MV Agusta F3 800

Performance Bikes (UK) - - RACE LEGEND -

WE LOVE MVS HERE on PB, we re­ally do. Ed­i­tor Chris has even spent his own ac­tual money on one. Be­ing a big fan of the plucky Ital­ian un­der­dogs, it re­ally does pain me to say it, but there is usu­ally some sort of mi­nor is­sue with them when­ever I ride one. The new Bru­tale that I rode in our mid­dleweight nakeds test ear­lier this year ran out of fuel be­cause the fuel warn­ing light didn’t work, and the 2010 F4 that I rode in April 2017 de­vel­oped a nasty mis­fire. The F3 is the third MV Agusta that we’ve had in PB this year, and my heart sinks as Rut­ter rolls down pit lane on it with steam pour­ing out from in­side the fair­ing. The F3 be­comes the third out of three MVs we’ve tested re­cently to de­velop a prob­lem. It sits there, red hot, in a pool of its own coolant, steam ris­ing into the air, with no hint of the fan cut­ting in. Game over. The mood in the garage is gen­uinely gloomy, the F3 was go­ing re­ally well – un­til it pissed it­self. Rut­ter was only on his se­cond run on it, and re­ally start­ing to get to know it. James from K-Tech had made a big change to the sus­pen­sion set-up, and Rut­ter was lov­ing it.

“That first ses­sion was weird. At first I re­ally didn’t like it,” says Rut­ter. “I didn’t un­der­stand it, or what it wanted from me. The ex­hausts were in the way of my feet, the brakes went spongy, the throt­tle was too sharp and the power de­liv­ery felt flat as a fart. I took an in­stant dis­like to it. It was so much more of a faff than the Du­cati. I just got on that and went fast straight away. Then, when I started to push it, sud­denly it made sense, and I loved it. The cor­ner speed felt re­ally high, and the power de­liv­ery made sense. It’s not so much that it’s flat, I think it’s the counter ro­tat­ing crankshaft that makes the whole bike much more sta­ble on cor­ner exit, and thus feel like it’s lack­ing zip, when ac­tu­ally it’s pulling re­ally hard. Then when I started to push harder, and went back to not lik­ing it again. The whole thing was way too soft to try and go re­ally fast. James made some fairly big changes to the set-up, and I was re­ally lov­ing it in that ses­sion, get­ting down to some­thing like what I think the bike is ca­pa­ble of. Then the temp gauge sud­denly went men­tal, and here we are.”

I had been watch­ing Rut­ter from my usual spot at the pit­lane exit. You get a re­ally clear view of him brak­ing for Redgate and how late he turns into it, then how early he gets the bike ac­cel­er­at­ing out. He’s been prop­erly on it, skat­ing the F3 side­ways on the brakes, which is a sure sign of high con­fi­dence. He’s also turn­ing in so late, that each time I’m cer­tain he’s ac­tu­ally run­ning wide. There’s def­i­nitely no sign that he isn’t happy with the set-up any more; some­thing he con­firms as we sit in the

RU T T E R O N F 3 8 0 0

‘Some ex­pert at­ten­tion to the set-up was all it took to give me the con­fi­dence to get the best out of this bike. Shame it wet it­self...’

shade of the garage, as the F3 sits out­side, still steam­ing... “That felt so much bet­ter. The front end was so much more planted and pre­cise. I re­ally felt like I could take the piss with it. It felt a lot more ex­cit­ing and alive. It’s odd, be­cause the brakes didn’t go off in that ses­sion, un­like in the first ses­sion. I can only imag­ine it’s some­thing to do with the change in the fork set-up. The whole front end was much bet­ter sup­ported. The throt­tle even felt OK, maybe be­cause I was go­ing a good bit faster. It’s quite a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal to the Du­cati, you can run in re­ally fast on the MV, or at least that’s what it feels like, and carry a load more cor­ner speed. It feels small, light, trick and re­ally fo­cused. I’d hap­pily still be out there now, thrash­ing around on it; it’s a lot of fun. I imag­ine the en­gine would re­ally come to life with a full sys­tem and re-map, but that’s the same for any mid ca­pac­ity bike now that Euro4 has landed. It’s hit this type of bike the hard­est. They don’t have the ex­cess of power to give some up in order to save the planet. That said, doesn’t mean it’s not a great bike, or no fun, or slow...”

‘The whole bike feels more sta­ble on cor­ner exit, like it’s lack­ing zip when ac­tu­ally it’s pulling hard’

Don’t think we’ll ever get tired of MV’s sculp­tural ex­haust

Re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues aside, Rut­ter gelled with the F3

Fac­tory-fit quick­shifter makes short work of cog swaps

Pack­ag­ing is­sues make ac­cess­ing the preload col­lar a pig

Brak­ing per­for­mance im­proves with set-up

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