With 205bhp and an outrageous price tag, the 2020 MV Agusta Brutale 1000RR is about as irrelevant as a road bike gets. You can’t use anywhere near all its power away from a track and at that kind of money you probably wouldn’t want to anyway.
It’s no better than the cream of its much cheaper super naked rivals, either. But underneath its layers of shiny paint and away from its designer labels, decadent styling and fancy electronics it’s a well-sorted, involving, refined and capable motorcycle. It’s still raw, unapologetically angry and lacks real-world grunt, but it’s the best MV have produced in a very long time.
Ride quality & brakes
It’s based on the even more exotic, carbon-wheeled, titanium-drenched 2019 Brutale 1000 Serie Oro – a bike that probably passed you by, as it did us with no press launch and none seen in the wild.
So best to think of it as a naked F4 1000 superbike with even more power. Unlike other straight-barred super nakeds, the MV has slightly raised clip-ons, giving you the sense you’re on a stripped-down superbike, or the world’s most unhinged café racer.
In recent years you’ve always known what you’re going to get with an MV: an F4 will be fast, loud, beautiful, but slightly heavy and awkward and until recently an F3 will be all of the above with a slightly remote-feeling ride-by-wire throttle (they’re better now).
But the marriage here between F4 mechanicals and F3 tech is a successful one and the Brutale 1000RR works as a normal motorcycle. Even its bar end mirrors (blue tinted, of course – it’s Italian) are big enough to let you see where you’ve just been and sat in mild a race crouch, the wind protection is surprisingly good compared to an upright super naked.
Just paddling the MV around it’s clear it’s no featherweight and on our scales, fully fuelled, it weighs 218.5kg (dry claimed is 186kg), but it’s stable at high speed and through fast, smooth corners its deliciously unflappable. Steering is nicely balanced and with so much grip, electronic control and fearsome stopping power, you’ll need a track to get anywhere near its limits.
F4s have always been stiff and this is no different. Even with the suspension softened-off it can be harsh and fidgety over bumps, where its hard seat joins in to give your backside a kicking for good measure.
MV’s F4 inline four is packed with low friction parts, boosting power to 205bhp, including new valve guides, cams, piston rings, crank, airbox, intakes and ECU.
It’s excessively quick and sounds like the devil in a food blender at 13,000rpm, but MV have at last got the basics right. Its ride-by-wire still lacks the rich, carburetted feel of its rivals, but when you twist the throttle it goes smoothly forward and when you release it again it slows down at the rate you’d expect.
Better still it’s electronic rider aids are top drawer, which is handy with over 200bhp at your right wrist and if you want a soft power and suspension set-up for the wet, just flick in to Rain mode and the MV is anything but brutal. Even the Pirelli Super Corsas have more grip in dodgy conditions than you’d give them credit for.
On dry tarmac the MV is, of course, ludicrously quick– a crunching, primal assault on your ears on and off the throttle, with acceleration to rival any current superbike. That’s a given, but away from its searing top end the inline four is smooth and controllable, but there’s little in the way of grunt. You’ll need a flurry of down changes to overtake traffic, unless you want to inch past like a 125 – it’s that flat down there.
Reliability & build quality
If you like the idea of an exotic naked Italian superbike and have the cash, you won’t be disappointed by the way the new Brutale 1000RR goes, stops, handles and sounds.
You’ll love its lavish finish, too, apart from the exposed electrical blocks and wiring in the engine bay, which is a disappointment. Under new ownership the Varese firm have improved reliability and with a UK importer now fully up and running, spares supply shouldn’t be a problem.
Value vs rivals
Is it worth ten grand more than an Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory? Of course not. Nor is it as well rounded and accomplished as a Ducati Streetfighter V4 S or new KTM 1290 Super Duke R, but for the ultimate in showy, super naked decadence the MV Agusta will be right up your strada, if you’ve got cash to splash. Other, cheaper options also include Yamaha's MT-10, which start at £16,398 less (2021 prices).
Whether or not you like the way it looks, you can’t deny that it’s sculpted to within an inch of its life. Wings, scoops, slots, strakes and four cartoon exhausts, there’s a sliver of a seat pad for each buttock.
The tooling for that little lot alone must’ve cost a fortune. Its colour dash looks like something out of an Italian hypercar and it’s bejewelled with shiny Brembo Stylemas, semi-active Öhlins suspension, lashings of carbon fibre, cornering LED headlights and every conceivable electronic rider aid. Add another two wheels and it would be a Dubai millionaire’s Lambo.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 16v, inline four|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||16 litres|
|Front suspension||Semi active 43mm Öhlins forks|
|Rear suspension||Semi active single Öhlins shock|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm discs with four piston Brembo Stylema calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||220mm disc with single piston Brembo caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||200/55 x 17|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||205 bhp|
|Max torque||86 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
2020: Model introduced