Last week we posted a First Impressions ride review of MV’s hottest Dragster model, the new RR version. Today, our Euro correspondent, Tor Sagen, delivers a full review of the Dragster 800 RR.

MV Agusta’s leader, Giovanni Castiglioni, describes the Dragster RR as “the pure, radical Brutale.” Indeed, the Dragster RR is radical, with a high tune in both the engine and chassis. This makes for a particularly lively motorcycle, which is both good and bad.

Giovanni Castiglioni Interview

The Dragster RR looks tiny and very athletic, and the 31.9-inch saddle barely accommodates me with hardly any leeway to move forward or backward. The stance is aggressive and, just like on a true sportbike, its weight bias is toward the front end.

Firing up the 798cc inline triple-cylinder engine awakens a deep growl reminiscent of a true racing bike. The MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR has received a full 15 horsepower more than the base Dragster (to a claimed 138 hp), while torque is bumped modestly to 63 lb-ft. Despite the rather large boost in horsepower, it’s the torque improvements that I notice straight away. The Dragster RR moves in a very smooth and predictable way as soon as you let the clutch out in first gear. The entire torque curve from beginning until end is meatier and makes the Dragster RR super fast in response times.


More horsepower and torque make the 798cc Triple MV’s best yet, says Tor.

The Dragster RR with its new torque curve is the best MV Agusta Triple to date in terms of low-rpm response and controllability. That fact makes it a very good roadbike and the best around town in terms of engine performance. However, the hardcore chassis and riding position pulls it right down to the downright uncomfortable.

Riding on fast and more open roads, the Dragster RR is eye-wateringly fast and quick steering despite the wide 200mm rear tire. Throttle response is fast, and the Dragster RR builds up to its 13,100 rpm max power like a racing bike. Taking into account its incredibly light claimed dry weight of 370 lbs and a short wheelbase of 54.3 inches, the Dragster RR keeps its composure nicely on a smooth road surface. But the story changes if bumps and uneven road surfaces are brought into the equation. Riding fast over any bump in the road puts my manly bits into grave danger every time if I’m not careful to rise a bit in the seat.


Like a true race bike, front end feel is only realized once you start pushing hard.

Taking the Dragster RR all the way to max power over uneven surfaces produces a proper headshake. Hence, I preferred to set the standard adjustable steering-damper to its firmest setting. It’s worth mentioning the Dragster RR has a poor low-speed turning radius, much like a repli-racer sportbike.

The RR’s front end is rock hard and, for any feel at all, you need to go fast – very fast. The Dragster RR features all-new full aluminium forks from Marzocchi. These are very exotic on a roadbike and save 600 grams per fork leg in unsprung weight, which contributes to how quickly the Dragster RR changes direction. It’s blisteringly quick through hairpin corners, perhaps too quick and light sometimes for comfort. It’s important to keep some heat in that Pirelli Rosso II front tire, which can only be achieved by going fast and putting some load on it whenever possible. The Dragster RR really does like to shoot its front wheel into the air, and the great torque curve makes it all controllable.The Dragster RR is MV Agusta’s best three-cylinder wheelie bike.


Like a true race bike, front end feel is only realized once you start pushing hard.

I never gelled completely with the Dragster RR’s front end, and that’s despite the fact the riding position loads the front more than on the standard Brutale. I would simply have wanted a slightly softer front setup for me to get more feel. On a racetrack, I suspect the Dragster RR would be in a league of its own among nakeds, but we were on partly dodgy stretches of public road just after a stormy night, so it was difficult to approach its performance limits.

The chassis and handling capabilities are very highly tuned and will not be to everybody’s liking because it’s simply hardcore. The front brakes are a radial Brembo set-up with Bosch 9Plus ABS and RLM (Rear wheel lift-up Mitigation), and this brake set-up is extremely powerful and responsive. With ABS turned off, it would easily be possible to loop on the brakes, so you may want to keep ABS on at all times and let the RLM take care of business should you be a hard braker.


