Another year, another special edition MV Agusta. This time, the F3 800 RC loses its AMG badge and 8kg mass and gains 5 extra horses. But is it worth Rs 22 lakh?
MV Agustas are always special, even though the so-called ‘new’ variants are just all the same underneath. Take the case of the new F3 800 Reparto Corse for instance. It started life almost half a decade ago. In 2016 though, MV Agusta’s strained relationship with AMG ended on a sorrowful note, which meant the AMG badge on its predecessor had to go, giving birth to the 2017 F3 800 RC which has finally been launched in India in 2019, with a price tag of `21.99 lakh. Of course, it’s not about only the badge. The 2017 iteration also gets a full-blown titanium SC Project exhaust with special mapping, aluminium mirror caps, brake and clutch levers, a fibreglass rear seat cowl, racing plate, dedicated bike cover, rear paddock stand and even a certificate of origin. Additionally, the ‘Racing Kit’ has allowed for a weight loss of eight kg, along with an ECU map that unleashes five extra horses too. All this can be had for a price increment of about `2 lakh over its predecessor. But does that make it too expensive even for a bewitching piece of Italian exotica?
Riding an MV is an occasion in itself. However, MVs are not really everyday bikes and are most at home in, erm, your home, the racetrack or an art exhibition. Motoroyale lent the bike to us on the cusp of the monsoons; not the ideal conditions to test an MV, especially one that gets an RC badge. But like they say, first meetings are all about physical appearance and here’s where the F3 scores full marks. ‘Motorcycle art’ is what MV Agusta really is, and the F3 800 RC is definitely among the most beautiful production motorcycles in the world today. The racing decals, dual-tone paint job, painstaking eye for detail and of course, the super loud exhaust is magnetic. Just staring at the F3 fills your soul with positive energy.
The F3 isn’t shy on the tech front too, and is brimming with gadgetry, including an eight-level traction control and four riding modes and a brilliant bi-directional quickshifter that we’ve come to love on the Brutale 800. The switchgear feels low quality though and the cluster reminds me of the Xpulse 200, which costs barely `1 lakh! The select toggle on the left is way too complicated, so we stuck to TC level 4 and ABS level 2 throughout. Even more awkwardly, the starter button also doubles up as a mode selector when you long press it. It’s not easy to live with an Italian chick, is it?
Riding an Italian thoroughbred in the wet in Sport mode called for measured throttle inputs. More so after they told us there were only six examples for sale in India. Being a sucker for triples, I have always been in love with this orgasmic 798cc motor. In the ‘unshackled’ mode on the RC, it makes five extra horses thanks to a revised ECU map. And it shows! There’s oodles of torque available from as low as 3,000rpm and the motor never seems to go out of breath. The redline is a staggeringly high 13,500rpm; which means you need really big gonads to hit the limiter in every gear. But you don’t really need to do so, for there’s relentless power available throughout the curve. It’s surreal how the F3 picks up speed. 150kmph on this MV is easy peasy, as it gets there at barely 5,000rpm in second gear! However, I was forced to shift as late as possible to hear the SC shrieking out loud. If you haven’t seen the latest Godzilla flick, do yourself a favour and head to a Motoroyale dealership instead. The RC sounds almost as loud and authoritative as the King of the Monsters.
Even its handling is as sharp as Godzilla’s claws! Thanks to a measly 165kg kerb weight, it’s lighter than even the KTM 390 Duke. The counter-rotating crankshaft definitely aids agility and allows you to tip into corners telepathically. There’s so much feedback from the Pirelli Rosso Corsa II rubber that they work like your lower limbs. The suspension is set up for the track and thus is super stiff, making the ride a lot more harsh. Of course, you’ll love the babbling Marzocchi USDs and Sachs monoshock but they are clearly not meant for Indian conditions.
The fuelling isn’t precise either and the throttle is twitchy and so is the stability in corners. There is very little space to move around as well, forcing you to tuck in at all times, all of which makes riding the F3 like playing squash. You’ll not only be tired physically, but mentally too, as it requires your attention at all times.
Yes, which means that you won’t really be doing 12,000km in the saddle per annum. What the MV Agusta F3 800 RC is actually meant for is to be left in the drawing room so that you can ogle at it for hours. An MV is an intangible asset and it will not only quadruple your garage’s worth but also make your neighbours envious. Of course, if you’re someone who rides their bikes, there’s good news for you as well. The F3 RC has layers of character which will take ages to peel off. Some things in life are priceless, they say.