• MV Agusta Brutale 2016

    MV Agusta’s 2016 Brutale 800 gets an updated engine and revised chassis, with new geometry helping the bike steer light at the track.
    The Brutale name may have first appeared in the year 2000, and on the naked variation of MV Agusta’s four-cylinder F4, but since 2012 it’s also been used to identify the naked version of the company’s three-cylinder F3 675 and F3 800. Now, in the first radical evolution of the Brutale since those models were introduced four years ago, MV is looking to spice things up with its new Brutale 800.
    That new bike retains strong styling connections with the previous ones to capitalize on the positive impact that the original design had on the public, but the connection with the previous generation ends there. The 798cc engine still has the same 79mm bore and 54.3mm stroke, but on the inside it’s been modified to comply with the latest Euro 4 emissions regulations. There have also been changes to the chassis and ergonomics.
    2016 MV Agusta Brutale 800 static side view
    The Brutale 800 looks (and is) compact thanks to its svelte, “big chest, narrow waist” design. Seat height is 32.67 inches, but a narrow tank-seat junction makes it easy for anyone near 5-foot-10-inches tall to still reach to the ground with both feet even.
    To reduce NOx emissions (NOx being the gases produced from the reaction between nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrocarbons during the combustion process), the compression ratio was drastically reduced from the previous 13.3:1 to 12.3:1, which is only fractionally higher than the 12.2:1 number for MV’s Euro 4 compliant, 800cc Turismo Veloce. New is the profile of the piston top, which now features a dished design inside a well-profiled squish area. In this way what was lost in terms of compression ratio was partly regained through the cleaner combustion chamber design that favors a faster and more complete combustion. New cam grindings complete the job in combination with revised injection-ignition logics.
    The exhaust system was redesigned in all sections, and while the system retains its three-into-one-into-three layout, it’s been modified in terms of the diameter and slash cut design of the terminal pipes. The result is a 116 hp powerplant that lays 9 hp on the altar of environmental correctness, but still gains in term of flatness of the torque curve from 3,000 rpm up, with huge gains between 5,500 rpm and 8,000 rpm. Peak torque is fractionally lower, from 61.95 pound-feet at 8,600 rpm to 61.20 pound-feet at 7,600 rpm, but torque delivery is so far stronger that the difference goes unnoticed.
    2016 MV Agusta Brutale 800 dash
    An updated display is slightly larger and displays all necessary information, including selected riding mode, gear position, ABS setting, traction control setting, and more.
    The engine has been vastly revised in its electronics suite and I must say that now MV Agusta has now almost fully filled the gap between itself and manufacturers like ApriliaMoto Guzzi, and Ducati. What the manufacturer calls MVICS (Motor & Vehicle Integrated Control System) now relies on a new Eldor EM 2.0 ECU of much higher capability and all systems proved very efficient. Torque delivery can be selected over four modes: Rain, with power limited to 80 hp; Touring, with the limit moved up to 90 hp; Sport, with full 116 hp power; and a user-modified Custom mode. There are eight levels of traction control to select from, plus ABS and quick shift gearbox with up and down function. Another part of the evolution of the electronics suite is the instrumentation, which is new in that it includes the capability of interfacing with the OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) system to present warning signals in real time on the display that retains its traditional design, but is just a little larger.
    Same as the engine, the chassis has undergone some very meaningful modifications, in both the structure of the steel-tubing trellis sections and in the geometry. The only components that have gone into the new project without a change, in fact, are the two aluminum plates that clamp the rear section of the engine and to which the trellis sections of the structure bolt. The trellis sections themselves features a tightly triangulated design that has been developed on the basis of a very advanced finite elements analysis that produced a slight increase in torsional rigidity and, more important, a more even distribution of the loads throughout the structure.
    2016 MV Agusta Brutale 800 trellis section
    The Brutale 800’s trellis section features a tightly triangulated design that has been developed using a finite elements analysis program. There’s a slight increase in torsional rigidity and a more even distribution of the loads throughout the structure.
    The new chassis has a 55.1-in. wheelbase, with a 19mm increase over the previous unit partly coming from the slightly longer single-sided swingarm, and partly from the increase to 24.5 degrees of rake. The changes also increased the trail from the previous 95mm to 103.5mm.
    The Brutale 800 looks (and is) compact thanks to its svelte design. The new seat in particular is a little piece of artwork and offers a perfectly solid support for the rider, while at the same time being comfortable thanks to the gel padding and leaving the rear end completely open for that “big chest, narrow waist” design that underlines the muscularity of the bike. It is set 32.67 in. off the ground, but is narrow at the connection with the tank, for a solid reach to the ground with both feet even for a 5-foot-10-inch guy like me.
    The handlebar is slightly wider and taller and, even more meaningful, the pegs are set 9mm lower than on the previous version, for a more relaxed and comfortable riding posture and a more instinctive control at low speed. Only drawback is that at track-level lean angles the pegs come to scratch the tarmac.
    2016 MV Agusta Brutale 800 handlebars
    The handlebar is slightly wider and taller, which with the 9mm-lower pegs contributes to a more relaxed and comfortable riding position.
    MV Agusta announces a dry weight of 386 pounds, which is relatively light, and the bike feels it, with steering that is crisp, neat, and sharp, thanks also to the new Pirelli Rosso III tires that the Brutale 800 comes from the assembly line with. Thanks to the very strong throttle response at low-to-intermediate rpm, the Brutale 800 can trot around town in sixth gear with no shudder, despite also having taller gearing. And while the engine might have lost 9 hp, that thicker torque curve from idle to 5500 rpm warms the heart. It sounds completely different from the previous edition, too—raspier up to 5000 rpm and then reaching up into higher frequencies reminding you of the thunder of the MV Agusta 500 Three GP racer of yore. Not a bad sound at all.
    On the open road the engine is very brilliant, turning aggressive at the turn of 6000 rpm and roaring past 10,500 rpm, where the main thrust then flattens out. MV Agusta announces a top speed of 147 mph, and while I did not have the opportunity to check that number because it would have taken a longer stretch of traffic-free highway, I did break into the 125 mph range with relative ease.
    2016 MV Agusta Brutale 800 on-track cornering action
    The Euro 4 compliant edition of the MV Agusta’s three-cylinder is capable of very impressive performance in acceleration, and its progression in terms of power is beautifully strong. Price in is $13,498.
    The revised chassis proved very good and the track test was determinant to probe its potential beyond the more-sensible road riding I’d do. It is extremely well balanced in terms of both weight distribution and front-end geometry. The bike is quick responding, neat, fast into line, and so surefooted that the customary steering damper did not need to be fitted. The 43mm Marzocchi fork was perfectly tuned in terms of spring and damping, while the rear Sachs shock absorber was a little harsh going fast over the small ripples of a fast bend.
    Taking the new MV Agusta Brutale 800 to the track was a lot of fun because it pulled the best out of it and confirmed how brilliant and safe the new edition is. And also how much more comfortable: almost three hours straight of gassing it hard, braking it hard, leaning it to knee-dragging angles only lead to regretting that the light was declining and the cold was biting harder.
    Gladly, the Brutale name continues on.
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