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One-year owners review of MV Agusta 2018 Dragster 800 RR

Background: bike bought new here in Houston from MVA dealer. I traded a Triumph 675 Street Triple RX, staying with a high performance, lightweight triple engine. I enjoy the triple combination of power, sound, torque and light weight. I am a 65 year old "experienced" rider and also own a Moto Guzzi V7 III Special. I find the two bikes complementary. On to the review:

Owner experience:

Bike was expertly set up by MV dealer, and I had my 600 mile maintenance there. I have had only one problem with the bike: left blinker failed on floating fender. Since purchase, my dealer closed, I have no local warranty service, so I replaced the floating fender unit with the New Rage Cycles LED set. At one year I have just shy of 3000 miles on the bike. My riding is on the Texas Gulf Coast, inner Houston congestion, rural roads, and suburbs.

The bike has been utterly reliable. Never a difficult start, no leaks, nothing loose or falling off, and by far the most trouble free first year experience of any motorcycle I have owned. I give mechanical reliability for first year five stars. Also the initial build finish is stellar, five stars again: no blemishes, plastic tank has not swollen (I do use an ethanol gas treatment recommended by dealer). Maintenance has been lubricating the chain (no other adjustment needed), tire pressure (I have an extension hose and use manual pump).

MV provided manual is excellent, but a bit vague at times. I liked the USB file fob, and stickers and welcome letter. Keys are beautiful also: lots of attention to detail on all levels for new owner. Bike cost over $20,000: this is an expensive machine!

Riding experience:

The engine is remarkable: powerful, smooth as silk, and a perfect match to the six speed transmission. Let me say SMOOTH again, the engine is silky at any RPM. Power comes on strong above 8000 RPM, and at some point I always have to de-throttle or run out of road or anything close to legal-safe on highway speeds. Freeway riding is a breeze on this bike: cruising at 80-90 mph is effortless, the bike track beautifully, and is flickable as needed. Standard bar end mirrors are a bit buzzy, but provide excellent rear views and adjustability.

The auto-blip UP and DOWN transmission is both quick and fun and practical when riding either aggressively or leisurely. I use the clutch from first to second and also downshift to first. Neutral is always an easy find. Occasionally I have had a missed first to second shift, but that is user error. The transmission gear ranges are perfect the right gear is always available all the way from navigating dense traffic to cruising at high speed. It took me a long time to truly figure out how to use the auto-shifter from higher to lower gears. That was mainly user ignorance, but the manual did not help. Key is to be in gradual deceleration mode, and soft pressure on shifter by toe, and it snicks right down. Low and decreasing engine RPM during downshift is required. Auto UP shift is intuitive, quick and rapid.

Cornering is intuitive, and the bike will stay in a tight corner, or decreasing radius turn no issues. Steering effort is light. Moving the bike around on the garage pad is a bit clumsy due to limited steering head radius. The bike is very lightweight (wet at just over 400 pounds), hence again the bike easy to handle for a smaller person like myself. I have taken some local tight corners at twice posted limit: no headshake, and the bike has plenty of clearance. I do not ride knee down on the streets. We have few true twisty roads in this area.

Riding geometry is upright, great views, giving no knee, wrist or back or neck problems for my body. The bike is more comfortable than the Triumph Street Triple due the seat being softer and roomier. The rear seat bump is necessary for full-on acceleration. Clutch and throttle both are a bit stiff for my small hands. I added grip puppies to the grips, and they help. Any stuck in traffic, clutch in and out situation is fatiguing. However, easy to find neutral really helps that situation.

Rider throttle control is helpful at slow speed, and take off: the fairly tall gearing can produce some really abrupt starts. It is called Dragster for a reason: acceleration is phenomenal (nick name for the bike is "Italian Terror"). Hence, the bike does take care, and some getting used to.

Brakes are superb: good feedback, gradual, take a light touch, and the ABS works. Adjustable ABS helps, so does traction control. I have not changed initial dealer settings. I ride in Normal mode 95% of the time, feeling no need for Sport. Rain mode has been very useful when caught in high traffic, surprise rain storms and very slick streets.

Safety of the bike in my opinion is superb. Great brakes, visibility, tires and instantaneous throttle response all combine for a safe ride, for the experienced rider.

