2013 MV Agusta Brutale 675 vs. Triumph Street Triple R – Video

European three-cylinder streetfighters go into battle

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It’s a time of feasting for fans of streetfighters and hooligans. The category is so chock full of badass nakeds we had to create a category unto streetfighters for our 2013 Motorcycle Of the Year awards. Between these two manufacturers alone exist 10 streetfighters of differing levels of performance. For this shootout we chose only two … an exceptionally good two!

2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 Review

MV Agusta’s Brutale 675 was introduced in 2012, while Triumph’s Street Triple R received a makeover prior to entering the 2013 model year. The commonality among them is their 675cc inline-Triple engines, superbike handlebars and lack of sportbike bodywork. From here the two bikes diverge in performance mannerisms, technologies, price and visual appeal. Which manufacturer concocted a better middleweight two-wheel ruffian is what we’ll now determine.

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Both bikes share an engine architecture of three liquid-cooled, inline cylinders, but the Brutale’s bigger bore and shorter stroke (79.0 x 45.9 mm) make for a revvier engine compared to the Triumph’s smaller bore and longer stroke (74.0 x 52.3) – the Brutale exhibiting an unmistakable stepped powerband compared to the STR’s linear power delivery.

“Relative to the Triumph, the Brutale’s motor delivers power like a two-stroke, with an immediate, jabbing response unlike any four-stroke production bike I’ve ridden,” says Chief Editor, Kevin Duke.

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The dyno chart depicts an obvious dip in both horsepower and torque from the MV’s 3-cylinder preceding 8000 rpm followed by a steep incline immediately thereafter. Throttling through this rpm range when exiting a tight corner easily (ferociously with enough throttle input) spins the rear tire, making us grateful MV saw fit to include traction control.

Coupled with a light throttle return spring, a disconnected-feeling Ride-by-Wire throttle and irregular low-rpm fueling, the Brutale lives up to its given namesake: brutal.

“As usual for recent MVs, the R-b-W throttle response lacks any grace,” laments Duke. “Of all the R-b-W throttles I’ve sampled, MV’s feel the least connected – it’s the bike’s worst attribute.”

2013 Italian Middleweight Streetfighter Comparo – Video

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Single-side rear swingarm and three, stacked exhaust pipes distinguish the Brutale 675 from its British counterpart and helps justify the extra $1k difference in MSRPs.

Another way to look at it, though, is through the eyes of our guest tester, Sean Matic. “I really like the Brutale’s 3-cylinder engine,” he says. “I like the sound, the induction howl, the way it takes off when it hits its powerband, the split of good torque from the Triple configuration but as much on top as an inline-Four due to its oversquare design.”

He does concede, however, that MV “needs to get their R-b-W tech better sorted.”

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Power wheelies on the lightweight, short wheelbase Brutale 675 are a mere twist of the wrist away. Controlling a wheelie for any length of time is problematic due to the wonky electronic throttle.

On the flip side is the Street Triple R and its nearly faultless fueling and power delivery. Compared to the MV, the STR feels incredibly refined, as though it graduated finishing school whereas the MV was a first year dropout. In a strange twist of hooligan etiquette, the STR may be too genteel, as if Triumph manufactured the hooliganism out of its hooligan bike. Much of this is attributed to the bike’s new, taller first gear that stretches to 77 mph before hitting the rev limiter.

2013 Triumph Street Triple R Review

“It will no longer wheelie off the throttle in first gear, necessitating a bounce and tug or a clutch drop,” wheelie-hound Duke complains.

“I think the final drive gearing and tall first gear really neuter the thrust compared to the B3,” says Matic. “In tight canyons, ridden next to the B3 the STR feels smooth, even, controllable, smoothly fueled, but a bit slower, especially when exiting tight corners.”

With 50,000 sold worldwide during the last five years, the Street Triple is Triumph’s best-selling model.

With 50,000 sold worldwide during the last five years, the Street Triple is Triumph’s best-selling model.

The inability of the STR to loft the front end under its own power when in first gear (without help from the clutch) while the Brutale can barely keep its front wheel on the tarmac is shameful. There exists, however, a tradeoff and resultant attribute we preferred in the Triumph: stability.

Fuel Economy and Range

Tank Capacity Average MPG Fuel Range
MV Agusta Brutale 675 4.4 gal. 34.3 mpg 151 miles
Triumph Street Triple R 4.6 gal. 39.4 mpg 181 miles

With a one-inch shorter wheelbase the B3 is quick to turn in to and out of a corner, whereas the Triumph is slightly more lethargic. Once in the corner, though, the MV feels flighty and nervous while the Triumph maintains its composure. A steering damper would help calm the MV’s front end, but recognition must be given to the Triumph’s superior, adjustable suspension components and their ability to better handle gnarled canyon blacktop.

The Street Triple’s Flawless gearbox delivers quick and sure shifts.

The Street Triple’s flawless gearbox delivers quick and sure shifts.

“Although similar in specs and intent, the Brutale makes the ST-R feel sluggish, both in its power production and its steering responses,” says Duke of the Brutale. While Matic’s impression of the Triumph is that it feels slow turning compared to the B3 but offers better stability and more even-temperedness during quick transitions. “It just does what you ask of it without any fuss,” says Matic.

Both machines wear name-brand braking components: Nissin on the STR and Brembo on the Brutale, the key difference being the radial master cylinder attached to the Triumph’s handlebar.

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It’s Nissin vs. Brembo on these streetfighters, and in this case the Nissins are the clear winner, largely due to its radial master cylinder.

“The STR’s front brakes are much stronger with much more feel than the B3’s Brembos,” says Matic. Repeatedly riding through the same corner on both bikes revealed just how much more force the Brembos required to get the same braking results. And that’s with 310mm discs on the Triumph compared to the MV’s 320mm front discs.

