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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 ||– Sighs |
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.
|Brutale 1090||Brutale 1090 RR|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|