The Milanese motorbike maker has taken the wraps off the long-awaited Stradale 800, an adventure tourer that's a stylish as it is potent.
When Intermot, the last major bike show of the year, opened its doors to the press and public opened its doors in Cologne, Germany back in September, MV Augusta was conspicuous by its absence.
The company was clearly keeping its powder dry until the world's leading motorcycle makers descended on its hometown for the 2014 EICMA and now that the show is underway it's taken the wraps off its lightweight take on one of motorcycling's biggest current trends, the Adventure Bike.
The Stradale 800 is actually based on its Rivale sportsbike but has been tamed slightly -- 115hp from its 3-cylinder engine rather than the Rivale's 125hp and of course has undergone the physical makeover needed to perform on rougher terrain as well as on FIA-approved asphalt. So, a lower ride height and an adjustable windscreen and of course greater suspension travel, however only at the rear end. It also has a bigger fuel tank and engine guards.
Aesthetically at least, the best touch is making the saddle bags an integrated element of the bike's rear, complete with taillights. In terms of improving handling and fun, the bike also has ABS and rear wheel lift mitigation and is capable of making clutch-less upshifts when accelerating hard at full throttle.
However, as good-looking as the Stradale is, MV Augusta is by no means the only company that has launched a lighter, more agile adventure bike at this year's show.
BMW, the undisputed daddy of the adventure bike, having invented the concept, chose Milan to unveil the S1000XR, a very sports-focused adventure bike with a 160hp 1000cc four-cylinder engine that's as high-tech as it is high-powered, boasting lean angle sensitive ABS which will stop the bike from locking up and dumping you off when braking hard and scuffing a knee in a bend.
The Stradale can't compete with that but such is the strength of the MV Augusta brand and the affection with which the company is held, its fans will likely just be happy if the bike hits the market in a timely fashion. The company has been struggling in recent months but earlier this month Mercedes Benz announced that it had taken a financial stake in the company. Let's hope it's enough to keep MV Augusta on track.