A popular British engine configuration has a challenger from Italy.
By Bill Heald
Unlike contemporary automobiles, motorcycles not only often have their engines unclothed for the world to appreciate, but you can pick from a vast array of engine types to suit how you roll. Air-cooled, liquid-cooled, Vs, inlines, horizontally opposed, singles, twins, fours, sixes, and more—they’re all out there, powering a dizzying assortment of bikes. And while some manufacturers offer a whole catalog of engine types, some marques are associated with particular designs (like Harley’s V-twins, for example). Triumph has long been famous for its inline triples, and its new 675-cc engine has been very successful in both its Daytona sport bike and Street Triple naked bike. But in 2012, it’s getting some competition from one of the most prestigious names in two-wheeled racing history, for MV Agusta has created a 675-cc Triple of its own, with both sport and naked versions. The F3 race-replica version is tasty, to be sure, but the naked Brutale 675 brings a whole new meaning to the term “performance art.”
These days, MV Agusta is a lowvolume, high-quality manufacturer that focuses on every detail of its machines, from getting every last pony out of the engine to executing drop-dead-beautiful detail work. The Brutale’s Triple features MVICS (Motor & Vehicle Integrated Control System), some black-box magic that “integrates the Full Ride by Wire throttle control with integral multi-maps for the engine and traction control.” This allows the rider to fine-tune the Brutale’s 115 horsepower to the riding conditions, while a MotoGP-inspired counterrotating crankshaft helps smooth the vibes. The engine’s compact external dimensions help with mass centralization, which ultimately makes the chassis easier to both flick through traffic and carve up S-turns in the mountains.
Even with excellent weight distribution, you still need a solid frame and balanced suspension components, so the Brutale gets a steel trellis backbone with aluminum side plates to support the 43- mm male slider front forks and single Sachs rear shock. Brakes are provided by Italy’s Brembo, and consist of radially mounted twin-front calipers with a single disc in back, all using proven racing hardware for the best in easy-to-modulate stopping power. A lack of bodywork, along with judicious use of lightweight materials, keeps the dry weight down to a svelte 358 pounds.
While this is an excellent performance résumé, the real joy of the modern MV Agusta is in the visuals, for the art of the motorcycle is on display in every inch of the Brutale’s architecture. To stimulate your riding juices further, MV is offering three superb color schemes with this surprisingly affordable motorcycle. So a prestigious name that was formerly within the reach of only well-heeled enthusiasts and collectors is now attainable by mere mortals, and riding hangouts the world over will be forever improved with a few of these gorgeous Triples parked outside.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled Inline Triple|
|Bore x stroke||79 mm x 45.9 mm|
|Fuel system||Integrated electronic injection|
|Ignition||Electronic with traction-control integration|
|Front suspension||43-mm male slider forks|
|Rear suspension||Single shock, preload adjustable|
|Front brakes||Dual 320-mm two-piston disc|
|Rear brake||Single 220-mm two-piston disc|
|Front tire||120/70 ZR17|
|Rear tire||180/55 ZR17|
|Fuel tank||4.62-gallon capacity|
|Seat height||31.96 inches|
|Curb weight||358 pounds|
|Base price||To be announced|