Classic MV Agusta - The Bike Museum


Classic MV Agusta

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Classic MVs MV (Meccanica Verghera) was a successful family owned Italian aircraft manufacturer forced to make motorcycles instead after the war. They began with 98cc two strokes but in due course made a full range of models including scooters, 3 and 4-wheeled vans and even a prototype sports car. Although best known for their racing motorcycles, these were really a hobby. The road-going 600 introduced at the Milan show in 1965 was first sold in late 1967 and was deliberately produced as a luxury tourer of 600cc complete with shaft drive, crash bars and no less than 3 horns. The Count didnít want any amateurs racing sports MVs but the high price and ugly looks conspired to do exactly that as quite a few unsold 600s were bought cheaply and converted to 500 race bikes. It was also an easy matter later to take a 600 and convert it into a Sport by replacing the tank, guards and instruments and boring the engine and fitting 4 carbs. The feeble cable operated Campagnolo disk front brakes had also to be replaced by a Grimeca drum brake. Today only a handful of the 135 600s made originally remain. Performance of the 600 was respectable for a 600 of the day but by the time the 750 was released other manufacturers were producing much faster bikes and the MV had only looks, history and exaggeration to justify its higher price. Small 24mm carburettors were the main problem and it wasnít until the 1974 disk brake model that performance started to match the brochures. This bike had 27mm square slide Dellortos, re-designed heads and a higher compression ratio giving true 130mph performance. The model that followed this was the America. This was developed especially to suit the American market with a bigger 789cc engine and 26mm Dellorto carbs with air filtration and 70s styling. Sales of less than 700 fell far short of the projected 3000 and were probably part of the reason that MV decided to concentrate on helicopters thereafter. Arturo Magni tuned some of the unsold Americas by increasing the capacity to 837cc, changing camshafts and fitting 27mm carbs. US versions had higher bars and retained the 26mm America carbs. The optional EPM mag wheels and triple Brembo disk brakes were fitted and the bikes were independently road tested at 145mph making them the fastest thing on two wheels at the time. About 20 of these were sold as the 850ss but the factory also provided kits and more Americas were converted by importers in the UK and Germany. In the UK they were known briefly as the Boxer and later as the Monza and in Germany as the Super Daytona.
Magni MV Agustas Produced by Magni using parts left after the factory ceased production of the America. Also bikes manufactured using donor MV Agusta engines and Magni kits either by Magni themselves or by others. In addition to their own frames, Magni produced, wheels (EPM), an 861cc conversion, chain drive, larger dry clutch and iron surfaced alloy brake disks. They are still in business today although most of their production has been based on Moto Guzzi engines.
Hansen MVs After the Gallarate factory stopped making motorcycles, Hansen GmbH, the German importers, produced a small range of special MVs using modified MV Agusta engines and many Magni components.
Kay Replicas Starting with a unique 500SS in 1989, MV Agusta enthusiasts Dave Kay and his son Mark have produced superb replicas of classic MV Agusta and Magni motorcycles. Their most recent creations are beautiful replicas of the factory's 350 and 500cc racing triples.
Cagiva MVs Cagiva purchased the MV Agusta brand and in 1998 unveiled the stunning Tamburini-designed F4.

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