2023 MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS America Review – First Ride

Evans Brasfield
by Evans Brasfield

A special edition in honor of MV’s most important single-country market

MV Agusta is on a full-court press to show the world that, thanks to Pierer Mobility, it finally has the support it needs to grow into its full potential. We’ve written about it on this site and are following all of the news concerning the company. One nice change from our perspective as journalists is the availability of a MV Agusta press fleet. Another is the U.S. introduction of a country-exclusive 2023 MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS America, which is designed to appeal directly to buyers in MV’s most important market. It seems only fitting that the heart of Southern California’s motorcycle country was chosen as the place to give the moto press a sample of the latest offering from Varese.

2023 MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS America

With its snappy handling and stout, largely clutch-free engine, the 2023 MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS America pegs the Fun-O-Meter and allows you to celebrate the U.S. in a distinctly Italian way.

Editor Score: 88.75%




















  • Thrilling Triple power and intake honk
  • Quick steering
  • Only need the clutch to start the engine


  • Downshifts notchy at times
  • Indicator lights hard to read in direct sun
  • Seat shape caused me to slide forward

Making it an America

If you look at the first half of the America’s model name, you won’t be surprised to learn that it is essentially a Dragster RR SCS with some exclusive components. So, what does the America name bring to the party? How about the good old Red, White, and Blue! And lots of it. From the custom paint design on the rear wheel’s carbon-fiber cover to the outrageously red seat to the tank, the paint grabs viewers’ attention, and that’s what this bike is all about. The seat also receives “America Special Edition” embroidered in two places. As with all MV Agustas, you get a model-specific version of the famed MV Agusta Box, which in this case contains a certificate of authenticity, a custom cover, and the see-through clutch cover shown in photos of our test bike. (The reason behind this is that the cover must be included as an accessory to circumvent EPA noise regulations.) Finally, the most important part of the America Special Edition is the number plate on the triple clamp that shows the bike is one of just 300 units produced – all of which are initially slated for sale only in these United States.


To butcher Shakespeare, a Dragster by any other name would still…be a most excellent motorcycle. Aside from the limited changes listed above, the America carries all of the updates graced upon the 2023 MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS. So, what you get new for this year are: Brembo M4.32 calipers, an updated rear master cylinder for improved braking consistency, and the ability to roll the throttle back slightly past the stop in the off position to disengage cruise control.

The Heart of a Beast

The Dragster’s base package remains essentially unchanged. The 798cc engine features the same 79 mm x 54.3 mm bore and stroke, squeezed to a 13.3:1 compression ratio. The DOHC top end actuates 12 round valves (as opposed to the radial valves in MV’s four-cylinder models), allowing the gasses to travel from 50 mm Mikuni throttle bodies to the sexy triple exhaust. The counter-rotating crankshaft feeds the 140 claimed horses to cassette-style, six-speed constant mesh transmission.

On full display behind the included accessory clutch cover, the SCS works so well, you have to wonder why more street bikes don’t have similar systems.

What makes the engine truly interesting is the Smart Clutch System 3.0 (SCS) that means the only time you have to use the clutch is when you are starting the engine – oh, and clutching up wheelies (if that’s your thing). The rest of the time the SCS, which is based on the Rekluse clutch system, interacts with the engine’s electronics to modulate the clutch. All this means that, as you’re pulling up to a stop and the rpm drop to where you’d need to pull in the clutch, the SCS takes care of it automatically. It’s impossible to stall the bike. When it’s time to launch, no matter how hard you hammer it, the SCS handles the clutch engagement for you (along with controls like front wheel lift mitigation). The weight cost of this magic? A claimed 36 grams. Compare that to the over 20 pounds added by Honda’s DCT in the case of the Africa Twin.

Good Bones

The chassis is constructed as a steel trellis unit. On the front, it mates with a 43 mm Marzocchi inverted fork. Naturally, the fork is fully adjustable – as is the Sachs shock. The single-sided aluminum swingarm mates to the trellis frame via a pair of aluminum alloy plates. Both the frame and the swingarm plates use the engine as a stressed member. Rake figures are undisclosed, but should be a sporty 24.5º based on previous Dragster numbers. Trail is a reasonable 4.07 in.

