2015 MV Agusta Dragster RR Review
“Bling” spokes and the most powerful triple engine MV Agusta will not put a fairing on – this is the 2015 Dragster RR in a nutshell.
“Dragster is the pure, radical Brutale” Giovanni Castiglioni said in the press conference. I agree that the Dragster is radical, from an engine and chassis perspective. This makes for a particularly lively motorcycle which is both good and bad.
The 2015 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR looks slim and very athletic, and the 32.9-inch high saddle just accommodates me with hardly any freedom to move forward or backward. The Dragster’s stance is aggressive and the weight bias is towards the front end just like true sportbike.
Firing up the 798cc in-line triple cylinder four-stroke awakens a deep growl reminiscent of a racing bike. The MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR has received a full 15-horsepower increase over the base Dragster, along with a small boost in torque from 59.7 to 63.4 ft/lbs.
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, making the Dragster RR super fast in response times.
With its new torque curve, the Dragster RR is the best MV Agusta triple to date in terms of low rpm response and controllability. That fact makes it a very good road bike and the best around town in terms of engine performance.
But the hardcore chassis and riding position negates the engine character; in essence, the Dragster RR is downright uncomfortable.
Riding on fast and open roads the Dragster RR is eye wateringly fast and quick steering despite the massive 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 great on a smooth road surface. Bring some bumps and uneven road surfaces into the equation and the story is different. Riding fast over any bump in the road puts my manly bits into grave danger every time if not careful to rise a bit in the seat.
Taking the Dragster RR all the way to max power over uneven surfaces produces a headshake. Due to this, I preferred to set the standard adjustable steering-damper to its hardest setting. It’s worth mentioning that the Dragster RR has a poor low speed turning radius much like a sportbike.
The front end is rock hard, providing the feel needed to go fast – very fast. The MV Agusta Dragster RR features all new full aluminum forks from Marzocchi. These are very exotic on a road bike, and save 1.3 lbs per fork leg in unsprung weight, which is very important for how quick the Dragster RR changes direction.
It’s blisteringly quick through hairpin corners, perhaps too quick and light for comfort. It’s oh so 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. I can state that the Dragster RR is MV Agusta’s best wheelie bike with the triple engine.
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 some dodgy stretches of public road just after a stormy night.
The chassis and handling capabilities are very highly tuned. Not everyone will like the simply hardcore setup.
The front brakes is a radial Brembo set-up with Bosch 9Plus with RLM (Rear wheel lift-up Mitigation). With its 370-lbs weight, it’s self evident that this brake set-up is extremely powerful and responsive.
With ABS turned off it would easily be possible to loop on the brakes, so may as well keep ABS on at all times and let the RLM take care of business should you be a hard “braker”.
Acceleration is superb, and helped even further by MV Agusta’s EAS 2.0 (Electronically Assisted Shift up and down) that enable 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. The quick shifter will remove negative torque altogether from the corner entry equation. It’s worth noticing that the EAS clutchless downshift only works in Sport or Custom with Sport rpm-limiter selected modes and above 30 mph.
The Dragster RR also has an eight-level traction control system. Set to level 2, I continued to experience 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. But be warned – the Dragster RR turns into one ugly frightful beast without TC.
Let’s stop for a moment and talk about appearances – a key point on any MV Agusta. When viewed static, 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, which is a great achievement by the greatness that calls itself CRC (Castiglioni Research Centre).
The spokes on the wheels are actually more functional than you think, because despite the fact they add about just over a half-pound of weight they add to the centralized inertia balance in a positive manner.
If it’s one thing the Dragster RR needs more as a road bike it’s a bit more “fat” to settle it more over uneven roads and voila here are just over a half pound on the wheels. You will achieve the same by eating a cheeseburger, but sticking that weight between the wheels will be kind of difficult.
Dragster RR vs Brutale 800 RR
To give you a quick note in the internal battle between the Brutale RR and Dragster RR, I have to say that it’s a pure day to day comfort issue.
The Brutale RR is a lot more comfortable because the ride position is more upright and with a more commute friendly suspension set-up.
The Brutale RR has got all the good bits such as the upgraded engine, steering-damper, TC and EAS 2.0 quickshifter. It’s also more civilized to a potential pillion passenger, but not quite as striking anymore next to the Dragster RR.
For the 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.
2015 MV Agusta RR Conclusion
I have more love than hate for the Dragster RR. Aesthetically it’s pure love from my side while the handling is far from neutral but certainly no hate either.
The concept behind 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 “widow maker.”
Traction control, sophisticated ABS brakes, steering-damper and quickshifter makes the Dragster RR civilized enough to recommend but perhaps 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, and I suspect it could win.
For long daily commutes the Dragster RR is a no go. All in all 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 an RR and it is in fact a lot better value than the standard Dragster.
2015 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster Positives/Negatives:
+ Engine with plenty of power and superb torque curve
+ Full Aluminium fork
+ Quickshifter that can downshift is not only cool it could make you a trackday star
+ The Dragster RR isn’t exactly ugly is it?
– Handling for the expert rider, will scare others.
– Necessary with a visit to the sperm bank guys
Photos by Milgaro