MV Agusta Brutale 990R - First road ride review

Ben back-to-back tests MV Agusta's latest nakeds

AFTER MY stint on the 1090RR, MV Agusta gave us the chance to immediately test the new 990R for best comparison.

I was expecting just a slightly less savage, more managable bike but surprisinigly, it feels more different than you'd expect. The riding position is the same as the 1090RR, it's roomy, less agressive than before and by that I mean the footpegs are better placed and the reach to the bars more roomy.

The 990R sits on Pirelli Diablo Rosso tyres and I didn't get on with them as well as the Dunlop Sportmax Qualifiers that are on the 1090RR. It's amazing how much different a tyre makes. The 990R felt nervous; it had the same sharp throttle response as the 1090RR, which is a good thing, but it felt a little too on edge, mainly due to the tyres.

It feels less eager than the 1090RR and the fuelling isn't as precise. There's nothing worse than knocking off the throttle for a corner and then when you want to pick it up again, having that quarter-second lull before the engine picks up again. I found it buggered up my lines around the twisty mountain roads.

On faster sweeping bends it feels really precise. Allegedly, MV know about this and have sorted it out but the bikes we are riding aren't on their new map. Strange, but there you go. Yamaha suffered similar problems at the South African launch of the FZ1 back in 2005.

There's no doubt I preferred the 1090RR. Fueling and tyre choice being my biggest dislike on the 990. Don't get me wrong, the 990R Brutale is a big step on from the previous model, but the 1090RR is much more enjoyable.

We're taking both bikes on track shortly, so I'll check in with a full report after that.