MV Agusta’s Superveloce 800 starts with a growl, but pushing the tach to 6,000 rpm in second gear you’ll immediately realize there’s as much bite as bark, the bike sprinting out of hairpins like a predator going for the kill. But such viciousness is tempered by its stunning, elegant aesthetic, with the bold, sweeping lines one expects from a hand-built custom, not a production machine.
That’s because the Italian manufacturer’s new 148 hp model is a contemporary interpretation of 15-time World Champion Giacomo Agostini’s Grand Prix dominators from the 1960s. Under the retro café-racer silhouette lies MV Agusta’s modern F3 800 supersport platform with its 798 cc inline three-cylinder motor. Marzocchi forks and the Sachs shock are devoid of electronics but fully adjustable, while the four-piston monobloc front-brake calipers, biting 320 mm discs, are courtesy of Brembo.
Rider assists include eight-level traction control, an up-and-down quick shifter, cruise control, ABS and three-stage throttle response in Sport, Race and Rain (or create your own custom map). There’s also a new five-inch TFT dash that features navigation mirroring via the MVride app.
The modern technological niceties aren’t just for comfort. They help the Superveloce razor through bends and dance corner to corner as nimbly as a prima ballerina. The ride position, though, is old-school indeed, with your knees enveloped tight into the bodywork—you won’t hang off the bike, as with many of today’s supersport models—and ample weight on the wrists.
But the brilliant, pinpoint chassis helps distract from any discomfort, especially when you’re reveling in the glorious surge of torque launching out of turns. Starting at $20,998, the Superveloce 800 packages state-of-the-art dynamics in stunning ’60s style. From headlight to tank to tail, it simply dares you to look away.