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Throwback Thursday – Our Review of the MV Augusta

by Gavin Perry

There are three options in the Dragster range – the base 800 model, the RR and the LH44. Unfortunately, as incredible as the LH44 is, the availability and price just make it a little out of reach for most people. My test model was the RR, and for so many reasons, I have to say that it’s the commuter to have out of the three, and honestly, compared to other brand’s commuting options, it’s actually hard to beat what MV have done here.

The actual size of this bike (not the engine size) is the only setback I can see for some taller people out there. It’s compact and small in a good way, and for those riders who are on the shorter side, you are going to love this machine. It has been built with one thing in mind – get around fast and easy – and it absolutely delivers! The inline three-cylinder 798cc isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and personally, I don’t know why. I found it fast, thanks to the low weight of the bike, and the sound, the general response and power delivery are so perfectly in tune with the city’s tight traffic riding that I think MV are really onto something here. This is an entirely new model for them and I love it.

This bike has some seriously unique and new aspects to it that make it so eye-catching. During my time with the test bike, I noticed that people had an uncontrollable urge to come up to me out of the blue and ask “What bike is that?” I have never spoken to so many random people in parking lots than I have since riding this bike. You don’t have to wonder then, how “on the money” MV are with the styling of this machine. The available colours in the RR are either carbon metallic black, or a pearl-based shock red or ice white. Both are amazing, and the spoke-studded mags on each are a masterpiece of visual beauty.

This bike comes in at the R189 000 mark, and with all the other options out there it’s actually priced right. However, the technology you get for your money is mind blowing – in fact some of the top superbikes currently aren’t as technologically advanced as the RR Dragster is! I have gone on and on in the past about the gear box and technology of the Ducati 1299 Panigale S, as well as the BMW S1000RR and their quick shifters, their auto blip downshift assists, but the Dragster RR has all of that and to top it off, it makes for the best ride and commute. All of the other features like ABS, traction control, wheelie assist, di erent ride modes – you name it – are on this bike. Now that’s bang for your buck. The base 800 model doesn’t have all of the extra attention to its visual styling, and noticeably, it doesn’t have the downshift assist and auto blip. Further to that, it doesn’t have a steering damper – which I found a bit scary when I rode it. Having a short wheel base and no damper made it feel like it was going to tuck in under me when going into a bend and like I was going to wash out the front tyre. That feeling doesn’t instil much confidence, so if you are contemplating buying an 800 base model it would definitely be worth your time to add a steering damper, or perhaps just cough up and get the RR – the extra money is completely worth it.

The MV Dragster RR isn’t a super bike. You are not going to smoke people on a track day, or out on a breakfast run, because it just was not built for that. Yes, it’s still extremely fast and capable but it is a street fighter and commuting masterpiece. I almost can’t find a reason why this should not be the bike of choice to get around town and to miss the traffic. It is so fun, so absolutely comfortable and easy to ride, not to mention that it is so bad-ass looking that you will fall more in love day after day as you ride and experience it. MV have certainly done something really special here, and I have to commend them on such a drastic step forward on their styling and usability in this biking sector. It is radical, and most definitely on the top of my list of bikes I must own one day. I give this little pocket rocket a rating of 9 out of 10. Every moment on it was pure joy and happiness. ■

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