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  • November 15, 2013
  • Dirck Edge
  • Dirck Edge and Jeffrey Fortuna
  • 53 Comments

2014 MV Agusta F3 800: MD Track Test

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On paper, the 2014 MV Agusta F3 800 is a spectacular machine. The specifications look every bit as gorgeous as the bike does in the flesh. Promising 600 class handling with open class power, the new MV triple makes a claimed 148 hp at the crank at 13,000 rpm from a displacement of 798cc. Inside the cases that hold the 675cc F3, the 800 carries the same bore, but added stroke. This gives the 800 nearly 20 additional hp over the already healthy 675, and gobs more torque.

In our announcement of the F3 800, we provided several studio photos that you can refer back to. In this article, we have photos from the track test we conducted two days ago at Chuckwalla Raceway in Southern California. On board at Chuckwalla was MD test rider Tommy Aquino (currently racing for Team WD-40/GR Motorsports), who has years of experience racing 600s both in the United States and Europe.

With the same narrow engine cases as the 675, and essentially the same dry weight of 381 pounds, the F3 800 promises to be a very nimble mount. MV’s use of a reverse rotation of the crank shaft effectively cancels some of the inertia created by the wheel rotation, which further reduces the effort necessary to change direction.

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The F3 800 is loaded with top shelf components and electronic assist mechanisms. The Marzocchi forks measure 43 mm in diameter and are fully adjustable for spring preload, as well as compression and rebound damping. The Sachs shock features a separate nitrogen reservoir, and is also fully adjustable for preload, compression and rebound.

The brakes are a fantastic spec, including particularly the Brembo monobloc, radially-mounted front calipers and 320 mm discs, controlled by a Nissin radial master cylinder. Acceleration and braking forces are transferred through Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tires (including a rear-sized 180/55-17). For our track testing, Pirelli DOT racing tires were fitted.

The electronics package is about as sophisticated as you can find on a showroom floor. MV calls the system MVICS (Motor and Vehicle Integrated Control System) and, according to MV, the ride-by-wire throttle “makes it possible for the ideal throttle body aperture to be defined at any moment in time, so it is not dependent on the angular rotation of the twist grip.” Utilizing an ECU from Eldor (supplier to Ferrari and Lamborghini, among others), MV claims it has made the throttle twist completely linear with regard to torque creation, i.e., 50% throttle results in 50% of the torque available from the engine at the current rpm given the current load factors. Four maps are available for rider selection in the MVICS system, including Sport, Standard, Rain and Custom. Within the Custom setting, the rider can fine tune several variables to his liking, including but not limited to throttle sensitivity and engine braking level. Tommy adjusted both of these settings to great effect on the track (more about that later).

Traction control is also available, of course, and can be set at any one of 8 levels (from least intrusive to most intrusive), as well as turned off entirely. In 3 of the 4 maps, the rider can choose any one of the TC settings, while in Rain mode, the TC setting defaults to level 8.

Upshifts are aided by an electronic ignition cut, and corner entry benefits from a slipper clutch. For added strength (given the added torque), the F3 800 clutch has an additional 2 plates in comparison with the F3 675.

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MV Agusta readily admits that, in the past, it has struggled somewhat with fuel injection mapping, something that has become increasingly more complicated as ECUs have become more sophisticated. We remember Hinkley Triumph having the same problems for several years before ironing them out. MV says it has worked extremely hard at fine-tuning the maps available on the F3 800, and continues to update maps to “state-of-the-art” from time-to-time. Notifications on the MV web site allow owners to determine when new maps are available, and your MV dealer will update your maps free of charge.

During our track testing, it was immediately clear MV’s claim that the F3 800 changes directions easily was accurate. Despite all the added power and torque, together with the heavier crank, the F3 800 changes direction as easily as a 600 on the track. In fact, the bike feels lighter than the claimed 381 pounds likely as a result of the counter-rotating crank shaft uniquely employed by MV in its production machine. Very impressive stuff!

Together with the nimble handling, the F3 800 delivers big power in a smooth, linear fashion. Our test rider is used to highly tuned race 600s, and he felt peak power was similar from the stock F3, while torque represented a substantial increase over the supersport class machines.

Three cylinder engines can combine some of the best traits from both twins and in-line fours, and the F3 800 is no exception. We were able to exit corners a gear higher than peaky 600s, and drive hard through a broad powerband straight through to the 13,000 rpm power peak. A very flexible motor that is deceptive in its smoothness and linearity, but very quick.

Back to the subject of handling. The F3 800 feels extremely light and agile, allowing you to put it anywhere you like on the track, but at the same time offers excellent stability. It also allows you to hold the line you select through bumpy corners.

The brakes provide exceptional power and feel, on par with well set-up race brakes. Suspension is firm and damped well for track use, feeling well-balanced front-to-rear.

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MV Agusta seems to have cured any problems with abrupt throttle response found on some of its earlier models. Using the custom mapping feature, we were able to dial in a very smooth, progressive power delivery coming out of corners at a large lean angle. Exactly what you need from a race bike or a track day weapon.

