MV's bonkers Brutale gets a big bore motor, a midrange boost and bags of added usefulness to boot. Roland Brown blags a ride and spills the beans.
It's late on a Friday afternoon near Varese, and I'm heading back to MV's factory after an enjoyable few hours aboard the latest Brutale. In no great rush, I'm making use of the four-cylinder motor's flexibility; short-shifting through the 'box and using the ample midrange to zip past traffic with a minimum of effort.Suddenly it occurs to me: bloody hell, this is a Brutale I'm riding!
The latest, larger-capacity version of the Brutale 750, the craziest of all naked hooligan weapons, and here I am riding it... well, if not gently, then at least fairly sensibly. I haven't even pulled a wheelie for 20 minutes.The new MV has the performance alright, it's just that its more rounded personality doesn't demand such a frantic riding style.
You wouldn't guess that the two models were so different unless you'd ridden them, because visually they're almost identical. This chassis layout is unchanged from that of the 750's, so the steel-and-aluminium frame holds 50mm Marzocchis and the aluminium single-sided swingarm operates a Sachs monoshock. Minor mods include a 120/70, not 120/65 front tyre, adjustable footrests and a quick-release rear sprocket.
The important stuff is in that motor, which gets its new 909cc capacity from a larger bore and stroke. Bolting in the engine from the 1000S was ruled out because that 998cc unit has a longer, 55mm stroke and is taller, so wouldn't have fitted the Brutale frame without surgery.
The 160cc capacity hike, combined with an increased 13:1 compression ratio, gives worthwhile extra performance. Peak power is a claimed 136bhp at 11,000rpm, 9bhp up on the 750. More importantly the bigger unit kicks out a whopping extra 29bhp at 7900rpm, the revs at which its maximum torque figure of 71lb.ft is produced. This Brutale's personality was clear the moment I rode out through the MV factory gates. The bigger motor's extra midrange meant that tweaking the throttle with five grand showing on the white-faced tacho sent the MV leaping forwards - and, when I was in first gear, the front wheel reaching for the sky. No need for the frantic cog-swapping required by the top-endy 750.
But even this motor needed 4000rpm showing before it pulled strongly, so the Brutale didn't have quite the low-rev kick of Triumph's Speed Triple. But the grunt from there on made the MV more relaxing to ride, and for many riders would make it a more appealing bike. The Marelli injection's response was smooth, and the unchanged six-speed gearbox as sweet as ever.
There was plenty of stomp at the top end too. Keeping the throttle pinned in the higher gears had the digital speedo showing over 130mph in a few seconds, as the MV headed for a top speed that would approach 160mph if your neck muscles were up to it.
But although the bigger motor packs more of a midrange punch, the extra cubes mean it has lost some of the 750's smoothness and high-revving charm. The slight high-frequency tingle through the bars wasn't a problem on my test but would combine with the exposed riding position to make motorway trips a pain. The 910 motor felt more sensible than the 750's equivalent but the chassis did its best to encourage brain-out behaviour. Maybe the new 120/70 front tyre gave a slightly less quick-steering feel, but the MV was still very flickable. Suspension was firm and well-damped, and combined with sticky Michelin Pilot Powers and heaps of ground clearance to make the Brutale a match for almost anything in the corners. Six-pot Nissins gave mega stopping power, too.
I had a great time on the bigger Brutale, but the choice between this and the 750cc model, which is still available at an identical £10,500, is not an easy one. I'd assumed the 910's extra midrange would make it clearly better but, although it's easier and to ride, it has lost a little of the barking-mad bluster that makes the 750 so much fun.
For those who value high-revving thrills over practicality, the 750 has the edge while the 910 is the better all-rounder. Most will probably opt for the larger model, but personally I'm not so sure. I wish I was in a position to make that choice for real.
A grunty, flexible motor, excellent chassis and stop-and-stare good looks, but some may prefer the 750's high-revving lunacy.
TYPE - NAKED PRODUCTION DATE - 2005 PRICE NEW - £10,500 ENGINE CAPACITY - 909cc POWER - 136bhp@11,000rpm TORQUE - 71lb.ft@7900rpm WEIGHT - 185kg SEAT HEIGHT - 810mm FUEL CAPACITY - 19L TOP SPEED - 160mph 0-60 - n/a TANK RANGE - n/a
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