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MV Agusta Brutale 800 Launch

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Our Report

  • Overall
  • Sex Appeal
  • Practicality
  • Performance
  • Value

Pros

  • Engine
  • Quickshifter
  • Exclusivity

Cons

  • Price
  • Pillion
  • Accommodation

Ever owned an MV Agusta?

Probably not is the answer for most of us. The Italian firm has been the last word in exotic luxo-motos for the past couple of decades, with a range of incredibly posh supersports machines.

But things have been changing at Agusta, and while it's not going to be troubling Honda or Yamaha anytime soon, the Varese firm is looking to extend its proposition out and up from the 'Italian hyper-exotica' ghetto. It's opened a load of new dealers in the UK (and worldwide). It's picked up some very useful investment from Mercedes/AMG, giving financial stability and brand crossovers.

And Agusta's been working hard on the bikes too. Last year we saw the Stradale 800 and Turismo Veloce bikes launched – a light adventure-tourer and more dedicated sports tourer respectively. They're both great bikes, but more importantly, they expanded Agusta's offering out into more everyday machines. You could commute every day on a Stradale, and the Turismo would make a pretty decent mile-munching fun bike too. Compared with something like the super-fast, super-exotic F4 1000, they're much more friendly and useful.

That work's continuing with the new Brutale 800. The naked Brutale is one of Agusta's bankers of course - if you can’t sell truckloads of an attractive middleweight naked roadster these days, something is wrong. And the old Brutale was a big hit for the firm, in both 675cc entry-level form and the torquier 800. Why change it then? Well, like most bikes, this year has been a crunch one for emissions regulations, and the Euro IV regs mean Agusta had to put a new motor into the Brutale to comply. And since you're going to all that effort anyway, why not make some improvements?

MV Agusta Brutale Workshop

Why not indeed. So we’re here in Marbella, Spain, to see what they are. We get a brief tech presentation before hitting the roads, where we learn that, counter-intuitively, many of the changes have softened the Brutale off. The new engine makes less power, weight is up slightly thanks to the new emissions-beating exhaust, and the chassis geometry is also softer, with slower steering and longer wheelbase. On the plus side, we get a heap more torque in the midrange, and there's an overall update to the electronics and the styling gets tweaked too.

The proof of the pudding is in the shit wheelies of course, so I can’t wait to get out and about on the new bike. We're booked onto the Marbella-Ronda road, one of the finest strips of testing Tarmac in Europe, nay, the world. It's a fabulous route, jam-packed with all sorts of bends, from slow hairpins to fast sweepers, the surface is good, and outside high season, it's usually fairly quiet. We're lucky with the weather too, and the only blot on the horizon is five-oh. The local cops have been working hard this week, and actually had one of the Agusta test riders in the cells yesterday, for exceeding the speed limits by more than 80kph. Erk.

MV Agusta Wheelie

So we set off at a slightly more sedate pace than usual. Those all-important first impressions are solid: a comfy, commanding riding position, seat not too tall for my stumpy legs, high-quality LCD dash (not colour at this pricepoint sadly), and decent mirrors. Sidling through Malaga's outskirts and onto the Autovia for a few klicks, the Brutale belies its moniker somewhat: it's smooth, civilised, easy-going.

The Agusta test rider pulls off the motorway, and we're heading north towards the promised land, roads-wise. A few quick overtakes get us past local dawdlers, and the Brutale feels eager, strong. The promised extra midrange is evident already, and it's perfect for this road. You're able to slingshot out of slow bends without changing down an extra gear, and put the hammer down instantly for neat overtakes. The fuelling is clean everywhere – something you couldn't always say about MVs of the past – and the electronics are giving a subtle safety net. There's the now-standard armour of traction control, ABS, riding power modes, throttle response, all of which is working as you’d want. We've also got a really sweet up - and down - quickshifter setup, which I've tried on the Stradale 800 and Turismo Veloce before. It's an excellent system, and once you turn up the wick, it makes amazing pops and bangs when you bang it down the gears, the throttle auto-blip screaming the revs for you. It's gloriously addictive, so much so you find yourself adding on gear changes where you'd get away without them, just to get more of the noise and fury.

MV Agusta Brutale 800 Spain

So the motor's a treat. What about the chassis? Well, the toning down of the geometry hasn't slowed it down much, but there is much more stability and a very settled feel on the road. The suspension isn’t anything amazing – good quality Marzocchi/Sachs fully-adjustable kit. But together with the new geometry, it makes an excellent ally at full chat up the Ronda road. Special mention goes to the excellent Brembo brakes, and the frankly incredible Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres. These are new for 2016, and the Brutale launch was the first time anyone had ridden on them. Okay, we were riding on relatively warm, bone-dry asphalt. But even so, there was enormous feedback, grip and stability from them all the way to Ronda.

So. The new Brutale goes like hell, stops like a mad thing, and has almost-uncrashable grip and poise. The electronics package is impressive, and the quickshifter is worth most of the entry fee alone. Maybe, just maybe, it's finally time to think about owning an MV Agusta.

MV Agusta Brutale 800 Workshop

MV Agusta Brutale 800 seat

MV Agusta Brutale 800 engine

MV Agusta Brutale 800 wheels

SUMMARY: The Brutale looks great and goes even better. If you have a local dealer, go for it!


Specification

MV Agusta Brutale 800

Contact

www.mvagusta.com

Price

£10,499

Type

l/c inline-triple, 12v DOHC, 798cc

Bore x stroke

79x54.3mm

Compression ratio

12.3:1

Fuel system

MVICS (Motor & Vehicle Integrated Control System) with three injectors. Engine control unit Eldor EM2.0, Mikuni ride by wire throttle bodies

Transmission

six-speed/chain. Slipper clutch

Frame

steel trellis/aluminium swingarm plates

Suspension front

43mm Marzocchi USD fork, fully adjustable

Suspension rear

Sachs monoshock, fully adjustable, single-sided swingarm

Brakes

dual 320mm discs, four-piston radial mount Brembo calipers (F), 220mm disc, twin-piston caliper (R), switchable ABS

Tyres

Pirelli Diablo Rosso III 120/70 17 F, 180/55 17 R

Wheelbase

1,400mm

Trail

103.5mm

Fuel capacity

16.5 litres

Dry weight

175kg

Peak power (claimed)

116bhp@11,500rpm

Peak torque (claimed)

61ft lb@7,600rpm

Rider Aids

Quickshifter, downshift throttle blipper, traction control, power maps, switchable ABS.

Biog: Alan Dowds (Dowdsy)


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