World Launch MV Agusta Turismo Veloce Lusso 800 SCS – First ride thoughts
At the world launch, we tested the Lusso SCS fitted with the semi-automatic clutch, and the non-SCS Lusso model. Both have Sachs semi-active electronic suspension, Motor Vehicle Integrated Control System (MVICS) electronics suit and TFT dash, as well as a host of engine and gearbox updates, designed to deliver a quieter and smoother Euro-4 compliant ride. Other standard equipment on the new Lusso model includes; immobiliser, heated grips, Bluetooth, cruise control, integrated GPS sensor, 30L hard bags and the ability to download the bike’s data to a new MV Agusta smartphone app. When the new Lusso arrives in Australia in August, two colours will be available; Fire Red/Dark Metallic and Pearl White and Grey. Pricing will be confirmed closer to the local launch date.
As expected, the main talking point with the new Lusso SCS model is the Rekluse-based Smart Clutch System which, when combined with the bi-direction quick-shifter, makes this bike a genuinely semi-automatic performance machine.
The Smart Clutch System uses a combination of hydraulics and electronics to work, automatically engaging and disengaging the clutch when the engine revs fall below or rise above a certain point in the rev range.
Putting the bike into gear for the first time without reaching for the clutch lever is a weird experience. You feel and hear the bike click into gear, and it just sits there – until you give the throttle a slight twist, and then it gently creeps away in a super smooth manner. If you twist the throttle straight around the stoppers from a standing start, the bike’s electronics step in and ensure a swift and efficient getaway which MV Agusta claims will deliver a 0-100 acceleration time close to WSBK figures. Having tested the system countless times during our ride (every time I came to a stop), I have no reason to dispute the claim. The SCS clutch also has the added advantage of delivering the perfect launch every time.
Being an Italian bike, it’s not only about the technology, but it’s also about the look, so MV has put its new SCS system on show for the world to see. The cover for the new clutch is transparent to reveal the red clutch plates; it’s a gorgeous stying touch for a beautiful machine. The weight penalty for the new clutch system is only a few grams, with a claimed dry weight of 192kg.
While the new clutch is the star of the show, the Turismo Veloce Lusso 800 is no one-trick pony. The electronics are the same suite fitted to the latest Brutale 800, as is the triple-cylinder 798cc engine which is now Euro 4 compliant. The engine produces a claimed 81kW at 10,150rpm, and 80Nm at 7100rpm. That power runs through an updated six-speed gearbox, and gearshifts are via MV’s EAS 2.0 bi-directional quickshifter.
The suspension is Sachs semi-active kit, working with MV’s Chassis Stability Control System and inertial measurement unit to deliver a ride that’s comfortable enough for touring, but sporty enough to deliver proper riding performance.
Braking is handled by Bembo four-piston radial callipers up front bitting onto twin 320mm floating discs. The system is controlled by the Bosch 9 Plus ABS which includes rear wheel lift mitigation. One added extra to the SCS breaking system is a parking brake. Having a semi-automatic clutch means that when the engine is not running, or at low revs, the bike will freewheel even when it’s in gear. The parking brake is foot-controlled, located above the rear-wheel foot break – but it does impede access while riding.
Out on the road, the raspy 798cc triple-cylinder engine is a real Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, delivering a high percentage of its 80Nm of torque low in the rev range. This produces a purposeful surge forward with every gear change if riding around the 4000-5000rpm range, or it will deliver an exhilaration punch if you rev it well past 10,000rpm where it reveals its F3 800 DNA. The engine features a MotoGP-style counter rotating crank, as well as a number of Euro 4 updates which have made it cleaner and quieter without sacrificing power.
Handling is as you would expect from the Brutal 800-based machine; sharp, snappy, predictable, and with plenty of feel, even in the rain. Bar-risers, screen, heated grips and handguards provide the extra comfort for touring duties. Despite its compact dimensions, the ergonomics are comfortable, even for taller riders like me. I spent the first half of the ride with a pillion and at no time did we struggle for space.
The gearbox has also been given a makeover with new transmission, primary and oil pump gears for a quieter a smoother action. The bi-directional quick-shifter has a purposeful, mechanical feel, and a full day of riding both the SCS and standard clutch version failed to reveal a hint of trouble.
How easy it is for the rider to understand and manipulate a bike’s electronics is now a major selling point, and the Motor Vehicle Integrated Control System (MVICS) developed by MV is child’s play to understand and use. Everything can be customised and saved via a single button on the left-hand switch block – even on the fly. The started button on the right is also for alternate between four riding modes; Sport, Touring, Rain and Custom. The damping of the semi-active suspension (Lusso model only) is also adjusted via the dash. Preload of the rear shock is adjusted manually via an easy-to-use knob.
A strong indication of how well the buying public will accept a new idea can be gauged by how quickly it becomes second nature to use. The first time I rolled to a stop on the SCS-equipped bike, my fingers instinctively reached for the clutch lever, I stopped myself, and that was the only time it happened. From that point on I didn’t give the clutch lever a second thought, even when riding in traffic and performing low-speed U-turns. As the throttle is twisted, the electronics system automatically modulates the amount of torque delivered to the SCS clutch based on information provided by the Inertial Measurement Unit. The result is a super-smooth action.
MV Agusta boss Giovanni Castiglioni has revealed that the new SCS system will be a significant part of the company’s future, so expect semi-automatic clutches to be fitted to a growing number of MV Agusta models.
For more information about the new Turismo Veloce Lusso 800, check out the selection of videos from the world launch on our Instagram and Facebook page; our full test report feature will appear in an upcoming issue of Australian Motorcycle News.