2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 | Review

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MV Agusta Brutale 675 Test

MV Agusta has launched the Brutale 675, a budget contender enabling the Varese firm to tap into a bigger market. However, a budget MV Agusta is still expected to place itself right at the top in its segment and that’s pretty much my impression after my test ride in Italy.

I’m strolling around the MV Agusta factory premises in Schiranna, North Italy, admiring the new Brutale 675 which I haven’t seen in the flesh since the press launch at the EICMA show. A few months have passed since I tested the F3 and I’ve been told a few glitches have been sorted out with the engine management.

The Brutale 675 features a newly developed triple engine highly compact in design with 108.5 horsepower mounted in a very light chassis. The swanky naked streetfighter is aimed right at motorcycles such as the Triumph Street Triple R, Honda CB600F, Kawasaki Z750, Ducati Monster 1100, Suzuki GSR750 and Yamaha FZ8.

At $14,000 (€8,990) the Brutale 675 is definitely in the upper range in terms of price but this is now the cheapest entry into owning a new MV Agusta. The F3 and B3 are the first two models in what MV promises will be an extensive line-up featuring affordable triple power.

The Brutale 675 features eight-stage traction control and three riding modes which straight away makes it one of the most high tech middle weight nakeds. In a motorcycle with 108.5 horsepower that weighs only 368 lbs. (167 kilos) dry I’m personally not very interested in neither traction control nor ABS brakes unless I’d get to trash it on a wet road.

MV Agusta happened to offer us 30 degrees Celsius and dry roads so I started out with everything turned off. ABS brakes aren’t available with MV Agusta yet so that’s out of the question anyway.

As I fire up the 675cc triple for the first time it growls to life sounding like something quite a bit larger than a 600. That can only be a benefit and I already know I’ll be up for a treat once I get a chance to open her up.

Taking a seat I notice that the B3 probably isn’t the naked with the lowest seat height in the class but maybe the most compact and still novice friendly. It’s easy to release the slightly heavy clutch and get moving in first gear. The balance whilst moving slowly out of the factory gates is almost perfect. This little motorcycle should be a treat around tight corners is my first impression.

I’m the first rider behind our MV Agusta guide and I’m impatient from the word go meaning that the Brutale 675 is very easy to get used to. Fellow motorcycle tester Toshi from Japan comments that the B3 suits him perfect and he’s not a big guy. I’m 6 foot and also felt comfortable and at home despite the compact externals.

MV Agusta has opted for Pirelli Angel ST tyres in standard sport dimensions of 120/70-ZR17 front and a 180/55-ZR17 rear. This means that I have superb everyday grip straight away and along with very powerful radial Brembo brakes I could have done stoppies on cold tires but settled for a roundabout to roundabout race in the first few miles of riding. With only 367 lbs. to stop the Brembo’s are going to feel more powerful than on something with more bulk anyway.

The 43mm Marzocchi fork feels good for sporty riding but felt a bit hard for our varied riding. Hard on the brakes it’s great but perhaps lacks a little feel if the cornering isn’t fast enough. The Sachs rear shock tackles all I can give it and standard set-up works just fine for a road ride. The Brutale 675 likes to go fast and the faster we go the better everything feels.

The most impressive thing about the Brutale 675 is its chassis and engine top end. This version of the 675cc triple responds nicely from around 4,600 rpm despite the torque max figure (65Nm) only appearing at 12,000rpm. It’s by no means a torque monster but it can be ridden comfortably on low revs and high gears for an economic and relaxing commute.

The real fun starts at 10,000rpm when the triple roars out of the three stubby pipes on the right hand side. It revs up quickly also which is a bonus as there are some revs to cover.

The fuel injection and ride-by-wire throttle response is much improved over the F3 and coupled with a very smooth gear box it’s just a delight to change gears. The clutch is a bit hard which could make you tired in the long run.

The mixed steel trellis and aluminum chassis hugs the super compact engine and makes for a very light and easy handling motorcycle. Changing direction is even easier than on the F3 so the Brutale 675 is one quick motorcycle when it comes to cornering. Connected to the chassis we find a trademark single sided swing arm which due to the short engine is very long giving plenty of stability.

The Brutale 675 feels like that type of motorcycle that will obey any little input and for that reason it can be ridden really hard and I would have loved to ride it on track as well as the road but I’m sure I’ll get an opportunity to do that at a later time. Turning on a little traction control I don’t really get a testing result because we’re simply not going fast enough in perfect conditions so riding with TC off was the best for this test.

A rider’s motorcycle it is then and much more than just a daily commute vehicle. Shortly MV Agusta will also offer the EAS quick shifter option for a $471 (€300) premium but on the test bikes the system was all but in place so it’s likely MV Agusta merely are waiting for delivery rather than any other delay. 2013 was also mentioned as the year MV Agusta will start offering ABS for those that must have that extra safety.

The Brutale 675 has approximately 18 horsepower less than the F3 but for pure road riding you really don’t need those extra ponies when you can have so much fun on the Brutale 675. The B3 is perfect in town with a riding position that doesn’t make your arms tired but still maintaining a certain sporty stance more so than the other offering in the triple 675 segment.

The Brutale 675 instantly looks a little more modern than its 4-cylinder big brothers and the iconic “Porsche” front headlamp is reworked a little to accommodate modern solutions such as LED lighting. Looking at the B3 right next to a B4 there is something missing just in the front exhaust area where on the B4 the lines are perfect whilst there is a lot of air around the three pipes exiting the cylinders on the B3.

During the press conference Massimo Bordi, MV Agusta General Manager, told me that the Brutale 675 was the last model that the late Claudio Castiglioni signed off in its entirety. Meaning it was the last MV Agusta model he approved after seeing a full scale model. Bordi promises many more exciting models from MV Agusta in the future and already at this years EICMA show in Milan we will get to see the next one.

2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 Conclusion

It’s been quite a wait for us to test the all new Brutale 675 but the wait was worth it. The Brutale 675 is a fantastic motorcycle that can do both fast and slow riding almost equally well but with an emphasis on the fast of course.

The mid-range has been tuned for road usage while maintaining an exciting top end. The super compact engine and chassis just fits the Brutale perfect so it’s very evident that this model was in the planning at the same time as the F3. If you’re a purist I suspect that you’ll still stick to the old Brutale with the more powerful 4-cylinder engine but if you fancy something new with an entertaining triple engine then the Brutale 675 is it. It’s slightly more hardcore than the rest but in a good way.

2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 Positives/Negatives:

+ Chassis and handling is light and stable at the same time, superb.
+ Entertaining engine with the power in the right places
+ High tech newly developed solutions makes the Brutale 675 the Ferrari of the middleweights
+ Powerful brakes

– Heavy clutch
– Electronics such as EAS and ABS not ready at the time of this writing

Photo: Milagro