MV Agusta 800 Turismo 2015 – Review

Well, that’s put the cat amongst the budgies! Acting on the advice of a couple of my old friends I moseyed over to Ed Cosker’s Superbikes in Collington, Herefordshire (Now defunct sadly). I took out MVs’ first bespoke touring bike, the Turismo. I was given the base model. This is less well specified than the flagship Lusso trim. The Lusso boasts semi-active suspension, heated grips, centre-stand, sat-nav, etc. However the base model still provides some good options.  The controls are very simple and can be changed on the move by the left thumb. The Mapping option is then chosen by double-clicking the starter button with the right thumb. Simple.

The technician advised starting out with ABS and Traction Control on, in Touring mode, so I did. The seat was a tad high for a ‘short-arse’ so I was on my tip toes. Luckily the bike felt so light that this wasn’t as much of a problem as it could have been. Starting off felt a bit vague and clattery until the revs increased. Up to 3000 revs the MV sounded like a bee in a box. Then that gorgeous 800cc triple started singing. And from 5000 – 10000 rpm the song transmogrified into that grin-inducing MV snarl.

Wondering Through Three Counties

I wended my way up through Tenbury Wells and Bewdley to Clee Hill. Here stopping there for a very quick photo shoot. The Turismo is very compact and light in feel to ride. Cornering easily and giving the confidence to chuck it into bends and power out even on bumpy country lanes. The 800cc triple pulls strongly from 3000rpm to the limiter in top gear. However to get the most out of the experience I found it best left in 4th through the bends, only changing up on the longer straights when three-digit speeds are attained in very few seconds.

The suspension was quite firm, but then again this is no adventure bike. Although the riding position is very comfortable and upright the MV technician said it can easily kept up with the MV F3s and even the F4s on England’s byways. Here top speed isn’t everything. Although I’m tall in the saddle there was absolutely no turbulence at head height, although my chest did get a bit buffeted.

A Few Niggles

Not everything was perfect: The rear brake was pretty much non-existent and the front end dived quite a way under hard braking; I found it noisy at very low revs and will need a lowering kit for my next time out. The comprehensive instrument panel seemed a bit cluttered at first but soon became clearer with use – the digital rev counter wraps nicely around the numerical speedo in the middle: gear position and fuel indicator above, computer options below. All available at one glance.

Comes Alive

At Clee Hill I changed the Mapping option to Sport (the Rain and Custom maps weren’t relevant at this point). Now I’m a boring touring kind of rider.  I have never owned a sports bike in my life. Despite this somehow I much preferred the Turismo in Sport mode. It might be that I was getting used to the bike, but the ride back via Ludlow, Leominster and Bromyard was such fun.

The exquisite sound, great acceleration and perfect handling create an impressive package. Add the slightly radical looks and I must admit that my first liaison with an Italian bike made a very good impression. I’ve arranged to return to Collington next year with co-tester Debs to try out a lowered Lusso. I did straddle one lowered by 25mm but it was still too tall – there is a 40mm lowering option that might help a bit.

The Other Options

So as for what the MV is up against: I still need a run on a friend’s Thumper’s BMW R1200GS to see what a properly working Beemer gearbox feels like, as otherwise the big GS I tested recently was impressive. And it would be rude not to book a test ride on a Ducati some time. It is interesting to note that somehow my personal favourite bikes after a season of test riding are all triples: The Triumph 800 XRx & 1200 Explorer, and now this MV Agusta 800 Turismo.

Words: Steve Iles

Picture: Tony Donnelly