 valve
Capacity798 cc
Power84.5 kW (115 hp) at 11.000 r.p.m.
Torque78.5 Nm (8.0 kgm) at 9.000 r.p.m.
Gear Box6 gears
Front BrakesDouble floating disc with Ø 320 mm
diameter
Rear BrakesSingle steel disc Ø 220 mm
Front SuspensionMarzocchi 43 mm USD telescopic hydraulic fork with rebound-compression damping and spring preload external and separate adjustment, 150 mm travel
Rear SuspensionProgressive Sachs, single shock absorber with
rebound and compression damping and spring
preload adjustment, 150mm travel
Front Tire120/70 - ZR 17 M/C (58 W)
Rear Tire180/55 - ZR 17 M/C (73 W)
Dry Weight181 kg
Tank Capacity16 l (4.23 U.S. gal.)

MV Agusta to Produce RC Editions of F3 675 and 800

MV Agusta looks set to release special editions of its smaller sportsbikes – the three cylinder powered F3 675 and F3 800 which will sit under the Reparto Corse moniker. MV Agusta released their latest special edition superbike – the F4RC – just a few months ago which stands as the Italian company’s homologated motorcycle for entry into WSBK.

The F4RC is a thing of beauty and is also an absolute weapon, producing 212 bhp and weighing only 183kg (dry). It also comes with a raft of special bits, including magnesium alloy cylinder heads, hand-welded frame and carbon fibre panels used throughout.

Currently, MV Agusta riders are second and fourth in the WSBK Supersport championship, though the RC editions of the F3 675 and F3 800 are more about sales than being able to improve results on the track. It’s expected the special editions will be officially released closer to the end of the year.

Other news from MV Agusta is a new range of colours for standard F4 and F4 RR – the former now available in white “ice” and the latter in “aviation” grey and also white “ice”.

Source: Superbike