2015 MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800: Mama Mia, That’s a Spicy Italian!

Text: Ken Freund • Photography: Milagro

Many may recall that MV Agusta was repatriated from Harley-Davidson in 2010 by the Castiglioni family. Since then, the reborn niche motorcycle maker has been bringing out some exciting new models, while also trying to expand its market coverage.

MV’s foray into the sport-touring segment with the new Turismo Veloce 800 series is their latest move, and the world press launch was based in gorgeous Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France, between Nice and Monaco. We rode up into the local Maritime Alps on a lovely day and hardly saw a straight section of road the whole time!

Powertrain and Performance

MV’s new Turismo Veloce 800 is propelled by a spunky liquid-cooled 798cc DOHC triple, shared with the company’s other 800cc sport models. However, it’s detuned with different cams, intake and exhaust systems, fuel and ignition mapping, pistons, and compression intended to broaden the torque band by 20 percent and boost mileage. Claimed peak (crankshaft) horsepower is 110 at 10,000 rpm with maximum torque of 61.2 lb-ft arriving at 8,000 revs.

A sophisticated Motor & Vehicle Integrated Control System (MVICS) 2.0 with throttle-by-wire, along with torque control and traction control (rider selectable), is standard fare. Any of four engine maps can be chosen: The Touring setting limits the herd to 90 horses, Sport allows the engine’s full 110 horses to run free, while Rain mapping reins it down to about 80. The Custom setting lets riders select the power delivery, rev limiter style, throttle quickness, and engine braking force. The traction control also offers eight discrete levels.

Hit the starter switch and the engine springs immediately to life, soon easing into a raspy idle. Each of the power modes feels unique, and they can be switched while riding. The torquey triple starts to pull from 2,000 rpm on up with a wide power band. It seems civilized at lower revs, but as the tach climbs it sounds and feels very spirited. On slippery or unfamiliar roads, choosing Rain or Touring modes may help keep the rubber side down. In ideal conditions, switch to Sport mode for an instant and exciting response. 

A hydraulically actuated multi-disc “slipper” wet clutch couples the engine to the transmission. Clutch lever effort is moderate, it’s easy to modulate takeup, and if one downshifts too soon, the slipper function helps prevent rear-wheel lockup. The six-speed gearbox is smooth and quick shifting, and neutral is readily accessed. MV’s Electronically Assisted Shift (EAS) 2.0 enables clutchless gear changes with a push of the handlebar-mounted button at speeds above about 20 mph. Final drive is by O-ring chain.

Chassis and Handling

A tubular steel trellis frame connects to the two-piece aluminum seat subframe and single-sided aluminum swingarm, employing the engine as a stressed member. A fully adjustable 43mm Marzocchi male-slider fork carries out front suspension tasks capably. Out back one will find a lone Sachs shock with a handy remote spring preload adjuster; rebound and compression damping are both adjustable, too. Ride quality is firm and well controlled, without being overly harsh.

The premium TV800 Lusso model will come with electronically adjustable suspension, monitored by MV’s Chassis Stability Control system, and a Sachs fork will replace the standard model’s Marzocchi legs. There will also be standard saddlebags, heated handgrips, and a centerstand, plus Bluetooth-integrated GPS.

Handsome aluminum alloy wheels are fitted with Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires, a 120/70-ZR17 front and wide 190/55-ZR17 at the rear. The Scorp Trails are really street tires with deeper grooves, which should be great on rain-slick roads (but not so great on trails). On dry roads we were able to push them pretty hard with good results.

Strong, consistent braking comes from a pair of four-piston Brembo radial front calipers, which clamp 320mm rotors, while at the rear a two-pot Brembo caliper presses pads onto a 220mm platter. Rear brake lever travel is long and pedal feel is numb. Bosch 9 Plus ABS comes standard, along with rear-wheel lift mitigation. A handlebar-mounted switch lets the rider shut it off, but it works flawlessly; why disable it?

Steering is light and quick with 25 degrees of rake and 4.25 inches of trail. The TV800 turns in nicely in the twisties and tracks well in long, fast corners. The short wheelbase and quick steering, which make the motorcycle feel like a racer in tight bits, also make it somewhat less stable on high-speed straightaways but just slightly.

Features and Ergonomics

Both headlight and tail light use LEDs, and a photocell switches from daytime-running lamps to low-beam headlight automatically. The windshield is manually adjustable with only 2.4 inches of travel. We found the screen to be rather small for a sport-tourer, and a lot of wind gets around it. Riding posture is comfortably upright with the footpegs mounted fairly low. Reach to the hand grips should also be good for the majority of riders. Clutch and brake levers are adjustable, and mirrors are well positioned, but their shape limits views.

Seat height is 33.5 inches, which some folks will find tall, and the padding is thin and firm. A comfort accessory seat is said to be coming. Pillion accommodations are spartan with a thin, compact saddle and high footpegs. An odd lump (for style) in the front of the passenger saddle does nothing for comfort. A tail trunk, larger windscreen, and tankbag are also under development. 

An immobilizer, two 5V USB sockets, and a pair of 12V power outlets are standard. However, the tool kit consists only of two Allen wrenches, and there’s no underseat storage, so the bike better be reliable. Color-matched 30-liter saddlebags (keyed the same as the ignition), which can each hold a full-face helmet, are optional on standard models and included on the Lusso.

A color TFT five-inch instrument cluster contains gas level and coolant temperature bar-graph readouts along the top. Speed is indicated digitally, and there’s a graph-style tach that wraps around it. Fuel economy readouts are only available on the Lusso, but both models should have sufficient range from their 5.8 gallons of fuel. I found it difficult to read all the information, which is displayed in such a small area, especially when riding in harsh sunlight. Standard cruise control holds speed accurately but operates only in sixth gear. 

Final Thoughts

MV Agusta’s new Turismo Veloce 800 is a fun bike that’s nicely finished and built with quality components, but it’s pricey. We rode the standard model, which is available in either Red/Silver or Silver/Avio Grey colors. MV is a relatively small-volume manufacturer, and the MSRP is high at $ 15,998 for the standard Turismo Veloce 800. The upcoming “Lusso” version, available in Pearl White/Avio Grey or Red/Silver, will have an even higher MSRP of $ 17,998.