2017 MV Agusta Brutale 800 review, test ride
17th May 2017 2:48 pm
One of Italy's most beautiful street nakeds is back for 2017, and we're here in Varese, Italy, to sample some of its glory.
The exotic motorcycle specialist, Meccanica Verghera or MV Agusta has been at the drawing board again and we now get a revised version of its street naked, the Brutale 800, for 2017. While the Varese-based manufacturer has been creating stunning motorcycles since 1945, the updated version of this simple, yet muscular looking street naked was first seen at EICMA 2016.
The styling changes are subtle and give the Brutale 800 a smoother overall look. It gets a slightly redesigned version of its trapezoidal tank, a new LED headlight with a newly designed cowl, revised fenders, and a new tail section (including the subframe). Other minor changes are visible all over the bodywork of the motorcycle like the double saddle, concealed passenger grab rails, a new handlebar and the addition of the clutch pump. The instrument panel has also been updated, along with the switchgear and handlebar buttons.
The signature three-pipe exhaust has also been redesigned, and is slightly larger now, which produces a minutely stronger exhaust note from the 798cc, inline-three cylinder engine. The engine gets 12-valves and a counter-rotating crankshaft. Power, however, is down from 123hp on the older model to 109hp now; although it wasn't exactly noticeable on our short test ride. There is however a bump in torque to 83Nm, with 90 percent of that available from low down in the revs at 3,800rpm.
This updated Brutale 800 also gets a new electronics package. This includes four power modes – Rain, Normal, Sport and a Custom setting. There is also an eight-level traction control system with switchable and adjustable ABS. While this creates a major improvement in terms of refinement when compared to the raw nature of the older model, the throttle is still a little glitchy at low revs in Normal power mode. This is a little more evident in Race mode, and the on-off throttle transitions are a little abrupt for typical road use.
So while the new bike is more manageable than the older model, it retains its aggressive nature. Wring the throttle and the front wheel will head skywards in the higher revs in first and second gear, quite like the older bike. And in keeping with its sporty intent, it gets a quick shifter for up and down shifts, which is also switchable and works just brilliantly. It keeps your clutch hand free, although the clutch lever too felt relatively light while riding on the country's roads around Varese, which are relatively free of traffic. The wheelbase has been extended by 20mm and is now 1,400mm, while the trail has been extended from 95mm to 103.5mm.
This is a bike that truly feels in its element when you're pushing it hard. The handling is tight, and the bike feels nimble and quick on its toes. It does however feel a little too vague to be completely confidence inspiring; so complete familiarity with the motorcycle may take some longer hours in the saddle. The new Brutale 800 will be shod with the new Pirelli Diablo Rosso 3 tyres that provided good levels of grip. Complimenting that was the stopping power from the radially mounted, twin 320mm floating Brembo brakes at the front and 220mm one at the rear. And although the bike's setup on the 43mm front forks and monoshock at the rear felt apt for the Italian road conditions, we expect the stiff setup to have a harsher ride over our less-than-perfect Indian roads.
Overall, the new Brutale 800 carries forth the legacy of MV Agusta and stays true to its status as an Italian exotic. It still retains its slightly temperamental nature which will really appeal to some. It's a whole lot of fun to ride, and is quite an involving motorcycle at the same time. Although, thanks to its exotic status and MV Agusta’s stand on being a purely super premium brand, we can expect pricing to be on the higher side when the bike launches sometime in July. For loyalists, historians and MV Agusta fans, it will remain an exhilarating yet beautiful motorcycle to ride.