When racing organizations around the world ushered the end of the 750cc superbike era circa 2003 by allowing 1000cc four-cylinders to compete, it wasn’t long before almost every OEM dropped 750cc sportbikes from their lineups, focusing instead on developing new 1000cc beasts to comply with the revised racing rules.
While the Polar Vortex is spinning temperatures across the country in a downward spiral, motorcycle magazines in Southern California are busily testing this year’s crop of weaponized two-wheelers. The recent launches of Ducati’s 899 Panigale and MV Agusta’s F3 800 has ignited the middleweight class for 2014, and everyone’s aflutter to figure out which OEM has the best package.
I have to admit, I approached the MV Agusta F3 800 with a bit of trepidation. Despite reading our European correspondent, Tor Sagen’s, mostly glowing review of the bike from its overseas debut at Misano, I’d just finished riding MV’s Brutale 800, featuring the same basic engine, last week with a less than enthusiastic opinion. Quite frankly, I was expecting the fully-clothed F3 800 would exhibit the same issues that turned me off on the Brutale. Unpredictable throttle response, two-stroke-like power delivery, and an attitude that demands the rider’s full attention 100% of the time were big turn-offs for me.