MV Agusta 850SS Monza 1970s Italian classic sports bike

Bikes named after racetracks need to be fast! In the case of the MV Agusta 850SS Monza, it was. Top speed was 145mph. That was quick for a road bike, in \’77. Mind you, it did weigh in at only 429lb. Naturally, the engine had a lot to do with it, too. The Monza\’s cylinders were wider than its MV America predecessor. As a result, capacity was increased to 837cc. The compression ratio had also been raised. Plus, a Marelli distributor – and hotter cams – had been added. All in, power had risen to 85bhp – at 8,750rpm. Previously, the 750S America – built predominantly for the US market – had upped the ante from the 750 Sport. Now, the Monza had trumped them both.

In styling terms, the new MV was equally upbeat. It had \’café racer\’ written all over it. Low-set \’bars – and a humped-back seat – referenced MV\’s GP bikes. Not only had the great Italian marque won 17 top-flight titles – it won them on the spin. Now, that is domination! Sadly – for MV Agusta, at any rate – the advent of the Jap 2-stroke motor had put the mockers on it. Design-wise, the Monza\’s red and silver livery further enhanced its race-based brief.

Key to that brief was Arturo Magni. He was MV\’s chief engineer. Reporting to him were mechanics from MV\’s former 4-stroke race team. Taking MV\’s already cutting edge technology, Magni meted out still more modifications to the Monza. Among them were a free-flowing exhaust, a chain-driven conversion from the standard shaft-drive and a bigger-bore kit. In turn, Magni\’s twin-loop frame firmed everything up. Under Arturo\’s tutelage, top speed and acceleration had both improved. Handling, too, was a beneficiary – since power delivery was smoothed out. The MV Agusta 850SS Monza was an impressive motorcycle with factory settings. Magni\’s magic mods made it yet better!