‘Impulse buy’ – 2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 Review – The Curtis Files Part 4


When I sold the Tuono I cried like a 14 year old girl who had just been dumped by her ‘true love.’ ‘She was the one for me!’ I wept. ‘What have I done?!’ After a couple of days I was able to stop sobbing long enough to see that it wasn’t the end of the world and I should get back on the horse. To be honest, after owning the Tuono for nearly three years I was due for a change. This was by far the longest time I had owned a motorcycle so she had a good run.

I couldn’t afford ‘the dream’ (V4 Tuono) but had always wanted a 2008 or newer Fire blade. I had my heart pretty set on one and but after seeing the new MV I thought I should at least have a look at one. Why? First, it looked amazing. The three piped exhaust and single sided swing arm make butterflies deep within my loins. Two, the combination of weight/power and technology appealed to me plus naked sports bikes suit my riding. Lastly, I Iove having a unique sounding bike. It sounds stupid, but the sound of a bike can seriously affect my purchases. And the 3 cylinder MV Agusta sounds tits.

So I searched around for a little while and found a couple in my price bracket. They were all 2012 models without the quick shifter (L) but still with traction control and variable engine mapping. So down to the MV Agusta dealer I went.

The first 675 I looked at turned out to be the only one I looked it. It was absolutely immaculate. If you weren’t told it was a second hand bike you would not have known. As I said in a previous article, one of the good things about purchasing a unique bike is they are generally looked after. This bike was no exception. I took the bike for a test ride and the first thing I noticed was how raw it felt. The engine was a screamer and the bike darted around like a push bike! I wasn’t completely in love (I had doubts about going back to a 675 and there are so many bikes out there), but it was beautiful and had that animalistic side I love. And sometimes you get things just because they are freaking cool.

So, after some deliberating I rung up the minister of war and finance. Now this was a first for me, but I figured since we owned a house together now and what not I better let her know what was going on.

‘Hey…’  I said meekly down the phone line. ‘Let me guess, you want to get a bike?’ Mrs OnTheBackWheel replied. She knows me too well. After some backwards and forwards, Mrs OnTheBackWheel surprised me. ‘If you want it, buy it.’ I was shocked. Was this a trick? Did she actually not care? Maybe she was just sick of me talking about bikes all the time. Or was it going to be a case of when I bought the bike home, Mrs OnTheBackWheel would fly off the handle when she sees the new bike? Shockingly, it wasn’t. In fact the only thing she said when I bought the MV home was that it looked like ‘an old man’s bike.’ Wtf?! Are you loco? This is an MV Agusta! After the shock I informed Mrs OnTheBackWheel that she could only say these things in the privacy of our house and that it was not to be mentioned again. If she was to say this kind of blasphemy in public, an angry mob would gather pitch forks and she would be drawn and quartered. I would be forced to say nothing knowing the crime she committed was so terrible and live in shame for the rest of my days.

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I parked the bike in the garage and stared at it for hours. This is no ‘old man’s bike’. Put simply, the MV is beautiful. The fit and finish is fantastic and the red paint work gleams. The single sided swing arm is infinitely sexy and the exhaust is IMO the best looking ‘stock’ exhaust on the market. The 675 is so compact all-round, she even has a nice bum. There are a couple of areas where you could tell they skimped on quality to make the bike affordable. The front guard is cheapish black plastic along with the rear hugger. Also, the dash surround was all plastic and rattled at certain RPM’s (very annoying). Besides that, everything else is of a high quality. Don’t expect the carbon fiber or fancy touches of the other Brutale models though.

Sitting on the bike, the seating position is nigh on perfect for me (I’m 183cm). The peg-seat ratio is great and the bar bend is perfect. All the controls are extremely well finished to boot, I particular liked the brake and clutch levers. Overall it’s a great place to sit…bar the seat. The seat tries to penetrate you every time you sit on the bike. I’m not exaggerating, this is a hard seat. I did get slightly used to it over time, but that’s like saying syphilis is better than AID’s.

