How does a high performance, triple-cylinder sports-tourer sound with extensive electronics? Enter the Turismo Veloce Lusso, here's our review. Test: Simon Harris, Images: Kris Hodgson
You know MV Agusta – renowned Italian sports and racing motorcycle maker. They are also partaking of the “sports-touring” category. To this end, the 2017 Turismo 800 Lusso provides the canvas for a synthesis of design ideas from MV R&D. Bit quirky? Yup. Shapely and sculpted? Yup. Fast? Yup-yup.
Does it have to be this tall? I guess the answer to that is yes – when you compact the width and length to the limit, there is only vertical left for the squeeze. In many respects, the styling reflects the hybridisation of super-sport sharpness and longer-haul comfort. From some angles, the machine looks to be sitting on the grid, lithe and eager; from others, sculpted and shaped to provide comfort and protection.
Weird, really. Beauty is in your eyes, so if you like it, go see one in the alloy and check the sub-frame that rolls and curls back over itself; the finish on the castings and “MV” logo on virtually all of them; the spider web intricacies of the rear wheel, and the “tri-cannon” exhaust. Love! Poison! Rage! Hope! The bike barks these words to literally all our human senses.
The Turismo’s symphony on the senses continues from visual and emotional to physical and significantly more emotional. The engine reaches out its arms and screams, “Love me! Love me!”, and it’s difficult not to be enthralled. Balance from the 800cc triple is simply perfect.
This engine is absolutely spanking in 110hp configuration. It spins like a turbine – seamless, smooth, relentless but with the forgiveness, warmth, and soft touch of a new mother. It’s just great to ride on – any gear, anywhere, any time. The engine management and fuel injection is just faultless, making the engine drive without any notion of hesitation, over-anticipation or any form of complaint or reluctance; just reflecting what your will and right wrist is doing… like a well-rehearsed dance partner.
For the focused usage of the sports-touring design, the engine specs could not be better as a means of propulsion – 80 per cent-ish of torque 80 per cent-ish of the rev-range is outstanding. That’s a huge proportion of what’s on offer and this motor is a diamond.
A motor alone cannot be everyone’s best friend. Gearbox ratios are there to ensure that the engine always has something in reserve, if needed. And to boot, the up-change and down-change quick-shifter worked extremely well once I eased up on applying extra lever pressure because I thought I had to.
In fact, combining the magic engine characteristics with lazy, toe stretch and touch lever gear-changing can almost make one a bit slovenly, especially on down-shifts. Seriously. But that is also a fundamental characteristic of comfort, and you may have to fight your luxuriating self to enjoy blipping the trio of joy and manually rev-matching.
There is a fair bit of luxury. Up front, your hands grip the ‘bars at a comfortable height and stretch and are comforted all season with hand shrouds and three-level heating. With a squeeze, the screen can be shifted vertically about 50mm up/down, which may prove effective for wind deflection – I found it useful in reducing buffeting.
Your bottom sits on a stylised single-saddle that is contoured and firm enough to make stints of several hours no pinch at all. There is enough space to move up-down and sideways with ease so you can change your pressure points often on longer stints.
Ergonomics are well thought out, and the advantage of a vertical bias allows the pegs to be mounted sport-bike high in terms of ground clearance, while remaining comfortable in relation to seat, torso angle and arm placement. For a pillion’s perspective, my daughter found the perch to be comfortable and the seat to foot-rest distance easy going.
She did think that the stepped height was causing her to crouch a little to hold me or the handrail. Having a pillion got me trying out the dash-selectable suspension, which has four settings. To be perfectly honest, I could not discern a huge difference between them. This not to say that the electronic suspension adjustment does not work – it may require different starting weights and a keener sense for changes than I have.
When riding solo and set to “Rider Only” I found no problem with the suspension operation – adequate spring reaction and well measured damping in the suspension units that provided both compliance and spring control. I opted out from any exploratory suspension adjustment apart from the dash controlled presets thing as everything arrived at settings that felt pretty good.
Electronic wizardry is in unadulterated abundance here (there are many acronyms to explore), however, do we need an “app” for adjusting suspension? I don’t think so and it is not Android friendly so very limiting. Perhaps I am too archaic for this level of sophistication… However, one must appreciate the sense in having selectable engine output maps varying from 80 to 110hp, adjustable ABS and adjustable traction control, not forgetting the ability to tailor these attributes to suit you.
The dash is very busy but manageable, however, the amount of information concurrently displayed is overkill – not that MV is solitary in this regard. Why I felt like stroking the dash screen is perplexing.
