First track day report

greenspun.com : LUSENET : MV Agusta F4 : One Thread

Ok, I've finally put the MV out on the track and I've got plenty to talk about.

1. Tires 2. Brakes 3. Fuel leak? 4. Handling 5. Suspension 6. What to expect

Tires. The Dragon Corsas which I think are so great on the street and mountain roads don't cut it on the track. I got a big front tire slide half way through my first session on Saturday and that pretty much took it out of me for the rest of the time on the bike. I did get it going good enough to get both tires drifting through a long sweeper, and that put me off again. Gotta get better tires than this! When I'm practicing with supercorsas on my R1 and I get on this thing, I really have to tell myself that I don't have the traction to ride as fast as I want to ride. For the street, I never had a problem or a slide, and that's fine with me. They are good street tires for sure.

Brakes. They faded. The rear never worked at all. My discs are all discolored now too. I was chasing a guy in practice on a GSX-R 1000 while trying to stay ahead of another guy on a RC-51 (both were street riders and not racers) and finally the lever came back so far that I had to straighten up and miss a corner. I guess it's time for race fluid and more bleeding? The discs are quite discolored, which I don't know how to feel about. Kind of ugly, but kind of like having balled up tires too... The bike gets ridden... The brakes were the only thing I could use to keep up! And when they were working, they really worked well.

Fuel leak. It looks like some fuel was being pulled through the velocity stacks where they attach to the airbox. There is a rubber seal there and some fuel was coming through. Not much, but enough to make a smell. I wiped it all out of there and it did it again. Anyone else seen this?

Handling. The bike handles so well. It's very stable and predictable. It's more stable than my R1 and more accurate. But it's heavier so you have to tug on it more. Even then, I think if I had the right tires I could hold a higher corner speed on the MV than my R1. Which is saying something because the MV is quite a bit heavier. BUT, it's so confidence inspiring that I think I could do it. Wow. Someone needs to graft this front end onto every bike in existence...

Suspension. I ended up going up 1 turn on preload on the rear, for a total of 1 1/2 turns up on stock, and it already had one more click of compression and rebound. I didn't touch that on the rear. I went up one full turn of preload on the front and 2 clicks on rebound for a total of 2 turns up on stock, 3 clicks up on rebound and 1 click up on compression. The bike felt much better after this and I'm not sure I need to go up any higher, but that's for next time.

What to expect. It's not really a fast bike. People that were around my same skill level on 600's were passing me for a few reasons. First, the MV is fairly equal to 600's in power to weight, second, I just wasn't caning the crap out of it anyway. In the corners people were walking away because I just didn't have the confidence in the tires to try higher corner speeds. I actually entered in a 750cc superbike race and came in last just to get more track time on it. A guy on a '92 ZX-7 walked away from me, and he was in second to last. BUT, I was telling myself not to race and just ride around and let the announcer go nuts telling the crowd about my bike (he's a Ducati guy), which he did. I vindicated myself with a second in the next race, open superbike, on my R1. I didn't time myself on the MV or R1 this weekend, but I would guess I was doing someting like 5 seconds a lap faster on the R1. Easy. On a 1.6 mile track. Oh yeah, the MV tires do ball up enough to spit off rubber, and that gets stuck onto the exhaust under the seat. To some extent, all bikes do this but it's kind of cool to have the thing smelling like burning rubber every time I come in!

I also raced in a team race on a mostly stock but race prepped R6. Wow. What a corner carver. On the R1 I have to keep it in the back of my head to hang off a little extra so I don't dig the pegs in, but there's none of that on the R6. And I can just slam that thing in on the inside line and pass people like crazy because it's so short and light... Hmm... MV as my trophy and "feel good" bike, and some 600 as my new race bike? Decisions... That new ZX-6RR looks pretty cool...

-- Andy Ruhl (quadreverb@yahoo.com), November 04, 2002

Answers

I guess I'm still not riding hard enough to have brake problems as mine were fine for both track days I did. no fade what so ever. I'm curious what the difference is between the brakes on the Senna and the Strada are. There are no differences listed but if you've ever ridden a Senna you can feel the difference. I wonder if its setup related? I mean I will 2 finger my Senna like I do my R1, where as on my Strada its usually 4. don't get me wrong they work fine, but just feel so different.

as for the tires I was wondering if part of my front issues were profile related? I had about 5500 miles on the tires before I hit the track. Regardless I'll either be running Super Corsa next year or the Dragon Slicks.

lastly I'm debating on whether I should change my plan as to which will be my track bike, the Strada or Senna. The reasonable part of me says the Strada, but I really want to put the Senna out there and see how it goes. The next issue of Superbike rated the Senna very high, put it over the 998R (overall not just engine).

-- TP (tpoole@xnet.com), November 05, 2002.


