An increase in horsepower, along with a host of other upgrades, turns this hooligan into the exotic bad boy your parents warned you about
Story by Costa Mouzouris
Photos by MV Agusta
According to MV Agusta chief Giovanni Castiglioni, there was no marketing research done to determine a target market for the Dragster; no focus groups were tapped for input to boost sales. They just built the Dragster because they thought it was cool, and they expected to sell maybe 500 units. Within six months after its introduction last year, almost 2000 Dragsters were sold, and according to Castiglioni, if they had built more, they would have sold those too. To follow up on the Dragster’s success, for 2015, MV Agusta released a hotter, faster and meaner RR version, and I was invited to ride it in Siena, Italy.
The Dragster is a customized offshoot of the Brutale 800 naked bike, which has become the Italian bike maker’s bestselling model. It shares many components with the Brutale 800; what distinguishes the Dragster is its unique adjustable handlebar, its blunt rear sub-frame that ends at the seat – there’s no tailpiece – and a fatter, 200-series rear tire mounted on a six-inch-wide wheel. Many of the components of the standard Dragster have transferred onto the RR, including chassis specs and bodywork, as well as various other bits. Where the RR version splits from the standard is in engine and suspension tuning, and there are some important styling variations.
An Uprated Dragster
Like the standard Dragster, the RR uses a 798 cc inline triple, though it uses different tuning, which bumps engine output by 15 hp to 140, and the torque curve is flatter. Suspension components are mostly the same, except that there’s a new 43 mm Marzocchi inverted fork that uses aluminum male sliders with a DLC coating for longevity, and suspension settings are firmer. It also gets an adjustable steering damper (no damper on the standard bike).
The RR shares the Dragster’s eight-level traction control and four selectable ride modes. New is an electric shift assist that allows clutchless gear changes both up and down, and it has a slipper clutch.
The Dragster RR is among the most radically styled production bikes I’ve come across in a while. It uses tubeless spoke wheels with unique spoke mounting that really accentuates the rims, and they’re finished in contrasting colours. I think the Dragster’s wheels, whether painted black or white, look spectacular.
Our route took us on the sinuously tight and narrow roads intertwined among the hills and vineyards of Tuscany. We turned out of the hotel parking lot onto a ridiculously narrow, winding road, and within minutes were just hammering along at a pace set by MV Agusta’s guide riders that would have easily put us in the advanced group during a track day.
The RR has a compact riding position, its forward-biased seat nestling me snugly against the fuel tank. The bike feels tiny – until you…