2003 MV BRU­TALE 750

Just as the MV is about per­fect, Chris gets his head turned by an­other Ital­ian beauty. In­ter­ested par­ties en­quire within...

Performance Bikes (UK) - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy Ja­son Critchell


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

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