Any Strada Riding Impressions?? : LUSENET : MV Agusta F4 : One Thread

I am on the list to recieve the Strada when available and would like to hear any riding impressions (good and bad) on the Strada.

Thanks, Rick

-- Rick Washington (, June 29, 2000


1. Uncomfortable for touring, I rest at 1 hr intervals. Back, shoulders, wrist get the Sicilian treatment. Racing stance!

2. Watch them thumbs; full on lock turns get the thumb between air tube covers and grips.

3. Grips are very thin rubber, contributes to numb hands.

4. The engine has a wonderful powerband, I stay on 6th around town to keep the noise down, and no problems. Although gear changes aren't as smooth as I want.

5. Masterful handling, thinking about changing lanes? you're already there.

6. Attention getter, I want to put honda stickers over the mv ones just to keep people away.

7. The gas light didn't light up on mine, luckily I was parking home when I discovered an empty tank.

8. Neutral? when [N] is on, put down the stand and the mtor doesnt shut down. when [N] is off, stand down shuts motor down.

9. It sounds wonderful on the bike, I wear earplugs, but people who've seen me say that exhaust is not loud.

I have no 916/996/748 info to compare it against. I would like to try one out and see the differences. One major difference I know of is the dry vs wet clutch. MV's wet clutch makes it easier disengagement, and this was one thing I did not like on the Ducks. Final's so beautiful that my heart feels like it will explode.

-- mod (, June 30, 2000.

The F4s is a very smooth bike, much smoother than the 996, more refined not quite as visceral. I haven't broken her in all the way, I've toped out at 7.5K RMP, the acceleration really picks up around 6K RPM. Handling is very good, steady, predictable steering, a bit quicker turning than a 996, the rear end is a tad softer. The brakes don't seem to be quite as powerful as the Brembo's on the 996, I only have 150 KM on her, so they probably haven't bed in completly. The seat is brick hard like the Duck's, mucho weight on the palms and wrists, I noticed a slight buzz in the handlebars at around 90 KMH, could contribute to numb hands on longer blasts. The sounds the engine makes are wonderful, the exhaust is nowhere near loud enough, but it's nice to hear other vehicles/suroundings at times.

-- Mark Moeller (, June 30, 2000.

I actually find the F4 quite comfortable so long as you are out of town. In town the riding position is brutal and the seat gets hot. Although I think the seat padding and support is fine. 160+ miles on the highway is no problem. That's about how far I get before the low fuel light comes on. What four cyl. buzz at 7,000 rpm the bike seemed to have is diminishing with miles. The brakes took an inordinate amount of time to break in but now they are quite good. Never gave them a second thought on the track which means they must be OK. The springs are on the soft side but the rest of the handling equation is so good that the soft springs are actually a bonus in the excellent ride quality the bike has. For what it's worth here is how I ended up with suspension settings at the track. 31mm of rear sag. (took about 4-5 full turns of spring to get there!) 35mm of front sag. 2nd line on preload adjuster. I weigh 200lbs with riding gear BTW. Front rebound 3 clicks out form hard. Front compression 3 clicks out. Rear rebound 4 clicks out. Rear compression 9 clicks out. These values might be of some interest to others who, like myself, do not have an owners manual!

-- Scott Rothermel (, July 03, 2000.

little impresion after 100 miles. The bike bevore the f4 i had was a ducati 916.

The f4s is comfortable,stable like a duc but its steering is very easy,light and quick.Even it is a smooth bike the shocks working perfect. The power builds up quick when you come over 4000 rpm ,but i can't further then 6500 rpm,breaking in you no? brakes getting quick better,after 100 miles the brakes are much better then when i picked up the must sometimes the brakes getting hot,it looks like a little oil on the rotors. And ofcorse the brakes have also to break in. The sound is like agusta f4s.Not loud but nice.Specially the snorking under the tank when you pull the trottle. Its a very nice toy,gives a lot of fun when riding but that damned breaking in is a pain in the ***. greetings, Ben

-- Ben P (, July 07, 2000.

impression after 250 miles. I pull it a little further then the 6000 rpm for breaking in. Then it is real fun with this bike,a short moment to 8000 rpm,great. Braking is very good.The harder you ride the harder the brakes perfom (??????????????)I guess the different diameters of the brake pistons are the reason for that.A little rumbling in the exhaust when you let the trottle down,very nice.further i wonder where the mirrors are for but thats no problem for me.Still wondering why my bike has two radiators.The big one and a small one under the big one. greetings, Ben BTW rear wheel in the air is no problem

-- Ben P (, July 16, 2000.

