2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR Review – Quick Ride

One sexy Italian streetfighter

Share this Article

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR

Editor Score: 90.25%
Engine 17/20
Suspension/Handling 13.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 9/10
Brakes 9/10
Instruments/Controls3.75/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 10/10
Appearance/Quality 10/10
Desirability 10/10
Value 8/10
Overall Score90.25/100

MV Agusta produces four renditions of its inline-Four powered 1078cc naked streetfighter: Brutale 1090, Brutale 1090 R, Brutale 1090 RR and Brutale Corsa.  The two Triple models, Brutale 675 and Brutale 800 brings the total Brutale count to six.

Of this current crop, including this report and a forthcoming Brutale 675 vs Triumph Street Triple R comparison, we’ve tested all but two – the standard and Corsa model 1090 Brutales. The Brutale 1090 is the foundation upon which the other three 1090 Brutales are built, each one offering upgraded componentry and greater performance, as well as a commensurate price increase, ending with the Corsa and its assortment of forged wheels and billet components.

For 2013 only the Brutale 1090 and Brutale 1090 RR are stateside bound (Corsa model upon special request) but the good news is this year’s Brutale 1090 is practically the same as 2012’s 1090 R version. Better yet, the price has been reduced from last year’s $16,498 for the 1090 R to $13,998 ($14,898 with ABS) for the 2013 Brutale 1090. In other words, buying this year’s base model Brute gets you last year’s R model Brute at a $2500 savings. More performance for less money. Cha-ching!

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR Rear

In addition to the Metallic Blue/Pearl White model we tested, 2013 Brutale 1090 RRs are available in Red/Silver, and Metallic Gold/Pearl White (pictured).

Like the other Brutales, and all MVs for that matter, the Brutale 1090 RR is a mechanical feast for two-wheel-inclined eyes. When rolling the Metallic Blue/Pearl White model in our possession out of the garage, the earth’s rotation slowed so the sun could get a better look at the bike.

See how the Brutale 1090 R performs against its competition

Besides the Brutale’s overall design and elegantly racy color scheme, a slow, visual scrolling of the bike reveals details such as the quick-release axle clamps on the bottom of the fork legs, 90-degree valve stems, a three-bolt bottom triple clamp and tolerances so tight an index finger won’t pass between the exhaust and rear tire.

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR Fork

The Marzocchi fork legs are a massive 50mm in diameter and are fully adjustable, as is the Sachs shock suspending the single-sided swingarm.

When the wife – an aficionado of expensive, name-branded anything – got wind there awaited a boutique, Italian motorcycle in the garage, it became my immediate marital duty to take her for a ride. So off we went, crossing the soon-to-be-replaced Gerald Desmond Bridge on our way to the appropriately ritzy community of Palos Verdes, CA.

Read our review of the Triumph Street Triple R

A few attributes – some good, some not so good – surfaced during our ride. I had previously noted that of the two rider modes (Race and Normal) the more aggressive setting was damn near impossible to facilitate smooth off-to-on throttle application. This light-switch effect was only exacerbated with the addition of a passenger.

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR Lights

Integrated LED strips highlight the front of the restyled dash cover.

For 2013 MV implemented new fuel and ignition mapping “for smoother throttle control.” To our understanding, early-release 2013 model MVs were shipped stateside without the ECU update and this would explain the abrupt throttle response we experienced. The problem could therefore be solved by simply uploading the new mapping to our test unit, as well as fixing the same issue with older Brutale models (check with your MV dealer).

Read our review of the Ducati Streetfighter

The other option is to use the softer, Normal, rider mode setting to smooth throttle inputs. This setting puts plenty of the engine’s claimed 158 hp to ground (The Brutale R we dynoed last year cranked out 126.6 hp at 9750 rpm) and just as easily snatches up first-gear power wheelies, so the ride is always exciting no matter which mode you choose.

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR Mufflers

The 2013 updates for the Brutales include new wheels and slash-cut mufflers that add to its visual appeal.

Which brings me to the Brutale’s other fault: its incredibly short gear ratios. Yes, it’s a hooligan bike, so wheelies and immense power on tap are part of the hooligan equation, but constant rowing of the gearbox up and down the first three cogs gets tiresome when cruising around town. And when two Brutale owners I’ve spoken with have changed to taller gearing (one going as far as adapting an F4 transmission into his Brutale’s gearbox), I know it isn’t just my opinion.

