Photos from 250+ Feet up COTA’s Petrolsaurus Rex

Standing 251 feet above Turns 16, 17, & 18, the COTA observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of just about every tun on the circuit, if you can stomach its subtle sway in the wind and clear-glass floor at the precipice. Officially called by COTA as the “Observation Tower” – it really needs a better name for casual conversation. We’ve heard COTA Cobra used a few times with some lovely alliteration, but the structure has always struck us as less snake-like, and more like a big dinosaur — we’re going to use the name “Petrolsaurus Rex” until I hear something better, or COTA sends me a cease and desist order. I climbed to the top of Petrolsaurus Rex (read: took the elevator) during the MotoGP Warm-Up session, and snapped a few photos in the process. Enjoy!

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

Ride Review: MV Agusta Rivale 800

10/28/2013 @ 5:27 pm, by Iwan van der Valk26 COMMENTS

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Attending MV Agusta’s launch of the 2014 MV Agusta Rivale 800 in France, our friend Iwan van der Valk from Testmotor.nl has been kind enough to share his thoughts and review regarding Varese’s newest machine.

Getting a chance to put the MV Agusta Rivale 800 through its paces on the roads near Nice, France, Iwan’s thoughts are timely, as MV Agusta is just a week away from debuting its next range of models at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. – Jensen

It has been more than a year since MV Agusta announced the Rivale 800, its Ducati Hypermotard inspired new model. And here it finally is, ready to be delivered for early 2014.

The Rivale is the third motorcycle based on MV Agusta’s own 800cc three-cylinder engine, after the naked Brutale and the fully faired F3; and at this moment, it doesn’t look like there will be a 675 or 1090 version for buyers to chose from, as is the case with MV Agusta’s other models.

The Rivale 800 looks like a supermoto but the seating position goes more towards an elevated naked bike, with an unhindered view ahead. MV Agusta motorcycles are always very stylish and the Rivale of course is no exception.

The finish is excellent and everything feels solid. The slick design is being let down somewhat by a couple of typical MV-like loose ends here and there. For instance, the careless way of fixing cables onto the bright red frame with cheap tie-raps looks very clumsy on such a stylised motorbike.

Customers can optionally replace the stock bar-end mirrors with regular stalk mirrors, and we would definitely negotiate a set of regular mirrors when buying a new Rivale, as the bar-end mirrors make the bike much too wide (and offer a poor view rearwards).

The indicators and running lights are mounted into the hand guards which is a great idea in theory. The execution here however is flawed. During our test there was water condensation in the lenses, and the lights were too dim, which makes the signals almost invisible during daytime.

First Impressions

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Our test ride took place around Nice, France, where there’s an abundance of tight mountain passes as well as fast roads. First our attention focussed on the throttle control of the 800 motor, which would hopefully improve on the questionable fuelling of its 675 and 800 predecessors.

MV already updated the FI maps on earlier bikes which should smooth out things, and there is a definite improvement on this new model. However, the way the engine reacts to the initial throttle input is still under par. Once on the move it gets better though: the Mikuni throttle bodies behave OK under partial-throttle.

In stock form, MV Agusta offers the new Rivale 800 with EAS which stands for Electronic Assisted Shift, known more simply as a quickshifter. The EAS works wonderful: with the throttle pinned the shift action is very accurate and gives you an empowering feeling and lots of sensation.

It feels a bit weird to have to use the clutch to change down again, but the gear changes are very smooth. It is difficult to find neutral when you are standing still though, and unfortunately it is pretty easy to find it when you are trying to shift between first and second gear.

Handling

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Riding the Rivale 800 is not for everyone. This exclusivity is not caused by a high retail price, but instead by a stormy front end. The bike leans too much on the front but sadly doesn’t offer much feedback in return. As a consequence, cornering on the Rivale is only really rewarding when you can see clearly through the corner, and you can stay on the throttle.

In blind corners – when you apply the power more conservatively – the front end becomes vague and you find yourself waiting too long before accelerating out. This is not a bike for tight Alp swtichbacks on broken asphalt.

Open and flowing roads are better suited to the Rivale 800, as a better view and smoother surface makes for faster riding. These higher speeds suit the tall gear ratios much better, whereas hairpins are a nervous affair as you negotiate between a screaming first and a lugging second gear.