It must be:The faster you ride the better the brakes perform. Greetings, Ben

-- Ben P (, July 17, 2000.

after about 400 miles i get a dip in the powerband at 4000 rpm. It feels like 1 or 2 cilinders doesn't work.when i get over 4000 rpm it runs great.When i have run it awhile on 6500 rpm and i get back on about 4000 rpm it is the worsth.Then i feel it real stuttering. Thats the only complain.I guess it whil be oke after 600 miles check.Thats wath the mecanic set to me. It's a great bike,you can always faster cornering then you do. Greetings, Ben

-- Ben P (, July 23, 2000.

Ben that can't be right. Mine does nothing like that.

-- Scott Rothermel (, July 23, 2000.

Thanks Scott,now i no for shore it isn't good. My bike was running great with a little less of power under 4000 rpm and now i have that dip. I think it is coming oke when i bring the the bike in for the 600 miles much has your bike running? greetings, Ben

-- Ben P (, July 25, 2000.


I have 1300 miles. I changed the oil and filter at 600 miles. I haven't done anything else to the bike other than bleed the brakes and adjust the suspension. I know the service schedule calls for valve clearance check and throttle body sync at the first service but the bike runs fine and the dealer doesn't have service manuals, training, or a set of valve shims at this time.

At 4,500 rpm on my bike if you just wack the throttle wide open the throttle response is a little soft. Not a bog or a flat spot but it feels like the fueling might be just a bit lean there because if you back off the throttle just a hair the engine pulls harder. It's mostly of academic interest. If you want to go fast you have to downshift and get the revs up out of that area anyway.

-- Scott Rothermel (, July 26, 2000.

At 58 nothing is as comfortable as it was. But the MV is livable even in the city which surprised me. The thing I found unpleasant was the burning sensation between the legs when the bike warms to the task. The snug underseat exhaust may be the reason.

Whilst not the swiftest bike on the road, it surley is the sexiest. To me wether or not the bike will do 170 or 180 or even 200 is academic. There are few places where you could legally or even illegally achieve these figures (outside of a race track)in the UK and fewer people (including me) who could saftly achieve them. If they would admit it! To me a few seconds at the top of the rev range means little.The ability and agility are hard to beat. The MV is well suited to twisting roads of the UK. And if like me you can go over to France quite easily (I live near the Channel Tunnel)then the roads over there offer miles of long sweeping empty tarmac to compensate for the one thing we don't have.

Park it anywhere and you will know what it must be like to be a super star. Admiring glances from people who are patently not bikers. Be prepared to answer questions from the elder biker (who nearly have tears in their eyes) to many a young wannabe's.

It is not so brutal as The Ducati 996SPS but I beleive it handles as well, if not better. That pronouncment I would leave to the experts. I have added carbon pipes and other bits and all I can say is the noise alone will make the hair on anyones neck stand up, and turn the heads of Porsche/Ferrari owners which I have seen on lots of occasions!

Yep the bars squash your thumbs (so did my Ducati) but the pain is a very, very small price to pay for the pleasure and as we all know you always pay for that!

-- michael newton (, January 02, 2001.

I will give the bike another 200 miles before I make up my mind to sell it because of the riding position from H*LL? I won't even mention the two oil leaks and stalling problems. I currently own RSV Mille, RC51, VFR800, CBR929 and 996 and have to put the Agusta at the bottom of the list for over all performance and value. I love the looks and no better way to draw a crowd but other than that I am not impressed.

-- Brian Mason (, April 04, 2001.

200 miles later bike is at the dealer and for sale. First service and a hundred miles later I still have a stalling problem and a riding position made for someone 5'6" or shorter. Not to mention it looks like the lower fairings will be melted of this bike during the summer riding season here in Phoenix.

-- Brian Mason (, April 19, 2001.

FINALLY. After more than a year, I get to post my MV impressions:

996 vs MVF4s comparison After putting 100 miles of freeway, side street, and canyon riding on the MV (which already had 700 miles on it), I'll try to make a comparison with my 996, which has 2,300 miles on it:

1. Design: The MV wins hands down. The 996 looks like it was built in the 1990s (which it was), while the MV looks like it's a 2000 version of the Ducati.

2. Instruments & controls: The digital instruments are much easier to read and give greater accuracy than the 996's analog instruments. Dual trip meter and clock are helpful. The MV tends to run hotter than the 996. Mirror wise, the 996 has better visibility while the MV barely shows you who's on your sides. At night, the MV's mirrors lights up with a red glow when the turn signals on and glow red!

