MV Agusta’s Dragster reminds us of why we love odd-ball naked bikes. I’ve directed a considerable amount of hits at MV Agusta in recent months. The Italian/Russian group has been working hard recently, churning out new model after new model. Still, the uber-powerful/uber-expensive Brutale 1000 RS and RR bikes fell short, and I was not shy in voicing my displeasure.
2022 MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR Urban Bike – Features and Specs
Hey, it’s the job.
So you can visualize my delight when I eventually got on a three-cylinder $23,398 Dragster RR that checked almost every box. It is a wacky, brattish little sports-naked with all the attitude you could desire, but it doesn’t believe that your naked bike requires WorldSBK-level horsepower to be pleasurable.
The Dragster RR severely cannibalizes the Brutale 800 for its skin and bones. The tubular steel chassis, trademark MV Agusta single-sided swing arm, 43mm Marzocchi fully adjustable front suspension and Sachs mono shock, and the same Brembo four-piston brakes mated to a Nissin master cylinder are all present, as are the same Brembo four-piston brakes mated to a Nissin master cylinder.
There’s also the same electronics platform, which includes a 5.5-inch TFT dash, IMU-based traction control, cornering ABS, cruise control, four riding modes via the ride-by-wire throttle (Sport, Race, Rain, and Custom), an up-and-down quick-shifter, and full LED lighting with its cornering function to light the inside of the bend when cranked over.
So, what’s the difference? It’s just the wheels and the riding posture. The Dragster rides on stunning cast aluminum spoked wheels, with spokes linked just to the right side of the wheel. This design cue alone aimed considerably more at the intended demographic of cafe street racers than the Brutale’s racier crowd than the Brutale’s more conventional slanted six-spoke style.
The main distinction is in the riding posture. The Dragster has a more cupped seat with a longer, flatter bottom part, which may be excellent or negative depending on how you prefer your ride. Although the sharper edges that ran each side of my thighs became unpleasant immediately, I liked the Dragster’s higher-backed version over the Brutale, which has a similar profile to the track-focused F3 RR supersport bike.
The retractable passenger footpegs are nestled beneath each side of the Dragsters seat, a design feature that every MV should have but unhappily does not have. When not in use, the pegs swivel and click neatly beneath the seat with a gratifying little “thunk,” allowing the motorcycle to show off the beautiful three-cylinder exhaust muffler in virtually all its grandeur.
Compare this to almost twice the price Brutale RR (or the Brutale 800 RR), which has fixed passenger’s foot pegs that crowd the tailpipe and look distinctly cheap. Even MV sometimes gets its design cues incorrect.
The Dragster also has side-mounted rear vision mirrors, which look lovely while standing still but not so much when you’re riding. They are tough to adjust up and down (but not left and right) and shake so much that they are worthless.
Because their presence on the Dragster makes the machine broader at the shoulders, you can at least fold them when lane splitting/filtering. I prefer the unusual drop-down mirrors below the handlebars, but I’m not sure how legal they are, at least in this state (California).
Aside from the design, the Dragsters ride will make you delighted you have one in your garage. In Sport mode, the three-cylinder motor retains some of the classic MV throttle snatches, but it’s well ahead of where it was two years ago due to advances in initial throttle programming. It makes the Dragster more pleasant at moderate speeds while keeping all the power required when the road opens up.
When you rev the Dragster above 5000 rpm, the counter-rotating crank produces a lot of torque. That still leaves you with roughly 8000 rpm of useable motor range, and the tiny 798cc donk between your knees will toy with you up to that 13,000 rpm relined.
The Dragster lacks that early power off the bottom of the rpm range, so a Yamaha MT-09 retains a slight advantage, but the MV spins up considerably faster and sprints towards its relined. With a more extraordinary passion.
The fantastic MV Agusta race-style quickshifter is an addicting joy to click through the gears. MV has mastered the quick-shifter, which provides just enough kill to allow smooth full-power gear shifts.
The chassis of the MV is small. With a 55.1-inch wheelbase, direction changes are quick and accurate, and its dry weight of 385 pounds means you merely look where you want to go, and the chassis will follow. The ride is challenging but not as irritating as it is on the enormous Brutale RS, which almost appears to ratchet up the stiffness in direct relation to the extra horsepower given out by the 999cc four-cylinder engine.
The Dragsters stiff suspension is both a benefit and a handicap since there’s only so much you can tune out until you have to accept it and get on with the ride. The fork provides a smooth ride for the most part, but the rear Sachs retains that initial shock on the high-speed compression circuit that’s nearly difficult to tune out.
The Dragster will track strong and true while cranked over, which is a result of the machine’s sporting nature, but if you’re looking for something a little more pleasant for everyday usage, perhaps the Tourism Veloce is more your style.
The front brake must be criticized since it causes the ABS to activate way too early for my liking. If you’re gentle on the brake, this won’t bother you too much, but give the brake a firm pull and you’ll be hit with the dreaded pulsating at the lever that other manufacturers appear to have all but eliminated. I believe this is due to the master-cylinder system more than anything else, and for the price, I’d have liked a decent radial Brembo setup to round out the image.
Despite this, I returned the MV Agusta Dragster after a month, very satisfied with it. This bike looks the part, sounds like a high-spec rally car, and doesn’t suffer from the notorious MV flat spot like its four-cylinder siblings.
If MV could replicate this level of excellence in the four-cylinder Brutale line, those bikes would be well worth they’re asking costs. But for instance, I’ll take the Dragster and ignore the ego-driven 200-horsepower naked-bike race.
2022 MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR Urban Bike – Price
The new 2022 MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR Urban Motorcycle is available at $23,398 only.
2022 MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR Urban Bike – Technical Specifications
|Engine:||Inline 3-cylinder 4-stroke|
|Bore x stroke:||79 x 54.3mm|
|Power (claimed):||140 hp at 12,300 rpm|
|Torque (claimed):||64 lb-ft at 10,250 rpm|
|Transmission:||6-speed with quickshifter|
|Clutch:||The multi-plate wet clutch with a mechanical slip system|
|Electronics:||8-level traction control, ABS with race mode, cornering lights, cruise control, four engine maps (Rain, Road, Sport, Race), Continental IMU|
|Chassis:||Tubular steel trellis|
|Front suspension:||Marzocchi 43mm inverted fork, fully adjustable|
|Rear suspension:||Marzocchi mono-shock, fully adjustable|
|Front-wheel travel:||4.92 in.|
|Rear-wheel travel:||5.12 in.|
|Front brake:||Brembo radial 4-piston calipers, dual 320mm discs, Continental MK100 with RLM (Rear Wheel Lift-up Mitigation), and with cornering function|
|Rear brake:||2-piston Brembo caliper, single 220mm, Continental MK100 with RLM (Rear Wheel Lift-up Mitigation) and with cornering function|
|Front tire:||120/70 – ZR 17 M/C (58 W) Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP|
|Rear tire:||200/55 – ZR 17 M/C (78 W) Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP|
|Seat height:||33.2 in.|
|Fuel capacity:||4.36 gal.|
|Weight (dry, claimed):||385 lbs.|