After years of hype MV Agusta finally enters the middleweight fray with its 2013 F3 ($13,999). The fresh- faced MV follows Triumph’s successful middleweight formula with its own version of a 675cc Inline Three engineered to offer the best of both worlds: The mid-range torque of a Twin and the hard-hitting top-end of a four cylinder. The F3 also incorporates advanced electronics inside an exceptionally compact package.
Rolling the F3 onto the scale proves it’s one of the more hefty bikes in this group. With a full tank of fuel it weighs 427 pounds—12 more than the class-leading CBR600RR but six less than the porky EVO-spec Ducati. Out on track, however, the MV impresses with its above average maneuverability. It steers into corners easily and offers pin-point line selection accuracy. The MV’s ergonomics, highlighted by its slim seating position, well-shaped fuel tank, wide handlebar and high mounted foot pegs were also well received with Wooldridge thinking that the MV’s ergos were the best of the bunch:
“The MV was the first bike I rode on the first day while learning the track and I got a good evaluation of the bike at a slow pace. The ergonomics and seating position is awesome… by far, the best in the test for me.”
(Top) The F3’s handling was toward the front of the pack, however its suspension proved to be the limiting factory in its road holding potential. (Center) The two-piece Brembos offered plenty of stopping power as well as feel through the lever, but the limited damping of the fork proved to be the weak link in an otherwise strong braking package. (Below) The MV delivers a strong stream of top-end power which helped it achieve high top speeds before braking for turns.
“It was such a different feel, a different sound, a different feel of the motor. I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” recalls Jen Ross, our lady test rider, before she turned any wheels on the MV. “But once out on track everything came together—turn-in was a breeze.”
When pitched over on the tires’ side, especially through Turns 4/5 and the Turn 13 bowl, the F3 exhibits a very high level of mid-corner stability. And the more it leans, the better it feels. Data shows the MV records the second-highest corner speed through these sections while simultaneously carrying the second-least degree of lean (56.7). This indicates the MV’s chassis is so adept at cornering that it doesn’t require as much lean angle as the others. Curiously, in the second to last corner the F3’s corner speed was third from the bottom, which may be attributed to its under-damped suspension. Although we were generally pleased with the way it steered, the second-slowest flick rate as measured in Turns 8/9/10 proves it isn’t quite as agile as the others.
“For me it’s the bike with the most potential in the shootout,” reveals Pridmore. “It handles good, it’s nimble—I love the seating position and ergonomics of it.”
While our testers generally agreed that the MV handled well, its suspension components prevented it from achieving a faster lap time. The fork and shock don’t offer the precise level of damping found on the others. The suspension was compliant and tracked well over bumps, but it lacked the pitch control expected from a properly set-up sportbike. The result is a see-saw effect when braking and accelerating. This may have been a factor in its lowest average braking force numbers as measured at Turns 1 and 8.
Speaking of the brakes, the two-piece Brembo set-up worked well delivering a good amount of power and feel. But when compared to the more up-spec monobloc jewelry on some of the competition, the MV’s brakes were rated toward the bottom. Although the MV does without a slipper clutch, it’s engine brake control more than makes up for it, giving the F3 a freewheel sensation entering turns.
In the motor department the MV is certainly not lacking. The 675cc Triple belted out the third-
Preload: 6.5 (Turns in)
Compression: 1.5 (Turns out)
Preload: 9 (Turns in)
Power Mode: Custom
Traction Control: Off
Gas Sensitivity: Normal
Engine Brake: Sport
Maximum Torque: Sport
Engine Response: Fast
RPM Limiter: Sport
highest horsepower rating of 114.31 ponies at 14,800 revs—200 revs shy of redline. One nice touch the F3 offers is an adjustable rev limiter that can be set to come-in softer and less abruptly. We also loved the lightning fast upshifts afforded by the quickshifter which makes it easy to keep the engine on the pipe.
“I love the quickshifter on it,” Pridmore agrees. “That worked really well—probably better than any of the other two or three bikes [Ducati and Triumph] that actually had the quickshifter.”
“I was surprised. You turn the throttle on that thing and it friggin’ goes,” tells Neuer. “A little soft off the bottom but once it’s in the revs—snappy motorcycle.”
Strong top-end power paired with close ratio gearing, and, of course, the quickshifter helps the MV rider achieve a high top speed at the end of straightaways that were near the top of the field. Everyone loved the outright power of the MV. But it’s overly anxious throttle response and glitchy ride-by-wire, especially during deceleration, was unnerving.
(Top) The F3’s powerband is flat off the bottom, but add in some revs and it takes off in a hurry. (Center) A more limited range of suspension adjustment limits the MV’s handling on track. This is the one bike in the contest that could benefit from upgraded componentry from the aftermarket. (Bottom) The F3 feels light in the corner and has an incredibly accurate front end. With some fine tuning this bike could be a Supersport Shootout winner.
“I think the electronics were working against the bike,” says Neuer. “You go to let off the gas and it kind of likes to keep going [laughs]. That took a little bit to get used to. But the bike has a lot of potential.”
“The MV felt better since the last time I rode it last fall,” Colton remembers. “The only thing I had a little bit of an issue with was the low- to mid-range mapping and throttle response. The raw power it has is pretty amazing. It comes on hard and definitely feels like one of the quicker bikes up top.”
“I really enjoyed riding the MV, the quickshifter was awesome and it feels good to just sit on. But the run-on after you get off the gas is a bit unnerving,” said Carruthers.
The engine pumps out a decent peak torque figure too (47.02 lb-ft, placing it mid-pack), but the problem is it comes way up in the rev range (11,200 rpm). This makes the F3 tougher to ride at anything less than an all-out, throttle pinned to the stop pace. Its relatively low acceleration force numbers demonstrate that it lacks punch off corners, instead the MV relies on the motor to gather some straight-line steam before it really gets moving.
“It feels a little bit jerky on/off throttle—like it is a little bit too aggressive,” Zemke concurs. “But then as you roll the throttle on to exit the corner it feels like something is holding it back. It feels like the motor wants to go faster but it is choked off a bit. It ranked pretty far down on the list for me, but that was mostly down to the electronics. I think if you could control that issue the bike would have ranked quite a bit higher.”
In terms of fun and sheer excitement the F3 delivers in spades. This charismatic Italian Triple rewards its rider with a snappy powerband and a grin-inducing engine shriek that needs to be heard to believe. While many of our testers appreciated aspects of the F3, including its maneuverability and turning accuracy, its quirky throttle response along with ineffective suspension damping made it tricky to ride at the limit during Superpole. If MV could sort out some of the bugs there’s little question this bike will run up front.
- Ripping fast top-end power
- Excellent mid-corner handling
- Close gear ratios and quickshifter aid acceleration
- Suspension lacks effective damping
- Quirky ride-by-wire and throttle response
- Soft bottom-end power
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