2013 MV Agusta Brutale 800 First Ride

A longer-stroke engine and adjustable suspension turn MV Agusta’s Brutale 800 into a bike worthy of a spot between its light and heavyweight siblings

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 800

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 800

Take the MV Agusta Brutale 675's knife-like steering characteristics and combine them with the Brutale 1090's gut-punching acceleration. Add to that package fully adjustable suspension (a non-option on the 675) and just a small price increase over the smallest bike in the lineup, and what do you get? The Brutale 800, the newest member of the Brutale family. Introduced just months after its little brother, the 800 isn't a replacement for either of the other models. It's, as MV sees it, a bike that'll rightly fill the void left by its light and heavyweight siblings.

The differences between the Brutale 800 and 675 are quite minimal. A longer-stroke engine with new pistons bumps compression up to 13.3:1, rebound-, compression-, and preload-adjustable suspension is new, as is the balancing shaft, Pirelli Rosso II tires, and two-teeth-smaller rear sprocket. The bike’s geometry numbers are identical, the fairing’s lines indistinguishable, and electronics package—eight-level traction control, four riding maps, and ride-by-wire throttle—the same in all but a few inconspicuous ways. The longer-stroke engine does provide roughly 15 percent more horsepower up top, however, in addition to more horsepower and torque through the entire rev range.

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 800

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 800

The 800’s taller gearing would lead you to believe that the bike is more sluggish around town or off the line, but the low-down power of the long-stroke engine quickly offsets the difference. Fueling is a bit inaccurate at low speeds (new fuel maps are being released at an alarming rate and should minimize fueling concerns) and the ride-by-wire throttle twists light enough that you have to recalibrate your wrists before throwing a leg over the bike. The 800 is quite exciting otherwise, thanks especially to a rush of power near 6,000 rpm and an inextinguishable addiction to wheelies. Nissin brakes have a good amount of power, and fortunately that power isn’t accompanied by the overly aggressive initial bite we experienced on the F3 earlier this year.

The 800 steers as quickly as the smallerdisplacement bike, and the Pirelli Rosso II tires feel like they provide a bit more grip in the canyons despite an initial squirm. A steering damper would be advantageous however, as there’s now just enough power to make the bike feel twitchy. The fully adjustable suspension will allow you to tune most of this out and offers—next to the added power—the biggest advantage over the 675. Around town we noticed that the setup was plush, with only just a bit of harshness as you came across bigger seams.

The Brutale’s thin seat is firm, but the bike isn’t uncomfortable and has just enough room for riders nearing the 6-foot mark. In addition, there’s no more vibration coming through the clip-ons than on the other models. We did have a pair of headlight and taillight bulbs go out at very inopportune times. Similarly, the 800’s gear position indicator never functioned properly.

Lighting concerns aside, we think the 800 offers a good balance between literbike engine performance and middleweight steering characteristics. If you can live with the few flaws we found (most of which MV engineers are attempting to iron out), then the $1,000 price difference over the 675 starts to look mighty small.

2013 MV Agusta Brutale 800 dyno
The 800 has more horsepower and torque than the 675 at all rpm—as you’d expect—but what’s interesting is how perfectly matched the curves are in regards to valleys and peaks.

SPECIFICATIONS

MSRP: $11,998
ENGINE
Type: Liquid-cooled inline 3-cyl., 4 valves/cyl.
Displacement: 798cc
Bore x stroke: 79.0 x 54.3mm
Compression ratio: 13.3:1
Induction: Keihin EFI with 44mm throttle bodies, single injector/cyl.
CHASSIS
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II
Rear tire: 180/55ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II
Rake/trail: 24.5°/3.7 in. (95mm)
Wheelbase: 54.3 in. (1380mm)
Seat height: 31.9 in. (810mm)
Fuel capacity: 4.4 gal. (16.6L)
Weight: 409 lbs. (186kg) wet; 383 lbs. (174kg) dry