Fast Bikes - - UPFRONT -

WOW. Just look at it. This is a lim­ited edi­tion, cel­e­bra­tory ver­sion of the leg­endary MV Agusta F4, named for the firm’s saviour, Clau­dio Castiglioni. Clau­dio died in 2011, after a life­time in the Ital­ian bike busi­ness, run­ning Ca­giva, Ducati, Husq­varna and, fa­mously, MV Agusta.

The Casti­gioni name is in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked with the mar­que, after Clau­dio brought the Ducati 916 de­signer, Mas­simo Tam­burini, in to de­sign the MV Agusta F4 750. That su­per­bike, launched in 1998, re­vived the firm’s for­tunes, and with Clau­dio’s son, Gio­vanni, now run­ning the com­pany, that link is stronger than ever.

This will be fi­nal edi­tion of the F4’s cur­rent in­car­na­tion – emis­sions rules mean the firm needs to give its full-bore su­per­bike a proper makeover, and there’ll be an all-new bike com­ing soon from the Agusta fac­tory at Varese near Mi­lan. Based on the RC ver­sion of the F4 1000 su­per­bike, the F4 Clau­dio re­ally is a work of art. It’s drip­ping in proper car­bon fi­bre, with a beau­ti­ful black and gold colour scheme and the very best in chas­sis jew­ellery.

It’s pow­ered by a 212bhp 1,000cc in­line-four mo­tor, so it should go like ut­ter stink. That en­gine has been up­graded, with ti­ta­nium con­rods and a light­ened, bal­anced crank­shaft, plus hand-ported cylin­der head, di­a­mond-like-coated valve train, and spe­cial low-fric­tion pis­tons and rings.

It puts out a claimed 212bhp @ 13,450rpm with the sup­plied SC Pro­jects ti­ta­nium race pipe, and even makes 205bhp in road trim – still pretty

solid power, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing how light it is (175kg dry mass with the SC Pro­jects ex­haust). Much of the weight loss is done the ex­pen­sive way too – with lash­ings of ti­ta­nium fas­ten­ers all over the place.

Wheels are BST car­bon fi­bre, wear­ing Su­per­corsa rub­ber, and the sus­pen­sion is full-on Öh­lins kit – NIX30 forks and TTX36 shock. The Clau­dio also comes with the very lat­est Brembo Stylema calipers, which have been ex­clu­sive to Ducati’s Pani­gale V4 un­til now. The body­work is all car­bon fi­bre, with Clau­dio Castiglioni’s sig­na­ture picked out in sil­ver, and with gold­plated cop­per trims on the pan­els.

The F4 Clau­dio has a bumper elec­tron­ics pack­age too, with full track-spec trac­tion con­trol, ABS and power modes. It also comes with an AIM dash (woo!) and sweet WSB-type set of but­tons, al­low­ing quick and easy ac­cess to ad­just the modes, pit­lane lim­iter, and all that other good stuff that you would ex­pect to see on a spe­cial mo­tor­cy­cle like this.

There’s only one down­side that we can see – the Clau­dio is so gor­geous that the ma­jor­ity of these weapons will end up whiling away their time repos­ing un­der dust sheets in col­lec­tors’ cli­mate-con­trolled garages. Booooo!

It’s also lim­ited to just 200 units, so you’re un­likely to see many schlep­ping round the North Cir­cu­lar. If you do pick one up though, we’ll be happy to come round and make sure it goes prop­erly for you…

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