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Gold rush - the MV Serie Oro F4

This is one of the original MV Agusta 750F4 Serie Oro (#50 of 300), and - sorry 916 fans - designer Massimo Tamburini’s favourite child. “With the Ducati we already had a good base to work on. With the MV it was a blank piece of paper and we had to create everything.” Such was his passion for the project that, when he fell ill while designing the bike, he filled notebooks with diagrams and pictures. “I was so scared I would die without designing the bike.” So, while for most of us the 916 is Tamburini’s stand out project, what most don’t realise is that he was working on the 998 that substantially updated the desmo twin when he left Ducati. It would have looked very different – pretty much like the MV Agusta F4 – had Claudio Castiglioni not sold Ducati. But Castiglioni was forced into choosing between Ducati and MV Agusta by an Italian government desperate to call in the loans they had made to him to save Ducati and, with the Bologna factory future secured, they wanted their money back. Rather than abandon the revival of MV, Castiglioni and Tamburini chose to save the greatest motorcycle name of all time. What made the decision easy for Tamburini – another shock for L-twin fans - is that he always believed a transverse four was the ultimate sportsbike power plant. The F4 was first shown in 1998, Castiglioni announcing that production would start with a limited edition run of just 300 - the 'Serie Oro' (Gold Series) built at a new factory at Cassinetta di Biandronno, Varese. The Oro's price was more than double that of the standard F4 Strada, yet every one was sold before being built. That price tag was explained by the exotic materials employed: while the Strada's fairing is plastic, the Oro's is carbon-fibre; the wheels and swinging arm - aluminium alloy on the Strada - are magnesium alloy on the Oro; other goodies included the inevitable limited edition numbering on the headstock. F4 Strada and Oro prices are finally on the up: this Oro was sold by Bonhams for £27600 in 2018. The full story of Tamburini’s genius is in the Road, available for just £5 with free UK postage v using the discount code allclear here


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