When you are able to keep the motor on the boil – 6,000 revs or more – then you are in for a treat, as the howl of the triple is fantastic and it pulls almost all the way to the top. This is where the Rivale engine excels, especially in combination with the quickshifter.

Electronics 

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As is the case with many new high-end motorcycles these days, the 2014 MV Agusta Rivale 800 also offers a bevy of electronic aids. The eight-way adjustable traction control system works well: we set it in mode “4″ as this worked smoothly and discretely in the Normal and Sport throttle maps.

Aside from the three standard fuel map settings you can also make up your own mappings. This is not easy though, as you have to use numerous parameters and ustomise extra settings for engine braking, rev-limiter, and even a top speed.

The small dashboard is complete but it’s very hard to make out any of the available information while riding exactly because it is so small. The cockpit is also mounted very low which makes setting traction control settings or engine mappings a dangerous affair while on the move.

Despite all these electronic gadgets MV Agusta still doesn’t offer an ABS system (according to Giovanni Castiglioni, this will change in the beginning of 2014, when Bosch will be able to supply enough ABS-units to the marketplace). But even without ABS the brakes are plenty capable.

The Nissin master cylinder works great in combination with the Brembo radial calipers, and the only thing which needs improving is the exaggerated front-end dive. We were able to cure it partially by adjusting the fork settings, but the bike’s frond-end bias in combination with the aggressive seat and tank makes it still feel a bit ‘all or nothing’ in its operation.

Conclusion

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The 2014 MV Agusta Rivale 800 is not everyone’s friend. The bike looks like it can devour a tight canyon road but the hesitant throttle reaction and vague front end will probably kill your appetite quite quickly.

Only when the roads open up and the speeds rise does this triple get into the zone. The Rivale has plenty of power – very nicely controlled by a good traction control system -  and a fantastic soundtrack which makes up for a couple of the bike’s shortcomings.

The Rivale in the end is a typical MV Agusta. It looks astonishing, it sounds amazing, and it is very desirable. The aggressive stance requires a unique riding style, and thus makes for an exclusive product which will never sell in great numbers…which will probably suit the Tifosi of this brand perfectly fine.

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Photos: MV Agusta

A special “dankuwel” to our friends at Testmotor.nl for sharing this article with us, and big thank you as well to Jan DeMan, who translated Iwan’s work from Dutch into English for our readers.

Comment:

  1. Brad Snyder says:

    Maybe Im getting old…but ar bikes getting UGLIER?…I mean come on this thing looks like a scifi movie reject.

  2. Dave says:

    Sounds like the review that tells the world “its a pretty shit bike” but doesn’t burn too many bridges at MV for the next test ride.
    There seems to be very little to like which is a real shame as they clearly have design chops.

  3. S.R says:

    Iwan Van Der Valk says:
    “The finish is excellent and everything feels solid. The slick design is being let down somewhat by a couple of typical MV-like loose ends here and there. For instance, the careless way of fixing cables onto the bright red frame with cheap tie-raps looks very clumsy on such a stylized motorbike”.

    Well, I have to correct what has been mistakenly described here by the journalist “Iwan” here; First thing is that the frame is not Red and rather in Black color as pictured. Secondly, those are not cheap tie-raps and rather what all Italian brands including Ducati uses to secure the cables and whatever whatnot! These are made of rubber fasteners and the best looking ones at that when comparing to anything else by other manufactures. Thanks for the report though!

  4. S.R. the frame comes in red, as well as black, as you can see from the gallery photos.

  5. AGP says:

    Great review, not so great bike. I think it looks fantastic, but like all MVs it just won’t ride as well as it looks. MV really needs to get a better process for the last 10% of development – they do so much great R&D work and then ruin the whole product with dodgy electronics and inadequate setup.

  6. Dave says:

    Check out the prelim review from M. Neeves – are they riding the same bike?

    “I’d say the throttle response is on par with a Street Triple’s and better than the new Yamaha MT-09″

    http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/News/newsresults/First-rides-tests/2013/October/oct2413-mv-agusta-rivale-800-first-ride/

  7. MikeD says:

    @Brad:

    No, old age got nothing to do with finding UGLY MOTORCYCLES being UGLY.

    This one in my book is not a HORRID XAMPLE but still a bit “too different” looking for “mass consumption”.