Switching bikes is confusing the hell out of me. The turn signals on both bikes are on the left handle bar but slightly higher on the MV. The turn signal on the MV is were the high-beam is on the 996. The turn signals on the 996 is where the horn is on the MV. So, some people in front of me were wondering what the hell's my problem. Neither bike has the damned retractable sidestand but the stand on the 996 needs to be up to start the bike. It's a pain to warm up.

3. Brakes & Clutch: The 996 has much better front brakes than the MV. It's much firmer and constant. The MV can feel soft after hard use. The MV has a MUCH better rear brake. It actually works compared to the 996's, which is just good for uphill stops. The clutch is not MV isn't Italian. It's to easy to use. It doesn't require the Tiger-claw death grip to pull and is smoother than the 996 to engage. Shifter is easier on the MV but don't need to happen as often on the 996.

4. Comfort: The 996 is much more comfortable than the MV. The riding positions are similar but the MV's pegs are higher and the handlebars pretty much put you in a tucked position. Also, the MV has a weird vibration on the handlebars at 4,000 to 5,000 rpm. I've brought it back to the shop and asked service to take a look at it. I may have to change the handler grips. Switching from MV to 996, the 996 starts to feel more like a ST4. Although I enjoy riding the MV, of the two, the 996 would fall into the "long distance bike" category. The underseat exhaust heat is greater on the MV also. But hey, if I wanted comfort, I'd drive a car.

5. Handling: The MV is a clear winner. It turns much, much easier than the 996. The 996 is more stable but requires more effort to turn. The other day, while driving the MV in the canyons, I noticed I was taking turns much faster than on the 996 because the MV feels more nimble and easier to turn. I had a few "oh, God!!" moments and one or two "Oh $$$hit!!" moments because I was going in too fast. The MV never had any problems with traction. I was the weak leak because I wasn't use to the entry speeds. The MV falls into the "most likely to crash in the canyon" category because the harder you push it, the more the MV wants to be pushed. It reminds me of a 1988 600 Ninja I use to have.

In contrast, I've taken the 996 to the same canyon many times. On the 996, my entry speed is like my cruising speed (slower because the 996 turns slower) but I use the torque to give me a quick drive out. The 996 falls into the "easy/lazy riding" category. Both bikes have excellent suspension. The 996's stability is a plus for straight line freeway driving.

6. Engines: This is the harder part to judge. Both engines are very great and although different, very similar. The MV's is amazing smooth (except for the handlebar vibration) at any rpm: 3,000rpm -6,000 rpm - 8,000rpm, the MV doesn't seem to care. It pulls smoothly in any gear. If you're feeling lazy, driving in 6th on side streets is easy. Power is always smooth and linear, although slightly fluffy under 4,000 rpm. Around 5,000 rpm, there's a whining noise that sounds like a supercharger. As the revs go higher, the MV encourages you to rev it more. It's made to be revved and it's addictive. I haven't gone over 10,000 since it's in it's 1/2 of break-in.

The 996 has a more aggressive, raw character. You've got torque than pulls strongly from 3,000 rpm and basically can accelerate quickly on demand. In contrast, the MV needs to be in the right gear to pull hard. It's easier to be caught unaware on the MV than it is on the 996. Once at freeway speeds, the MV will roll-on more quickly than the 996 because at 80mph, the MV is at 6,000 rpm while the 996 is a 3,500. But the torque is always there to give you a push when you need it. I've haven't had the chance to really push the MV on the top end to see which would accelerate faster. If both bike were at 6,000 rpm, I think the MV would pull ahead of the 996. My guess is that the 996 would have the "off the line" advantage for about 50 yards or so....but given enough space the MV will close the gap. On a track, I think the MV's quicker handling would over power the 996's torque. Just my opinions.

7. Reliability: I've had a 1998 748 and this 2001 996 and have had no problems with them. The 748 had 13,000 miles and this 996 has 2300. With the MV, to be honest, I'm a little nervous. I'd heard a lot of MV owner having problems. So, I'm a little paranoid with the handlebar vibrations. Well, if the MV becomes a problem bike, it was be out the door faster than a porn salesman at a clergy convention.

8. MV compared to a 748 and ZX7R: The MV will overpower and out handle my old, regular 748 (I don't know about the 748R). The MV's smoother than the 1996 ZX7R but I think the ZX7R accelerated faster (especially with the ram air). If I were to rate the bikes, it would be 1) MV; 2) 996; 3) ZX7R, and 4) 748.

