MV Agusta F4 Brutale S (2002 - 2007) review

Those who get to take charge of a Brutale will not be disappointed by a bike that performs as it looks: mean, lean and thoroughly crazy

Ben Cope's picture
By Visordown on Tue, 1 Jan 2002 - 12:01

Details
Manufacturer:
MV Agusta
Category:
Naked
Price:
£ 10500
Overall
3
A barking mad bike, but stylish and interesting from every angle with plenty of power.
Slightly pricey?

I’m half-way through my final ride aboard the Brutale when the black clouds that have been gathering over the Swiss hills suddenly decide it’s time to let go. Moments later I’m making a pathetic attempt to crouch behind the MV Agusta’s instrument panel as the rain starts falling, making me wish for the first time today that the bike had some sort of fairing. The Brutale S is such a barking mad bike that I’ve been disappearing for a thrash at every possible opportunity all day, without pausing to worry about the consequences. MV Agusta’s first naked superbike gets to you like that.

The Brutale is a laugh to ride, but Massimo Tamburini’s latest creation is also one of those rare bikes that is stylish and interesting from every angle, from the curiously shaped headlight to its slash-cut silencers.

The motor is the same EV03 or Evolution version of the radial 16-valve engine that is fitted to the latest F4. That means it’s modified from MV’s original 749cc unit with Mahle cylinders and forged pistons, plus under-piston oil spray, like the original 1985 GSX-R750. Other EV03 mods include reshaped combustion chamber, new exhaust valves and inlet valve springs, a 1kg lighter crankshaft and a strengthened clutch hub. For the Brutale alone, a revised fuel-injection and that twin-pipe exhaust system combine to boost midrange power slightly while chopping peak output by 10bhp to 127bhp at 12,500rpm.

Chassis layout is also the same as the F4’s, which means the Brutale frame combines chrome-molybdenum steel tubes with cast aluminium sections at the pivot for the aluminium single-sided swing-arm. Suspension is by 49mm upside-down Showas and a Sachs rising-rate monoshock, both fully adjustable. Six-piston Nissin calipers bite 310mm discs, which are bolted to polished aluminium five-spoke wheels.

The Brutale’s ‘in-yer-face’ look gives it an aggressive feel, which continues when you climb aboard and reach forward to the flattish one-piece handlebar. The riding position is upright but felt fairly sporty because the footrests are set quite high.

The motor fired up sounding improbably throaty in these emissions-obsessed times. Ironically, given the bike’s name and image, it didn’t feel remotely mean or nasty. Trickling through Lugano traffic I was impressed by how smooth and sophisticated it felt.

A 750cc motor borrowed from a super-sports bike might have been expected to be peaky in a naked bike, despite the minor detuning, but the MV was pretty rider-friendly. There wasn’t much grunt available at very low revs, true, but it pulled cleanly enough. Above 5000rpm, a tweak of the throttle was enough to send the bike shooting forward, and in first gear to lift the front wheel with ease.

There was plenty of power up top, with a slight kick at about 8000rpm that had my neck muscles complaining bitterly. When I found a reasonably straight road and opened it up, the Brutale howled very rapidly up to an indicated 144mph. There was enough speed
to come, when I had to slow, to suggest it would manage a genuine, and very wind-blown, 150mph.

The MV was rock solid during that high-speed blast, which was no surprise given its chassis’s origins in the F4. Steering angle is shifted back by half a degree from the F4’s figure, to 24.5 degrees. That also increases the wheelbase slightly, to 1414mm, but this and the Brutale’s 185kg dry weight figure are still in sportsbike territory, and the MV handled with plenty of poise.

Suspension action was excellent, too. The fat 49mm Showas didn’t dive too much when the powerful Nissin six-pot calipers bit hard. And the Sachs shock was soft enough for reasonable comfort yet had plenty of damping control. This doesn’t look like a bike that would be fun two-up for long, though, despite the pillion hand-grips below the seat.

The MV is a hard bike to actually justify owning. It costs a lot of money, lacks power compared to the competition and doesn’t really do anything better than them. But who cares? It looks bloody brilliant!

The Brutale is a bike that really pulls at your heartstrings. The 750cc engine isn’t the most powerful, and needs to be revved, but when you do it sounds like nothing else. Add to that the excellent handling, simply stunning looks and gloss over the slightly dodgy build quality and the Brutale is a very special bike.

Better then the competition? No, not really. The Benelli TnT is a better bike, and cheaper, but the MV just has something about it.

I’m half-way through my final ride aboard the Brutale when the black clouds that have been gathering over the Swiss hills suddenly decide it’s time to let go. Moments later I’m making a pathetic attempt to crouch behind the MV Agusta’s instrument panel as the rain starts falling, making me wish for the first time today that the bike had some sort of fairing. The Brutale S is such a barking mad bike that I’ve been disappearing for a thrash at every possible opportunity all day, without pausing to worry about the consequences. MV Agusta’s first naked superbike gets to you like that.