    Now for a Honest/Legit question:

    Has there ever been an EFI system on a bike that worked/works as SMOOTH as a CV Carb ? (o_O)?

  8. Andrew says:

    I’ve been saying it for a while, and sadly this looks like an opportunity to say it again: MV really needs to stop developing new models, and finish developing the ones they already have.

  9. MikeD says:

    @Andrew:

    ROTFLMAO. True.

  10. damn says:

    realy ugly. no wait. ITS DAMN UGLY

  11. smiler says:

    Like his helmet.

    Bike looks different as well. Aquired taste.

  12. Bart says:

    I ‘ve ridden the MV Agusta Brutale and Rivale 800 back to back this weekend. The throttle response on the Rivale is much,much better then on the Brutale. I had the feeling that bikes had a completely different engine.

    The throttle on the Rivale is very good and progressive.

    (The dealer told me that a new mapping could make the Brutale respons like the Rivale.)

    ps. The very tall testrider (I guess he is a lot taller then me (185)) doesn’ t flatter the bike in these pictures.

  13. Craig says:

    Once again… give me my current steed… the Triumph 675 R. Yes, I would like 800 cc’s at times, but not for the trade off of sloppy throttle response. I’ve ridden a bike like that and it stinks… especially at track days…

    A smooth throttle will allow you to really ride a bike how you want and it’s so much more enjoyable. All said, I can take the styling… It’s ready to go out of the box, but really? This is 2013… get your programming right already!!!

  14. BBQdog says:

    Not my cup of tea. Looks too much insect-like from the side. And the rider seems to sit totally on top of the bike. Why do they make bikes so high ? The design seems totally over the top.

  15. Luke says:

    Curious, I have found the front-end just fine. Definitively there is a bit more weight on the front end compared to a typical supermoto but the bike is quite well balanced in corners even without accelerating.

  16. Grey Matter says:

    MV-cati… Looks to much like the Hypermotard. I wouldn’t want to be the guy riding it when someone says, “Hey, that looks just like a Hyper”. Yes it’s a 3-banger and yeah it’s got some slightly different styling ques but in my eyes, it’s just a different colored horse but the same breed in the stable.

  17. S.R says:

    Jensen Beeler says:
    “S.R. the frame comes in red, as well as black, as you can see from the gallery photos”.

    Jensen, the production bike tested here by the journalist had the dark Grey frame. None comes with Red from the factory!!! The one shown in the gallery is a one-off custom bike done by the factory with forged wheels, borrowed from the bigger brother ” f4RR” and has none production paint scheme and other parts installed. Thank you though. ;)

  18. S.R says:

    Jensen,
    You are correct. I didn’t see the Black one in the trio company!!! oops.. :)

  19. Gutterslob says:

    In terms of looks, not my thing. Too bug like. I’ll agree that ut is pretty striking, though.
    Too bad it’ll most probably fall apart in a few months.

  20. Norm G. says:

    re: “I wouldn’t want to be the guy riding it when someone says, “Hey, that looks just like a Hyper”.

    that’s when you respond, pffft… laymen.

  21. Y says:

    Kamen rider!

  22. arkangel says:

    thanks – what a wonderfully honest review !! .. congrats .. refreshing

    if one wanted one – one knows the shortcomings, which may be easy to overcome with front adjustments and a power commander .. Also I don’t find it ugly – unique & rather tasty – but not a meal I want to eat every day ..//

    The F3 however is the bike I really think kicks ass..!!

  23. Shawn says:

    Costa Mouzouris, from canadamotoguide.com, also wrote a review on their site. He didn’t find a vague front end on the one he rode. He didn’t mention the fit and finish but he enjoyed the new throttle mapping.

    http://canadamotoguide.com/2013/10/23/rivale-800-mv-agustas-game-changer/

  24. Bruce Monighan says:

    That is one ugly bike. Looks like it was designed By Edward Sissorhands. Stuff sliced and diced and poking out all over. You could get hurt just leaning on it. Such unnecessary theatrics

  25. MikeD says:

    @Bruce:

    You said: “You could get hurt just leaning on it.”

    I say, ROTFLMAO, you have won the internet today. Thanks i needed a good LOL.

  26. Gary says:

    Whoops, who let that one slip out the door? Embarrassing.