2010 MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR Launch

Brutal and sexy


Who wouldn’t like to own and ride an MV Agusta at least once during a lifetime? I’ve been lucky enough to ride all incarnations of the Brutale from the first 750 through to the latest 1090RR. Not once have I been disappointed. Sure there are niggles and small complaints and it’s nowhere near the cheapest ride in the world but the Brutale is more than just a motorcycle. I find the Brutale to be a symbol of what we’re all struggling to find in life; beauty, perfection, precision, performance and general satisfaction. The 750, 910, 990, 1078 and now the 1090 have left me with strong first impressions. The Brutale makes you feel special in a brutal and sexy way.

Whilst the Brutale 1078RR with its throbbing and raw in-line four almost took me for a ride in an exhilarating nearly out-of-control fashion the 1090RR is somewhat different. MV Agusta has worked very hard to make the 1090RR slightly more civilized. To achieve this ergonomics have been changed giving the rider more space. The new seat height of 32.7 inches (2008 and previous models were 31.7 inches) comes as a result of the new lifted rear end and taller chassis. This also provided more space for my legs and I can push my backside further backwards when I want to ride more aggressively. The foot rests are adjustable on the 1090RR but there’s already more space for my legs than on the 1078RR model. As with the 990R, the 1090RR features all new mirrors with incorporated indicators. Right in front of me sits the new steering damper on an all new headstock. Out on the Misano circuit the steering damper proved very useful indeed.

The 2010 Brutale 1090RR is a bit more civilized than the 1078RR but don't worry; it's still a sexy beast.

Entering the back straight from turn six there’s some headshake through second and third gear before the front calms down in fourth. This is despite having a steering damper so there’s plenty of horsepower in play even in the 2010 version of the 1078cc Brutale engine. The extra 80cc over the 990R can really be felt and the powerband and delivery feel more refined too.

The back straight is the longest straight at Misano but if you have balls of steel you’ll be fastest through Curvone three corners later. I was able to clock around 220km/h (136.7 mph) as my highest speed around Misano. MV Agusta claims a topspeed of 265km/h (164.7 mph) which is the same as they claim for the 990R, but the straight has to be longer to achieve the same ultimate speed. Through Variante del Parco, which is a left hander taken in second followed by a very fast right hander where you empty second and kick in third gear, I could feel the weight of the bike as I went from an extreme left to bring the bike upright followed by the fast right hander. The transition from left to right wasn’t as smooth and fast as on a full on sportbike and I wrestled the handlebars a little.

The 1090RR's suspension and brakes are a step up from the 990R.The fully-adjustable Marzocchi magnum front fork feels very stable on the brakes and the internals have been calibrated by CRC (Cagiva Research Centre) to different specs than the Brutale 990R. The monoblock Brembo brakes are also of a different quality than the 990 and there’s abundance in both feel and power. The rear shock is a Sachs fully adjustable item fitted to MV’s new and longer single sided swingarm. MV Agusta have opted for the Dunlop Qualifier RR tires in a 120/70 ZR17 front and 190/55 ZR17 rear. Along with the new traction control and fine slipper clutch this keeps the Brutale 1090RR pretty much planted despite its wild nature. The 2010 incarnation of the Brutale 1090RR should therefore be easier to ride faster for both pros and amateurs.

Out on the road ride there’s no mistaking the raw and aggressive sounding in-line four which contrasts the super smooth Japanese engines. The big MV sound echoes between the buildings in town and nobody can doubt the real character in this engine. It’s rather slippery out on the beautiful roads surrounding Misano and despite having traction control I did manage to upset the rear tire a few times from early rpm. I could appreciate the new comfortable aspects of the 2010 MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR out on the roads. No part of my body was aching after our ride apart from perhaps my brain trying to work out how to get one of these machines for myself.

Out on the road, the Brutale 1090RR was more comfortable than the 1078RR.