I didn't really like the 748 because although it had more torque than the ZX7, it didn't have enough top end. It was like a 1990 ZX6 (not R) than I had many years ago (1990). The 748's torque pails comparison to the 996 and the 996 with the Marchesini wheels turns quicker than the 748 (it's only a 5-6 lbs difference, anway). The 996's top end is similar to the ZX7R but bless with 1000cc of torque. The MV edges the over the 996 due to its quick steering and smooth engine. Of course, the MV's only been with me for 1 week.....we'll see what happens in a few weeks.

9. Fun factor: Despite the harder riding position, I'd say it goes to the MV. Light handling, smooth engine, and drop dead gorgeous looks. It' looks much better in person than in pictures. I've found myself, many a times just going into my garage to say "sighhhhh". So, for now, the 996 has be reduced to work horse commuter and it's a job it does very well (at least as well as the ZX7R). However, when I ride the 996, it's like I'm with an old friend.......who's currently for sale!

-- Allan Gibbs (, April 26, 2001.

I have about 8000 miles on my F4 and so far and it has been totally reliable with zero problems. I have had many more problems with the jap bikes I have owned...I would go anywhere on this thing

I also have a Hayabusa and an R1100GS beemer and really expected this bike to be uncomfortable as I am 6'2" and 210 lbs but this has not been the case. With the addition of a tank bag (I know I know, it ruins the looks) I can do a 500 mile day with no problem.

I was a little worried that i would be disappointed in the power after many miles on the hayabusa but i really have enjoyed the smooth delivery and have found that keeping the rpm's up gives me a lot of engine braking for the corners without the fear of losing the back end when I get on the throttle...which is always a concern with the busa. This thing will make me a better this case...less is defiantly more.

I added the factory pipe and chip this week and have been a little disappointed that I have lost a bit off that nice midrange kick. The upside is that the sound is much more satisfying (sill want more) and the top end has improved also. Before the pipe it seemed pointless to run it all the way to redline as the power would flatten out near the, it keeps pulling to the very end...sweet.

I don't like the front brake at all.. it takes a lot of hand pressure and the feel is just crappy in my opinion. I will be looking for different pads when these are gone. I had the problem of the lever feeling mushy and coming pretty close to the bar but that was cured by me dealer. He said the piston was not retracting all the way so he just manually pushed it back and forth a few times when he had it apart and it works great now. Im not thrilled with the back brake either as it locks up way to easy. The brakes are the weakest link on this thing to me.

Of course the handling is just plain great and i cant wait till my first track day on the beast.....I just cant understand how anyone could be disappointed with this bike.....yes the gixer 1000 is faster but this thing is something else....something special.....something.........wonderful.

-- jim Stanton (, May 15, 2001.

Thank you all for your opinions, and you know what opinions are like.

-- John Gotti (Dago Red, June 22, 2002.

Well, since this thread was re-actived, I thought I'd add a supplement.

I've finally got 1200 miles on the bike and yes, the 2002 is a bit faster than the older 2000 model. I finally shook off the cobb webs and pushed it on a tight mountain road yesterday and it's noticeably more powerful at up to 13,000 rpm. (I believe the old 2000 redlined at 11,500 while the 2002 redlines at 13,300).

On the negative side, I noticed some front brake fad along with a shrilling noise from the front wheel. After a 3 to 4 minute cool off, the noise was gone and the brake was just a little bit better.

-- Allan Gibbs (Inferno, Arizona) (, June 23, 2002.

Having found this board, I am copying my riding impressions that I gave on the clubdesmo website after test riding an F4S 1+1 in excellent condition this past week. The F4 I tested had only 900 miles on it. My test ride was about an hour long riding on surface streets, freeways, parking lots, and expressways. The weather conditions were fabulous summer day in Southern California inland and along the coast. The point of my test ride was to decide whether to get this F4 that was available or a street legal 748R to replace my 2001 748 that was stolen from me by a professional thief in a supposedly secure parking garage which has security patrols and surveilence cameras. Anyway, here it is:

Yesterday I had the priviledge of test riding a beautiful silver F4 in excellent condition. Not having done test rides before I didn't think it unusual to ride it for about an hour! (Yes, I filled up the gas tank before returning it)I rode it on surface streets for a bit in order to familiarize myself with the bike. Then on to the 405 to see how it would be like using the bike for commuting. It would be just fine. Riding position is even better than the 748 in that my body felt more wrapped around it and more a part of the bike. When you wanted to pass, it was quicker (so long as you downshift into its power band if you weren't there already). The ride is a bit more stiff, but I assume this is only a suspension setup and tire thing. I don't have any data about it's gas mileage, and that is important for the long commutes I make. The bottom line though, is that barring the gas mileage it would be a great commuter bike for those of us that find the 748 a good commuter bike.

