Fire It Up Review: MV Agusta Dragster 800
Much like we have already seen on The Bike Show TV show, the website version will be doing a weekly road test of one of the models on the floor of Fire It Up, the famous motorcycle dealer in Fourways. With more than 100 models arriving and leaving their showroom every month, there are a lot of interesting bikes to look at, and this week we have found beauty. Pure beauty.
Story: Harry Fisher
Some bikes are brilliant dynamically but, in being so, have been driven by the engineers with little or no thought to aesthetics. Other bikes look the business but are distinctly disappointing to ride.
Some bikes, however, have it all – style and performance – and no company is better at this than MV Agusta.
Despite a chequered history and more owners than you can shake a large stick at, including, would you believe, Harley Davidson, MV Agusta is still with us, and that is something we need to be very happy about for they are the embodiment of Italian style and engineering.
They are bikes that make you stop and stare whenever you see one, not because they are prohibitively expensive any more – although that cachet has stuck through all these years – but because you can’t see that badge (still one of the best badges ever) and not be moved.
That is why a beautiful 2015 Dragster 800 is the second-hand buy-of-the-week from Fire it Up. I mean, it ticks all the boxes; it looks fabulous – unlike anything else on the road; it sounds glorious thanks to possibly the best-styled exhaust system on any road bike; it goes like stink thanks to the triple-cylinder engine, and it stops on a dime thanks to the Brembo brakes.
It is, in a word, fantastic.
125bhp and 81Nm of torque in a package weighing 167kgs make for super-punchy performance, and the stumpy, short wheelbase chassis is more than up to the job of containing it, helped by fully adjustable Sachs (rear) and Marzocchi (front) suspension and a full electronics package. It feels alive and slightly highly strung, with sharp, super quick handling.
Despite being passed round to more owners than a copy of Playboy in a boys’ school dorm, the MV Agusta name still retains that special magic, it still is completely Italian with all the beautiful design and engineering brilliance that implies. It is almost something too exotic; just out of reach to mere mortals such as you and I and that stems from the 750 America models of the 1970s, which were expensive and rare.
And yet, I find myself riding around on one and, were I in the market to buy, it would cost me R130,000 at Fire It Up. We say this every time, but that’s not very much for the utterly distinctive, beautiful, mechanically interesting, massive ball of fun that is the MV Agusta Dragster 800.
There is one slight drawback: with that very short tail, it is a pain in the arse to ride in the wet; the rooster tail of spray goes right up your back and dribbles underneath your buttocks, which, let no one tell you, is very nice.
But that just reveals the Dragster’s party trick; park it up in your garage, pull up a seat and crack open a beer and just look at the thing. It is that beautiful.