What a gorgeous looking thing it is. From the pan-pipe exhaust and the delicately sculptured seat, The new Brutale is a beast. It looks to have been sculptured from a single piece of alloy, then painted like a tin soldier. The seat looks like an organic growth tank and hardly looks as though it can support a rider, let alone two. The seat uses gel padding as standard, and it’s comfortable, especially for a scalpel-like sports bike. Check out the pipes that look like a musical instrument!
You notice the red (or black) lattice frame, which apart from looking incredible, makes the chassis more rigid and distributes the forces when being ridden hard.
I could go on and on, but I’m going to pick a few talking points to keep it brief:
At first, some were unimpressed after one look at the Specs. 85.5kw and 83Nm is down on the previous model and the weight is up by about 10 kilos. On paper the 2016 800 should be slower but no, it isn’t, or if it is, you don’t notice. 83% of the torque is available at 3,800 rpm so the pull is from way down-low.
Aiding the excellent city performance is a high-end Quick-Shift gear box/clutch. The EAS 2.0 (up and down gear shift) makes the Brutale 800 unique in this segment. The clutch is electronic and takes a few shifts to get used to. Almost all of the uptake is in the last few centimetres of lever travel. Once you’ve released the clutch, you don’t need to touch it again until the next time you stop. You change gears by moving the foot selector in the usual way, but, but you don’t use the clutch lever. You change up by keeping the throttle open and lifting the foot selector. Changing down means releasing the throttle, and kicking down on the foot lever. You change all the way down to 1st if you’re going fast enough, grabbing the clutch only when you stop.
When changing up through the gears, the ignition is cut for a split second to relieve the pressure on the splines allowing the gears to fall into place. The engine pops between gears sound remarkably like a VW GTi DSG gear change. Once you’re used to it, you can’t live without it, and it is so incredibly smooth.
There are four driver-selectable modes: Rain, Touring, Sport and User Defined. They vary the power/torque and traction control to give the best combination for the driving conditions. The settings are designed to help you keep the front wheel from unexpected lifts. Rounding off the electronic aids is the invaluable ABS.
2016 brought a new dashboard panel design to show gear, speed, oil temp RPM, driving mode, and of course, the warning lights.
On the road:
After an initial period getting used to the clutch, using quick-change becomes second nature. In traffic, the ability to sprint allows you to put the bike exactly where you want it, when you want to do it. The tight, light weight chassis translates to a maneuverability I didn’t expect. Many high-performance bikes are horrible to ride anywhere but on the open road, or a track.
The upright sitting position is comfortable, but like most seats, you need a break after a few hours in the saddle. Although the gel padding is meant to alleviate that familiar numbness, you’d need to stop every now and then for comfort breaks.
As sports bikes go, the Brutale is a sensation. It feels fresh and light, and is willing you to rev it hard. The real joy is the amount of time it takes to get used to it. Only the shortest time, and you feel like you’ve been mast mates for years.
For me, bikes are only worth their money if you can ride them every day. Cruisers are great on the open road, but are hideous in town. Track bikes feel great on billiard-table roads but torture riders on the open road no matter how much the owner loves it.
I could imagine very many happy rides on the Brutale. The hard-core riders might want more power, and good luck to them. I’d happily trade my Z1000 if the Augusta could be had at the right price.
M.V. Augusta Brutale 800
Triple Petrol engine, 85.5kw/83Nm, 6 speed with Quickshift.
Price: see MV Augusta website