MV Agusta CEO Massimo Bordi laid down a sequence of charts during his presentation about the new Brutale 675 middleweight naked bike to confirm that these times of crisis represent a great opportunity for a competitively priced, three-cylinder roadster to be successful. At about the same time, a major European magazine published statistics and charts showing how the three-cylinder engine has fared through the years.
Charts? Statistics? Can these really have any role in the final success or failure of a motorcycle? Especially when we’re talking small production numbers, as is the case of MV Agusta?
Thankfully, in motorcycling, the driving force for success still is the ability to light that sacred fire in the guts of the enthusiasts.
I had the opportunity to sample the new MV Agusta Brutale 675 on a test track and, therefore, got to push the bike to some respectable levels of performance. First impression? This lovely looking naked bike has got what it takes to get the job done. With a few easy-to-fix hitches. More on those later.
First, some background. The Brutale 675 is the naked counterpart to the F3 sportbike, the two models sharing identical major mechanical components. This may sound so absolutely logical that it shouldn’t need to be pointed out. But such practical engineering has not been the case at MV Agusta until the coming of the F3 series, which represents a major evolution in the MV Agusta production rationalization and integration. Previous models such as the F4 superbike and Brutale 990/1090 naked bikes only share engines but not the frame nor most major components.
Bordi was adamant that the F3 project is vital for MV Agusta and that it opens a new chapter in the life of the company. The Brutale 675 model not only is part of a rigorous standardization program but it is a core model in itself that will be produced in various levels of sophistication (and displacements up to 800cc) to fulfill multiple missions and make up an entire middleweight lineup.
As a result of the shared components and careful design, the Brutale 675 comes at a rather accessible (by European price standards) 8,990 euros (MSRP in the U.S. has yet to be announced). This price includes the full complement of electronic aids: throttle-by-wire, ABS and eight levels of traction control. For another 400 euros, a quickshifter can be added.
The Brutale’s engine is in a lower state of tune than on the F3. No titanium valves here, compression ratio is reduced from 13.0:1 to a still substantial 12.3:1, milder cam profiles and timing are used, and 47mm throttle bodies work with single injectors for each cylinder. The result is a healthy 110 horsepower at 12,500 rpm and 48 foot-pounds of peak torque at 12,000 rpm. This last number is deceiving because the torque curve is actually quite fat across the rev range, remaining above the 37-ft.-lb. mark from 6000 rpm and hitting 47.8 at around 9K. For comparison, claimed peak output for the F3 is 126 hp.
The engine is a work of art in terms of compactness and rationalization of the whole design of the bike. The powerplant weighs just 114 pounds (helping achieve the claimed 368-lb. dry weight) and is so slim and small that it was easily harnessed in a steel tubular trellis frame spanning a mere 54.3 in. wheelbase; even with this short wheelbase, the package still delivers an attractive 51.7 percent forward weight bias. Rake is 24 degrees, trail just 3.7 in.
Front suspension is by a non-adjustable but very effective and well-tuned Marzocchi 43mm inverted fork with 4.9 in. of travel. At the rear, a preload-adjustable Sachs shock is teamed with a 22.7-in.-long aluminum single-sided swingarm that weighs just 10.8 lb.; travel is 4.7 inches.