MV Agusta, What the Hell Are You Up To?

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We got a strange email from MV Agusta this morning, one that seems to be teasing a new motorcycle. That much isn’t too uncommon, as the Italian brand loves to build anticipation of its new model releases. But, this teaser seems like something else entirely.

You can see it above, although there is not much to see beyond a wheel and some sort of enlarged canopy. That in itself though is something of an oddity, and quite frankly it looks like that on September 4th, we are going to see a machine like no other that’s ever been in the MV Agusta lineup.

I have three theories on what this rogue “Z” wearing vehicle could be, and they all are based off the idea that we are looking at the hind quarters of a new machine. Let me explain.

The Akira Theory


If you have never watched Japanese anime films, your entry into this realm should probably start with the movie Akira.

This is a blanket statement for all Westerners, but it holds especially true for motorcyclists, as one of the cool elements of Akira is the motorcycle that Kaneda (one of the main characters) riders with his biker gang (see above).

For those who can straddle happy intersection on the Venn diagram of “manga nerd” and “motorcycle enthusiast”, the building of a real life Akira bike is high on the list of things that are universally awesome.

I don’t think that’s what is actually going on here, but I can dream. Right?

The Vastly More Plausible Monotracer Theory


Have you heard of the Monotracer? The design has been around for probably two decades now.

It is basically a fully enclosed motorcycle, that has room for two riders and some luggage. It also features outriggers that deploy at slow speeds to keep it from tipping over at traffic lights and such.

For some reason, despite setbacks in production and market response, the Monotracer design refuses to die. I have seen the project under a few different names now, oddly none of them are Lazarus.

This is probably because the idea behind the Monotracer is actually pretty good: a vehicle that takes the best elements of a car, and (s0me) of the best elements of a motorcycle.

A fully enclosed motorcycle is an interesting idea. I am not sure it is one any of our readers will like, but there is reason to believe it could convert some non-riders into a quasi two-wheeled life.

MV Agusta is just crazy enough, they might attempt to crack this nut. The rear profiles certainly look similar enough, right?

The Slingshot Theory


My last stab at understanding this teaser image is to think it depicts some sort of reverse-trike, like the Polaris Slingshot, but with a canopy like a jet fighter.

I have already written about how the Polaris Slingshot is a new type of fun for motorists. It’s not “motorcycle fun” – instead it is a different kind of fun, that runs parallel to motorcycle fun. That’s a horrible tl;dr explanation, so just read the story.

The truth is though, the three-wheeler market is surprisingly strong. Can-Am has sold a boat-load of Spyders (aka, snowmobiles with street tires), the Slingshot is strong where it skirts the nebulous area between motorcycles and cars effectively, and Harley-Davidson is seeing huge growth in its trike sales (mostly due to its riders getting to the age where they can’t keep upright on their own an 800 lbs motorcycle).

All of this is to say that we can see MV Agusta looking at the three-wheeler market, and seeing an opportunity – especially since all the other European motorcycle brands have completely ignored these segments.

Could the photo above be some sort of enclosed leaning reverse-trike? It doesn’t seem the most likely of ideas, but is also not that many standard deviations away from reality.

Time Will Tell

Honestly, I am not sure what to make of this image, and what it is teasing. Thankfully though, we all only have a little over a month to wait before it is revealed to us.

One clue we have is the “Z” logo I mentioned at the start of this article. That’s the mark of Italian automotive design house Zagato, which is based just down the street from MV Agusta, in Milan. Both companies are teasing this image, so it’s fair to say the vehicle teased here is the product of their collaboration.

That doesn’t help unraveled the mystery much, but it does give some weight to the idea of an enclosed two-wheeler or three-wheeler – a vehicle that sits in-between the worlds of these two brands.

We all know that 2016 has not been kind to MV Agusta, so the Italian company needs something that will invigorate consumers, calm investors, and move volume for dealers. Hopefully this machine ticks all those boxes.

Have a theory of your own? Leave it in the comments. +5 points to whoever gets closest.

Source: MV Agusta

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.