MV claims increase torsional rigidity from its new engine mounts, although the chassis was pretty stiff to begin with– not so much its fully-adjustable suspension, which is actually soft when you bounce it at a standstill, but the trellis frame itself, giving the Dragster a harsh, unyielding feel at anything below brain-out speeds.
Bars constantly wag in your hands at speed – they never get out of control, but you’re always waiting for the big 'slap' to happen – unnerving, to say the least. Braking power is superb, but old generation Pirelli Diablo II tyres (with a chunky 200-section rear) lack the grip of more modern rubber.
Pillion peg hangers swivel neatly out of the way under the seat when you don’t need them, but that’s where they’re likely to stay most of the time. Just look at that tiny rear seat – it’s a perch for the dedicated, but life up front for the rider is more relaxed.
The Dragster 800 RR might look tiny, with no real overhang past the wheels, but the canted-forward riding position is surprisingly roomy, even for tall riders. You won’t squash your knees, but wrists take a fair bit of weight and wind protection is as limited, as you’d expect on a bike so exposed.
Tweaked to meet Euro4, the quieter, more frugal Dragster’s 798cc three-cylinder motor makes the same power and torque as the 2014 model, thanks to a new countershaft, primary drive, intake cams, valves, gearbox, exhaust and engine cover.
It’s undeniably quick, but by far the best thing about this raucous engine is racket it makes. It might sound like a bag of spanners at tickover, but up the ante and the triple’s raw, mechanical, 40-a-day soundtrack is pure Steve McQueen-Le Mans.
It also has one of the crispest, most explosive-sounding autoblippers around – so good you’ll be constantly changing down, just for the hell of it.
Ever since the launch of the 2012 F3 675, MV Agusta has never quite managed to get its three-cylinder motors to deliver its power consistently, especially at low speed, but thanks to new ride-by-wire mapping it’s the smoothest it’s ever been, but it’s still not perfect in any of its four riding modes.
With the motor screaming for mercy, fuelling is perfect and the throttle is no longer snatchy, but it still lacks the kind of satisfying, creamy low speed response you want at normal speeds. It’s still over sensitive and sometimes tricky to keep a constant throttle around town, especially if your right hand is jolted by a bump.
MV Agusta reckon they’ve turned a corner. Headed up by new Russian owners they’re planning to expand their UK dealer network from 11 to 18 over the coming year and improve back-up, making it easier for owners to get hold of parts. They’ve also increased their unlimited mileage warranty to three years.
The Dragster 800 RR is top-level super naked money and terms of sounds and looks, it’s a match for the best, but to ride it’s feeling its age and it isn’t as well equipped as you’d expect for the price.
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You’ve got to give it to MV: they know how to design and finish a beautiful motorcycle. Delicate tweaks to this latest model serve to make the sultry Dragster 800 RR look more striking than ever: with adjustable clip-ons, an ali front mudguard brackets, aluminium tank pad and a new seat unit inclded.
Also changed is the number plate holder, LED indicators and a natty little steering damper that looks like the innards of a Swiss watch. Sadly, this doesn’t actually work, with no discernible difference between hard and soft.
But when colour displays are the norm on machines with this kind of price tag, its LCD dash and dim warning lights look cheap and dated.