There are two negatives to the bike riding experience. The first is the engine throws a LOT of heat when the fan is on. In our near tropical TEXAS humid summer climate, discomfort from heat builds fast. My solution is to wear mesh riding pants by Klim: and that one change makes summer riding much more enjoyable. However, when it is cold temperatures, the heat throw is nice. The other negative is the small LED screen numbers for the two reset trip odometers. Tiny numbers mean difficult focus while riding. Actually resetting the trip odometers upon tank refill is a bit tricky: gloves off, hold the right part of the button four seconds, then release. I had to have dealer demo the button for me, as I could not figure it out with the manual.

At high speed the oval, slanted headlight, with small MV fly-screen provides surprisingly smooth air. Combine with a high quality full face helmet like my Shoei: no big issues at 80 mph+. The Triumph, by comparison I had to add a flatscreen extender.

I do not ride at night, so no comments on light quality. Blinkers and rear brake lights are great, with noted exception above.

Range of the bike is right at 120 miles when the low fuel light comes on. This averages 36 miles/gallon.

I added a RadGuard radiator screen to protect the unit from stones and bugs.

Cleaning the bike is difficult due to all the small spaces, it takes patience, small brushes and time.

Overall riding experience gets 4.5 stars with the major ding for the mediocre LED screen.

Intangibles and Opinions

I was extremely disappointed when my local Houston, TX MV dealer shuttered, without warning, last January, 2019. My nearest dealer is Dallas, TX. The 3 year warranty, if needed: huge question if MV will honor. I plan on next maintenance to be done by an independent Houston mechanical shop with stellar reputation, and they said they can care for the bike normal maintenance. I have considered selling or trading the Dragster, but the high reliability and extremely positive owner experiences have kept it in my garage.

The bike is stunningly beautiful in the yellow and black livery. Many times I have had positive comments from other riders. I agree, it is by far the most beautiful bike I have owned, with my blue Guzzi a close second. Sound of the bike with stock exhaust, to me, rings like an Italian Choir of Angels... no need to change. I admit Italian bias as I am part Italian DNA, and have loved Italian bikes for years, and make a mean spaghetti and enjoy a great DOCG Barolo.

A key accessory for me has been a tank gas cap ring and small bag. I always carry water, and like have room for small items while riding.

The Dragster is just fun to ride! However, it rewards a smooth throttle hand and experience. I would never recommend this bike to a newer rider, nor someone desiring an inner city commuting bike with lots of stop and go. The bike likes to fly fast. Bike geometry fits best for smaller weight and height riders, but a six footer could be ok. Long legs will get cramped. Bike gets five stars on those rider preference intangibles.

This rider has to be careful with speed limits. Frankly, I am surprised I have not been ticketed as I have sometimes really pushed limits and tested the acceleration. I like the fact not everyone owns an MV Agusta. Given that, I have only once seen another MV on the road here in the Houston, TX area (4th largest city in USA).

Conclusion

Overall I give the 2018 Dragster RR 800 a 4.5 star rating out of a possible five. Would I buy the bike again? Without a local dealer, as of today, my answer would be no. Given I have made the investment, love the bike, and have hopes of continued high reliability, and for a local competent independent mechanic: I will keep the Dragster. If the bike ever does go into reliability issues, and I can't exercise warranty, or get a local repair: watch for a great deal on a Dragster for sale. Who knows, maybe some competent dealer in Houston will add a MV franchise, and support local owners?

Overall, I always end my writing with the warning "YMMV", or "Your Mileage May Vary". Above are my personal opinions and experiences. Thanks, and I hope this review helps current owners, and prospective MV buyers.
 

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Great personal review..... MV USA should hire you to write Ad copy !!

Seriously, I think MV's are overlooked by a lot of people and build really great bikes. Thanks for the write up.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, reading again emphasizes to me how important a local, competent MV franchise dealer is to me. For others, perhaps mechanics, or more patient, or flexible: maybe not a big issue. I lost both my MV and Guzzi dealer in January. We have a replacement Houston Guzzi/Aprilia dealer: however with horrid local reputation. Given that, I may test them with my Guzzi, after their mechanics get training? Or not.

If I was to trade my Dragster, two bikes are possibles: Triumph Speed Twin, and the KTM 790 Duke. Both brands have good to excellent dealers, and I think would be good replacements for my MV. But, they would not match the MV "panache", or character, and not Italian. We have two local Ducati dealers, but none of the Ducatis really turn my head.
 

