MV Agusta has been on a wobbly financial footing for … well, pretty much as long as I can remember. But the Castiglioni family has always found ways to keep the doors open, and one thing that's remained rock solid is this company's ability to chop out unreasonably desirable motorcycles.
The latest, unveiled at EICMA 2016, is more of an upgrade than a new model, but a worthy one indeed. MV's Brutale 800 has been its hottest seller this year, accounting for some 35 percent of total sales, and the RR model is now getting a fairly major refresh.
Built on the awesome 800cc triple that has rejuvenated MV's range, the Brutale hit just the right spot – it looked almost as horn as the Dragster, but out-handled it because it wasn't packing a fat 200-section rear tire for looks.
While it was an excellent and spirited ride, it wasn't blowing anyone's toupée off with its 116 horsepower. But luckily, when MV Agusta slaps a RR sticker on a bike, it means more than suspension and brakes and fancy carbon farkles.
The Brutale 800 RR jumps up to 140 horsepower, same as the very yummy Dragster RR. It only gains two pound-feet of torque, up to 63. The RR has a higher rev ceiling – 13,100 rpm instead of 11,500 for the standard bike, and if I recall correctly from riding the Dragster RR, it's gonna be a screamer that loves to rev.
The RR brings the Brutale into the Euro IV fold, with two injectors per cylinder and a re-worked cylinder head designed to drastically reduce all noises that aren't nice combustion ones. There's new camshafts, valve guides, cam chain tensioner and a harmonic damper, all aimed at reducing vibration. A new gearbox, countershaft and starter motor and primary gear drive aim to improve reliability and give a slicker ride.
As part of Euro IV, it's also now fly by wire, with 8-level traction control, 4 engine torque maps and on-board diagnostics. There's also a nifty up/down quickshifter (aided by a slipper clutch), as well as Bosch ABS 9 plus and lightweight forged wheels.
Suspension is reworked, the Marzocchi forks are fully adjustable with lightweight gold anodized tubes, and the rear shock is by Sachs. Brakes are 320mm discs with twin-piston Brembo calipers and master cylinder.
All of which is to say that it's a thoroughly modern motorcycle, and should be good fun to ride. But the main feature of any MV is, and should always be, its looks. And here, as always, the Brutale 800 RR is a treat. From the sensual headlight with its built-in angel eye, back through the technical and detailed tank and trellis frame, to the barely-there seat unit, organ pipe exhausts and the understated rear wheel on its single-sided swingarm, this thing is just sumptuous. I want to pour olive oil down its sinewy curves and rub myself all over it, naked as the day I was born, and I don't care who knows it.
Every time I see a new MV Agusta design, I find myself wondering, if bikes can be designed to look like this, why doesn't every brand do it? Maybe a hiring freeze should go on all non-Italian designers until everyone else can prove they're doing at least this good a job.
Either way, she's a pearler. And I'm very much looking forward to slinging a leg over one.
More information: MV Agusta
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