MV Agusta has had a bit of a bad rep with moto-journalists, who like to have access to whatever they want, whenever they want it. As a tiny company, they haven’t had much in the way of regularly available press bikes, meaning that checking out the latest and greatest (and these things are great!) was difficult to impossible, even for the elite CityBike crew, who generally have all-access passes to anything worth accessing.

That’s about to change. The recent Mercedes-AMG investment, while widely regarded as just a vanity play, means that MV will get to act a little more like a big company. The first step this year was a meet-n-greet at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, where a select group of moto-journos—remember, we’re the elite—would listen to a presentation on MV’s upcoming direction, and then, most importantly, ride.

There was a bit of rain the night before, and a bit in the morning, but by the time we completed the presentation (more new models, very competitive pricing on some bikes to help capture market share, clarification on the parts availability question, and most importantly for us, press bikes!) the track had dried enough for us to head out for some laps.

I rode most of the upright-with-handlebars bikes there: Stradale, Rivale, and several Brutales. I even put in a few laps on an F3. By early afternoon, most of the moto-journos had apparently had their fill, and I had a Brutale 800 Dragster RR all to my self. I’ll admit I had been pretty immune to the early PR on this bike—maybe it was the Dragster name, maybe it was the incessant fawning by everyone over the photos, or maybe I’m just a slow learner. Whatever my malfunction, riding the bike instantly made me Dragster Fan Numero Uno.

Not only is the bike sexy as hell, it’s immensely rideable, and the engine is a real kick in the pants. I eventually had to give it up to a big name writer/rider from a “real” moto mag, but not before I had thoroughly wrung its pretty little neck.

The other highlight of the day was checking out an unfortunately non-running Turismo Veloce 800. If you’ve been paying attention to the last couple issues, you know I really liked Yamaha’s FJ-09, and the Veloce looks to be conceptually similar, but way higher-spec and almost impossibly beautiful by comparison.

MV has done a neat trick with the sidecases, too—they’ve tucked big bags way in, so the bike isn’t too wide, but the cases are still large. I can’t want to get on a running example of this when the newly launched MV Agusta press fleet is up and running later this year.

This story originally appeared in our April 2015 issue, which you can read in all its original high-res glory here.

 

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