After becoming comfortable on the bike, Tommy turned off the traction control and played with some big power slides coming out of slower corners … reporting that the throttle and engine response made these maneuvers easy to control, due to their predictable nature.

The electronically controlled speed shifter worked well even though the ignition cuts seemed a bit longer than necessary. We had no problems with the transmission while shifting either up or down. With the Custom map feature, we were able to reduce engine braking to provide more control, and maintain rear wheel traction, during aggressive corner entries. This is a very useful feature for the track.

After making some minor suspension adjustments, tire pressure adjustments and tuning the Custom map, it was hard to fault the performance of the MV Agusta F3 800 on a race track. This is probably the best bone stock, street legal bike we have yet tested on a race track.

Criticisms are few and minor. The footpegs are a bit slippery, and the wind screen offers a blurry view when tucked in tight at the track.

MV Agusta is a relatively small manufacturer, for sure, with only 212 employees. Its bike line-up has expanded rapidly, however, from 3 models in 2010 to 14 models for 2014. MV sales have grown 130% during the same period, despite a significant reduction in the total, relevant motorcycle market these past few years.

With so much going on, it seems MV Agusta nevertheless has the resources to sweat the details. The F3 800 is an excellent motorcycle, and given its styling, exclusivity and components, is reasonably priced in the United States at an MSRP of $15,798. Visit MV Agusta’s web site for additional information.

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53 Comments

  1. Superlight says:

    IMHO the F3 look is anything but tired. They have carried over some MV design cues, but almost everything is an improvement over the F4. Just look at the slim tail and underslung 3-pipe exhaust. Nothing from Japan is even close, design-wise.

  2. Gary says:

    Stunning!

  3. Blackcayman says:

    How can Triumph ignore this bike?

    If they aren’t going to make a Daytona 1000, then they should at least build a Daytona 800.

    Then they can copy/build an 800cc British Turismo Veloce! With no greater than a 32″ seat height please.

    • Dave says:

      Re: “How can Triumph ignore this bike?”

      The same way Apple ignores the multitude of screen sizes that smart phones and tablets come in. Make the right thing, at the right price and tell everyone it is. It was MV who followed them to a 675cc triple.

      • Blackcayman says:

        “It was MV who followed them to a 675cc triple.”

        My point exactly…how obtuse can they be? They already punched that motor out for the Tiger 800s…

        La dee dah and MV beats them to the punch.

        • Dave says:

          my point is that I don’t think Triumph considers themselves to be in competition with MV. They’re (Triumph) doing their thing and not worrying about who has what size engine. They were over that game after a few years trying to compete in the 600ss market.

          • Norm G. says:

            +1 and there it is.

          • Blackcayman says:

            Damm you Norm…

            No, of course not. The aren’t the mee-too bike builder. They are building something unique for those who don’t want just another GIXER.

            My point is why won’t they do exactly what I want, when I want for what I want to spend?

            The bike I want most likely comes after they build this…

      • sl says:

        The mv 675 was going to be an 800 all along.

  4. Todder says:

    I’m still worried about E10 issues with plastic fuel tanks. Wish Euro manufactures had some easy way to either upgrade or get a metal painted replacement. Ethanol junk fuel is just something that’s too hard to avoid when touring.

    • Hot Dog says:

      Ethanol is junk. I get 10-20% less mileage with it, and at least it’ll only last 30 days in the tank before it starts to turn to “wax and varnish”. This industry is a huge ruse, in the U.S., we like to think that we’re so energy independent.

      • Tim says:

        Exactly, Hot Dog. They put in 10% ethanol and you get 90% of normal mileage. The ethanol provides essentially no energy to the equation.

      • Blackcayman says:

        check out the website pure-gas . org for a list of stations that still sell gasoline without ethanol.

        I can get 89 octane a few miles from my house and always take the motorcycles there, in addition to gas for the lawnmower etc.

        We need to demand an end to the Ethanol Subsidies in Congress. Give them 3 years to sunset their investments and then be done with it for ever!

  5. Michael says:

    how would you compare the overall track experience with a new Triumph 675R? Obviously the 800 makes more power but which would you say is the better track weapon purely from a handling and ease of use standpoint?

    Also, other reviews of the 2013 800 say it has fueling issues. Were you able to find out from MV what updates have been made to the 2014 model? You mention that MV has released mapping updates for it. I would be curious to hear details on this such as versions. I also hear they are working on an electronic downshift function.

  6. denny says:

    I am too old for this, but still, it makes me drool. Quite profoundly actually.

  7. Norm G. says:

    re: “We remember Hinkley Triumph having the same problems for several years before ironing them out.”

    ps: “ironing out” =’s a wholesale binning of French Sagem for Japanese Keihin. iirc, the same double throttle valve system Suzuki pioneered for the GSXR.

  8. allworld says:

    MV is getting their act together, each bike is more refined then the last. The F3 675 was a little rough when it was first released, but in just a few short years the improvements and number of models is amazing when you consider the economic conditons, competition and the size of the company.
    Their dealer network is where improvement is needed, it would be nice is Fiat would sell MV’s along side Maserati’s and Alfa’s (when they arrive) giving MV a boost.