The most notable differences were:

1. The sound. Although the engine is a 4-cylinder, it doesn't sound like any of the Japanese 4-cylinders. It has a more serious sound. Each cylinder has its own pipe coming out the back under the seat. The only way I can describe it in words is that it is like combining two 748 exhausts running at the same time side by side and increasing the pitch a little. A 748 with aftermarket slipons, not stock exhaust sound. The exhaust note under acceleration is definitely very nice, but my personal preference is still the 748's. HOWEVER, it is real close. IMHO, it still does sound better than any other bike I've heard except v-twin ducati's. One other thing is that overall, the bike seems to be much louder more of the time when just riding around.

2. The weight. The F4 feels so much lighter that it didn't give me the feedback my 748 did when performing passing maneuvers or the car pool lane to slow lane swoop under acceleration.

3. Steering radius is even less than the 748. This really only has a bearing when maneuvering at slow speed. Your line pulling off the street into a parking lot is wider than the duck, so you need to familiarize yourself with that early on. Otherwise you might end your turn in the outbound lane.

4. The heat. With the way the stock F4 fairings are designed, you really feel a lot of heat on your legs and coming up around you when you are at a stoplight.

5. The acceleration. The F4 is not designed for 0-xxx mph runs. On my 748 when at a stop light and moving on, I would skip from 1st to 3rd bypassing second since as soon as going into second I had to shift again. On the F4, I found I needed to skip from 1st to fourth! This bike also feels sluggish with the exhaust note not matching the current acceleration (it sounds like it's flying, but it really isn't) when you are in the lower RPM's (anything below 7000). When you get into its power band the acceleration is more than incredible. Geez! It is like going into rocket engine mode ala the X-15 test plane. (For those of you too young to remember, the X-15 was the first plane to reach Mach 3+. It eventually hit Mach 6.72 - 4530 MPH back in 1967).

On an acceleration run on the 73 toll road and uphill on Newport Coast Drive (both of these had light traffic) the bike is super super awesome. It's wonderful. With the motor's redline at 13000 rpm, the fact that real power delivery doesn't start until 7000, I found the lack of real power below 7K not a problem at all. It was a blast cranking it going uphill on Newport Coast. The bike is totally stable, but you have to take in consideration that it is lighter and so one should use more finesse when riding it.

6. Clutch and transmission. Bottom line is that they are smoother than my 748. The no-clutch lever upshifts are included in this description. The F4 also has the same problem as the 748. When hot and you're stopped, it is difficult to find neutral and have to move the bike a bit forward or backward, blip the throttle a little and then you can put it into neutral. Moving off from a stop on the F4 is as idiot proof as can get. Where inattention on the 748 can cause you to stall the bike, The gearing, engine, everything combine for simple flawless starts from a standstill.

7. The brakes on the F4 were oh so super smooth and powerful. Very nice. Better than my stock 748's.

8. Practicality. Where I could ride my former 748 every day commuting, I would find the F4 a good substitute, but where I could ride the 748 every day, the F4 I would be more comfortable using it like an every other day commuter, or when I wanted a change of pace.

9. Quality. A++++.

10. Looks. Fabulous. Comparing the F4 to the 748 is like comparing Patricia Velasquez to Milla Jovovich. Both are beautiful and will get long stares. Those star shaped wheels on the F4 look much better in real life.

11. Fun factor. Awesome.

12. Interesting tidbit. Although you can start the bike with kickstand down, if you try putting it in gear with the kickstand down, the engine shuts off!

On my short little jaunt, an old man turned around and followed me to where I was stopping for refreshment. The bike brought back memories for him, and he told me some of the racing history about the Agusta's. That was a nice bonus.

Bottom line. If you like 748's and you test ride one of these, you will probably end up getting one. In my case I found the decision between getting this F4 or a street legal 748R difficult, but I needed the more practical bike for everyday use. After a last glance back at that F4 and a deep sigh, I put in the order for a street legal version of the 748R (an '01 or '02) to replace the 748 that was stolen from me.


P.S. Although I am pretty much a newbie biker, from my short experience I have found that if you just go by reviews in magazines, and etc., you may miss the opportunity to ride a bike that you would truly love. Test them yourself, and get the bike YOU like, not duhammel or whoever. Bikes are personal.

-- Stuart Morgan (, July 04, 2003.

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