MV Agusta's Stradale 800 is a step away from their purely race heritage based sports machines... Here's our MV Agusta Stradale 800 review. Test by Kris Hodgson, Photography by Tim Munro
Call me biased – and my last two bikes have been triples – but there’s something very special to me about a triple-cylinder, they are just different in a good way, so testing out MV Agusta’s tourer, the Stradale 800 was a pleasure.
Just looking at the bike it’s ticking all the boxes, with the absolute best looking panniers I’ve ever seen, the triple exhaust and sporty lines, combining with a single-sided swingarm, exposed rear wheel and trellis frame. Sure the panniers don’t hold a huge amount but it’s plenty if you travel light and want to maintain your bike’s sporty looks, while the bike itself has flowing almost bulbous bodywork under an aggressive streamlined tank and thin at the front, wide at the rear seat.
The large exhaust collector on most of the naked MV Agusta’s is a bit visible for my liking but the Stradale has two ‘bash plates’, one in the bellypan position, while the other shrouds the exhaust. I imagine both would look considerably better in carbon-fibre!
On board it’s upright, and I was really noticing how high my knees were, while reach to the bars is easy but long and low, with hand guards incorporating indicators standard fitment and an adjustable screen offers good wind protection.
It’s definitely not sportsbike positioning but at the same time this comfortable, relaxed seating position actually gives great control of the Stradale, which reacts easily and smoothly to rider input both big and small.
Power from the 798cc three-cylinder is down from the F3 or Dragster models, with 115hp on tap with the Stradale fitted with 47mm throttle-bodies and having been tuned for smooth torque, starting as low as 2000rpm (so basically where you start to crack the throttle from idle) all the way through. The Stradale also benefits from the updated Eldor NEMO EM2.0 Motor & Vehicle Integrated Control System platform, providing the latest and greatest electronics that MV Agusta have to offer.
Acceleration is strong and throttle response is both direct and smooth, including transitioning off the power, where engine braking kicks in, with performance much more akin to a sportsbike than a tourer, with Sport mode offering the full 115hp, where normal and rain mode are a more restrained 90hp with power delivery tuned for low to mid range. I preferred Sport, even in the slightly damp and drizzly weather on the day.
The electronics package is extensive, including RbW, traction control, the maps described above as well as a fully customisable map, ABS with rear wheel lift-up mitigation and a quickshifter, with options to modify engine response, power ouput, throttle sensitivity, rev-limiter cut-in point and of course the previously mentioned traction control.
Low speed the bike is stable, with smooth torque, an easy clutch action, and clean gear engagement all ensuring you can get away from the lights swiftly and comfortably.
Mid-range is exhilarating with typical MV drive, with the three-cylinder happy to be pushed hard and ridden fast.
The ALS tubular frame, Marzocchi forks and fully adjustable shock also ensure that damping and feel are both exemplary, with the bike swallowing poor surfaces in its stride and remaining very composed across poor road surfaces.
Through the twisties both sweeping and tight the bike is incredible fun, you don’t need to be going crazy to really enjoy the grin-inducing power delivery and grip, but if you do really want to crank it over the bike will happily oblige, all the while providing confidence and clean controllable lines.
Brembo four-piston calipers on the front also combine with a Bosch 9 Plus ABS system, incorporating rear wheel lift-up mitigation, just in case those front Brembo calipers are exerting too much force on the 320mm rotors, while the rear Brembo two-piston caliper is great for controlling speed. For me though I just enjoyed rolling off the throttle and allowing that triple to pipe up as speed rolled off, before rolling it back on through the other side of the corner, getting the most out of that triple engine into and out of every corner.
In a way, having ridden the MV Agusta Stradale 800 it’s hard to think of the bike as a tourer, sports-tourer is closer, but to me it was just a super comfortable, extremely sorted nakedbike with a set of very cool panniers attached.
That it’s a capable tourer is of no doubt, but this is a seriously fun machine and really proves you don’t need almost 200hp and if I was buying it would be a Red and Silver model, without a doubt!
Price: $19,999 + ORC
Warranty: Two-year, unlimited kilometer, two-year roadside assistance
Colours: Red/Silver, Bronze/White, White/Grey
Claimed power: 84.5kW[115hp]@11000rpm
Claimed torque: 78.5Nm[58ft-lbs]9000rpm
Dry weight: 181kg
Fuel capacity: 16L
Engine: Liquid-cooled, three-cylinder, four-stroke, 12-valve, DOHC, 798cc, 13.3:1 compression, 79 x 54.3mm bore x stroke, MVICS, three injectors, 47mm throttle-bodies, Mikuni RbW, ride maps, TC, EAS
Gearbox: Six speed, cassette style
Clutch: Wet, multi-disc slipper clutch
Chassis: ALS Steel tubular trellis frame, aluminium alloy single-sided swingarm, Rake: N/A, Trail: 109mm
Suspension: Marzocchi 43mm USD forks, rebound, compression and preload adjustable, 150mm travel, Progressive Sachs shock, rebound, compression and preload adjustable, 150mm travel
Brakes: Bosch 9 Plus ABS with RLM, dual 320mm floating front rotors, Brembo radial four-piston calipers, 220mm rear rotor, Brembo two-piston caliper
Wheels & Tyres: 12-spoke rear, five-split-spoke front, aluminium alloy, 3.50 x 17in, 5.50 x 17in, 120/70 – 17, 180/55 – 17, Pirelli Diablo Rosso II
Seat height: 870mm
Overall length: 2130mm
Overall width: 890mm
Instruments: Digital multifunction display