MV Agusta Brutale 675

+ Highs

  • Sharp handling
  • Light weight
  • Gorgeous, of course
- Sighs

  • Non-adjustable suspension
  • Underperforming brakes
  • Unacceptable low-rpm fueling

A slight touch of the Brutale’s rear brake, however, easily locks the rear tire, making it damn near useless outside of intended rear-wheel slides. The STR, on the other hand, comes equipped with ABS, eliminating slides – desired or not.

Which brings us to the technological differences a prospective customer has to choose between on these two fighters. Where Triumph brings the aforementioned ABS and adjustable suspension (lacking only rear compression damping) to the table, the MV foregoes these technologies in favor of ride modes and TC.

With a slightly longer reach to the handlebars, the Triumph’s rider triangle isn’t as compact as the MV’s. The Brutale’s seat also has sharp edges making it feel as though it was invented by a stylist rather than a test rider.

With a slightly longer reach to the handlebars, the Triumph’s rider triangle isn’t as compact as the MV’s. The Brutale’s seat also has sharp edges making it feel as though it was invented by a stylist rather than a test rider.

The problem for the Brutale is that the abominable low-rpm fueling renders Sport mode all but unusable. Choosing Normal mode calms throttle response but with the penalty of laggardly off-idle reaction. Thankfully there’s a Custom setting in which several parameters can be set, and the maps selected when we got the bike offered the best balance of responses.

MV’s TC is appreciated due to the Brutale’s hard-hitting powerband, while it’d be a wasted technology on the Triumph and its easily controllable power delivery. Therefore, it seems obvious to us that Triumph’s ABS and adjustable suspension are the sensible choice.

Triumph Street Triple R

+ Highs

  • Adjustable suspension
  • Less money than Brutale
  • Linear handling & power delivery
- Sighs

  • Tall first gear
  • Under-engine exhaust is fugly
  • Uh… give us a minute

And though the Triumph is an attractive bike, it can’t help but play wallflower to the B3’s supermodel profile.

“While the Brutale has one of the coolest exhaust systems of the modern era, the Street Trip’s new exhaust looks as ordinary as a hammer,” smirks Duke.

Individual Tester Scorecard

Tom Sean Total
MV Agusta Brutale 675 85.0% 87.5% 86.3%
Triumph Street Triple R 94.0% 92.1% 93.3%

So it is, by virtue of its lesser price, standard ABS, adjustable suspension, vastly superior fuel mapping, better brakes and all-around user-friendliness, we deem the Street Triple R the better choice between these two bikes.

However, as Mr. Matic enthused in our discussions, the Brutale and its visual appeal and dramatic engine characteristics plucks his heartstrings more than the Triumph, providing an intangible argument for coughing up the extra $1k needed to purchase to the Brutale.

And while the MV’s flawed throttle response spoiled the experience for Duke, he nevertheless was seduced by the Italian diva. “Its symphonic engine note sounds way more exotic than the bike’s price,” he raves. “I hear what sounds like a baby V-12 as intake funnels slurp air and the short-exit exhaust piping blats music just behind my ears. I hated to give this one back.”

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Triumph offers a standard model Street Triple for $600 less than the R model, but its inferior suspension and average brakes aren’t really worth the savings. As there’s nowhere to go but up in price, the Brutale 675 is MV’s “bargain” motorcycle.

675cc Streetfighter Specs

MV Agusta Brutale 675 Triumph Street Triple R
MSRP $10,998 $9,999
Horsepower 98.7 @ 12,600 rpm 92.5 @ 12,100 rpm
Torque 43.0 ft-lb. @ 9300 rpm 44.2 ft-lb. @ 8300 rpm
Engine Capacity 675 cc 675 cc
Engine Type Inline 3-cylinder Inline 3-cylinder
Bore x Stroke 79.0 x 45.9 mm 74.0 x 52.3 mm
Transmission Cassette-style 6-speed 6-speed
Final Drive Chain Chain
Frame Steel tubular trellis Aluminum twin-spar
Front Suspension 43mm Marzocchi inverted 41mm KYB inverted fully adjustable
Rear Suspension Sachs monoshock adjustable preload KYB monoshock with piggy back reservoir adjustable for rebound and compression damping,
Front Brakes Double floating disc with 320 mm diameter, Brembo calipers Twin 310mm floating discs. Nissin 4-piston radial calipers.(Switchable ABS as standard)
Rear Brakes Single steel disc with 220 mm diameter, Brembo caliiper Single 220mm disc, Brembo single piston caliper. (Switchable ABS as standard)
Front Tire 120/70-17 120/70-17
Rear Tire 180/55-17 180/55-17
Seat Height 31.9” 31.5”
Wheelbase 54.3” 55.5”
Curb Weight 395 lbs 403 lbs
Fuel Capacity 4.4 gal 4.6 gal
Electronics TC, ride mode ABS
Warranty 24 months 24 months

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  • FreeFrog

    Street Triple me baby… that’s a sexy little 675.

  • dfh

    Sean, now you have ridden both the Brutale 675 & 800 back to back is the 800 worth the extra $2K or is the 675′ smaller engine more fun to thrash?

  • Ozzy Mick

    I’m writing from Australia and am not sure about the similarity of the specs for the MV between our 2 countries but just wanna say that a mate of mine owns an MV which spends more time at the dealer getting its electronics sorted than it does on the road. It’s highly temperamental, refusing to start on several occasions, including while out on rides, far removed from the city. Perhaps you should run long term tests to uncover problems such as these that do not show up in the showroom or on short rides where prospective buyers may be dazzled, only to be frustrated and angered when the darn thing won’t start!!