Approximately 1,700 units of the lightweight single-cylinder motorcycle were produced between 1945 and 1948.
|1943-48 MV Agusta 98 Turismo|
It was a post-war motorcycle design and was a utility vehicle with an intended low selling price and maintenance costs. The MSRP was only 130,000 Lire (or $89.56 USD).
The simplicity of the components insured good reliability, as was required of a post-war motorcycle. A Lusso (Luxury) version with a telescopic fork was also produced.
The 98 was initially presented with the name Vespa but was abandoned as Vespa had already been registered by another company.
MV Agusta 98 motorcycle had a tiny air-cooled two-stroke engine a 98cc displacement.
The 48mm bore and a 54mm stroke (49 x 52 on the second version) had a compression ratio of 6:1 helping put out a 3.5hp at 4800rpm.
The original version’s piston had a deflector but was quickly replaced by a slightly convex type motorcycle piston.
Feed by a 16 mm carburetor, the gas (90%) and oil (10%) mixture was fired by a MV Agusta kick-starter and flywheel magneto ignition.
The 98 clutch was a familiar wet multiple plate unit that was attached to a two-speeds gearbox and a final chain drive that was later updated with a three-speed version in 1946.
The Turismo 98 had a closed tubular steel cradle frame and a gas tank that held a full 9 liters (2.37 gallons).
Front suspension was comprised of girder forks (telescopic fork on Lusso model and the rear suspension was a plunger-box.
The braking system used a lateral 125mm drum in the front and a similar lateral 125 mm drum in the rear.
Classic spoked wheels with 2.50×19 front tire and a 3.00×19 rear tire proved the rolling hardware of the day.
The MV Agusta 98 Turismo weighted in at 70 kg (154 lbs.) allowing a lofty top speed 65 Km/h (40.4mph) while going the distance at a very “green” 40kml (94mpg).
1954 MV Agusta CSTL 175 Turismo LussoThe company began as an offshoot of the Agusta aviation company which was formed by Count Giovanni Agusta in 1923. The Count died in 1927, leaving the company in the hands of his wife and sons, Domenico, Vincenzo, Mario and Corrado. Count Vincenzo Agusta together with his brother Domenico formed MV Agusta (the MV stood for Meccanica Verghera) at the end of the Second World War as a means to save the jobs of employees of the Agusta firm and also to fill the post-war need for cheap, efficient transportation. They produced their first prototype, ironically called “Vespa 98″, in 1945. After learning of that that the name had already been registered by Piaggio for its Vespa motorscooter, it was referred to simply by the number “98”.
The company successfully manufactured small-displacement, quintessential Café racer style motorcycles (mostly 125-150 cc) through the 1950s and 1960s. In the 60s small motorcycle sales declined, and MV started producing larger displacement cycles in more limited quantities. A 250 cc, and later a smart 350 cc twin were produced, and a 600 cc four-cylinder evolved into a 750 cc which is still extremely valuable today.
Following the death of Count Domenico Agusta in 1971 the company declined and by 1980, it stopped producing motorcycles altogether.
Resurrected by Cagiva
F4 750 OroCagiva purchased the MV Agusta name trademarks in 1991 and in 1997 it introduced the first new MV Agusta motorcycle. The new bikes were four-cylinder 750 cc sports machines (the F4 range), which included a series of limited production run models, such as the all black paint work SPR model (“Special Production Racing”) which was featured in the movie “I Robot” and in 2004, they introduced their first 1000 cc bike. 2004 marked the end of production for the 750 sports machines, with a limited production of 300 SR (“Special Racing”) model in the traditional red and silver livery.
MV Agusta also made a limited number of F4 750 cc and F4 1000 cc “Ayrton Senna” editions in memory of the late Formula One Champion of the same name (who was an avid Ducati and MV Agusta collector) in aid of the Instituto Ayrton Senna, his charity foundation in Brazil for children and young people. 300 models of each were made in the early 2000′s.
They also produce a range of 750 and 910 “naked” bikes called the Brutale. Production is somewhat limited, as it is the policy of the company to produce an elite machine similar to Ferrari in motor cars. They do not compete directly with Japanese manufacturers, whose motorcycles typically sell for considerably less than the cost of an MV Agusta. Rather they compete with other Italian models such as Ducati sports bikes the 996, 998, 999, and the naked Monster. In 2005, MV Agusta introduced the Tamburini 1000, which is named after its creator, Massimo Tamburini, who previously worked for Moto Guzzi, and most recently Ducati. Cycle World and Australian Motorcycle News magazine named it the best sportbike in the world. Tamburini designed the Ducati 916 sports bike (predecessor of the 748 and 996 series) which marked the return of Ducati as a successful motorcycle manufacturer over the last decade. The MV Agusta F4 refined the innovative design of the 916. In recent publications, the MV Agusta has been highly praised as one of the best handling motorcycles ever created and the 2008 F4 312R model is known to be the world’s fastest production motorcycle. Claimed power of the new F4 312R model is 183HP, although dyno tests suggest it is more in the range of 172-175, in stock performance mode, a condition generally resolved by simple after market adjustments.
In 1999 the Cagiva group was restructured for strategic purposes and MV Agusta become the main brand comprising Cagiva and Husqvarna.
Purchase and sale by Proton
Heavily indebted, the manufacturer was bought by Malaysian carmaker Proton in December 2004 for 70 million euro. In December 2005 however, Proton decided to cut its ties with MV Agusta and sold it to GEVI SpA, a Genoa-based financing company related to Carige, for a token euro excluding debt.
In 2006 that financing company, GEVI SpA, with 65% of the share capital, had refinanced MV Agusta, and by so doing allowed the company to continue, and brought MV Agusta ownership back to Italy.