Simply put, the Dragster RR is hardcore. It only knows one speed: fast. Note also the lack of space the rider has to move forward or backward.

Acceleration is superb, helped even further by MV Agusta’s EAS 2.0 (Electronically Assisted Shift) which enables clutchless upshifts and even downshifts. This leaves your left hand pretty much unemployed if you get used to the downshifting. I found it to be more of a curiosity during road riding, but could see great benefits for trackdays. It’s worth noticing that the EAS clutchless downshift only works above 30 mph in Sport or Custom with Sport rpm-limiter selected modes.


Wire wheels look great on the Dragster RR, but they add weight.

The Dragster RR also has an eight-step traction control, which is a great feature on a motorcycle so powerful and light with considerable amounts of torque to weight. Set to level 2, I still experienced fairly long rear-wheel slides during acceleration from the lower gears on grubby corner exits. It’s probably advisable to start off with the TC set at a higher number if you’re not used to such a high power-to-weight ratio in an aggressive chassis. It’s also possible to turn off TC, which is also the case for the other electronics on this motorcycle. The Dragster RR really turns into one ugly frightful beast without them.

Let’s stop for a moment and talk about appearances, because this is a key point with any MV Agusta. When viewed statically, the Dragster RR looks like a mixture between a scared impala and an aggressive leopard in full leap. Beauty and the beast all in one stance. The bespoke spokes on the wheels add about 300 grams of weight, helping settle the RR over uneven roads.

Dragster RR vs. Brutale RR

MV also launched the new Brutale 800 RR on the same day as the Dragster RR, so here are some notes on how they differ. The Brutale RR has most of the good bits of the Dragster RR, such as the upgraded engine, steering-damper, TC and EAS 2.0 quickshifter. But the Brutale’s upright seating position and friendlier suspension setup proves to be a lot more comfortable than the Dragster. It’s also more civilized to a potential pillion passenger. However, it’s not quite as visually striking as the Dragster RR.


For pure ride enjoyment, there isn’t much in it, because the Brutale RR is also one damn fine motorcycle in almost all areas. I believe most riders would appreciate the Brutale RR a little bit more for its “milder” ride qualities, but nothing beats the savageness of the Dragster RR.


I have more love than hate for the Dragster RR. Aesthetically, it’s pure love. And while the handling is far from neutral, there’s certainly no hate here either. The MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR feels a little bit like that historical badboy, the Suzuki TL1000S, but with all the safety features to avoid it being labelled a “widowmaker.”

Traction control, sophisticated ABS brakes, steering-damper and quickshifter makes the Dragster RR civilized enough to recommend, but not to those fresh from motorcycle training. I’d personally like to soften the chassis a bit to gain more feel for when not going flat out. The MV Agusta Dragster RR would be my choice of weapon in a track battle against the best “hyper” nakeds out there. But the Dragster RR is a poor choice for long daily commutes.
All in all, the Dragster RR is a daring model from MV Agusta, which could cause some sales disruption for its very own Brutale base model. If it’s love at first sight, I reckon that alone justifies the Dragster RR, and it is, in my opinion, a better value than the standard Dragster.


+ Highs

  • Engine with plenty of power and superb torque curve
  • Quickshifter that can downshift as well as upshift
  • It’s not exactly ugly, is it?
– Sighs

  • Handling for the expert rider; will scare others
  • Cool but heavy wheels
  • Commuter unfriendliness

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  • MrBlenderson

    Man those MV’s are sexy. If only I had a genuine need for a 130hp Italian…


    This may be one of those times I think like a young woman. I’m gonna wear those high heels that hurt my feet cause they make my legs look hot! I’m thinking if you’re riding on the street like you have sense, this bike, especially with the electronic nannies, is very manageable. The main issue is how long of a ride can the confining seat be tolerated? I’ve read the the KTM SuperDuke 1290 is very comfortable. Wondering if the Dragster has comfortable pegs like other standards, or are they high like a sportbike?

