Motorcycles

MV Agusta kisses its iconic F4 superbike goodbye with exclusive Claudio edition

MV Agusta kisses its iconic F4...
The MV Agusta F4 Claudio is the end of an era and the last MV to carry Tamburini's iconic design
The MV Agusta F4 Claudio is the end of an era and the last MV to carry Tamburini's iconic design
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: front three quarter
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: front three quarter
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: front view
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: front view
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: front left three quarter
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: front left three quarter
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: right side
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: right side
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: in shadow
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: in shadow
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: right rear three quarter
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: right rear three quarter
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: left rear three quarter
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: left rear three quarter
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: rear view
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: rear view
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: left side
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: left side
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: top view
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: top view
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: a timeless masterwork of motorcycle design
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: a timeless masterwork of motorcycle design
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: just as relevant in a display case as on the road or track
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: just as relevant in a display case as on the road or track
The MV Agusta F4 Claudio is the end of an era and the last MV to carry Tamburini's iconic design
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The MV Agusta F4 Claudio is the end of an era and the last MV to carry Tamburini's iconic design
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: monogrammed seat
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: monogrammed seat
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: machined aluminum alloy triple clamps
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: machined aluminum alloy triple clamps
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that familiar bump stop
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that familiar bump stop
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that wickedly angled fairing
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that wickedly angled fairing
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: limited edition plaque
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: limited edition plaque
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: Pirelli Supercorsas, of corsa
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: Pirelli Supercorsas, of corsa
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: the elephant logo harks back to Castiglioni's Cagiva days – it's a sign of good luck
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: the elephant logo harks back to Castiglioni's Cagiva days – it's a sign of good luck
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: gets an extra "custom" map in the selectable engine modes
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: gets an extra "custom" map in the selectable engine modes
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: twin titanium race exhausts will sound like hell unleashed
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: twin titanium race exhausts will sound like hell unleashed
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: BST carbon wheels
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: BST carbon wheels
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: gets its own cover
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: gets its own cover
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: the last we'll see of that iconic tail
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: the last we'll see of that iconic tail
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: the suspension is top-shelf Ohlins TTX gear
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: the suspension is top-shelf Ohlins TTX gear
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that diamond badge headlight 
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that diamond badge headlight 
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: the suspension is top-shelf Ohlins TTX gear
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: the suspension is top-shelf Ohlins TTX gear
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: a tribute to the man who resurrected the MV brand
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: a tribute to the man who resurrected the MV brand
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: seat cowl
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: seat cowl
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that diamond badge headlight feels current more than 20 years after its birth
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that diamond badge headlight feels current more than 20 years after its birth
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: Brembo Stylema brakes
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: Brembo Stylema brakes
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: machined aluminum alloy fuel filler cap
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: machined aluminum alloy fuel filler cap
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: peaked seat cowl
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: peaked seat cowl
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: right handlebar
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: right handlebar
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: BST carbon wheels pay triute to Tamburini's original 5-pointed star shape
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: BST carbon wheels pay triute to Tamburini's original 5-pointed star shape
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that's the starburst wheel nut that requires its own $50 tool to undo
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that's the starburst wheel nut that requires its own $50 tool to undo
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: AIM race dash with datalogging and custom graphics
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: AIM race dash with datalogging and custom graphics
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: perfectly proportioned
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: perfectly proportioned
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: a shape the motorcycle world will miss
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: a shape the motorcycle world will miss
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: beautifully sculpted front fairing
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: beautifully sculpted front fairing
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: an instant collector's item
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: an instant collector's item
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: only 100 will be made
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MV Agusta F4 Claudio: only 100 will be made

Another day, another special edition MV F4? Not this time. This is it. The ultimate MV Agusta superbike in both senses of the word. Named for the company's late President, a giant of the motorcycle world, the F4 Claudio marks the final chapter for a gorgeous bike that has entranced riders for more than 20 years.

The combination of Claudio Castiglioni's passionate, "insistent" management style and designer Massimo Tamburini's otherworldly mastery of form brought forth some of the most beautiful and lauded motorcycles in history.

The partnership began in 1985, when Tamburini went to work for Cagiva, which had been founded by Castiglioni's father back in 1950 and which owned the Ducati brand at the time. But it took until 1994 for the pair to unveil their first masterpiece. To this day, many folks consider the Ducati 916 the best-looking production bike ever made.

MV Agusta F4 Claudio: front three quarter
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: front three quarter

When Cagiva sold Ducati shortly afterward, the pair's next bike provided some of the 916's strongest competition for the title. The MV Agusta F4 (first released as the F4 750 Serie Oro in 1999) was absolutely exquisite; a track-focused sportsbike that looked beautiful from a distance, but seemed to get sexier the closer you got.

