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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > 336 > MIDDLEWEIGHT MISFITS

MIDDLEWEIGHT MISFITS

As the first ever 2018 Euro 4-compliant MV Agusta F3 800 hits UK shores, we thought it was prudent to place it against its only true rival…

CORE TEST

WORDS: FAGAN IMAGES: AS DESIGN

MIDDLEWEIGHT MISFITS

You could say the supersports segment has mimicked our bohemian society in many ways. It wasn’t that long ago that just male and female species were available in the tick boxes, and now there are enough options to satisfy everyone. And not so long ago, there were 600s and litre bikes; now there’s a whole host of leftfield alternatives available, such as the non-conformist super middleweight class that’s almost superseded the screamer sector.

As new 600s struggle to attract public interest, and the Supersport classes flounder as a consequence, there are two Italian firms persisting with halfway house offerings. The F3 800, or the MV Agusta F3 800 EAS ABS EURO IV to give it its full name, has always been an FB favourite and is always tres rapid against the stopwatch. MV announced its Euro 4 range at the EICMA show in Milan. Not this year’s show, but last year’s. After a degree of uncertainty regarding the company’s future, Euro 4 updates were shelved and postponed for 12 months, although the F3 features a medley of updates for 2018.

In the other red corner, surviving the whirlwind of V4 hype that’s surrounded its bigger brother, the 959 Panigale heads into 2018 unchanged – save for that sexy Corse edition released in Milan with Dovi-inspired paint and Öhlins suspension. Granted, the 959 hasn’t exactly smashed circuit lap records across the globe, but its road etiquette has charmed plenty of fresh Ducatisti.

As the days reach their shortest and frost ruins magic mushrooms for another year, it doesn’t mean the end of this season’s spankage. Armed with Rosso Corsa rubber, not even bitterly cold December days could upset this pairing. Has Euro 4 compliance rocked or rocketed the F3 800? Are the changes enough to upset the 959 Panigale? There’s only one way to unearth the answers.

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About Fast Bikes

In this month's issue of Fast Bikes... - Johann Zarco exclusive Marquez didn't dare stay in front of me - Battling Bimotas Classic YB4 takes on the BB3 - WSB Slayer Honda SP-1 for £3.5K - Ducati 959 vs MV F3 800 etc