  9. mickey says:

    Just think..not too long ago Harley Davidson owned this company..bwaaahaaahaaa

    • Gary says:

      Yea, just like they did with Buell. Now both Buell and MV are coming out with great bikes, the likes that Harley will never manufacture on their own. Good for them. Boo for Harley.

    • allworld says:

      HD dropping Buell and selling MV back to the Castiglioni family is the best thing they have ever done for the motorcycle industry.

  10. Sean says:

    These bikes consistently fall short of expectations when compared to the competition on raps or track according to most motorcycle magazines and testers. Now MCD says best track bike ever??? Guess MVs come a long way since…last year?

    • Sean says:

      *road or track

    • Michael says:

      I’m curious about this as well. Why such praise?

      • mickey says:

        Maybe the one they tested was just a very good example of the breed. If you were a tester and the bike you rode was great, what would you report?

        • Michael says:

          totally agree. I just haven’t seen such accolades in other tests I’ve read. Granted the most of them were written back in June or July during the initial launch. I’m just wondering if MV has released updates to the mapping or other tweaks since then. That seems to be a common gripe. I also have to wonder if the tester (a highly skilled pro racer in this case) had better setup knowledge or a team present to make necessary adjustments. The majority of other testers were the journalists themselves.

  11. xlayn says:

    I agree the front look starts to look dated… let’s better call it signature look :)
    The thing that strikes me the most is how in the center cylinders seems to be, engine looks amazingly small as well as the motorcycle (notice the second photo), I guess you’ll pay for it with an uncomfortable ride.
    Impressive numbers and package.
    Would love to hear it scream till redline on the racetrack…
    I wonder how many revs it did lost in the process of increment the stroke?

    • Blackcayman says:

      Elbows and knees oocupying the same space…yes it looks small. Its a track weapon for all but the young and limber.

      Track time gives you 30 min on and 30 off – or the dreaded 20-20-20 schedule. You’ve got time to stretch out every half hour.

      800s 850s & 900s – the new upper end of the middleweights are pushing the boundaries. Light as 600s and as powerful as liter bikes from 10 years ago.

      In 10 more years 350 lb wet weight sportbikes will be pumping out 240 HP and will be $20K

  12. tejasdesmo says:

    Gary,

    We are selling them now on the floor. I just sold one yesterday In Texas. We can also ship in he US

    http://www.bmwmotorcyclesdallas.com
    972-881-0774

    Ask for Chris

    “Gary says:
    November 16, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Doesn’t look like there is even a US distributor for these. When I looked it said US but took me to an .it (Italian) English version of their website with a listing of US dealers, but no links concerning “become a dealer” or a US distribution point. Maybe I’m missing something.”

    • Gary says:

      Yes, but you are a dealer. Dealers usually get their bikes from distributors. Who’s the distributor in the USA?

  13. Ductec says:

    Bike is unquestionably beautiful, but until there is a dealer in my city I’ll have to stay away from such temptation.

    • Gary says:

      Doesn’t look like there is even a US distributor for these. When I looked it said US but took me to an .it (Italian) English version of their website with a listing of US dealers, but no links concerning “become a dealer” or a US distribution point. Maybe I’m missing something.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Doesn’t look like there is even a US distributor for these.”

        OG “ferrach”. he’s the domestic point man. or at least used to be…?

        http://www.ferracci.com/

        • Gary says:

          Still looks like a dealer to me. FBF also sells performance items for Ducati and some others. Dealer not distributor apparently.

          • Norm G. says:

            like you said…

            “Maybe I’m missing something.”

            the something in this case (that you don’t see) would be the huge warehouse around the corner from the dealership stacked floor to ceiling with nothing but crates of MV’s. it also has classroom space where techs fly into PHL from around the country for training. training at times is done by none other than Eraldo himself. don’t let the white hair fool you, the man’s a machine.

            the more you know.

  14. sl says:

    The comeback of the 750 class?

    • xlayn says:

      There is no way to know, the certain thing is that the sport bikes state of art enables to start thinking in tweaking some other aspects of the bike at the expense of cc as you already have a healthy amount of power.
      Kudos to MV for bringing nice after nice machine…
      Ironically it’s following the same step that Triumph did a while ago, 3 instead of 4 cylinders…

  15. todder says:

    Gorgeous

  16. Joe says:

    Gorgeous !

  17. Motorhead says:

    Why was I expecting a price tag of $25,000? This is terrific.

  18. vato_loco_frisco says:

    Fantastic looking motorcycle. Glad to see that the FI is less finicky than in the past.

  19. Norm G. says:

    wow, look at dirk go. now we’re talking…!!! oh wait, that’s tommy.

  20. Gronde says:

    I think it’s time to update the body work. The look is becoming long in tooth.

  21. mkv says:

    Looks comfy

  22. mickey says:

    It may just be my opinion, but in exotic motorcycles nothing, not even Ducatis, look better than silver and red MV’s. Way too exotic and high strung for me, but I’d love to have one, even if the engine was blown, for artwork for my harage.

  23. endoman38 says:

    Holy ####!