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2018 MV Agusta Turismo Veloce Lusso 800 SCS | Bike Tests | Latest Tests

MV Agusta’s fancy new Smart Clutch System may be stealing the headlines, but it’s only a small part of the new Turismo Veloce’s bigger story

By its own admission, MV Agusta has ridden a bumpy road in recent times. The past few years have seen its fair share of struggles. But rather than looking at cost-cutting, off-shore manufacturing opportunities and safe middle-of-the-road designs, MV Agusta’s suave president, Giovanni Castiglioni, and new business partner Timur Sardarov have decided the company must first and foremost remain Italian, in both location and in spirit.

For the past two years, the MV Agusta development team has been working tirelessly on a host of new designs and systems, including a new clutch it believes will revolutionise the way we ride motorcycles. The first model to be fitted with the new Smart Clutch System (SCS) is its top-of-the-range touring bike, the Turismo Veloce Lusso 800. Combining the SCS clutch system with a new electronics package and a raft of updates which also appeared on the 2018 Brutale 800, MV has produced a bike that is sexy and exciting, while providing a glimpse of the future direction of the marque.

From the moment R&D technical director Brian Gillen introduced the new bike at the MV factory, the main talking point became the new Rekluse-based Smart Clutch System that, when combined with bi-directional quickshifter, makes the bike a truly semi-automatic performance machine. But it still has a clutch lever for those times when you feel like riding in a conventional manner (or when you want to pull an awesome wheelie).

In simple terms, the SCS automatically engages and disengages when the engine revs fall below or rise above certain points. But unlike an aftermarket Rekluse clutch, popular with off-road riders, the MV Agusta system uses a tricky combination of mechanicals and electronics to weave its magic.

The launch kicked off with a lesson on clutchless riding in the factory car park. Putting the bike into gear for the first time without reaching for the clutch lever is a weird experience. After 40 years of start, clutch in, select gear and go, the process used to get a motorcycle underway has become almost innate behaviour, so to suddenly change this method means another part of my brain needed to go into battle against the part that has been looking after bike-starting duties for decades.

Using the SCS is as simple as starting the bike and selecting first gear, the bike will just sit there idling as though it’s in neutral, there’s no slight jump when first gear is engaged. A slight twist of the throttle is all it takes for the bike to start creeping forward. Give it a little more gas and it will pull away smoothly. If you twist the throttle to the stoppers from a standing start, the MV’s electronics step in and simply ensure an extremely fast and efficient getaway.

Read the full story in the current issue (Vol 68 No 02) of AMCN on sale now