    • Fuckhammer Jackson

      I’ve got the first UK one. The seat is brilliant. The pegs are fine, the foot controls are rear set which I like cos they are out the way. It is not a commuter bike. My ride is 150 miles a day, mainly motorways and filtering into London, all of which the dragster is not designed for. I use my blackbird for that. This dragster is just stunning, simply beautiful and mad. Its a rabid mad dog with supermodel looks. I love it. Its a purchase with the heart and not the head, but for the first time ever I have a bike I wouldn’t need to mod. And it looks sick. I just can recommend you to buy one, its beautiful yet totally insane at once. A rare find. Goes like the clappers too, just keeps building and building. And the noise when you use the shifter… Imagine a sportbike on full tilt then a momentary ‘guff’ noise as you change gear. Then flames out the exhaust and more revs to use, repeatedly. Just an amazing high tech, beautiful, insane bike. Do it!

      • BTRDAYZ

        FH Jackson, I’m really happy for you! It is truly the most gorgeous bike I’ve ever seen! Which one did you get… white wheels (my fave) or black wheels? How about uploading a pic here? :)

        • Fuckhammer Jackson

          I got the white one. At the dealer they got a black one as a demo bike but you have to look at it a few times to see the lines and the wheels seem to disappear given that they are the same colour as the tyres. It’s nowhere near as special. I rode it to work and back 150 miles today and it’s weighted like, and your seating is like, a bmx bicycle. It’s quite revvy, doing 7000+ rpm to cruise at 90ish and there is little wind protection. But it is savage when you let the revs build, and pretty hard sprung. Extremely maneuverable too thanks to the weight. I then did some smaller roads and it shines there. It can get around anything and wheelies whenever you like. The clutchless upshifts make it a seriously relentless accelerating machine. Guess that’s why it’s got the dragster moniker. This pic has both my bikes at my parking space in London.

          • BTRDAYZ

            Excellent! Gorgeous bike! I like the white one for the same reasons you stated. You take care and enjoy that bike! As soon as I’m back to work, I hope I’ll be able to send you a pic of mine when I get it here in the States! 😉


    Tor Sagen, when you reviewed the original Dragster, you crashed the bike and broke your thumb when the front end went out:

    On the Dragster RR, you complain of lack of front end feel, handling that feels too quick for comfort, headshake on uneven road surfaces that required the steering damper set at full strength. You also mention in both reviews, the need to keep the front tires warm.

    So, what should I take away from this where handling is concerned? Is it a good handling bike or not? Is it a safe bike on public roads when ridden sensibly? Does it have a tire or chassis design problem? Or had you simply tested both bikes under poor weather and road conditions? In terms of handling, where would you place this bike among the list of other Brutale/Dragster/Rivale 800s?

    • Tor Sagen

      BTRDAYZ; sounds like a negative review when you take out all the good bits.

      To give you an answer it’ll be this; Give it time and don’t be impatient like me. I’m impatient because the bikes (all bikes) need a full test within limited time. I don’t usually crash on launches and this was the first one. I had actually done one full lap and considered tyres etc to be warm enough for some serious pace but I was wrong as Paul Ricard only has a few left handers and none as fast as the one where I washed out. I had been on the F3 800 on the previous session and basically I was ready for the same pace before the Dragster was.

      • BTRDAYZ

        I hear you, Tor Sagen. I didn’t mean to make it sound like a negative review from you. It’s clear from both reviews that you really enjoyed the bikes. I will most likely not be allowed a test ride before I purchase one, so your feedback is critical to me. I’ve owned 3 bikes, a Honda Pacific Coast, a Kawasaki ZRX1100 and a 2003 Kawasaki Z1000. I probably racked up no more than 11,000 miles total between the 3. All were safe rides and I had no mishaps on any of them. Just want to be sure the trend continues should I invest in a Dragster RR.

        Thanks for the feedback!