Oh my! This is exciting. I have been hankering after one of these since seeing the first pictures appeared in MCN in 1997 featuring the EICMA Milan Motorcycle show when the F4 750 Oro was first unveiled. I can actually remember exactly where I was when I first clapped eyes on the picture, driving up a hill in my birthtown with my girlfriend (now wife) in a Red Subaru Impreza while she was page turning the latest edition of MCN.
Designed by the late great Massimo Tamburini, for me this was his ultimate creation and arguably the most beautiful production motorcycle ever. Executed under Claudio Castiglioni’s tenure of MV Agusta, these two Titans of the motorcycle world are responsible for many of my favourite motorcycles.
The 916 Ducati was just the warm up act for what was to be his greatest masterpiece.
It wasn’t until around 2001 that I actually sat on one at a dealer in Jersey while holidaying there. This is the last bike on my primary list of essential bikes, saving the best until last, this is likely the last bike I will buy for some time, the garage is full and what better way to top it off.
I had been on the hunt on and off for at least 2-3 years, before this particular bike came on my radar. The initial brief was that it had to be a first generation bike (the pure Tamburini design) and a monoposto. I was in fact originally looking at the special edition F4’s, however the more I researched, the more it became apparent that the 1078 as the swansong of the gen1 F4 was the ultimate incarnation, only trumped by one other bike, which was the Eur 80,00, 2007 1078 CC (Claudio Castiglioni) which incorporated the MV Agusta TSS (Torque Shift System) on top of the already enlarged capacity. The CC was a run of only 100 units fully draped in carbon fibre and magnesium. The 1078 RR 312 followed a year later, made from 2008-2009 and presumably used up the run of engines that made the CC viable and was the closest F4 in specification to the widely acclaimed CC.
This particular example is finished in the traditional Red/Silver MV Agusta racing colours as per the Oro original launch bikes and celebrate the last of the Generation 1 F4’s designed solely by Tamburini. (The later Generation 2 bikes were restyled by Adrian Morton).
Sporting 190hp in standard form and a top speed of 312km/h (hence the name), the RR 312 was the last of the pure breed Hyper-bikes, no abs, no traction control and no rider modes to tame this power. It made do without the carbon fibre add on’s and colour schemes of the special editions, however it made up for this with 78cc more capacity (3mm increase in bore), slipper clutch, longer 1-3rd gearing while sporting lightweight Marchesini’s, Brembo brakes, fully adjustable Marzocchi forks and a Sachs rear shock.
This particular bike has been further improved from stock by X-bikes who also tuned the official UK importer Moto GB’s bikes. The 1078 was known to have some snatchy fuelling issues and overheating problems. These were easily remedied, the consensus is to install a re-mappable ecu, in this instance a Microtec M226 mapped by X-bikes delivering better low range power delivery, increased hp and bringing the cooling fans on sooner at 90 degrees centigrade.
This has been combined with an upgraded water pump impeller and a re-cored exhaust pipe (akin to the MV Corse RG3 pipes) with additional black ceramic coating. The chassis has been treated to a lighter 9.5kg Ohlins rear spring and +3mm swingarm pivot plates to soften the rear for our roads while simultaneously increasing anti-squat. Further changes from factory include MV Corse folding levers, Waltermoto adjustable rearsets as well as a HID low beam, CC style alcantara/leather seat and Silver powder coated wheels.
This particular example was previously enjoyed prior to myself by 2 owners. The first one purchased her from a London dealer and had her shipped directly to X-bikes to carry out the work and run her in on the dyno. He sold the bike at 880 miles a year later. The second owner had her for 9 years before selling to me at 3973 miles.
All the servicing thus far has been carried out by X-bikes and the bike comes complete with all it’s original documentation.
The bike was offered for sale by the owners friend who owns a garage in Perranwell, Truro which is where the bike was being stored who kindly put me in direct contact with the owner. A few phonecalls, emails and whatsapps later and an offer was made and accepted. The bike was located at the opposite coast to me, a 12 hour round trip as it turned out and a rather apt 666 miles exactly to collect this jaw droppingly Devilish temptress!
I have been very fortunate in my travels in that every motorcycle that I have purchased directly from the owners, they have all transpired to be nothing other than true gentlemen. This purchase was no exception and it speaks volumes of the unspoken camaraderie of fellow bikers that they generally behave in such an honourable manner. The deal was sealed and I gave my word that she was going to a very good home and would be well taken care of! I am absolutely delighted and very much looking forward to the first ride…