In his First Impression and First Ride reviews of the MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR, our European Correspondent, Tor Sagen, lays out the nuts and bolts of the Dragster RR. Similar to the Brutale 800 RR I rode as part of MV Agusta USA’s recent media meet-n-greet, the Dragster benefits from the same engine mods (larger throttle bodies, revised airbox, dual injectors per cylinder, EFI tweaks, etc.) and electronic upgrades. This includes the MVICS 2.0 engine management system with modified traction-control settings and a quickshifter good for both up- and down-shifts.
The biggest difference between the Brutale and the Dragster are visual. A snubby tail, floating license plate holder, red (aluminum) Marzocchi fork stanchions, wire-spoke wheels – and the biggest visual difference – the large 200/50-17 rear tire. Though each individual change isn’t very significant, save for the rear tire, combined, the Dragster RR is quite a visually stunning motorcycle. In my opinion, it might even be the best looker in MV’s lineup.
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After riding the MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR, Sagen described the bike as “hardcore” and a “ball cruncher.” So, when I got the chance to spin some laps around Auto Club Speedway’s infield road course aboard the thing, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. While Tor’s ride route covered crumbling European roads, my short spin on the Dragster RR was conducted on the smooth confines of a racetrack.
No matter the venue, however, Tor’s assessment of the seating position is spot on. The rider is slightly perched forward in the attack stance, but what I noticed immediately was the way in which there is no room to move around in the seat. Once you throw a leg over, that’s where you’ll stay. And yes, if you’re one with both an X and Y chromosome, you are propped in such a way that might be disastrous for procreation potential should you hit a large bump in the road.
The 140-hp, 798cc inline-Triple is as sweet as ever in Dragster form, its ride-by-wire fuel metering delivering just the amount of propulsion asked from the right wrist. Both the power and torque curves are moved up the dyno graph when compared to the standard Brutale, but since my time was entirely spent at a racetrack it’s difficult to judge how this engine will behave in a street setting. For now, we’ll just have to trust Tor’s account that this engine excels on the road as it does on track.
The most obvious difference in riding dynamics is the increased steering effort required because of the 200/50 rear Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tire. Constant pressure on the bar is needed to maintain an arc, the difference especially apparent after riding the Brutale 800 RR back-to-back with the Dragster RR. I suspect this is a characteristic one will get used to after some time. That said, getting a knee down isn’t an issue.
The fatter tire does help get power to the ground, and on Auto Club’s back straight, I saw 130 mph before having to slow for the next turn. Brembo four-pot calipers and 320mm front discs do a great job slowing the bike, though I noticed excessive ABS intervention for my tastes. It’s a similar trait I noticed with the non-Dragster Brutale 800 RR, as is the excellent operation of the quickshifter. Clicking through the gears in both directions, without the clutch, was simple, and the only time I’d use the clutch was if rapid downshifts were needed. Even if I botched a downchange, the Dragster’s slipper clutch helped mask my mistake.
A more thorough evaluation of the fully-adjustable suspension and MVICS electronics suite will have to wait until we’re able to get a Dragster 800 RR in our hands for a long-term evaluation. For now, what I can say is that the Dragster is an absolutely stunning piece of eye candy with performance to back its sultry looks. MV considers the Ducati Monster 1200 to be the closest competition to it and the Brutale 800 RR, but if you ask us, the Monster is better opposition for just the Brutale.
With its fat rear tire and $17,798 price tag, the Dragster RR is better matched, though not entirely, to the $18,295 Ducati Diavel and its 240/45-17 Diablo Rosso II. The Diavel’s 1198cc V-Twin puts out a claimed 162 hp compared to the MV’s reasonably competitive 140 hp, but the 798cc MV really loses out in the torque department, its claimed 63 lb.-ft. paling in comparison to the Duc’s 96.3 lb.-ft. That said, the Diavel also tips the scales at a dry weight of 463 lbs, 93 lbs heavier than the Dragster. The Ducati also carries more fuel (4.5 gal.) than the Dragster (4.4 gal.) giving the latter a slightly better power-to-weight advantage. The pairing makes for a very interesting comparison test. One we plan to put together once we can get both in our stable. Stay tuned.