Tamburini-designed naked MV for £3200? How could Chris resist?
Jonny Mac gets drunk and buys a Yamaha TRX850, Chris buys an MV Agusta Brutale 750 while sober. Rutter’s S1000RR takes shape and Project Blade is all set for glory
THIS WAS supposed to be a KTM 990 Super Duke. I’d researched them, viewed one, but got cocked around by a useless dealer. I wanted some decent pics or a bit of extra info before I set off on a 300-mile round trip. A week of hassling got me no further; in which time, they’d dropped the price and somebody else grabbed it sight-unseen. If they’d helped me in the first place, I’d have bought it for more. Twats.
I took a punt on viewing one at another dealer: low miles, shiny in pics. In real life, it had been dropped, had a corroded subframe and various parts rattle-canned in silver to pass eBay photo muster. Cocks. I wanted to buy in winter before values rose in spring, so I trawled everywhere. That’s when I found my Italian stallion, on a Facebook group usually only helpful for buying stolen motocross bikes and cat-D Thundercat 600s plastered in Monster Energy decals.
I hadn’t considered a Brutale at all – good ones start from about a grand more than my budget. But this 19,000-mile standard example (barring some crash bungs and an Arrow stubby half-system) was up for £3400. It looked incredibly clean – pictures of the rear hub showed intact plating on fasteners, bright paint, minimal dirt. And it was only 50 miles away.
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted it. Super Dukes are cool, but the details aren’t so neat. The MV stuns at a distance, and Tamburini was a master of beautiful design features. An MV always felt out of reach to me... but this one wasn’t. I decided to view it.
I was pleased to find it’s as good as it looks. Naturally, there’s a catch: it was ridden home from an MoT in 2014, where it had an oil/filter change and a new back tyre. But it hasn’t turned a wheel since – the tyre still has the little hairs in the middle to prove it. It was grumpy starting on old fuel (not helped by a kaput fast idle lever), but held at 2000rpm it warmed up OK and the motor was nice and quiet. Unlike the stubby silencer...
I was only able to go for a spin around the block to ensure all the major bits functioned OK – steering, gears and brakes worked at 30mph. Leafing through the paperwork, it’s had regular services but the book stamps aren’t all accompanied by an itemised bill. It should have had a valve check or two: I’m not convinced it has.
Umm, aah. It’s cheap, looks good and seems it, too. But there’s always an element of risk with a maybeunderserviced Italian bike. “Take £3000?” “No, can’t go that low,” said helpful and friendly seller Alex. “I’ll go to £3200, though.” Sold. Get in the van, you sexy beast.
So, instead of a long-considered, fully-researched purchase, I bought a bike on a whim after 10 minutes of Googling ‘Brutale 750 problems’. Fuck it – I love Italian bikes, and I always feel some preventative maintenance and a bit of faith pays dividends with them. So that £3200 is wedged firmly where my mouth is this time...
Some consultation on mvagusta.net eased my fears a
‘Mismatched rubber needs replacing with something much sportier’
little. Known, major issues are limited: hub bearings are service-critical and sensitive to torque settings. Neglect them, or overtighten the bolts, and they shit themselves. Headlamp glass glue loses its grip – replacements are pricey. They’re sensitive to battery voltage – mine has a new battery, but also an ancient alarm.
Beyond that, it’s a normal inline four with no common issues. It’s the least powerful and least stressed version of the Valvole Radiale engine, too. I intend to renew the hub bearings first, to head off the potential locked back wheel/mullered swingarm issues a failure causes. I tested the headlight’s structural integrity by getting my fingernails under the edge of the glass – it only needed light tension to separate it. So that needs better glue.
One tyre might be new, but they’re mismatched sports-touring tyres. A chassis like this needs sportier rubber. And it needs a service – fluids, and valve shims checking. The shims are interchangeable with certain Honda parts, so I’ll consult Whitey on that.
Arrow half-system is a proper neighbour-waker. Whether it goes or stays depends on how many complaints Chris gets. STUBBY-ON
Getting involved in sorting anything major that go awry is Chris’s best course of action. PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
Spend all winter researching 990 Super Dukes, buy a Brutale on a whim. Standard Newbigging
Chris learns about the service life of MV Agusta headlight adhesive
Replacing the hub bearings is the number one job on Chris’s ‘to do’ list
There’s initial concern about clearance between carbon hugger and tyre
He knew he’d find a home for Baracuda bar ends he had knocking around