From time to time I have the opportunity to test some of the two wheeled superbikes from Guarnieri in Malaga, and this weekend such a chance occurred, with Mario Guarnieri handing me over the keys to the new MV Agusta Rivale so I could give it a good seeing to around the roads of Marbella.
First impressions of MV Agusta’s first Super Motad styled bike, were “wow”, that’s great looking machine, and it really is. And then I sat on it…I cant see the front wheel, I was worried as I balanced the bike in tip toes wondering if the trip back to Marbella could possibly be my last.
Now the last time I rode a “Triple” it was the infamous Widow Maker from Kawasaki, 750cc’s of two stroke heaven which in most cases was the quickest way to hell, which is where it got it’s name from having been planted in many a hedge in the 70’s. I was hoping this wouldn’t be a scary trip down memory lane.
Setting off from the two and four wheeled super showroom that is Guarnieri I glanced into my left rear view mirror only to see that it had already fallen off, not the best start I thought, wondering if anything else would fall off, mainly me. You see being unable to see the front wheel gives the impression of sitting on a race tuned barstool, with the world rushing towards you at breakneck speed without anything solid i.e handlebars to give you some form of security. Looking down you can barely even see the speedo or the little lights to tell you your indicator has been on for the last 5 miles, infact they are so small I don’t know why they bothered with them in the first place.
I immediately disliked the bike with a vengeance, it’s riding position being totally alien to me, I am more akin to a slightly more traditional seating arrangement like my Honda 900F where I can see my tank, my speedo, my front wheel, somewhere I feel safe. The MV was like sticking your nose really close to a F1 video game or down hill skiing on a frisbee.
But as time passed and I got used to to it’s strange design and bizarre riding position and really got into taking the beast for a ride, and boy what a ride. Enormous amounts of torque mean you can easily pull away in third, throttle response is a little sluggish under 6,000 rpm, but keep the revs above that and this thing is the devil incarnate. Going through the gears on the auto pista I found myself having to lean forwards to keep the front wheel firmly on the tarmac. Up to 200 kmh it’s excellent, over that and your innards start to leave your body and you wish you had payed more attention in Sunday school. Have you ever jumped out of an aeroplane? well that’s the sensation, without the parachute. This bike is not for long distances, it’s unprotected riding position and small tank range making 100km about the most your body could take in one go.
My main problem with this bike, after I had gotten over it’s unique styling was it’s size, why is it that all the new bikes are so short and small. My dear wife said I looked like a giant riding a shetland pony, and to be fair that’s how it felt, although a supercharged pony on steroids with a bag of Colombia’s finest.
The handling was superb as you would expect from all things Italian from Gina Lollobrigida to Ferrari, and the first time I have felt confident drifting any bike into a corner. It’s looks are straight out of a Batman movie and everyone, and I mean everyone commented on them.
At 13 plus grand, euros, it’s quite well priced and you get a lot of “cicle” for your money, would I buy one? Yes if it wasn’t the only bike in my garage, as I mentioned before, you cant go far on this beast before your nuts are drained of blood and feel like they were being stored in a bottle of formaldehyde in your biology class.
To me this bike is like the girl you shouldn’t have fallen in love with, you know it’s wrong but your mind can’t keep on going back to her, and you don’t know why, well I will tell you, just like the MV you know that although this chick is wrong in all ways, she is also absolutely perfect in every way. Having hated this bike with such bile on my first encounter I now find myself giving this Italian misfit back with sadness in my heart and wish I hadn’t been so hard on her in the first place.
So in reality this bike is not for everyone, and indeed the boffins at MV Agusta freely admit that fact, but if you have the money plus a few more sensible machines in your stable then I would highly recommend getting one, even if it’s just to remind you how precious life is and that tea with the Almighty is only a throttle twist away.
Guarnieri Concesionarios are the sole dealers for MV Agusta in Southern Spain and can be found both in Malaga and San Pedro de Alcantara
Author Johnny Gates