The front wheel is a 3.5 in. x 17 in. aluminum alloy spoked construction. The beefy rear wheel measures 6.0 in. x 17 in. and is constructed of forged aluminum alloy, then is almost completely hidden by the Dragster America’s painted carbon-fiber cover. Providing grip are a set of Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV tires in 120/70 - ZR 17 and 200/55 - ZR 17.

There’s a reason why the mirrors are folded in on all the beauty shots of the America. Lane-splitting Californians will understand.

Braking is handled by a Brembo, Nissin, and Continental team effort. The Brembo M4.32 radial-mount calipers squeeze 320 mm floating discs, while the rear two-piston Brembo caliper grips a 220 mm disc. The Nissin front master cylinder is a one-piece construction and does not utilize a radial piston. Continental handles the ABS. For a bike and manufacturer that is so focused on prestige and limited unit construction, the front brake system is confounding. It works perfectly fine, but the state of braking art has advanced for sporting machinery. In this MSRP range, riders expect Stylemas and a radial master cylinder. This leads me to think that the brake and clutch master cylinders were a styling choice because of their lower profile compared to others.

One area of braking that was mentioned more than once in the press briefing is the new master cylinder for the rear brake. It is now tucked under the engine with its reservoir inside the frame by the shock. This new setup is said to provide more consistent rear brake performance, and journalists I talked to said they had experienced heat-related rear brake fade on previous MVs. Another item to note about the rear brake is that in front of the brake pedal, there is an additional one that acts as a parking brake. This is necessary because of the freewheeling nature of the SCS.

The pedal on the left is the rear brake. The one on the right is the parking brake.


The America comes with the full compliment of electronics you’d expect from a current sport-focused motorcycle. The relation of the ECU and the SCS has already been mentioned, and the ride-by-wire throttle allows for four engine maps and eight levels of traction control intervention based on a lean angle sensor. There is both FLC, Front Lift Control (that can be disabled) on acceleration, and hard braking features intervention from MV’s Rear Wheel Lift-up Mitigation (RLM) .

The screen was easy to read, but the indicator lights were almost impossible to see in direct sunlight.

The 5.5 in. TFT display is easy to read, once you get the lay of the land, and as is now becoming common, you can pair your phone to the bike via Bluetooth. This pairing allows you to use the MV Ride App to save your trips and go over the data, like route, maximum speed, and lean angle. What is perhaps more interesting, though, is the GPS functionality built into the bike that allows for real-time tracking of the bike. So, you can see if your friend is abusing your bike when you let them take it for a ride. The GPS service is free for the first year and then $50 annually after.

A Short Ride

My time actually riding the MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS America was quite short. In fact, thanks to the MV Ride App, I know it was only 70 miles, of which about 30 was Los Angeles traffic getting to and from the serpentine Malibu Canyons. So, what can I learn from such a short ride? Quite a lot, actually.

Thankfully, you only have to squeeze the beefy hydraulic clutch when starting the engine – because it is a monster. After that, getting around in traffic is a breeze. With no clutch to manipulate, the urban stop-and-go becomes a bit less annoying. A bit. (Especially when you know twisties await.)

Manipulating the gearshift provided responsive upshifts, no matter the rate of acceleration. This is a feat that many quickshifters struggle with at low rpm. I credit the electronics and the SCS working in tandem. Despite keeping the throttle in Sport mode for most of the day, it was never snatchy, something that I am highly critical of. Launching hard from a stop, when we managed to be at the front of the line at a stop light, was a hoot. I could feel the SCS and the FLC keeping both wheels planted as our group of Americas eviscerated the traffic.

Downshifting, however, was a different story. Most of the time it was silky smooth, again with the quickshifter working in conjunction with the SCS. Occasionally though, there was more resistance to the pressure, and the feeling at the lever was that of notchiness. With more time in the saddle, I would likely be able to describe the circumstances that caused this issue, but that will have to wait for future rides.

