MV Agusta Brutale 800
We spend a day with the latest streetfighter to hit the market
Red-hot, three-pot high-revving Italian exotica ridden right here in India
Motorcycles are meant to be ridden. But Italian motorcycles are built to be admired first; every line, crease and curve crafted to evoke strong emotions in those that are lucky enough to catch a glimpse. My first thought as I walked up to the MV Agusta Brutale 800, key in hand, was, ‘Wow, that’s sharp!’ An aggressively-raked headlight, flanked by slim turn indicators, makes way for a broad, shapely fuel tank that tapers down to a narrow waistline at the junction of tank and seat. The wide, muscular chest trails off into a svelte sub-frame and tail section, unmarred by turn indicators or an ungainly numberplate holder; the indicators and plate are mounted lower, on the smartly designed tyre-hugger. Triangular sections of the steel trellis frame are exposed, and hanging below is the sweet 798-cc straight three derived from MV’s manic F3 sports bike.
And I haven’t even mentioned the exhaust yet! The beautifully-integrated three-into-one-into-three unit is the focal point of this bike when viewed from the right; and a trademark of the Brutale 800 since its introduction in 2012. Beyond the slash-cut trio of tailpipes you get an uninterrupted view of the rear wheel and sticky 180/55 Pirelli Diablo Rosso III, thanks to the single-sided swingarm. The bike in front of me is the second iteration of MV Agusta’s naked middleweight, first seen at EICMA last year, and features an all-new chassis, engine and electronics package. It is an all-new bike, and a great job by MV to retain the design ethos that has worked so well with the previous version.
After admiring the bike for an appropriate duration, I decided it was time to take her for a spin. The engine fired up into a gruff idle, and every twist of the throttle brought forth an angry growl from the triple pipes. The textured seat offered decent grip and, at 830 mm high, was a bit of a stretch for 5’6”
me; but even on tiptoe, the bike felt light, compact and manageable. The hydraulically-actuated clutch was a bit heavier than I expected, but once on the move I forgot all about it as the fantastic bi-directional quickshifter had me banging through the sweet-shifting gearbox with the throttle wide open, that three-cylinder symphony singing in my ears. The bike is an absolute blast to ride fast, drops into corners predictably, and powers out of them with excellent control thanks to the perfect response from the ride-by-wire throttle that keeps the riders right wrist directly connected with the rear wheel. MV have got the fuelling just right and, even in the most aggressive Sport throttle map, transitions from closed to open throttle are smooth and seamless. The 110 PS on tap is reined in by fantastic Brembo brakes, which offer excellent bite, feel and feedback at the lever; hard braking with the ABS turned down will have the rear tyre hovering off the ground. The 43-mm Marzocchi fork up front and the Sachs
monoshock at the rear felt a little firm and were great for sporty riding on smooth surfaces and, being completely adjustable, can be mellowed down to offer a more pliant ride.
Once the excitement over the exhaust note, punchy engine and excellent throttle response subsided, and I started riding at a more relaxed pace, I was pleasantly surprised by the versatile powerplant’s tractability at low revs. Although the oversquare engine is great fun at high revs, it also delivers the bulk of its 83 Nm of twist under 4,000 rpm; continue rolling on the throttle and the surge of torque goes on to peak at 7,600 rpm, where a mad rush of acceleration propels you up to the 12,000-rpm red-line. This wide spread of usable power means that the Brutale can be ridden comfortably in the higher gears at low revs in an urban environment, without the slightest hint of knocking or jerkiness.
The electronics package on this bike is the best that you can find on any middleweight motorcycle presently on sale in India. It features eight-level traction control, three levels of ABS and three throttle maps. The great fuelling and linear throttle response meant that the Sport map wasn’t the least bit intimidating, while the Normal map would be great for relaxed cruising either on the highway or within the city. The third map is the Rain map, and dulls throttle response considerably for stress-free riding in slippery conditions. The traction control is there for a reason, and switching it off lets loose this bike’s inner hooligan in the form of spontaneous power wheelies every time the throttle is snapped open in first gear. The modes are easily toggled via bar-mounted controls; however, the large LCD display is difficult to read on bright sunny days and, oddly enough, doesn’t feature a fuel-gauge.
Priced at Rs 15.59 lakh (ex-showroom) the Brutale 800 is definitely an expensive naked middleweight, but for the price you get a drop-dead gorgeous, well-equipped motorcycle that is a blast to ride, and brings with it the individuality of an iconic Italian brand.
Riding position is involving, with a slight forward bias; hardly any room there for a pillion
Steeply raked headlight lends a minimalist yet aggressive air to the front end
LCD display packs a lot of info, is easy to navigate, but is missing a fuel gauge
Slash-cut triple pipes are unique to this bike; single-sided swingarm allows for a clear view of the blackedout rear wheel
Massive stopping power from the Brembos; hard braking makes the rear go light