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Nice review. Thx!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
One more thought to share. When I bought my Dragster, the same dealer had a nearly new Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory for sale. Bike had 150 miles on it. I took it out on a test ride after testing the Dragster-- back to back rides. I found the Tuono heavier, bulkier, less comfortable, less agile and less interesting than the Dragster. Tuono was about $1500 less than the Dragster RR. On the looks department, I vastly prefer the MV. The Tuono has the ugliest exhaust ever... and overall design sense is less elegant. The Tuono engine, however, impressed the hell out of me, so did the brakes and display. Tuono had one feature I really liked: electronic cruise control. I think at the $20 grand price range, MV should add electronic cruise to all their bikes. Upside for me would be less fatigue on the long freeway drones (about 50 miles NW) to get to any decent curves or modest hills. The Tuono with, 175 HP, ride by wire throttle-- almost requires cruise to keep a steady speed. Tuono was hell in traffic whereas, the Dragster, to me is civil and predictable. YMMV. EOM.

If I ever get the desire for more than the Dragster claimed 144 HP, my choice would be the Oro type bike, if MV builds a less costly, more available version. I have yet to try a 4-cylinder MV. If the right one came up for sale, I still might be tempted, maybe. Grazie!
 

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That was a nice, easy to read review Greg.
Nicely build up and put into different categories, which really makes it look like a propper magazine quality review.

Im glad to hear someone is that happy with their bike, to keep it eventhough no official dealers are nearby.
We all have read stories that some sell theirs bequase of that reason.

And we dont get to see or read positive experiences all that often on the forums.
Yes people say they love their bikes in their 1st welcoming post. But not dedicated posts like yours.

Also I give your review a 5 out of 5.
Again, easy to read and nicely build up.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Saw of Black and Gold,

I much appreciate your positive comment! I enjoy writing, and did a lot of technical writing in my 40 year oil exploration career as a geoscientist. "Clear writing is clear thinking". Was planning a breakfast ride this morning to meet fellow retired motorcycle enthusiasts on Labor Day-- had to cancel due to heavy rain. Maybe it will clear later?
 
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Ymmv

.... I enjoy writing, and did a lot of technical writing in my 40 year oil exploration career ...
Easy read review. Plenty of good feedback.


After 3 months and twice the mileage my experience is almost the same.


'Xept for the revs I keep high and the use of quick shifter.
No reason to pussyfoot about it.
Push the gear lever down and the Dragster goes bark ...bark ...bark ... sweet and swift.

The exhaust valve helps the Dragster sound like some poor man's VTEC.
and OEM pipes sing like a missile launch on a Verdi score.

I share the conclusion: Chirrup the Dragster rocks.

And the manuel, pdf or paper sucks.


Did you get the RFID proof card holder?
 

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Nope... did not get card holder...hmm, let me look in the box again?

Good to hear my observations are on track.
 

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I am with you ...

One-year owners review of MV Agusta 2018 Dragster 800 RR
Background: bike bought new here in Houston from MVA dealer. I traded a Triumph 675 Street Triple RX, staying with a high performance, lightweight triple engine. I enjoy the triple combination of power, sound, torque and light weight. I am a 65 year old "experienced" rider and also own a Moto Guzzi V7 III Special. I find the two bikes complementary.
We appear to be living parallel lives, but on the other side of the globe from each other.


I had a Triumph (albeit a Daytona 675), I have a Motto Guzzi V7 (albeit a V7 Racer) and I am in my sixties (though I am only just sixty years young!).


I know this is the Brutale Forum (and I have an F3), but hey we share a love for the MV brand!


I ordered my first F3 from the first press release pictures and then patiently waited about 18 months for the bike to arrive. Luckily I had the Daytona at the time, so I already had a light weight, good handling 3 cylinder to keep me smiling.


While waiting for the F3, MV announced the F3 ORO and the dealer said he could secure me one. As tempted as I was, the head overruled the heart and I stayed with waiting for the 'standard' F3 to arrive.


Anyways ... about a month before my F3 arrived, two beautiful ORO's arrived at the dealer and I was invited down to come and have a look. It took all of about 2 seconds to realise the head is not always right!


The ORO's were all pre-purchased and sold out, so the standard F3 it would have to be.