The chassis between front and rear end is a steel tube trellis in the main, with alloy intermediary components. Handling is crisp but neutral, except at low speed where “falling-in” occurs. Perhaps neutral is under-expressive – the handling at speed is commendable in terms of line holding, altering line, traversing mid-corner roadwork scars, or testing one’s fear factor in winding it on early.
At the respectable (I promise!) speeds I rode at, the chassis and suspension always had it over me in terms of which was to capitulate first in terms of corner speed – there is excellent stability at lean, and front/rear traction despite the lardy 190-section “trail” tyre.
Personally, I would ditch the stock rubber and go for more road biased rubber as this is where the Lusso’s destiny really is and, on those terms, safer. The double Brembo 320mm disc front brakes are super-sport spec and do the rest of the machine justice in terms of retardation.
The Turismo reveals a blistering three-pot motor with wonderful electronic management. Its kept off the ground by a taught and almost endlessly stylish chassis with first-class brakes and an abundance of electronic magic to make the plot safer and faster.
Ancillaries and amenities are great at utilising the latest technologies and innovation, however, within reason and sensibility. If ultra-flare and real fastness with panniers and long-range comfort are on your shopping list, stop by an MV dealer and see the Lusso – it may not be cheap, but real class never is.
Turismo Veloce Lusso Tech Talk
The Turismo Lusso is a veritable showcase of electronic rider aids and conveniences that provides not only the safest and most comfortable ride possible, but also the fastest.
The MVICS system is the heart of things, that combines and manages both engine and chassis derived systems. For this year, the phalanx of existing electronic aids has been tweaked for improved operation in numerous areas and has also broadened with electronic suspension adjustment, however, only through a phone app and Bluetooth connection.
Bluetooth connectivity is integral to the machine, rider, and pillion for added features, such as call answering using bike switchgear. Trip data logging functionality (via an app) includes map and photo integration, distance, time, speed, throttle and gear information as well as and maximum lean angle.
Pretty amazing. Further on the “software” side. The custom “mapping” is meteoric in terms of adjustment. You can set parameters including engine braking, throttle sensitivity, engine response, suspension rebound and compression damping for front and rear, front anti-dive, engine torque and RPM limits.
The front engine mounts have been updated for better longitudinal chassis rigidity, and the cush-drive redesigned for smoother power transition to the rear wheel. Pillion seating has been updated for better comfort.
The engine has new valve guides that make it compatible with more fuel types. A harmonic damper has been fitted to further smoothen and quieten the engine, and the cam chain tensioner has improved reliability and longevity.
The engine liquid cooling system features a redesigned expansion tank for better engine temperature management. The transmission also sees changes to to improve overall gearbox operation, including new countershaft and primary gear.
Simon is wearing: Airoh 500 GP helmet, XPD boots, MotoDry Airmax Jacket, Five Gloves.
2017 MV Agusta Turismo Veloce Lusso 800 Specifications
Price: $24,999 + ORC
Warranty: Two-year, unlimited kilometre, two-year roadside assistance
Colours: Red/Silver, Avio Grey/Pearl White
Claimed power: 81kW[110hp]@10000RPM
Claimed torque: 80Nm[59ft-lbs]@7100RPM
Dry weight: 191kg
Fuel capacity: 22L
Engine: Liquid and oil-cooled, three-cylinder, four-stroke, 12-valve, DOHC, 798cc, 12.2:1 compression ratio, 79 x 54.3mm bore and stroke, MVICS 2.0 engine management system, single injector per cylinder, Mikuni ride by wire throttle system, 3 standard map options plus fully customised map, torque limiter control, adjustable traction control, quick-shift up and down change (MV EAS 2.0)
Gearbox: Six speed, constant mesh, cassette style
Clutch: Wet, multi-disc with slipper clutch, hydraulic actuation
Chassis: ALS 450 steel tube trellis frame, aluminium alloy single-sided swingarm, Rake: N/A, Trail: N/A, centre-stand
Suspension: Marzocchi 43mm USD forks, rebound, compression and preload adjustable, 160mm travel, Sachs rear shock absorber, rebound, compression and preload adjustable, 160mm travel
Brakes: Dual 320mm floating front discs, Brembo “radial” four-piston calipers, 220mm rear disc, Brembo two-piston caliper. Bosch 9 Plus ABS with rear wheel lift mitigation (RLM)
Wheels & Tyres: Aluminium alloy, 3.50 x 17in (ff), 5.50 x 17in (rr), 120/70 – 17, 190/55 – 17
Seat height: 850mm
Overall length: 2084mm
Overall width: 900mm
Instruments: Full colour 5” TFT multifunction display, cruise control, speed limiter