MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR

Bike India - - CONTENTS - STORY: SARMAD KADIRI PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: MV AGUSTA & MI­LA­GRO

One of the most re­fined, stylish and ex­cit­ing mid­dleweights; rid­den ex­clu­sively

The tem­per­a­ture is 13 de­grees Cel­sius and drop­ping quickly. There’s a rush of adren­a­line as I ap­proach the wide, open road that con­nects Italy to Switzer­land. The cold air from the Swiss Alps hits me as I ride to­wards what looks like art on can­vas. And just then, I un­leash the 800-cc brute and breach the 100 km/h mark in no time. The RR ver­sion takes the per­for­mance game of the MV Agusta Brutale 800 to a com­pletely new level. I duck down on the fuel tank to es­cape the heavy wind blast and con­tinue to wring the throt­tle as I reach 140 km/h and be­yond. It’s just too much fun to slow down now…

Vis­it­ing italy is al­ways spe­cial — the food, art, land­scapes, and, of course, the fab­u­lous mo­tor­cy­cles. this time round i was there to ride one of the most im­por­tant mod­els that MV agusta have pro­duced in re­cent his­tory. the ital­ian icon was plum­met­ing down the pit-less bur­row of fi­nan­cial crunch till a cash-rich Rus­sian firm came to their res­cue. the Rus­sians are also ac­tively in­volved in shap­ing MV agusta’s mar­ket­ing plan, util­is­ing their ex­per­tise in the dig­i­tal space to make the ital­ian firm fu­ture-ready. MV aim to be more ac­tive on the so­cial me­dia and have a stronger on­line pres­ence to meet the needs of the new-age mo­tor­cy­cle buy­ers.

while the mar­ket­ing team got busy with the dig­i­tal revo­lu­tion, Brian gillen, the tech­ni­cal Di­rec­tor of R&D at MV agusta, and his team of en­gi­neers made it their life’s mis­sion to im­prove re­li­a­bil­ity, noise and vi­bra­tions of each bike that rolls out of the Varese plant. they have in­deed ad­dressed is­sues many MV own­ers have been grum­bling about for years now. with these tweaks, the new MV bikes prom­ise to de­liver the de­sired premium-ness and peace of mind buy­ers ex­pect hav­ing paid hand­somely for the ital­ian badge.

One of the first spec­i­mens with the up­dates thus im­ple­mented is the new Brutale 800 RR — the Jeremy Clark­son ver­sion that makes the stan­dard Brutale 800 look like James May! Bike In­dia had an ex­clu­sive ride on the RR which is set to come to in­dia be­fore July this year. the ride be­gan from the MV agusta fac­tory in Varese (a stone’s throw away from Mi­lan, italy) and the plan was to keep the sad­dle warm all day, pay a visit to neigh­bour­ing switzer­land, have lunch over­see­ing the alps and re­turn to the fac­tory by evening.

the Brutale plays a sig­nif­i­cant role for the com­pany’s rev­enue and the RR is the pre­ferred pick in that range. no sur­prise, the en­gi­neers took al­most three years to de­velop the 2018 ver­sion. though the fo­cus has been to re­duce ex­haust emis­sions, they also im­proved the power man­age­ment and, as a nat­u­ral con­se­quence, the rid­ing plea­sure.

the carved-out de­sign of the fuel tank and the wide and flat han­dle­bar make for a roomy rid­ing po­si­tion. Many of my taller col­leagues from Euro­pean me­dia houses looked com­fort­able and had no com­plaints. the big ad­di­tion here is the steer­ing damper which gives it ex­cel­lent sta­bil­ity while spear­ing ahead on a straight. the foot-pegs aren’t too rear-set, which is great for an up­right and re­laxed cruise around town or on the high­way but might scrape as­phalt on race­tracks. about an hour into the ride, i re­al­ized that al­though the split seat has been re­designed to “im­prove com­fort and er­gonomics”, it was re­ally, re­ally stiff. it’s sur­pris­ing be­cause the Brutale 800 RR is such an easy-to-use ma­chine that many own­ers would like to go on longer rides.

