MV Agusta Stradale 800 (2015)

Author: Frank Melling Posted: 16 Dec 2014

115bhp, three cylinder MV Agusta Stradale 800

Dear Santa

I have been a very (well, fairly) good boy and I was wondering if I could have my three dream bikes for Christmas?

I would like a sports bike for fast riding and the occasional track day.

Then I would really like a tourer so I can go out with my wife for the day and she can enjoy the ride as much as me.

Last but not least, I do like going to the office on my bike so please may I have a fast scooter which will be great in traffic but still fun to ride?

Yours in hope


Well, of course the answer is that you can’t have three bikes and Santa is likely to slap you in the face with some reindeer poo just for asking – just after your wife finishes the phone call to the divorce lawyer.

But hang on a minute - maybe you can have three very different motorcycles for the price of one…

Roll of drums and let’s welcome on to the world stage the MV Agusta Stradale 800 – quite possibly the best bike MV have made so far.

It has the potential to be one of the best bikes MV have ever made

Let’s start with some myth killing. The Stradale chassis is all new and its 798cc three cylinder engine is also tuned just to meet the Stradale’s specific needs. This is not a parts’ bin special made from existing MV leftovers.

First, the engine. It really is a lovely thing. Feather light at just 52kgs (115lbs) and wafer thin. On the Stradale, its already Super Model slimness is reduced by 40mm – almost a couple of inches – by having a hydraulic clutch.

It comes with a vast range of electronic options which is fine if you are nine years old and love Nintendos. For the grown-ups, there is only one choice. Sport setting and maximum throttle sensitivity. In this mode, the triple knocks out a very respectable 115hp and we are told the Stradale will run up to 120mph effortlessly.

Better still, the power is seamless. Peak torque is at 9,000 rpm but the torque curve is almost flat from 4,000rpm. MV have been criticised, fairly and accurately in the past, for dreadful engine management but the Stradale is flawless at any revs in any gear.

ABS, traction control and anti-stoppie!

In an attempt to cause problems for the ECU I did some full throttle roll ons in sixth gear from 35mph. The Stradale simply accelerated all the way to the motorway speed limit as if there was a magnet in front sucking it along.

The electronics also provide ABS, traction control and an anti-stoppie device to stop the Stradale being upended by smacking on the front brake too hard.

The Stradale is silent at modest speeds but it is an MV so in the afternoon of the launch I rode the nuts off it, mainly in second gear between 50mph and 80mph. At this speed, and with the engine spinning at around nine and ten thousand, that lovely 79mm x 54.3mm triple wails like a proper MV.

Looks better in real life than in photos

If the engine is impressive, the quick shifter is also a game changer. This has a quick shifter for upward gear changes and an auto blipper for coming down through the cogs. The system is a direct lift from racing and so I wasn’t surprised to find that it worked well with thoughtful, high speed changes both up and down the ‘box.

What was amazing was the way the quick shifter dealt with situations where it should struggle. It works a treat in urban riding and dealing with dreamy farmers pulling out of side roads was no problem either. Swapping gears doesn’t have to be neat or precise – the changes will still happen safely and efficiently.

Finally, for traditionalists like me, you can still change gear really, really well without using the quick shifter so it is not as if MV are emasculating us in the way that scooters do with their droning CVT transmissions. If you have the appropriate level of skill, you will be able to play with the gearbox all day long and the Stradale will help you to have fun. What can be fairer than that?

Because the MV system works so well, there is now a big question mark over the CVT transmissions used in scooters and the heavy, complicated dual clutch designs which Honda sees as the way forward.

One cynical journalist on the launch said the Stradale chassis is just a case of cost cutting by using the same frame across a whole range of models. In fact, he couldn’t be more wrong. The Stradale chassis is a bespoke item and Giovanni Castiglioni, who owns MV Agusta, was at pains to stress how many chassis and swinging arms they had built before arriving at the finished design,

The result is a masterpiece of design for the bike’s intended purpose. With a long, 57” (1,448mm) wheelbase and 4 ¼” (108mm) of trail the Stradale has a beautifully neutral feel in the cruise and yet turns well at sports’ bike speeds.

With a pillion, there will be a bit more rake as the back end squats down a little and the Stradale will be even more easy going.

Take the bike to a track day and the long travel suspension will be worked hard, the front end will tuck in a little more, and the bike will become very nearly a sports bike. It’s a masterpiece of compromise engineering and MV really does deserve a lot of credit for what they have achieved.

Both the Marzocchi front suspension, with 6” (152mm) of travel, and the Sachs rear shock are infinitely adjustable.

Another compromise is the braking. There is a pair of 320mm discs sat on the front of the Stradale and these are gripped by 4 piston, radial Brembo callipers.

Put some fierce pads in these anchors and they would be hard work for the rider of a recreational motorcycle. However, a good choice of pads, plus a sensible Nissin master cylinder, means that there is a huge amount of braking power but it is as easy to use and biddable as a working Spaniel.

The quickshifter is a gamechanger

The Stradale comes equipped with Pirelli’s latest dual compound Diablo Rosso II tyres. It’s easy to see where the sticky bit of the rubber begins because a clear band soon develops round the last couple of inches of the circumference.

I think that I am supposed to say that the dual compound offers a giant leap forward in performance but I couldn’t tell any difference on the road. A current sports/touring tyre is the equivalent of a race tyre from ten years ago and this is all that any fully paid up member of the human race needs on the road.

The Stradale isn’t perfect. The panniers are too small to be practical and there is a hard, triangular hump in the seat which, if you are 5’ 10”, sticks right up your bottom. This might be a selling point to some sections of the community but probably not to most motorcyclists.

The lcd dash is okay – but no more – and MV need to up their game in this respect. The price tag is not bargain basement either at £11,599.

But what you do get subsumes these niggles. The Stradale is the sort of bike you want to stroke last thing at night before you go to bed. It’s a bike which you can’t wait to get to 10,000rpm simply for the soul tingling joy of hearing that iconic MV song. It’s a bike with soul and spirit – and that is worth a lot.

The Stradale is also practical. The bike works as a commuter, you can do some light touring on it and still be able to take it a track day and not have to ride with the novice group all day.

So thank you Santa for delivering all three bikes in one package.

LCD is ok but the three cylinder motor is a gem



 Liquid-cooled 798cc Inline Tripe, 12 valves 

 Bore x Stroke

 79mm x 54.3mm 


 Hydraulic, multi-disc 


 Cassette style, 6-speed constant mesh 


 ALS Steel tubular trellis 


 Front: Upside-down Marzocchi hydraulic fork with rebound/compression damping and spring preload adjustment, 150mm (5.91 inches) travel

 Rear: Progressive Sachs, single shock with rebound/compression damping and spring preload adjustment, 150mm (5.91 inches) travel 


 Front: Dual 320mm floating discs, radial-mount Brembo four-piston callipers

 Rear: Single 220mm disc, two-piston Brembo calliper 


 Front: 3.50 x 17" aluminium alloy

 Rear: 5.50 x 17" aluminium alloy 


 Front: 120/70 - ZR17

 Rear: 180/55 - ZR17 


 1460mm (57.48 inches)

 Seat Height

 870mm (34.25 inches)

 Dry Weight

 181 kgs (399 pounds)

 Fuel Capacity

 16 litres (3.5 gallons)




 Red/Silver, White/Grey, Bronze/White


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