MV-AGUSTA DRAGSTER 800 RR (2018 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Fantastic styling
  • Unreal engine note
  • Heart-over-head purchase

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
Power: 138 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.3 in / 845 mm)
Weight: Low (370 lbs / 168 kg)

Prices

New £16,175
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Detail upgrades don’t add up to a big difference in the riding department, but the new MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR is still a thing of decadent beauty.

Build quality and paint finishes are stunning, its gravelly, mechanical soundtrack is to die for and it has one of the most addictive auto-blippers around. It’s quick, has superb brakes and oozes character, but fuelling and handling are fussy and for the money the old-school LCD dash and tyres leave you feeling short-changed. 

As a visual and aural treat the MV Agusta is hard to beat, but as a riding experience its super naked rivals do it better. 

Once you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you might want to consider joining a community such as the MV Agusta Owners Club of Great Britain to talk to likeminded people about events, maintenance and modification.

MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR Pirelli

MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR Pirelli

In September 2018 Italian tyre company Pirelli teamed up with MV Agusta to produce the 'Dragster 800 RR Pirelli' special edition. 

The bike is a standard Dragster 800 RR and comes complete in two striking colour combinations; yellow and black, and blue and white. It'll also come complete with a set of the brand’s Supercorsa SP tyres, naturally.

What's more, both the tank slider and fairing are made of Pirelli rubber, specially formulated by their Research and Development department, to combat against scratching and unwanted contact with third-party substances, such as fuel.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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. 

Riding the MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR

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.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

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.

The engine sound is one of the highlights of the Dragster

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.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

We've only got the one MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR owners' review on the site, and it scores 4 stars out of 5. The dropped star is attributed to it being difficult to ride at low speeds.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
2 out of 5 (2/5)

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.

A static image of the MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Specs

Engine size 798cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 12v, inline triple
Frame type Steel trellis
Fuel capacity 16.5 litres
Seat height 845mm
Bike weight 168kg
Front suspension Marzocchi 43mm forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension Single Sachs shock, fully adjustable
Front brake 2 x 320mm front discs with four-piston Brembo radial calipers. ABS
Rear brake 220mm rear disc with twin-piston Brembo caliper ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 200/50 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £150
New price £16,175
Used price -
Insurance group 17 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 138 bhp
Max torque 62 ft-lb
Top speed 150 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

2014: Brutale-based Dragster released in base and RR versions.

Other versions

Available in RC (Reparto Corse), America and Pirelli versions – all with special paintjobs and cosmetic tweaks.

Owners' reviews for the MV-AGUSTA DRAGSTER 800 RR (2018 - on)

1 owner has reviewed their MV-AGUSTA DRAGSTER 800 RR (2018 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your MV-AGUSTA DRAGSTER 800 RR (2018 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Engine: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Value vs rivals: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
4 out of 5 OAP's Dragster Review
07 September 2019 by Bruce Taylor

Version: RR

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £150

Sensitive throttle, stiff suspension and tendency to run hot, makes riding through traffic uncomfortable. The clutch is on the heavy side, which becomes tiring, but neutral is easily found. If “Rain” mode is selected, low speed running improves. Would not recommend the bike for daily commuting or for an inexperienced rider, but for ride outs you could not have better. Instrument Panel difficult to read especially in sunlight, having said that it is only the speedometer reading that is required. Unable to pass comment on the lights as the bike is not used at night.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

Strongly recommend that you obtain a professional suspension set up, which will improve the standard ride Front brake is excellent. Rear brake not so, loss of pressure over a period of time is not uncommon, regular bleeding required. Handling has been significantly improved with the fitting of Michelin RS tyres with a 55 rear profile With the option of four speed modes and ABS, it covers all the options that you are likely to require. Not convinced that the steering damper is that effective, certainly not the same as the Ohlins that was fitted to an 800RC The need for a break is determined by the tank range which is in the region of 100/120 miles

Engine 4 out of 5

The power and sound of the engine is something to behold and the auto-blipper is a dream. So smooth, that you are constantly changing up and down just for the fun of it. The only time the clutch is used is from first to second or downshift to first. Still a little twitchy at low speeds

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Only corrosion in 20 months and 8000 miles is to the front brake bleed nipple, no other problems whatsoever. Comments are often made by onlookers asking if the bike is brand new. Hunting/Surging problem between 2500/5000 rpm rectified under warranty. Sprag clutch and starting issues that were common with the Euro3 version have been resolved and the bike, even when not used regularly throughout the winter, has never failed to start first time. The bike has been completely reliable and is a vast improvement on previous models.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Service intervals are annually and then at 9000 miles, other than the first service there have been no additional dealer costs. I understand the 9000 service will be in the region of £150/200.00. The only other maintenance necessary has been the normal routine checking of levels, tyre and chain care. Fuel consumption in the region of 35/40 mpg.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Style, second to none. The bike appearance has been improved with removal of the rear number plate holder and the fitting of a NRC integral light unit and front indicators QD exhaust improves sound and looks, R&G radiator guard for safety MV Corse seat also improves the riding comfort

Buying experience: RRP paid when purchased, but received a very good p/x price from the dealer on 2016 MV 800RC. Looking to deal with the same dealer at the end of the year when I will probably purchase another Dragster, which will make five MV’s since 2012. The news that MV is increasing the number of dealers in the UK is more than welcome.

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