I don't know if it's right to say you weren't riding hard enough. I've had some ongoing problems with my brakes that I have no idea what they are. They faded so bad that I think there must be some sort of problem somehow. I'll have to put in some race fluid though. As for my discs discoloring, I kind of hope it goes away with some street miles. It's kind of ugly... I am learning to get quite a death grip on the brakes though since it's a really good way to pass people. I passed quite a few people on the brakes on the MV while they were still working good. They felt even better than the ones on the R1 on the first few laps. And that's really saying something. The potential seems to be there.

Maybe the Senna has a different master cylinder? Anyone know?

If you use other tires, be sure to let us know how they work. I'd put on Supercorsas, but I hear that the 120/70 will hit the fender and I don't really want to use a 120/60.

Is the Senna really that much better? I'm surprised to hear it. I know the engine is supposed to have a bit more power, and it has those nitrided forks too which may help a little. What else is there? You have a 180 back tire which is good, and possibly better brakes... Is it lighter? What makes it so much better than the Strada?

Without asking for more power (because every bike could use more power on the track but I don't race the MV so it doesn't matter), the only real thing I can ask for on my bike is less weight. The extra weight can definitely be felt when tossing the bike from one side to the other. It would be cool to compare the Strada to an OroI would ask for better brakes, but I seem to be the one complaining the loudest so maybe it's just my bike.

-- Andy Ruhl (quadreverb@yahoo.com), November 06, 2002.


I'm looking into some full carbon wheels from the UK, I think they're BTC or.....anyways, It would really quicken up the transition and lighten things exponetially! I've heard this manufacturer is top notch, and PAINTABLE...even though the wheels (silver/red) on the Senna are beautiful, they are impossible to keep clean! keep up the research Andy, glad to see you're riding that thing!!!!

-- val alparaque (sennasixty8@yahoo.com), November 06, 2002.

I donít think itís just your brakes because Iíve heard others say the same thing. On both of mine I have to get the rear bled every now and again. Iím going to take a closer look at the brakes on both bikes and compare part numbers and stuff to see if they are different cause they look the same. The only real difference is that the Strada has more travel then the Senna. Maybe I just need to adjust the lever a bit? I do agree with you about the quality of the brakes, cause when I was trying to keep up with another rider or make up ground when I messed up, Iíd always do it on the brakes. Iíll check my disc also to see if they are dis-colored.

As for the differences between the Senna and Strada, Iíll do my best to explain, but Iím not overly technical. First off the motor feels a lot different. If you check out the MV press release on the SPR/Senna they talk about a lot of changes made to the internals of the engine. What I notice is that it revs a whole lot faster!!! While still smooth the motor feels a lot more mechanical then my Strada. Itís weird, as everything seems real loose inside, but as you build up speed you can seemingly feel and hear the internals going into place (for a lack of a better way to describe it). It also has a slightly higher pitch then the Strada. Still sounds cool though. While itís geared for faster acceleration you can also feel the increased power the motor is kicking out. The Senna just feels a lot stronger in all areas.

As for the handling well I think the 180 plays a big part, but I do recall reading that it has heavier springs but also the front isnít Showa, but some other brand that I donít recall the name of. Regardless, the result is that as much as I rated my Strada over my R1 and my friends 996 in terms of handling. I rate the Senna over the Strada. This is what made the Superbike Mag guys go nuts!!!

Despite what the spec says, there really isnít a bunch of carbon on the bike. The body work is the same its mostly the smaller pieces (fender, chain guard, key guard and those small side tank covers). The air tubes are supposed to be but arenít. While it doesnít really feel the claimed 7 to 10 lbs lighter, it feels slightly smaller to me. This is mainly in the seat. Iím 5í 10Ē 180lbs and on the Strada it seems like I have a bit more room on the seat, where as on the Senna, I feel like Iím right on the tank. Strange cause I havenít seen anything about MV changing seat height, angle, tank size, etcÖ

What Iím doing for the winter is the following. Iíve ordered a full set of QB Carbon race bodywork. It should be here in a couple of weeks. That should save a little weight. Iíll make sure I weigh everything so I can find out how much. Will also be getting a carbon tank, air box and air tubes late spring early summer. I think the tank and air box will save a lot of weight. Not sure about what to do with the wheels and exhaust yet. Sorry to be a total poseur but I like the look of the pipe and wheels. None of the after market stuff comes close. If I was racing or something maybe but right now Iíll probably keep them (but take the open pipe of the Senna and put it on the Strada). Iím going to stick with Pirelli for sure but as I said need to decide to do the super corsa or slick. Most likely, Iíll do the SC just to be safe if it rains.

What I will do is take both of them a track day (with a lap timer)and switch between them so I can get a better comparison. I signed up for a Laguna Seca track day in April. Will also be doing VIR, Mid Ohio and Road America & Atlanta. Iíll keep everyone up to date on how they go.

-- TP (tpoole@xnet.com), November 07, 2002.


Moderation questions? read the FAQ