Eventually the F3 arrived and I was then the proud owner of two light weight, great handling 3 cylinder motorcycles. And while I was more 'comfortable and familiar' with the Daytona (and the F3 had all of the early mapping issues), I much rather preferred the MV over the Daytona (don't listen to what any Triumph aficionado says - the MV handles better!)


A year passes by, and an ORO came up for sale in Sydney with only 230 kilometres on the clock! One phone call and a few emails later and the ORO is on a truck and starting it's 4,000Km journey to WA.


A dilemma though - do your really need three 3 cylinder motorcycles? That damned head gets involved again and says no; but fortunately the heart won this time and the Daytona was sold off - now the proud owner of two MV's - all so similar, but all so different!


And do the mono block brakes and upgraded Ohlin's on the ORO make a difference over the standard F3 - damned right it does! and the standard F3 rarely gets a look in - time for it to go. Let's try something completely different and it gets traded in on the V7 Racer.


So ... without derailing your thread too much :), I have had an MV since the first F3 was delivered into WA back in 2012. My personal experience with MV has been excellent (apart for the [tiny] gear shift indicator on the dash showing the wrong gear [which there is a fix for - but who looks at this anyway]). I have never had one issue with either of my MV's.


Would I buy another MV- in a heart beat. The ORO is here to stay, but the V7 for a Dragster RR (love those spoked wheels) you never know ...
 

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Nice write up. Glad you are still enjoying the MV. I live in Galveston and was wondering who you are going to use for service. Houston shop or someone else. We need to go for a ride some time. Ride safe. Houston traffic is scary !!!!

Thanks , Bubba
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Nice write up. Glad you are still enjoying the MV. I live in Galveston and was wondering who you are going to use for service. Houston shop or someone else. We need to go for a ride some time. Ride safe. Houston traffic is scary !!!!

Thanks , Bubba
Bubba,
Great to hear from a local area MV rider! I sometimes ride down Galveston way on a big loop.

Here is my best shot at Houston area MV service: Motorcycles Unlimited. I contacted them, and they say yes, and they have an absolutely stellar reputation from the MotoHouston Forum members. Without MU, I may have traded my MV by now. I have not tried MU yet though.

https://motorcycles-unlimited.com

The other possible is MonkeyMoto near Dallas: a bonafide MV dealer, and also stellar reputation. I met them at COTA in Austin last April. If I have a significant warranty issue, I will contact MM and ship the bike?

https://www.monkeymoto.com
 

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Saw of Black and Gold,

I much appreciate your positive comment! I enjoy writing, and did a lot of technical writing in my 40 year oil exploration career as a geoscientist. "Clear writing is clear thinking". Was planning a breakfast ride this morning to meet fellow retired motorcycle enthusiasts on Labor Day-- had to cancel due to heavy rain. Maybe it will clear later?
So true, about clear thinking. I have four kids and writing a well formed paper in high school or college for them was a challenge. The word choices, run on sentences, continuity of thought and a simple message were so difficult to read when being reviewed that the whole paper might better be scrapped and started over. Writing should be good enough that the reader might want to read it twice. I do not think english composition is what it used to be in this age of communicating with your thumbs.


Your piece was easy to read and informative.
It is refreshing to hear "iron butt" type guys in their mid sixties opining about their love for the MV.

I rode the demo RR from Ducshop out of Atlanta this weekend and what a blast. I do not know if it was the horse power or the pipes, but the acceleration was apparently different than my TVL. I immediately noticed my head over the steering head and quite air. I loved the RR, but back on the TVL with the upright ergonomics, and I knew I was riding the right bike for me.
 

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I know..and its sad :(
 

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Apples Oranges and all that

....and its sad :(
The TVL is also 60 pounds heavier than the Dragster.

BTW the Turislow also goes a whole lot of a lot farther than the Dragster on a full tank.

And if peepul knew how to change engine map
in rain mode the Turislow has even less ponies.

Here with a blanket cynical speed limit 50mph or less, harshly enforced for motorcycles
I wonder how many fellows Dragsteristi enjoy their awesome 30 horses advantage (at 12 300 rpm!)
Over the winded sluggish asthmaticTurislow.

Sad indeed
very sad :loser:
 

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Great write up Greg - a pleasure to read an objective review....would love to read an update in 12k's
 
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GeorgeO,

Great write ups, thanks!
 
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