Half an hour into the Brutale 800 press ride, I saw a stretch of dry, traffic-free road up ahead, spun the throttle open in second gear, and held on tight as the MV ripped forward with its front tire off the ground. I genuinely hadn’t expected such a lively response from a bike that, until then, had been so refined.
It’s an easy mistake to make. Visually this bike seems identical to the 675. In fact, most of the chassis carries over, including the steel-tube trellis frame. But while the Brutale 675 has a fairly basic suspension package, the 800 gets a fully adjustable Marzocchi fork and a similarly multi-adjustable shock from Sachs.
It’s the extra 123cc of capacity from a longer-stroke version of MV’s triple that makes all the difference. With dimensions of 79mm x 54.3mm, the 800 shares the 675’s bore but has an 8.4mm-longer stroke. The changes give an extra dollop of grunt and a distinctly different character. According to MV’s dyno charts, the bigger motor makes more power everywhere, especially above 6500 rpm. By 8500 rpm, the 800 is kicking out 100 horsepower where the 675 makes barely more than 80. When the 800 reaches 11,000 rpm and hits its peak of 125 bhp, the 675 is making its maximum of 108 bhp. In terms of torque, the 800 makes 25 percent more, peaking at 8600 rpm; the 675’s peak comes at a lofty 12,000 rpm.
I began the test ride with the throttle-by-wire system in Normal mode, enjoying the Brutale’s raspy exhaust and the light controls that made riding in traffic easy. Like the 675, the 800 had a slightly soft response just off idle-I didn’t stall it all day but felt as though I might. In Normal mode, the 800 felt like a much more aggressive and involving bike than the smaller Brutale. In Sport mode, the throttle response was sharper still, though mostly I left it in Normal.
Handling was as agile as you might expect with racy geometry and a short wheelbase. The 800’s radial Brembos, shared with the 675, provided fierce stopping. (ABS will be available later in 2013.) Yes, it’s a real weapon, a high-barred naked sportbike that goes like stink, weighs little, and is an absolute blast to ride at any speed.
Practicality? Well, wind protection is minimal, that thin seat isn’t designed for comfort, and MV still hasn’t developed accessories more useful than a quickshifter. But the Brutale looks well built, with a modest 10 percent hike over the 675. Not a lot to pay for a willing and powerful naked bike that sacrifices not a bit of soul to its short-stroke predecessor.
|Engine Type||l-c triple|
|Valve train||DOHC, 12v|
|Claimed horsepower||125.0 bhp @ 11,600 rpm|
|Claimed torque||59.7 lb.-ft. @ 8600 rpm|
|Front suspension||Marzocchi 43mm fork with adjustable spring preload, rebound, and compression damping|
|Rear suspension||Sachs shock adjustable for spring preload, rebound, and compression damping|
|Front brake||Brembo four-piston calipers, 320mm discs|
|Rear brake||Brembo two-piston caliper, 220mm disc|
|Front tire||120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II|
|Rear tire||180/55ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II|
|Seat height||31.9 in.|
|Claimed curb weight||395 lbs.|
|4 out of 5 stars MV improves the mid-size Brutale with more power and lots more torque, without sacrificing its high-winding, three-cylinder scream.|