The Brutale 800 is due for launch in India this month. This middleweight roadster got an overhaul last year and is a far cry from being a naked version of its sibling, the F3. It's no longer a Supersport with the fairing stripped off. Instead, it's a new-generation bike built with the intention of being a street fighter. The newfound road manners are a lot different from those of the knee-scraping track weapon that the F3 is.
The riding position is upright and relaxed. Its seat nicely tapers at the front, so even an average-build person can manage to get both feet down. Most importantly, it's a friendly motorcycle right from the moment one slings a leg over. It doesn't feel large, overweight or awkward; a great thing for leisure riders. Perhaps, this is the target audience for the Brutale, and one that's steadily growing in India.
The handlebar is too straight and flatter than other naked middleweights. This causes more pressure on the palm and one tends to lean forward a bit because of this. The exotic-looking tank with its sharp design is also a bit difficult to get a firm grip. Lastly, it could do with a better rear-view mirror design that is wider towards the edges.
The painstakingly crafted tank on the Brutale 800 can hold 16.5 litres of fuel
The droopy-shaped headlamp, which incorporates LED surrounds, is distinctive, as is the curvy tank and minimalist rear. The triple tail-pipes look as if sliced by a sharp sword. This is among the few bikes that look as lovely from the rear as from the front. Its single-side swingarm, trellis frame and beefy forks add to the brute design. Like most Italian designs, the attention to detail is phenomenal, and comes with good fit and finish.
Since you're sitting upright with no fairing, you desire just enough power to thrill and good stability as you speed up. The Brutale is designed for the city and offers more usable power. So, the triple here makes a decent 110 PS peaking at 11,500 rpm, but, most of the 83 Nm of torque is available from a low 5,500 rpm and peaks when the needle hits 7,600 revs.
The Brutale's console is packed to the rafters with information
To achieve this, the Brutale 800 gets new intake and exhaust cams and pistons along with a new exhaust system. This ensures that it gets better mid-range. Unlike older models, the new bike is quite usable and enjoyable as a road bike.
One of the biggest reasons for this is the predictable throttle response, thanks to the MVICS ride-by-wire system. There's plenty of power coming in at low revs, but is most enjoyable between 5,000-8,000 revs as the meaty mid-range gets to work. The Brutale has the usual three-cylinder gruffness, which irons out as it climbs the revs. But, many buyers have started to relish that engine character, since there are very few popular triples available in India. There are three riding modes: Normal, Sport and Custom. Even in Sport mode, the Brutale is spirited, but never overly aggressive.
The three-way exhaust looks spectacular. Pics/MV Agusta
The Brutale 800 also comes with a six-speed gearbox and MV's Electronically Assisted Shift. This allows you to switch through the gears without using the clutch and comes in handy when you want to push the bike and ride aggressively. The suspension felt fine but we suspect it might be a tad too firm for comfort on the roads in India.
It can be mistaken for a 650 while shifting weight from one corner to another. It is neutral and naturally leans into corners and can be ridden hard out of these to make it to the next one. MV executives explain that in the new model the chassis' rake and trail have grown a bit, and so the wheelbase gets a 20-mm extension as well. Small changes to the suspension (43-mm telescopic USD forks from Marzocchi up front with 125-mm travel and progressive Sachs with 124-mm travel at the back) have also been made to make it more stable.
The headlamp unit has a DRL halo
The radial four-piston double-floating 320-mm Brembos offer progressive braking and do not suddenly clamp on to the disc in Supersport style. Riders who rely on rear brakes might find the ones on the Brutale too mild and lacking in bite. The Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres offer good grip and along with the ABS, inspire confidence in the rider.
The new MV Agusta Brutale 800 is easy to ride and very manageable even at low speeds. It's not a sharp track tool, but is definitely a fast, fun and engaging bike to ride. It will be coming to India in the next couple of weeks and is expected to be priced below Rs 15 lakh. The Brutale 800 will go head-to-head with the Triumph Street Triple 765, which will also appear in the showrooms around the same time.
Now, that should be one epic battle.
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