Italy has long been a coveted source for high-performance motorcycling exotica here in the states. And Motorcycle USA recently sampled a lovely pair from MV Agusta – the Brutale R and for those whom one R just aint a enough, the racier RR version.
Initial visual impressions reveal the Brutale RR to be the flashier mount, offered in MV’s traditional silver and red racing colors. The standard R came with more understated black colorway, with red accents. From there the bikes continue to diverge, with different wheels and the RR’s sleeker integrated LED turn signals and running light.
The biggest difference, however, is unseen – as the two mounts sport different versions of MV’s 1078cc Inline Four. The RR’s more aggressive intake cams and intake result in an engine that produces more peak horsepower than the R, 138 to 126, but less torque, 67 to 74.
On the road, the torque-rich R model delivers a street-friendly powerband, more potent on the bottom end than its tightly-wound sibling. The high-strung RR presses its advantage only as the tach screams up into five-figure territory. However, the RR’s shrieking engine tones will appeal to its targeted high-performance crowd, which will likely be forgiving of RR’s more vibey nature.
Both Brutales source an 8-level traction control system, an encouraging piece of electronic kit that smoothly harness the engine power.
Changes in the power train extend to the six-speed transmission, where the RR sports a handy slipper clutch.
The chassis are more dissimilar than they first appear, as the frames make use of different steel tubing and welding. The 50mm Marzocchi front forks offer three-way adjustment on both mounts, with preload and rebound adjustment on the Sachs rear shock. The RR’s piggyback unit, however, benefits from high & low speed compression adjustment.
Both Brutales are quick turners, with the suspension comfortable enough for the street but sprung for aggressive riding. Both make use of sporty Pirelli tires too, Diablo Rosso II on the R and Diablo Supercorsa SP on the RR.
The two chassis encourage an elevated pace, with the RR’s advantage growing along with the mph. However, the track and not the street will be the place where the higher-spec Brutale can really earn that extra R, and where its steering damper will be appreciated.
Riding position on both bikes has a slight forward pitch, which is semi-aggressive without full-fledged sportbike fatigue. The handlebars are well placed, with the RR allowing additional ergonomic tuning with adjustable footpegs.
The RR get the edge in braking, at least from the specsheet perspective. Its radial mount Brembo calipers are monoblocs, opposed to the R’s two-piece Brembo units. While the RR’s stoppers are undoubtedly potent, our testers found the R’s brakes more than adequate and less grabby.
The Brutale R rings in at $16,498, with the double R $18,998, Both are lust worthy objects of exotic Italian luxury for the ambitious American rider.