I’ve owned this bike for just over a year and have put more than 3,000 miles on it, starting at about 3,100 miles and it now has more than 6,500 miles. For an MV, this bike has a few more lower quality finishes than one would expect (i.e. more plastic pieces, non-hydraulic clutch), but that allows for a lower price point and lighter machine.
The feel: This bike is so light and flickable it feels like a toy. The seat is thin and firm. For a sport bike it’s enough. I don’t tend to have problems with saddle soreness. With the upright riding position and the slight forward lean it takes enough weight off your bum. The controls and bars feel firm, solid and just as you would expect from an MV.
The motor: The triple-cylinder engine really is satisfying compromise between a V-twin, which I have owned and don’t really care for, and an in-line four, which I prefer and currently own an F4 Brutale and a first generation FZ1. This 675cc with ride-by-wire is interesting because it has a split personality; regardless of riding mode, you could ride around for weeks or months and never know you have this wild demon chained between your legs. Once you really crack the throttle (above 8,000 RPMs) it comes alive and makes you say “holy fudge!” The redline is at 15,000 RPMs.
The transmission: This EAS model (electronically assisted shifting) works flawlessly with upshifts and is one of the main reasons I bought this bike. Downshifts are a bit more tricky. I find I have to be more firm with the controls and roll off the throttle a bit.
The good: The characteristic feel and quality are undeniable. The blend of lightness, mostly effortless controls, sublime handling, and respectable power (approx. 110hp) makes for an ideal urban assault vehicle, suburban canyon carver, or middleweight track master. This is fun at nearly any RPM, unlike many newer F4s which really only have track applicability due to the power band.
The bad: There’s not really much to say here from my experience as far as major issues, but there are a few quirks you should be aware of, especially if you are new to MVs. The tank is plastic, as is true of all modern MVs. This requires non-ethanol fuel to avoid lifting the paint and having the plastic swell. This fuel is expensive and hard to find in some states (e.g. California). Fuel economy can be low due to higher-reving engine depending on your riding style (30-35 MPG or less). This model also uses a small battery which can go dead in the span of a few weeks due to minor current draw if the bike isn’t ridden regularly. Later revisions of this model came with a trickle charger to patch the issue. I have installed a lithium-ion battery with a charging pigtail and ride regularly with no real issues. If you are buying a garage ornament it will need to be kept plugged in or your battery will go dead.
Lastly, there have been reports of engines blown—even at lower RPMs—due to dropped pistons. Reports of this issue suggest it is most likely to happen within the first 5,000 miles, though not always. This issue has not affected me, but it is important to point out as more than just a rumor.