The Brutale is a laugh to ride, but Massimo Tamburini’s latest creation is also one of those rare bikes that is stylish and interesting from every angle, from the curiously shaped headlight to its slash-cut silencers.

The motor is the same EV03 or Evolution version of the radial 16-valve engine that is fitted to the latest F4. That means it’s modified from MV’s original 749cc unit with Mahle cylinders and forged pistons, plus under-piston oil spray, like the original 1985 GSX-R750. Other EV03 mods include reshaped combustion chamber, new exhaust valves and inlet valve springs, a 1kg lighter crankshaft and a strengthened clutch hub. For the Brutale alone, a revised fuel-injection and that twin-pipe exhaust system combine to boost midrange power slightly while chopping peak output by 10bhp to 127bhp at 12,500rpm.

Chassis layout is also the same as the F4’s, which means the Brutale frame combines chrome-molybdenum steel tubes with cast aluminium sections at the pivot for the aluminium single-sided swing-arm. Suspension is by 49mm upside-down Showas and a Sachs rising-rate monoshock, both fully adjustable. Six-piston Nissin calipers bite 310mm discs, which are bolted to polished aluminium five-spoke wheels.

The Brutale’s ‘in-yer-face’ look gives it an aggressive feel, which continues when you climb aboard and reach forward to the flattish one-piece handlebar. The riding position is upright but felt fairly sporty because the footrests are set quite high.

The motor fired up sounding improbably throaty in these emissions-obsessed times. Ironically, given the bike’s name and image, it didn’t feel remotely mean or nasty. Trickling through Lugano traffic I was impressed by how smooth and sophisticated it felt.

A 750cc motor borrowed from a super-sports bike might have been expected to be peaky in a naked bike, despite the minor detuning, but the MV was pretty rider-friendly. There wasn’t much grunt available at very low revs, true, but it pulled cleanly enough. Above 5000rpm, a tweak of the throttle was enough to send the bike shooting forward, and in first gear to lift the front wheel with ease.

There was plenty of power up top, with a slight kick at about 8000rpm that had my neck muscles complaining bitterly. When I found a reasonably straight road and opened it up, the Brutale howled very rapidly up to an indicated 144mph. There was enough speed
to come, when I had to slow, to suggest it would manage a genuine, and very wind-blown, 150mph.

The MV was rock solid during that high-speed blast, which was no surprise given its chassis’s origins in the F4. Steering angle is shifted back by half a degree from the F4’s figure, to 24.5 degrees. That also increases the wheelbase slightly, to 1414mm, but this and the Brutale’s 185kg dry weight figure are still in sportsbike territory, and the MV handled with plenty of poise.

Suspension action was excellent, too. The fat 49mm Showas didn’t dive too much when the powerful Nissin six-pot calipers bit hard. And the Sachs shock was soft enough for reasonable comfort yet had plenty of damping control. This doesn’t look like a bike that would be fun two-up for long, though, despite the pillion hand-grips below the seat.

The MV is a hard bike to actually justify owning. It costs a lot of money, lacks power compared to the competition and doesn’t really do anything better than them. But who cares? It looks bloody brilliant!

The Brutale is a bike that really pulls at your heartstrings. The 750cc engine isn’t the most powerful, and needs to be revved, but when you do it sounds like nothing else. Add to that the excellent handling, simply stunning looks and gloss over the slightly dodgy build quality and the Brutale is a very special bike.

Better then the competition? No, not really. The Benelli TnT is a better bike, and cheaper, but the MV just has something about it.

Length (mm) 2025
Width (mm) 819
Dryweight (kg) 185
Seats 0
Seat Height (mm) 780
Suspension Front Upside-down telescopic hydraulic fork with rebound-compression damping and spring preload
Suspension Rear Progressive, single shock absorber with rebound-compression damping and spring preload
Wheels Front 3.50 x 17
Wheels Rear 6.00 x 17
Wheels Made Of Aluminium alloy
Tyres Front 120/65 ZR 17
Tyres Rear 190/50 ZR 17
Brakes Front Double steel floating disc
Brakes Rear Single steel disc
Wheelbase (mm) 1414
Ground Clearance (mm) 135
Trail (mm) 101
Chassis CrMo Steel tubular trellis
Cubic Capacity (cc) 749
Valves 16
Max Power (bhp) 135
Max Power Peak (rpm) 13300
Torque Peak (rpm) 10500
Bore (mm) 74
Stroke (mm) 43
Valve Gear DOHC
Compression Ratio 12
Ignition Electronic
Valves Per Cylinder 4
Cooling Liquid-cooled
Fuel Delivery Multipoint electronic injection
Stroke Type Four Stroke
Top Speed 142.34
Score Breakdown
Overall
3

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