PH2 RIDDEN: MV AGUSTA BRUTALE 800
PH2 slings a leg over MV's new 800 triple. It proves much more than just a big 675...
According to MV, the 800 is a bike for experienced riders, while the 675 is a machine aimed at bringing people into the MV brand, with its softer nature appealing to younger riders and female riders. Can 125cc really make that much difference to a bike’s character? In the case of the Brutale, it most certainly can…
When it comes to the chassis there isn’t much different between the two bikes. The 800 has the same frame, swingarm, wheels, clocks, bars and headlight as the 675, with only the suspension different. The 800 gains fully-adjustable Marzocchi forks and a fully-adjustable Sachs shock. Externally the engine is identical. Inside, however, the 675’s stroke has been increased by 8.4mm to 54.3mm, bringing the capacity up to 798cc. The head, cams, gearbox, airbox, throttle bodies and every other major engine component, meanwhile, are identical. The clutch gains an extra plate, taking it from eight to nine, while the final gearing is different with the rear sprocket dropping two teeth to 41 from 43.
Hold on tight!
Being over six feet tall, I often find smaller capacity bikes cramped, with the older-style Brutale being especially annoying as my knees would get caught under the tank’s lip. No such issue with the 800; the riding position is roomy, even for the lofty in height, and the bike feels incredibly light. Tipping the scales at 167kg (claimed), the 800 is even the same weight as the Brutale 675 – it just makes more power and torque!
Where Triumph’s triple engine is a fairly relaxed motor which is happy to turn its hand to a bit of tomfoolery, the MV’s engine has a feeling of aggression about it when revved – like it is urging you to get it wound up and screaming. It’s more abrupt than the Triumph, with a faster throttle pick-up and eagerness to rev that means you really need to concentrate when riding it.
Accelerate hard in any of the first three gears, and the slightest lip in the road will cause the front to lift. You have to be very wary in first gear when accelerating out of roundabouts, as too much throttle can easily see you wheelie-ing when you aren’t expecting it, and the same can happened over rises in the road in third gear. The Brutale 800 certainly is a bike for experienced riders – and it is bloody great fun for that fact alone!
Unlike the Triumph, the MV comes loaded with a full electronics package that includes eight-stage traction control, a speed limiter and four fuel modes, one of which is programmable. While I wouldn’t blindly trust the MV’s traction control like I would the system on the BMW S1000RR, it did seem fairly decent on the wet roads when I did decide to test it, although in truth I spent much of the ride with it turned off.
Where the Street Triple is a relaxed, naked bike that is also tremendous fun to go ballistic on, the Brutale is far more aggressive. It’s sportier than the Street Triple and considerably faster, making it not a hell of a lot slower than the Speed Triple and, I reckon probably faster on a track than the 1050 due to its light weight.
The MV is not a bike for less experienced riders, as the power is pretty ferocious when unleashed and this, combined with the light weight, can make it a bit of a handful on bumpy roads. Although nowhere near as user-friendly or charming as the Triumph, the Brutale 800 is certainly the best Brutale I’ve ridden and a brilliant bike in its own right. If this is the shape of things to come from MV then I can’t wait to see what else will be appearing from the Italian manufacturer; it seems to be going from strength to strength now it is back in the hands of the Castiglioni family with the late, great, Claudio’s son Giovanni in control.
MV Agusta Brutale 800
Engine: 798cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC triple, fuel injection
Power: 125hp @ 11,600rpm
Torque: 59ft.lb @ 8,600rpm
Top speed: 150mph (est)
Weight: 167kg (dry)
MPG: Probably not great!
Price: £8,999 (£9,299 EAS with a quickshifter or £9,799 with EAS and Italia paint)
Colours: Red/silver, White/red, Grey/white, Italia