It appears that the new 2013 MV Agusta F3 675 was worth the wait. Just as exotic as the larger F4 RR, this compact and racy superbike arrives with a plethora of electronic systems including 8-level traction control, 4-map engine management and a gearshift assistant.
The sleek new powerhouse from the Italian manufacturer looks sexy from every angle. Similar to the rest of the lineup, it features breathtaking styling. In fact, here we have the winner of the Best New Design award at the Milan Motorcycle Show. There's something irresistible in the sharp, aggressive lines, taut body with an upswept tail, triple tailpipes and exceptionally long single-sided swingarm.
The 2013 MV Agusta F3 675 boasts a championship-winning inline three-cylinder engine that uses some of the most advanced technical solutions out there: a counter-rotating crankshaft that contributes to its perfect dynamic balance, forged pistons, titanium valves, two injectors per cylinder, etc. Such sophistication has to make competitors nervous, especially that three-cylinder model from the U.K.
Under acceleration, the engine works like a charm and shows remarkable flexibility; it keeps going strong when the Triumph Daytona's heart starts to run out of juice. What's more, gear shifts become second nature thanks to the brand's Electronically Assisted Shift (EAS) technology which allows clutchless shifting with no power loss.
There's one problem, though: the fully electronic ''ride-by-wire'' throttle of the F3 675 (Japanese bikes rely on a pair of cables to control the first series of throttle valves) demands an extremely delicate hand and a lot of getting used to. Squeezing the perfect dose of power in a corner proves very tricky as the slightest excess will make you overshoot the apex.
Luckily, the 2013 MV Agusta F3 675 offers four selectable modes. ''Rain'' or ''Normal'' is much better suited for smooth riding, while the explosive ''Sport'' comes with an overwhelmingly quick throttle response. ''Custom'' (which I didn't get the opportunity to test for lack of time) seems like the ideal mode for riders who want to exploit the power delivery they desire.
Not the lightest, but...
The F3 675 tips the scales at 173 kilos whereas the Daytona 675 weighs just 165 kilos. The engine also needs to rev higher to unleash all its fury (126 horsepower at 14,400 rpm).
This all becomes a moot point on the track where the excess weight magically disappears. The F3 changes directions with disconcerting ease and its chassis feels incredibly neutral and grippy upon entering corners. Front-wheel bite and precision is among the best in the industry.
The F3 675 tips the scales at 173 kilos whereas the Daytona 675 weighs just 165 kilos. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour)
The brakes are powerful, fade-free and easy to modulate. Honestly, I don't have anything negative to write about them; they could pass for a high-performance aftermarket kit. Likewise, the stock suspension does a stellar job. Even on a bumpy and challenging track like Autodrome St. Eustache, the 2013 MV Agusta F3 675 remains poised and stable in corners, allowing you to correct your line if necessary. At full throttle, however, I would have liked an adjustable steering damper to counter the excessively light front end. On the other hand traction control do is job perfectly.
It's rather difficult to assess the overall performance of this top Italian newcomer and how it stacks up against direct competitors. I can tell you that it's a very successful entry into one of the most hotly contested segments - 600cc supersport. Having all those electronic aids on top of that is just pretty impressive.
Plenty of torque at medium revs (and all the way to 14,000 rpm)
Electronic aids and selectable engine maps
Throttle is hard to modulate (especially in Sport mode)
Longer learning curve than the average competitor