The exotic motorcycle specialist, Meccanica Verghera or MV Agusta was founded in 1945 in Milan, Italy as a sub-brand of the Agusta aviation company. The brand provided jobs and a cheap mode of transport for many, post the war. But today, the new MV Agusta bikes, or, the one in particular that we’ve reviewed here, the Brutale 800 is in no way a mundane means of transport.
A simple, yet elegant look and supremely stylish lines are what MV Agusta has managed to give their famous muscular naked bike. Be it the large oval headlight upfront whose chin sharpens or the skillfully flattish fuel tank with flanks extending outward, the Brutale 800 is every inch a motorcycle that will impress you.
MV has kept the design statement minimal, but that’s not to say it isn’t so very meaningful. The seat of the motorcycle is well contoured, and its tail tapers away into a shapely but tiny rear end, for a pillion. Underneath sits a triple outlet exhaust, which looks quite unique. The ten-spoke rims blend well with the Brutale 800’s neat looks, accentuated in a single side swingarm at rear. Overall, with a mix bag of straight lines, attractive meshed bits and a truly spectacular fit-and-finish, the MV Agusta Brutale 800 makes one sweet-looking machine, probably fit enough to head straight into a large drawing room showcase.
Don’t take the Brutale 800's engine lightly; the bike is capable of really quick acceleration. So quick that the engineers have provided a vast array of electronic riding aids to help keep the bike properly leashed. Cubic capacity is 798cc, from which you get no less than 123.3bhp, potent, and ready to launch you forward with an unyielding rush. As on Triumph’s Street Triple, the Brutale 800 comes with an in-line, three-cylinder powerplant.
Other than some limited vibrations you may experience at low revs, this loud engine with its awe-inspiring exhaust note will have you feel like you’re suddenly walking, no wait, make that jogging a trio of angry Neapolitan Mastiffs around town. The Brutale 800 is equipped with a quick-shifter, enabling seamless, lightning quick clutch-free upward shifts. The clutch itself is well weighted, with a good feel to allow trotting around in city. There’s an eight-stage traction control system, and we sampled the first, third and eighth, progressively increasing traction control which made it clear MV Agusta has done a masterful job of ensuring new riders don’t get stung should they try to push the bike.
The naked bike delivers performance in mega dollops, never once coming across as lacking in any way. In short, the Brutale 800 offers an impressive performance, a soulful engine and caps all that with a smooth shifting, six-speed gearbox.
The motorcycle lives up to its hype. Let’s not forget that the MV Agusta has come to India now, but with a rich racing history and lineage. The first thing we noticed is how softly the suspension was set up. After firming that up a bit, we were good to go. At first, we were a bit sceptical turning into corners and putting the bike's general handling and cornering manners to the test, as it was raining, and heavily too!
Good luck was on our side though, as the afternoon sun was out again. As the roads dried up, we did manage to find the Brutale 800 corners quite well. Grip from the Pirelli Diablo Rosso tyres is terrific, and we had ample room to lock thighs on the tank to pull off some spirited riding. Not only around the corners but in the city too, and the Brutale 800 does well to feel only marginally heavier than say, a Bajaj Pulsar RS 200. The straight handlebars offer a relatively comfortable riding position. The seat isn’t soft, but thoughtful texturing offers good grip ‘seat of the pants’, and the stepped rear seat offered the much-needed support when the bike's front went nose happy, as we accelerated hard with all the riding aids switched off.
Importantly, the Brutale 800 boasts amongst the very best power-to-weight ratios in its class. This MV Agusta weighs all of 167kg, dry, which is really light for its class.
As a motorcycle, the MV Agusta Brutale 800 feels simply impressive all-around, a serious motorcycle with serious and sharp-edged performance you need some experience to master. To list this out then: good looks - check, awesome power that you can control thanks to top drawer electronic aids - check, handling - check; you get the drift.
Yes, it certainly looks like MV Agusta and Kinetic, who are bringing the Italian bikemaker to India have a winner on their hands. One we are told does not require any modification to suit Indian conditions. While pricing remains to be seen, and can be expected to be premium for these exotic motorcycles, Kinetic does inform us they will bring all MV Agusta bikes, including the Brutale 800 to India imported in as a CBU for now. The 800 is slated to launch in a second phase, after initially commencing India sales with the fearsome F4, and larger-hearted Brutale 1090.