First ride by any journalist on the heavily revamped 2020 version of the four-cylinder MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Hyper Naked model in pre-production prototype guise
At the EICMA Milan Show last November, the dazzling new MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro was elected as “The most beautiful motorcycle of the show” by over 16,000 voters - against such equally new high performance desirables as the Ducati Panigale V4 R, the BMW S1000RR and Aprilia’s RSV4 1100 Factory.
Production of the new Brutale won’t commence until late August after MV workers return from this year’s summer break, but with Russian investor Timur Sardarov injecting over 60 million Euro’s to buy a controlling percentage in MV Agusta’s holding company from previous owner Giovanni Castiglioni (who remains President of the firm, with Sardarov as Chairman/CEO, and former Ducati technical guru Massimo Bordi returning to MV as a consultant), the Italian trophy marque finally has wind in its sails. It has a slew of ultra-desirable new models on their way to production within the next 12 months, with the radically re-engineered Brutale 1000 up first, followed by the F4 Claudio and the Superveloce 800 all displayed at EICMA 2018, and other projects in the pipeline, including a turbocharged triple and the resurgence of the Cagiva brand as MV’s EV/electric division. The chance to visit the MV factory on the shores of Lake Varese to become the first outsider to sample the prototype next-gen Brutale 1000 lifted the curtain on what MV has in store for us under Sardarov’s direction – and it seems to be definitely well worth waiting for….
But at a price. The first 300 examples of the Brutale 1000 will be the high end limited edition Serie Oro version costing 42,990 Euro in Italy incl. 22% local tax, deliveries of which will commence in September as a 2020 model, available only in a single fire red colour scheme. Once those are built, production will begin of the Normale RR version – but don’t expect much change out of 30,000 Euro’s for one of those, says MV’s Direttore Tecnico Brian Gillen, who heads up the 21-strong team of engineers in Varese charged with developing all the company’s new models, alongside the comparable workforce at the CRC design studio in San Marino, led by MV’s Design Director, Adrian Morton, where the bike was conceived and styled. “We’re still defining the exact specification of the RR version in order to get that into the price point where we want it to be,” says Gillen. “But it will have the same exceptional performance as the Serie Oro, as well as key technical elements like the Öhlins electronic suspension. Dynamically, they’ll be almost identical. But in both cases there will be zero carryover parts from the previous 1090RR Brutale – even the 20% of common components like the crankcases and gearbox have been substantially modified on the new model.”
But how exceptional will that performance really be? Well, how does a homologated top speed of 302 km/h/188 mph sound - from a Naked bike that you can ride to work on your daily commute? That’s thanks to the 208bhp/153 kW produced at 13,450 rpm at the crankshaft by the new Brutale’s heavily revised version of the previous F4 Superbike inline-four motor – yet with 115Nm/11.7kgm/84.81ft-lb of torque delivered at just 9,300 rpm, so with a 4,000 rpm span between peak torque and peak power, it promises to be a pretty rideable motorcycle, too. (An optional RC-Project titanium exhaust system extracts 212bhp/156kW at 13,600 rpm, but isn’t Euro 4 compliant.)
These impressive numbers come courtesy of what’s essentially an allnew motor that’s safe to a 14,200 rpm limiter, and has been designed with a focus on reducing friction and enhancing lubrication. Add in a claimed dry weight of 186kg thanks partly to copious magnesium covers and titanium bolts, screws and fasteners, as well as carbon-fibre bodywork – such as it is - and on paper at least the 2020-model Brutale 1000 threatens to be a new performance benchmark for the Naked Roadster category. As such, it challenges the current dominance of the 184kg Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 that narrowly out-muscles the MV in making 120Nm/12.2kgm/88.5ft-lb of torque at 9,000 revs, but comes up short in the horsepower stakes, with a ‘mere’ 175bhp/129kW at 11,000 rpm. Well, everything’s relative…
Paradoxically, though, at a time when other manufacturers are increasing capacity of their engines (Aprilia and Ducati being the most recent and obvious such examples) to redress the effects of such regulatory hurdles as Euro 4, MV Agusta is travelling in the opposite direction, versus the 1078cc displacement of the its previous rangetopping Brutale 1090RR, production of which ended a couple of years ago, without Euro 4 compliance. “You can obtain more power in one of two ways - either with greater displacement, or with extra revs,” says Brian Gillen. “But with displacement we’d have had to go even bigger than 1078cc, if we really wanted to get what we were looking for from a performance standpoint. So we chose instead to go with a smaller displacement, but with a higher revving motor – and the result is considerably more horsepower.”
That new smaller displacement uses the same 79mm bore as before, but with the stroke shortened from 55mm to 50.9mm to measure 998cc. This reflects MV’s objective in redesigning the engine, which is basically to productionise what the next generation F4 Superbike engine would have been - except that with sportbike sales continuing to plummet, Sardarov and Castiglioni have decided instead to focus on reinventing the Brutale, rather than developing a new F4 Superbike. “So everything that we learned in World Superbike racing with Leon Camier and later Jordi Torres has been put into an updated version of the F4 engine, which we’ve now applied to the Brutale,” says Gillen.” It’s the motor that Leon Camier always wished he had, and maybe if we’d given him it two years ago he might have finished on the World Superbike rostrum at least once, instead of coming fourth all the time, without ever quite making it onto the box!”
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