Be­ing an­other vari­ant of the ex­ist­ing Brutale 800 (which is al­ready avail­able in in­dia) there’s a lot in com­mon be­tween the two si­b­lings. the beau­ti­fully etched body lines, star­tling aes­thet­ics and over­all com­pact­ness is a de­light to the eye from ev­ery an­gle. the RR dis­tin­guishes it­self with new body de­cals and two new colour op­tions: the Pearl ice white which i rode and the more glam­orous Pearl shock red. then there are the dis­tinc­tive lED day­time run­ning lights (DRls), sleek lED side in­di­ca­tors, and that stylish gap be­tween the seat and the frame.

adding to it is the in­tri­cate at­ten­tion to de­tail — right from the en­grav­ings on the tank guard and pil­lion grab-rails to the glow­ing MV logo in the head­light and the eye-catch­ing de­cals on the new, light­weight forged al­loy wheels. get the light­ing right and even a can­did pic­ture from your smart­phone is wor­thy of be­com­ing a poster in your bed­room. English­man adrian Mor­ton, MV agusta’s De­sign Di­rec­tor, has man­aged to stay true to the legacy of the first­gen­er­a­tion Brutale which in its time had rev­o­lu­tionised the con­cept of naked sport bikes.

the changes run deeper since MV have given some ma­jor up­lifts to the 798-cc triple-cylinder en­gine and have re­duced emis­sion and noise by over 50 per cent. More­over, it now makes 140 Ps at 12,300 rpm — that’s al­most 30 per cent more power than the stan­dard Brutale 800! al­though the ba­sic lay­out of the en­gine is the same, the RR squeezes out ex­tra power us­ing dif­fer­ent coun­ter­shaft, re­designed en­gine head and valves, and have fine-tuned the in­take and ex­haust cams. the com­pres­sion ra­tio is now bumped up to 13.3:1 and it also gets the lat­est fu­elin­jec­tion sys­tem which has six in­jec­tors

(Brutale 800 has three). not to for­get the sportier en­gine map­ping and al­go­rithms.

Rid­ing through the ital­ian streets, the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two bikes is ev­i­dent. whereas the en­try-level Brutale is more about faster ac­cess to peak torque to ease city rid­ing, the range-top­ping RR is quick to whip out max­i­mum power and is all about dy­namic per­for­mance and pop­ping wheel­ies. a lot of at­ten­tion has been paid to im­prov­ing the nVH level, in keep­ing with the bike’s ‘per­ceived premium po­si­tion­ing’. it’s no easy task to trans­form the dis­tinct three­cylin­der en­gine “noise” to a sooth­ing “sound”. it clearly is more re­fined than its sib­ling dur­ing idling but the only is­sue i faced was while start­ing from stand­still. the fir­ing of the higher revving en­gine seems in­con­sis­tent and the nat­u­ral re­ac­tion is to slip the clutch more than usual. this was sur­pris­ing be­cause the com­pany has re­designed the cylin­der­head and cam tim­ing to re­duce com­bus­tion vari­a­tions at low revs.

But once you’re on the go, you hardly need to use the clutch thanks to the “up and down” quick shift sys­tem. this re­ally helped me through the ride, es­pe­cially in the be­gin­ning since i was rid­ing on the “wrong” side of the road and even split­ting lanes to over­take slower cars in this left-hand-drive coun­try. you keep the throt­tle whacked

Whereas the en­try-level Brutale is more about faster ac­cess to peak torque to ease city rid­ing, the range-top­ping RR is quick to whip out max­i­mum power and is all about dy­namic per­for­mance and pop­ping wheel­ies

Giv­ing the RR a sporty char­ac­ter is the re­vamped pow­er­plant, a more rigid chas­sis and the sticky tyres

The RR dis­tin­guishes it­self with new body de­cals; while the steer­ing damper gives it ex­cel­lent sta­bil­ity

Easy on the eye, but the LCD dis­play looks dated on the Brutale

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