Theory in Motion: 1977 MV Agusta Ipotesi

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1977 MV Agusta Ipotesi
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The 349cc air-cooled parallel twin hides behind the full fairing. It's fed by a pair of 24mm Dell'Orto carbs.
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1977 MV Agusta Ipotesi
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1977 MV Agusta Ipotesi
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1977 MV Agusta Ipotesi
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1977 MV Agusta Ipotesi
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1977 MV Agusta Ipotesi
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Owner Danny Aarons enjoys the precise, light handling of his Ipotesi.

1977 MV Agusta Ipotesi
Claimed power: 34hp @ 8,500rpm
Top speed: 103mph (period test)
Engine: 349cc air-cooled OHV parallel twin, 63mm x 56mm bore and stroke, 9.5:1 compression ratio
Weight (dry): 352lb (160kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 4.17 gal (19ltr)/50-60mpg
Price then/now: $2,292/$6,000-$10,000

Ipotesi, in case you’re wondering, is Italian for “hypothesis.” “I saw it translated as ‘hypertensive,’” says Ipotesi owner Danny Aarons. “Hypertensive fits its character better; I’ve never heard a credible story as to why MV used that name.”

One could guess. In your imagination, you’re out for a morning’s ride through the foothills east of Lake Como on the Italian-Swiss border, and you come across an insolent rider on a large, multi-cylinder bike from Japan. You, however, are riding your Ipotesi, a machine designed to prove that handling can beat horsepower: That is its hypothesis. The proud yokel cannot power his heavy machine through the turns as quickly as you can hustle your MV Agusta, and your light, agile 350 dances up and down the hills, leaving the multi in the dust.

The MV Agusta saga starts in the rubble that was Italy after World War II. The Agusta company manufactured aircraft for Mussolini’s forces during the conflict, and was now out of business. To keep their workers busy, Vincenzo Agusta and his brother Domenico turned to manufacturing motorcycles in 1945. MV quickly became involved in racing, winning the Italian Grand Prix in 1948.

For years the bright red “fire engines” built near the Italian town of Gallarate led the competition, with legends John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Phil Read and Giacomo Agostini holding the handlebars. In 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960, MV won all four Grand Prix displacement classes. The 37 stars in the Ipotesi’s logo recall Agusta’s 37 World Championship wins.

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