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MV Agusta posted by

Evolution: 2002 MV Agusta F4 750 SPR for Sale

The MV Agusta F4 750 is so often referred to as "one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever created" that it's easy to forget it's actually a pretty good motorcycle as well. Sure, it's brutally uncomfortable and a little bit heavier than the competition, but the engineering is sound and it's an impressively refined piece, considering this was the company's first modern superbike, built from the ground up to compete against the very best sportbikes in the world. It fell a bit short of the mark, but not so far short you could consider it an actual failure, considering the bike's longevity.

The orignal F4 750 was introduced in 1999 and the later 1000cc version that followed in 2005 was basically the 750 with more displacement and some refinements, and every four-cylinder machine produced by the company was based on the same engine and frame, up until the complete redesign of the F4 for 2010. So you're looking at a pretty long-serving package, considering the normally rapid pace of sportbike development, and that second generation F4 introduced in 2010 is still used as the foundation for a mid-pack WSBK contender!

So what was wrong with the F4? Well basically, in a class where power-to-weight ratios are critical, the bike had just average power and about 50lbs too much weight. In any other motorcycle category, that would be pretty meaningless, but in the hyper-competitive sportbike world, it meant everything, especially when you consider the somewhat shocking cost of the F4. Ultimately, the F4 was just a step behind the leaders in a class that was now obsolete, as literbikes were suddenly the top dogs of the sportbike world. MV Agusta solved the power problems with their updated F4 1000 but the damage to their rep was done, and the bikes never really offered any performance advantage over a ZX-10 or GSX-R1000, with less reliability and a whole lot more cost.

The seller claims this is an SPR, but I was under the impression the SPR was introduced in 2004, the ultimate evolution of the F4 750 and is most commonly seen in flat black colors. Whether or not this is an SPR or an S, it's a later version of the bike and should be more refined and reliable than the first-generation examples. The included Power Commander is a nice touch: fueling on stock F4s is pretty terrible from the factory, lean through most of the rev range and then artificially rich at the top. It's especially noticeable on the 1000 but both versions benefit hugely in terms of usability from a fueling module and some dyno time. I've ridden a stock 1000 and a properly tuned example nearly back-to-back, and the difference is pronounced. The stock bike seems to almost bog when you whack the throttle open in the midrange, where as the tuned version pulls as you'd expect: like a freight train.

From the original eBay listing: 2002 MV Agusta F4 750 SPR for Sale

Need garage space, so newer bikes must go! This 2002 MV F4 SPR was one of two California-legal MVs, purchased from Grand Prix Motors, San Diego. Original owner was importer for MV Agusta in 1970s, Commerce Overseas Corporation. Designer of the MV750S America: pictured in the foreground with this F4. The bike comes with a ton of MV Agusta history accumulated by Commerce Overseas, including racing photos from MV glory days! With only 8,000 miles, this F4 SPR is in "as-new" condition. Equipped with rare MV factory racing exhaust, bike is tuned with a Power Commander. New tires, recent service. Stunning example of the F4 that was produced in SPR form after initial hiccups with early models.

The bike has 8,250 miles on it and there are no takers yet at the $10,000 starting bid. For the most part, it's pretty commonly accepted that the later 1000 is a better bike overall and that the 750 is underpowered and slightly overweight. It is the original though, and rarer, and should prove to be the better investment over time. Plus, an MV is still an MV, and none of them are actually slow. Try to think of them more as... mature, with just a little bit of middle-aged paunch over an athlete's build. Put it this way: if you're riding an F4 and someone is faster than you are on track or down a given stretch of back road, the problem probably isn't the extra 50lbs the F4 carries over a GSX-R... The problem is probably you.

-tad

5 Comments

  • I think Tad is right. The SPR was matt black and had SPR on the front fairing.

  • The F4 SPR was produced in the second half of 2003. It was much more than a point job, which by the way was black (good call Chris). The SPR was created with track use in mind and had specific cylinder heads, intake and exhaust manis, lightened crank, forks, etc, etc.

    BTW, no takers at $10k and not surprising. A similar mileage F4 1000 can be had for same or less money depending on the Year Make.

    Tad, I am with you on the liter version of the F4. Sounds like you liked the silver/blue bike much better, eh?

    • Well, I’m a huge fan of the silver/red colors and would probably try to find an F4 in that scheme for myself, but the silver/blue looks great on the bike as well, and stands out because it’s much less common. Honestly, it’d be a tough choice and I’d probably be torn. The main reason I like the silver/blue F4 we know and love is that it’s properly set up: the Power Commander means it just pulls from whatever rpm and the suspension just oozes confidence. I love riding it. Honestly, I’d have no problem with an earlier, “underpowered” F4 750. Especially since I kind of love the yellow-faced tachometer…

  • I’ve been a little tempted by a F4 Ago for sale here in Australia. Red and silver with the racing number in a yellow oval on the fairing. A racing number has to add at least 5-10hp right?

    • At least that. Plus, the racing number actually reduces the weight!

Comment rules: Add something useful and constructive, and don't be a jerk. Comments that don't add value will be deleted. Comments will automatically close after 30 days. Thank you. -dc

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