Otherwise, the double-R Brutale makes for a comfortable streetfighter for solo or two-up riding. Its handling manners fall on the aggressive side of neutral, but, as Editor Duke notes, “It feels much heavier and quite a bit bigger that the three-cylinder Brutales. On the plus side, it’s much more stable than the little Brutes and has much better suspension compliance.”

+ Highs

  • Mouth-wateringly gorgeous
  • Powerful
  • Rare/exotic
- Sighs

  • Harsh throttle control
  • Expensive
  • Short gear ratios
2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR Beauty

Duke liked our 1090 RR so much, he described it as “One of the prettiest production bikes I’ve ever seen” and snapped a picture of it in his driveway.

The Brutale’s seating position isn’t confining and provides an upwards rider triangle with slight forward bend for lessening high-speed headwinds. It’s a surprisingly pleasant cockpit for an exotic sportbike such as this.

“I swapped a Brutale 800 for the 1090 RR,” Duke relates, “and I was happy to feel a dramatically plusher seat and significantly more legroom.”

Passengers have to take the good with the bad. Grab handles provide them some reassuring leverage for keeping them in place, and the small seat is tolerable for at least short jaunts. However the heat emanating from the upper exhaust muffler disfigured the heel of my wife’s favorite boot.

Big news for the 2013 model Brutale RR is a price decrease from last year’s MSRP of $18,998 to this year’s $17,498 asking price. Even with MV’s new optional anti-lock braking installed, the Brutale 1090 RR ABS retails for $18,598, $500 less than last year’s model.

Other upgrades include new lightweight, aluminum wheels, slash-cut mufflers, a new instrument cluster and a new tail light. Altogether, the upgrades and price decrease conspire to make an already attractive naked Italian more desirable.

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR Info Display

ABS is a $500 option on the 2013 Brutale 1090 RR – a small increase to pay for a bike in the $18k range.

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 1090 vs Brutale 1090 RR Specs

Brutale 1090 Brutale 1090 RR
MSRP $13,998 $17,498
Displacement 1078 cc 1078 cc
Bore x Stroke 79 mm x 55 mm 79 mm x 55 mm
Rev limiter @ 11,600 rpm 12,200 rpm
Horsepower 144hp @ 10,300 rpm 158 hp @ 11,900 rpm
Torque 82.6 ft/lbs @ 8,100 rpm 73.7 ft/lbs @ 10,100 rpm
Compression 13:1 13:1
Throttlebody 46 mm Mikuni with longer intake manifolds 49 mm Mikuni (same as on F4) with shorter intake manifold
Camshaft standard higher lift intake camshaft same exhaust cam shaft as R model
Valves same as RR model same as base model
Clutch hydraulic standard wet hydraulic slipper wet
Transmission 6 speed casette type 6 speed casette type
Final gearing 15/41 15/43
Frame ALS steel tubing, MIG welded CrMo steel tubing, TIG hand welded
Suspension front 50 mm Marzocchi 50 mm Marzocchi
Suspension rear Sachs, pre-load & rebound adjust. Sachs, pre-load, hi & low compression, rebound adjust.
Front brake Brembo Gold line calipers, 310 mm discs Brembo Monobloc, 320 mm discs
Wheels 3.5×17 6×17 Cast aluminum Cast aluminum
Tires 120/70, 190/55 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP
Traction control 8 level 8 level
Steering damper no adjustable
Foot controls fixed adjustable
Seat one piece stepped bench type two piece
Front turn signals standard bulb, yellow lens LED, front integrated in mirrors, white lens
Rear turn signals standard bulb, yellow lens LED white lens
Headlight Halogen Halogen with LED running light strip
Radiator shrouds black plastic color match painted

Free Insurance Quote

Enter your ZIP code below to get a free insurance quote.

MV Agusta Dealer Price Quote

Get price quotes for MV Agusta from local motorcycle dealers.
Get Motorcycle.com in your Inbox
  • Balz Renggli

    The racier RR version’s gear ratios are purposely short to make it easier to keep the revs in the somewhat peaky powerband. The base model 1090 has longer ratios and a torquier power delivery and that, along with the cushier seat and better passenger seat make the base model Brutale 1090 a significantly easier and more relaxed streetbike.
    Maybe you can test the Brutale 1090 alongside the 1090RR to get a direct comparison.

    • Kevin Duke

      You mean you want us to ride more of MV’s sex machines? Poor us!