2014 MV Agusta F3 800 Review
MV Agusta has enjoyed enormous success after launching its first new triple, the F3 675. So much so that the firm decided it was time to up the game with the F3 800. Welcome the super triple with 148 horsepower and the chassis of a 600. I got five sessions at Misano to gel with this delight of several levels.
The sun rays are warming me even before I crawl into my leathers. I’m at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, renamed after the fallen MotoGP hero who perished in a Sepang crash in 2012. It’s my fifth visit to the famed circuit of the San Marino Grand Prix, and each time is as good as the first.
A semi-black matte mean looking F3 800 is handed to me for my first session. After a couple of laps warming up, I’m satisfied that grip levels are as good as they’re ever going to get at Misano and it’s full throttle on TC level two and Sport mode. It’s incredibly easy to get up to speed as the F3 800 chassis is so light and nimble, allowing a rider great leeway.
On the back straight the EAS (electronically Assisted Shift) gives me trouble kicking up from third to fourth gear each lap, and I have to resort to pulling in the clutch the old fashioned way to shift from third to fourth.
I chose a different F3 800 for my next session and on this specimen there’s no problems at all suggesting this is an adjustment issue more than anything else.
Getting properly up to speed I exit turn six maxing third gear and shifting up to fourth while a headshake develops into a good old fashioned tank slapper. “Really?” I thought and reduced speed and short shifted to fourth on my next lap. There is no steering damper on the F3 800 and if you want one, it’s at an extra cost.
The new 798cc triple engine makes all the right noises and on full song it’s nothing short of full racing when the soundtrack is concerned. The new version of the 800 produces a claimed 148 horsepower @ 13,000 rpm and 65 ft. lbs. @ 10,600 rpm.
To achieve this impressive figure, MV Agusta have added a new piston with longer stroke, new counter-rotating crankshaft and new fuel injection with 15-percent more flow. Compression is also up to 13.3:1 from 13:1.
Between 6 to 6,500rpm and above 12,000rpm, MV showed us a graph comparing the 675 to the 800 giving evidence of a 30 horsepower boost in this range. Out on the circuit this midrange boost is felt particularly in the corner exits where the F3 800 accelerates more like a liter bike than a tuned 600.
It’s that great old concept of taking the best of both worlds to create a proper riders machine. MV Agusta have taken out pretty much the same effect per cylinder in the F3 800 as in the 200-horsepower F4 RR but in a lighter more responsive chassis.
Moto2 racers have 140 horsepower and lighter prototype chassis, but in terms of overall performance I’d like to think of the F3 800 as something pretty close to these bikes but road legal.
Through the corners is where the F3 800 shines and it has got a very forgiving chassis which comes alive with great feel with the 800 powerplant.
Thinking of the F4 RR with its mind blowing top end it’s great but in the F3 800 you have plenty enough also for an experienced rider with greater ease of use. In turn this could well mean more satisfying miles on an F3 800 than an F4 RR so as such the F3 800 is a great product which should appeal both to current F3 675 and F4 owners.
The Marzocchi 43mm USD fork and Sachs rear shock is the standard quality MV Agusta sportbike setup and the F3 800 gets these items tweaked for the extra performance of the 800 engine.
The F3 800 really isn’t wheelie prone and with such a short wheelbase this speaks well of the chassis. It’s easy enough to provoke one but they don’t come naturally when circulating at speed. With Brembo Monobloc brakes (F3 675 doesn’t have these) and only 381 lbs. to stop braking gets physical. Perfect conditions at Misano coupled with very grippy Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tires (120/70-17 and 180/55-17) enables very late braking. Stopping power on the F3 800 is as good as it gets.
Helping the chassis further is of course the traction control and riding modes. The eight stage plus off traction control also features a custom mode, which can be tuned in specifically for you and for a particular circuit. You can also switch between different levels while riding, but with gloves on I find MV Agustas buttons under a soft rubber cover too awkward to use.
I used level 1 on the TC most of the time and Level 2 with a new rear tire and a few laps with TC off. Level 1 worked best and off was fun but level 2 might just be best when the tires are starting to go.
I found the Sport map to be a tad too aggressive as I preferred first gear in two corners where you can also use second. I preferred the Normal mode because then I could chose to be aggressive when I wanted it and you don’t really lose anything because the corner speed can be kept high without using the absolute top end of the engine.
The MV Agusta F3 800 is priced competitively and the version I rode with EAS is priced at £13,990 (around $18,000 USD) in Italy, which is only £1,800 (about $2,400) more than the 675. It’s definitely worth the premium because the F3 800 can play with the big boys.
2014 MV Agusta F3 800 Positives/Negatives:
+ 798cc triple engine with plenty of power and oomph could never go wrong + Great nimble and lightweight chassis + Fantastic brakes + The F3 800 isn’t exactly ugly to look at is it?
- Transmission niggles - Lack of a steering-damper