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Review: MV Agusta Turismo Veloce SCS 2018

What is it?
It has been a couple of years since MV Agusta first launched the Turismo Veloce, 2015 to be exact. It is the Italian manufacturer's interpretation of a touring motorcycle, designed less to conquer continents and more to have a bit of fun on a really comfortable sport bike. MV is very clear at the outset; the Turismo Veloce was not built to compete with the Africa Twin or the Multistrada. It Has been designed to offer the F3, Brutale-like experience in a more friendly and usable package that can travel long distances too. With the Turismo Veloce, you get a tall, upright motorcycle that looks like a compact adventure motorcycle and has cleverly integrated panniers too, with a cracker of a 798cc, triple to power it along.

Is it as big as it looks?
For starters, the Turismo Veloce doesn’t look daunting, even with the panniers strapped on. Most adventure motorcycles tend to be rather bulky, but this one, with its F4 inspired headlamp and several layers on its fairing, looks inviting. Move to the side and the Brutale-like tank catches your eye and keeps your gaze moving to the neatly designed seats. The trellis frame, surprisingly, isn’t in a contrast colour and blends in with the black accents on the fairing, although the bright red Rekluse clutch does announce the SCS (smart clutch system) with its transparent casing, and then there is the floating tail section covered up by the panniers. It isn’t particularly tall, and the 17-inch wheels at the front and rear, with a single side swingarm, add to its road-biased intentions. The panniers have been cleverly designed and tuck into the tail and can hold about 30-litres each, or a full-face helmet. The good part, they are still narrower than the width of the handlebar, which makes it easy to split lanes through traffic.

Is it really sportbike like?
Despite the panniers, getting on board is fairly easy, although it would be far simpler without them, and the narrow spine of the TV allowed me to get both feet on the ground with my 5 foot 10’ frame. Kick the side stand up and thumb the starter. If you are in neutral the triple comes alive; else you need to pull the clutch in if you are in gear. Yes, the SCS is a smart clutch system, but you still get an actual clutch lever to be stupid and a gear lever to shift as you prefer. The bright colour TFT screen makes it easy to read information and the buttons to work through the menu are intuitive. Scrolling through the menu and setting up the suspension, traction control, ABS and engine map is simple and easy to get used to. You also have cruise control and a speed limiter to make riding the TV a breeze.

With the 798cc, triple engaged via the six-speed transmission, I set off to explore the beautiful countryside. With 109 horses for company and 80Nm of torque, I roll off the line gently, careful not to get a grip of the clutch as the SCS gets to work. Nothing dramatic as power is fed in smoothly, the clutch initiating some slip before the full force is delivered. After this point, the superb quickshifter comes into play allowing you to move up the gearbox with the throttle on, while every downshift is greeted with a blip, provided you have the throttle closed fully. Although there is an incredible amount of electronics at play here, to decide how much power is supplied with every wring of your right wrist, it feels incredibly mechanical and natural, unlike a DCT. While you can launch from standstill in the first two gears, third onwards makes for a roll off the line with no additional power coming your way till you shift down.

What does this do for performance?
You may be wondering whether it still feels as quick as the claimed 3.15 seconds to 100kph. Well, with the SCS you are guaranteed a perfect launch every time and, unless you ride MotoGP in your spare time, it is likely to better your dash to 100kph with a manual clutch. Acceleration is every bit as manic as expected and moving up the gears as the engine nears redline is an aural experience that is deeply addictive. While the triple takes on a shrill scream as you pile on the revs, every well-timed upshift is greeted with a little pop. If you feel like messing about, you can always pull in the clutch to pop a wheelie. There isn’t any letting up on the fun quotient here and it is possible to switch to hooligan mode in ‘sport’ or be more mature about it in ‘touring’, both delivering full power with differences in initial feel of the throttle, braking aggression and suspension stiffness. For times when things get really tricky, you can lean on ‘rain’ mode to save the day, with power reduced to 70 per cent and traction control set to award-winning nanny level. Don’t miss how there is no talk of an off-road mode, we’ll leave that to farm equipment.

Turn off onto a twisty mountain road and the TV delivers an experience that is more similar to a Brutale, rather than a Tiger. Incredible lean angles can be achieved without it feeling odd at all and the chassis holds true through every sort of corner that you throw at it, including fast sweeping ones with bumps in it. If you do over cook it, get on the brakes and bang down through the gears to sort things out. This is the sort of motorcycle that you can carve up mountain roads on and go for a proper cross-country tour, as long as you stay on the paved roads. You also get an app to download all the ride data from your bike to see how you did at your favourite corner – speed, throttle position, lean angle – all of that.

Final word
Does the Turismo Veloce live up to the performance legacy? Sure it does. MV is quite clear about this being a sport bike that you can use everyday and over long distances. In fact, it isn’t really as much an adventure motorcycle as it is a sport tourer. The most off-road bit on the motorcycle must be the Scorpion Trail tyres instead of a set of Rosso Corsas. You do get a screen to keep the wind out of your chest and panniers to go for a multi-day ride that adds to its functionality. But at the heart of it, the Turismo Veloce is as rewarding a motorcycle as you could wish for. You can leave your off-road kit and heavy boots at home for this one. A set of leathers with a sleek supersport helmet is what you need for the Turismo Veloce. And with the SCS clutch, you get all the performance you’d ever want, perfect launches off the line along with the ease of a clutch-less ride through the congested bits.

Rating: 9/10

Price: Rs 23 lakh (est)

Specifications:

Engine: 798cc, petrol, 6M, 109bhp, 80Nm

Top Speed: 230kph

Kerb weight: 192kg

Fuel tank: 21.5 litres

Tyres (fr/rr): 120/70 R17/ 190/55 R17

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