As most of you would know, the exotic Italian bikemaker, MV Agusta, is due to make its India debut later this year. And, while taking the fight to its compatriots, Ducati and Benelli, MV has joined hands with Kinetic World, the guys who brought us the Kinetic Honda scooter and Luna in the heydays. Their master plan is to get the Italian beauties to India via the CBU and SKD routes, and come November, you can have one of the sub-1000cc MVs parked in your garage.
However, the motorcycle you see here is the smaller, Brutale 800, which misses the November launch party - thanks to our lengthy homologation procedures. Nonetheless, when an opportunity of getting astride the Brutale came knocking on our door, we were quick to gear up and swing a leg over the MV.
One good hard look at the Brutale 800 and you'll agree, Italians have a knack of creating some of the most stunning-looking automobiles. So what if they there aren't known for outstanding build quality, Italy has no equal when it comes to infusing passion into designs. And this motorcycle out here is a great example of that.
Looks are a subjective thing. But, we're sure in the Brutale's case, most of us would be on the same page. It's a stunning-looking motorcycle. It is a motorcycle you'll struggle to take your eyes off. It's quirky, edgy and aggressive in all the right ways. We particularly love the Brutale's rear - it is incredibly sexy. Okay, the oval-shaped headlamp looks a bit odd to us, but it isn't an eyesore.
Another little aspect that these Italian auto manufacturers pay a lot of attention is in the name. While the late William Shakespeare wouldn't have been in completely agreement with this, but there's a lot to a name, especially when it comes to cars and bikes. And in some cases, it mirrors the characteristics of the vehicle. Just like the word 'Brutale', which means 'brutal' in Italian, and it's a word that perfectly sums up this MV Agusta's character. Yes, it's ruddy quick off the line, and the 798cc, liquid- and oil-cooled in-line three packs quite a punch - a Mike Tyson-grade punch. Get past the 7,000rpm mark, and the motor will blow you away.
Acceleration beyond that point is ferocious and razor-sharp, and with the throttle in full attack position, there's a mighty surge of power, right from low revs, all the way to 14,000rpm. And, understandably so. There are 123 horses pulling a dry mass of just 167kg along with 81 Newtons, and that blesses the Brutale 800 with the best power-to-weight ratio in its class.
Plus, the Brutale comes with four power modes\: three presets (Normal, Rain and Sport), and one custom mode. And not one, not two, but eight levels of traction control to suit your mood and insanity levels. Then there's the six-speed gearbox with its superbly spaced-out ratios. It also gets a quick-shifter.
On our short ride, the Brutale impressed us no end. The motor loves to be revved hard, every time, in every gear. And, if you aren't leaning on the handlebar when you whack it open, be ready to see the sky as the front wheel pops up when you do that in every damn gear. This isn't a motorcycle for riders who aren't very skilled. It's so quick and effortless to manoeuvre, some may take this Italian beaut for granted.
And that's when the spiky acceleration can catch novice riders napping. If you aren't familiar dealing with tricky situations, it could easily be game over. Thankfully, along with insane horsepower, the Brutale gets good stopping power, too. Dual 320mm discs upfront and a single 220mm disc at the rear offer good bite and feel, and do a great job of stopping the bike well in time. ABS is standard fitment.
If we've made you think this MV is a crazily powerful, insanely quick motorcycle, it is for a reason. But, this MV isn't just about ferocious power - though that's one thing we could go on about. If you feel like it, then the Brutale 800 can, without any difficulty, be your everyday tool, thanks to the tractable in-line three unit and the MV's dimensions. It's a compact motorcycle with sorted ergonomics, and everything is placed perfectly. The 810mm seat height, the easy-to-reach handlebar, the positioning of the footpegs - it's all well thought-out.
However, the Italian beast you see here is yet to be configured for Indian conditions. In traffic, it heats up real quick - 10 minutes of wading through slow-moving traffic and your pants will be on fire. It also makes the otherwise refined engine sound a bit stressed. Plus, the stock suspension settings are on the stiffer side. But, those upside-down Marzocchi telescopic forks upfront and the Sachs monoshock at the rear can be fully adjusted to suit your needs.
What, thankfully, won't change once the Brutale 800 is homologated and Indian-ised, is the way it handles. It sports a brilliantly engineered chassis made of composite steel trellis and aluminium plate frame for high torsional rigidity, and a single-sided swingarm holds the rear wheel in place.
That makes the 800 a sharp motorcycle to steer; easy to chuck around the twisties. It's a nimble motorcycle - exactly how you would want your street-fighter to be. Plus, Pirelli's twin-compound Diablo Rosso IIs offer good levels of grip over bad surfaces, too.
To sum it up, the Brutale 800 is a stunning-looking monster. It's got the looks and it's a great performer. The in-line three is smooth, refined and highly tractable (though not as tractable as Japanese fours) and has instant grunt in all gears.
Handling, too, is sharp, and despite being a rabid 800cc streetbike, it is relatively easy to manoeuvre and quite nimble. Expected to be launched next year at close to Rs 12 lakh (estimated, ex-showroom), the Brutale 800 does sound a bit expensive compared to its closest rival, the Kawasaki Z800. But then, it comes with better equipment and should be easier to live with.
However, the Brutale 1090 will have its official India launch in the month of November, and if the 800 is anything to go by, the 1090 will be a kick-ass motorcycle to have in your garage. We can't wait for that one.
Liquid- and oil-cooled, in-line, 3cyl, 798cc, 123bhp, 81Nm, 6-speed, kerb weight\: 167kg, 245kph top speed (claimed)The verdict\:
Like most Italian beauties, this one too is a stunner. Performance from the in-line three is brilliant and is fairly comfortable on Indian roads, too. A bit pricey, though, when compared to its closest rival, the Kawasaki Z800.