From the diamond-like headlight, to the wickedly flared tank, to the hint of visible trellis frame, to the signature slotted fairing vents, the detailed bump stop, the sensuous tail section, the star-shaped rear wheel on its single-sided swingarm and the imposing row of four organ-pipe exhausts under the tail – one for each cylinder – the F4 was, and remains, the kind of bike people are just as happy to put in a glass display case as they are to ride the things.

Sometimes even happier; the F4 was famously a hard taskmaster for riders willing to take this work of art out on the road. Performance was always extreme, with Castiglioni's first signature edition, the 2006-edition 1,078cc CC bike, claiming a whopping 200 hp at the crank in an era where Suzuki's GSX-R1000 was leading the rest of the sportsbike world with just 160 ponies.

MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that diamond badge headlight 
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: that diamond badge headlight 

But the ergonomics were just as extreme as the engines for anyone less lithe and flexible than a racer. The F4 was a wrist-busting chiropractor's dream that ran hot and cranky any time it couldn't stretch its legs – and they were some very long legs. Devotees – and those who loved this bike truly were devotees – loved it all the more for its foibles, throwing around words like "character" and "Italian passion" as they attempted to straighten their spines from a few hours in the saddle.

And Tamburini's obsession with making every part of the bike a work of art could bite you in other ways as well – as a friend of mine discovered when he went to take off the rear wheel of his rare F4 Nero, only to discover that the sexy starburst wheel nut holding it on was going to need a sexy starburst US$50 tool to undo.

MV Agusta F4 Claudio: BST carbon wheels pay triute to Tamburini's original 5-pointed star shape
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: BST carbon wheels pay triute to Tamburini's original 5-pointed star shape

Nobody ever questioned that it was fast, though. While Castiglioni's resurrected MV brand never had the budget to make much of a noise in World Superbike racing in its early years, its roadbikes were plain bonkers. In 2007, MV stomped on the fabled "gentleman's agreement" between Japanese brands to cap their bikes at 299 km/h (186 mph) by releasing a bike named after its top speed: the F4 R 312 (312 km/h, 194 mph).

The venerable F4 has lasted 21 years as a model line. MV has done a good job of improving the underlying platform while honouring Tamburini's generational design – a design that only perhaps Ducati's V4 Panigale rivals for sheer hotness to this day.

Frequent special editions kept the shape fresh with their own paint jobs and specification levels, from the aforementioned CC and Nero editions to bikes honouring Agostini, Ayrton Senna, Lewis Hamilton and Tamburini himself. But the company is now concentrating on its new (and Euro-compliant) three-cylinder range and kissing the F4 goodnight. It's fitting that the honor of the final special edition will go to the man who resurrected the MV marque – Claudio Castiglioni himself.

MV Agusta F4 Claudio: the elephant logo harks back to Castiglioni's Cagiva days – it's a sign of good luck
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: the elephant logo harks back to Castiglioni's Cagiva days – it's a sign of good luck

The details of this instantly collectible classic, built on the current F4 RC platform, are almost irrelevant, but here they are: the F4 Claudio runs a 998cc inline four engine making 205 hp in road trim, and 212 hp in a track format that includes twin underseat SC-Project race exhausts and a dedicated ECU. It keeps the variable-length air intake setup that has made previous F4s such raging beasts north of 10,000 rpm, and adds an extra Custom mode to the switchable engine mapping, and an up/down electronic quickshifter to the removable transmission.

The AIM dash has a full datalogging system built in for track use, with its own inbuilt GPS for added accuracy. Hence, it runs its own specific dash software, including a Claudio-specific graphics scheme.

All the fairings are carbon fiber, with matt and gloss finish pieces alternating to make a bike as visually stunning as you'd expect for this swansong. The wheels are also carbon units by BST Rapid Teck, while the triple clamps, levers, footrests, fuel filler cap and that starburst wheel nut are now machined aluminum alloy. The color scheme features gold detailing on silver and black, and it's another absolute masterpiece to look at. Mind you, I'm starting to get the impression my four-year-old could paint this bike and make it look terrific.

MV Agusta F4 Claudio: top view
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: top view

Claudio's name appears in several spots on the bike, and his blotted signature several more. The suspension is top-shelf Ohlins TTX gear, the brakes are Brembo's equally top shelf Stylema gear, and all in all it should ride extremely well if you're silly enough ever to tank its considerable value as a collector's item by taking it out of the crate.

Only 100 will be made, and they'll likely be in hot demand for a stratospheric price that reflects what they represent: a timeless masterwork of the high-octane motorcycle world and the fruit of a once-in-a-generation pairing of great minds: the late, great Massimo Tamburini and Claudio Castiglioni, who are neck and neck, elbows down, on the great racetrack in the sky as we speak.

MV Agusta F4 Claudio: a timeless masterwork of motorcycle design
MV Agusta F4 Claudio: a timeless masterwork of motorcycle design

There are 43 photos of this final MV Agusta F4 in the gallery. Do yourself a favor, seriously.

Source: MV Agusta

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