The bike sounds distinctly MV Agusta. If you have heard one, they make a mechanical ‘clatter’ on idle. It’s a good clatter, like having your back gently hit by a masseuse…mmm clatter. The dash is an all-digital affair. Almost everything is on there; lap timer, tachometer, trip meters, engine map, gear indicator, clock. It’s comprehensive and a good unit. It is also easy to use. Next to your left thumb on the handle bars there are 2 soft buttons. These are used to select settings and scroll up/down. This can all be done on the fly too. It’s not perfect (the lap timer is fiddly and sometimes you can hit the wrong button to select) but overall the dash is clear to read and easy to use.

The dash is well laid out and easy to use. Looks fancy too!

The engine is in a word, excellent. The throttle response is fantastic and it revs manically. The power delivery is staged and exciting. Power is silky off bottom making it a synch to putter around town on. As you get to about 6000rpm there is a noticeable surge in power. Keep revving and you get another kick in the pants at 9000rpm increasing to 12500rpm. And the wail that accompanies the increase in revs and down shifts is intoxicating. Give it the beans and power wheelies are easy, quite a feat for a little 675. The engine yearns to be flogged. The gearing perfectly matches the engine. Gear spacing’s are great, first gear isn’t too tall and top gear is not so short you are buzzing at highway speed. Honestly, the engine is close to faultless for a 675. I much prefer it over the new Street Triples.

When I first got the bike, the fueling was not great. When taking off, the bike would lag/delay slightly. Turns out I had very old mapping. Technology is a wonderful thing though. I simply took the bike into the shop and 2 minutes later it was updated. After that the fueling was flawless. On off response is immaculate and when you punch the throttle in gear, response is startlingly crisp. I loved it. The light throttle action is very light and initially takes some getting used to on rough surfaces.

To match the engine is a brilliant chassis. This is the closest thing you can get to a 250GP without actually purchasing one. The way it changes direction and tips into corner is phenomenal. It is that good. Unfortunately, the suspension is not up to the same standard. It’s non-adjustable and budget. While this works on beautiful smooth tarmac with no bumps, it’s a compromise anywhere else. Hitting bumps unsettles the whole bike and the rear end literally springs you off the seat in certain situations. The front likes to waggle her head on occasion, but I believe this is due to the suspension set up not so much the lack of steering dampener.

The front brakes are very strong and can certainly pull you up in a hurry, but they require some serious finger power to be affective. I even resorted to experimenting with 4 finger braking on occasion. They feel slightly wooden too. The rear brakes are good.  Combine them with such a good chassis and backing into corners becomes fun, not that I do such a thing of course ;).

I rode with the traction control dialed down. There are 8 settings and generally I left it on setting 2. On the few times it activated, I was generally on loose surfaces or in the wet. It was unobtrusive and worked effectively.

There are 4 engine map settings, rain, normal, sport and custom. These are changed by thumbing the starter button when the bike is running. Personally I rode in sport 95% of the time. This thing rips in sport mode providing instant, addictive throttle response. The other 5% I chose normal mode. This provides full power but softens the throttle response slightly. I found it great for longer distance rides, when I was tired or wet weather. I fiddled with custom mode but found I was better off using the modes and provided. And rain mode? Really? If you even had to ask about this option I’m taking a man card off you.

Fuel economy on the bike was a pleasant surprise. I averaged 250kms when filling up, roughly 6l/100kms or better. I have never had a bike that gets a respectable tank range and found this…nice.

I loved this little bike, but life must go on. I loved how you could use most of the engine and flick it around like nobody’s business. Realistically the Brutale 800 is probably a better bet for most people with more torque and adjustable suspension, but the 675 can be picked up for a steal. If I was to have one again, I’d get one with the quick shifter, upgrade the suspension, wack on a custom seat made and have a blast.

So how do I describe the Brutale 675? Great engine, razor sharp handling, shit suspension, shit seat but a hell of a lot of fun.

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