2003 MV BRUTALE 750
Just as the MV is about perfect, Chris gets his head turned by another Italian beauty. Interested parties enquire within...
2003 MV BRUTALE 750 CHRIS NEWBIGGING
THE NEW BIGGINGS ARE a motorcycling family, so conversations often revolve around the fleet we’ve amassed among us. My father has a decent collection, satisfying his tastes from big-bore Mobylette to a Ducati 996. He doesn’t sell many, so it was a surprise when he mentioned the Duke was going to go. It made more sense when he said an 1198 would replace it in short order... Then he said a friend had expressed an interest, and he’d cut them a deal for what it owes him, not the steadily-appreciating market value. Wait, what?
When I bought the MV, I actually wanted a 916/996, but they’d appreciated beyond my pocket at the time, so I looked at Super Duke 990s, and bought the Brutale on something of a whim. I’ve not regretted it, but my Ducati dream was forgotten as they appreciated. The MV is cool, characterful and fun, and been no hardship.
But a quick bit of mental arithmetic on the deal (sell the MV, plus the Honda ‘VF400R’ special I built on PB’s sister mag, Practical Sportsbikes) and I could make his mate’s rate. And, as first-born son, skipping the queue wasn’t a problem. Sorry, Miguel, this one’s staying in the family...
It’s sods law it comes just as the MV is about perfect: suspension, brakes, motor are all good, and some of the Brutale’s idiosyncrasies have been sorted. I’ve really cherished owning it, but the 916 is responsible for my love of bikes, and by extension my career. I even met my wife and mother of my child on a PB trackday as an indirect result of being mesmerised by a pair of Termis booming from under that unmistakeable red tail.
I might not get another chance to own one, so the MV is going to a new home so I can grab it. It’s good to go now – I bit the bullet and bought an OE regulator to solve the charging grief I had recently, rather than spend more time trying to sidestep the high asking price. Annoying, but it’s back together with no grief.
I’ll be sad to see it go: as a first taste of owning high-end Italian motorcycles, it’s been great. It’s cost me a few quid, not all of which I’ll get back, and in honesty use has been light and sporadic while test bikes bear the weight of my yearly mileage. But it’s given me satisfaction every time I open the garage, even if it’s to
wheel another bike out. It’s a pleasure to work on, too – Massimo Tamburini’s logical, considered construction and beautiful engineering makes it easy, and the high quality finish means nothing has put up a fight – apart from the alternator. But I’ll forgive it that: the only chewed fastener on the bike is result of poor tool use some time in its past, and not one has been found to be seized in its thread.
If you discount my desire to improve things and some of the upgrades I’ve made, the renovation and running costs would be modest. Plenty would just live with tired suspension, corroded brake fittings and the like. But it doesn’t deserve that, so I’ll feel good sending it up the road to a new owner revitalised and fit for more years.
Put it this way: I’ve come out the other side prepared to buy another Italian modern classic, and one that will doubtless be higher maintenance. The MV has the benefit of a wet clutch and timing chain, which don’t need regular replacement like the Bolognese beauties, but nonetheless it’s been an insight into the more hands-on, clued up nature you need to own such a thing. Very few issues are insurmountable to a mechanically aware owner prepared to do some preventative maintenance.
It’s the right time for me to buy my dream Ducati, and if you fancy an MV, it’s a good time to get one, too. Ideally, mine... Even for one as mint, unbutchered but improved, I reckon £4000 is the going rate. You’ll get faster or more useful bikes for that money, but I doubt you’ll find much that’s more satisfying to own. Unless you also happen to have a family member doling out deals on stunning Ducatis, you best drop me a line...
‘Very few issues are insurmountable to a mechanically aware owner prepared to do some preventative maintenance’
One last awkward fumble before the MV is replaced by a Ducati 996
Top: Chris’s work here is done. The Brutale is fit AFAbove: MCT rebuilt the forks, HEL made the custom brake hoseHe’s actually cleaned that with his own tongue
Power Commander and original toolkit: essential MV ownership items