But the engine! When we were able to open it up on some of the straighter canyon roads, the America would leap forward, a guttural howl emanating from the intake. What a visceral pleasure! However, most of the riding was in tight first- and second-gear corners, where careful manipulation of the throttle is rewarded with increased cornering speed. Here, the EFI excelled in delivering just the amount of power I asked for without any hiccups or miscues. For someone who likes smooth throttle response, this was fantastic.

Braking was equally impressive. While the components may not win on the sexiness factor, they worked well together, giving me plenty of controllable straight up power that could be tapered off to the lightest touch as I approached the apex.

The roads we spent the day on were mostly a series of tight corners with occasional short straights. A bike that changes direction quickly is the most fun here, and the MV didn’t disappoint. I’m certain the engine’s counter-rotating crankshaft plays a role because the America steers like a light bike. Then again, at a claimed 413 lb. fully fueled, it is.

The America’s suspension, however, was set up a little stiff for roads that were in a little better condition than the ones we were thrashing. For most of the ride, I didn’t mind the stiffness, but on a couple of occasions, I longed for more rear rebound damping. In those instances, the rear had kicked back at me from a G-out type of bump, momentarily lightening my butt in the seat.

The Wrap Up

We didn’t make many friends during our, uh, spirited ride back into LA proper, but that’s what happens when you get a bunch of motojournalists on bikes that just love to be launched hard. That return trip did highlight a flaw in the cool bar-end mirrors. When paired with the new, slightly wider grips, the mirrors make splitting lanes almost impossible unless they are folded in. I know it’s heresy, but I prefer mirrors mounted up high on the bars where you can actually see what’s behind you and not worry about hitting them on mirrors as you thread the needle.

The 2023 MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS America is a kick in the pants to ride, and if you’re looking for an eye-catching livery, you can’t beat the old Red, White, and Blue. MV Agusta has the price listed as $28,247, and there is a little bit of history behind the price. The $247 is for the 247 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed. So, now you know. Is it worth the asking price? That’s for well-heeled buyers to decide. These days, it seems that limited-edition motorcycles get snapped up in a matter of hours. We’ll see what happens.

2023 MV Agusta Dragster RR SCS America Specifications



Engine Type

Three cylinder, four stroke, 12 valves


798 cc

Bore x Stroke

79 mm x 54.3 mm

Compression Ratio



140 hp at 12,300 rpm (claimed)


64.2 lb-ft. at 10,250 rpm (claimed)

Fuel Injection

Electronic fuel injection


Cassette style; six speed, constant mesh

Final Drive



S.C.S. 3.0 (Smart Clutch System) Radius CX automatic clutch with hydraulic actuation, wet multi-disc


ALS Steel tubular trellis with aluminum alloy plates

Front Suspension

Marzocchi USD hydraulic fork with DLC treatment, anodized fork legs and rebound-compression damping and spring preload external and separate adjustment

Rear Suspension

Progressive, Sachs single shock absorber with rebound and compression damping and spring preload adjustment

Front Tire

120/70 - ZR 17 M/C (58 W)

Rear Tire

200/55 - ZR 17 M/C (78 W)

Front Brake

Brembo M4.32 radial-mount, four-piston calipers, dual floating 320 mm discs, with steel braking disc and flange

Rear Brake

Brembo two-piston caliper, 220 mm disc

Caclulated Weight

413 lbs (claimed)

Seat Height

33.3 inches


55.12 inches




4.07 inches

Fuel Tank Capacity

4.36 gallons

We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.

Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Evans Brasfield
Evans Brasfield

Like most of the best happenings in his life, Evans stumbled into his motojournalism career. While on his way to a planned life in academia, he applied for a job at a motorcycle magazine, thinking he’d get the opportunity to write some freelance articles. Instead, he was offered a full-time job in which he discovered he could actually get paid to ride other people’s motorcycles – and he’s never looked back. Over the 25 years he’s been in the motorcycle industry, Evans has written two books, 101 Sportbike Performance Projects and How to Modify Your Metric Cruiser, and has ridden just about every production motorcycle manufactured. Evans has a deep love of motorcycles and believes they are a force for good in the world.

More by Evans Brasfield

Join the conversation
2 of 11 comments