The new and bigger instrument cluster now features a host of new features. The first I noticed is that the analog rev counter has now been placed to the left while the digital speedometer is on the right. This feels better particularly on the racetrack. The new instruments are also bigger but to be a bit pedantic it’s still not that easy to see the green neutral light in sunshine. As the gear lever is a little fiddly sometimes it would be good if that green light was a little brighter (for instance when you want to rest your hands at traffic lights). The gear indicator is my favourite new feature and it’s lovely to see third indicated with the front pointing to the sky. Fuel level, water temperature and even a hazard warning button for all four indicators to blink are all handy.

Riding the 2010 Brutale 1090RR slowly through town is now a much more pleasant experience because the engine doesn’t produce as much heat as before. The lubrication and water cooling systems has been completely revised and my legs were happier for it.

The specs sheet says the 2010 model is down a few ponies but the Brutale is still wheelie-friendly.Horsepower and torque is now a claimed 144.2hp at 10,600rpm and 84.8 ft-lb at 8.000rpm. That’s a full 10 horsepower down on last years claimed figures but the bike still power wheelies from third gear even with a longer swingarm so you go reckon. It’s still just as much of a hooligan as you want it to be but the 2010 Brutale allows the rider to control it more than before.

The midrange is fantastic and from as low as 4,000rpm the acceleration in any gear is smooth and filled with strong momentum that you could only expect from the biggest Japanese in-line fours. This fact makes the Brutale 1090RR a very fine road motorcycle because you could ride it all day at low revs enjoying the scenery and still have plenty of power on tap instantly with no shifting down the gearbox.

Both the Brutale 990R and 1090RR are available with engines restricted to 100 horsepower versions (poor France). And some of you will be happy to hear that you can boost your Brutale 1090RR all the way to a 200 horsepower version with a couple of performance parts. New from MV Agusta and perhaps a result of the Harley-Davidson take over, the Varese factory will now provide such performance parts directly. What I’m quite excited about is that if we can take a Brutale to 200hp, what could we do with the 2010 F4?

The 23 litre (6 gallon) fuel tank is a lot bigger than it looks like and also bigger than what’s usual for a naked motorcycle like this. I reckon it is because the Brutale and its athleticism require slightly more body fuel than others which perhaps is something MV Agusta should look into more next time.

The new headlamp still maintains the teardrop shape from previous models but with more efficient lighting and eight new LEDs that’ll please those of you living in Vegas.

You might have heard that Massimo Tamburini who designed both the Brutale and F4 have retired from CRC. This is sort of correct, but I can also reveal that Tamburini himself was involved a fair bit on the 2010 Brutale and he also signed off the project before the launch.

Taking a cue from the new owners from Wisconsin, MV Agusta is providing performance parts from the Italian factory.

Conclusion

MV Agusta calls the 2010 Brutale 990R and 1090RR a silent revolution. Well, I tested the 2008 Brutale 1078RR last year and I must say that not only have MV Agusta addressed almost all of my complaints, but they have listened to all the born-againers in their 60s that kept breaking their backs on the Brutale too. It’s now a lot more comfortable, with less heat radiation, still attractive and a spec sheet that’s closer to the truth perhaps? Regardless, I must say that the 2010 Brutale 1090RR now suits a lot more riders and that can only be a good thing. As for me I’d take the 2008 any time despite its “shortcomings” but the 2010’s reliability might prove to be better.

Highs:    Lows:
  • The 1078cc MV Agusta in-line four is still of the most exciting fours
  • Less heat radiation than before
  • Design AND functionality even with mirrors that work
  • Better seat and ergonomics than before
  • Gear and brake foot levers a little too short
  • Confusion around lost horsepower and gain in weight

Related Reading
2010 MV Agusta Brutale 990R Launch
2010 MV Agusta Brutale 990R and 1090RR First Impressions
MV Agusta unveils 2010 Brutales
2008 MV Agusta Brutale 1078RR Review

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