At the moment MV Agusta and Triumph are the only manufacturers that make 3 cylinder 675cc bikes. While the pair share the same engine configuration and are considered to be in the same class, they are vastly different bikes.
The Street Triple is one of the real “do-it-all” bikes. I’m pretty sure no MV has ever been called that (though the new 3 cylinder range is damn good). Where the Street Triple is cool and collected; the Brutale is edgy and a little loopy. Or you could just say it’s Italian.
On paper, the MV has the upper hand in regards to technology and performance. Those wacky Italians really went all out. They’ve included traction control, variable engines maps, counter rotating crank and an electronic shifter. The STR does have ABS but besides that its pretty sparse. This isn’t a bad thing though as there is less to stuff-up and do you really need all those gizmos?
The MV takes the cake in the looks department. I mean it is an MV Agusta after all and I’m pretty sure it’s a prerequisite that their bikes look good before they are released. The bike has a short rear, shapely lines, a sexual single-sided swing arm and one of the best looking stock exhausts on the market. In saying that, I still like the look of the Street Triple. The low-slung exhaust is a big improvement and I rate its sporty stance. The wonky headlights are a definite ‘what the?’ though.
Firing the bikes up, the MV makes a beautiful mechanical clatter on idle and the exhaust has a metallic rasp, mmm. The STR has an incredibly distinct engine noise. If you haven’t heard it before, the engine has a real whine or ‘whistle’ that increases with the revs. Personally I think this it sounds a bit puss stock, but combine it with an aftermarket exhaust and its pretty tits.
The Brutale’s dash is an all-digital unit. It looks good and is easy to use once you get the hang of it. You can change the settings on the fly to boot. I don’t like Triumphs’ speedometer. In the words of Forest Gump, ‘I may not be a smart man, but I know this speedo’s shit.’ It’s fine if you’re just reading the speed and revs, but changing anything else is a mission. And the shift light is frighteningly bright at night. Buy a blue laser pointer and shine it directly into your eye to get a similar effect.
The differences continue with the motors. The MV without a doubt has more power, acceleration and a better throttle response. MV has done a great job with the ride-by-wire (now it’s sorted). The power is staged and 2 stroke like. She’s a puppy dog off bottom but has a couple of noticeable kicks in the pants as the revs increase. And the bike just loves being revved. And the accompanying exhaust wail at high RPM’s and down shifts…oh yeahhhh.
The Streetie’s engine is smooth, torquey and predictable, but still gets up and bogeys with the best of them. It just lacks the urgency of the MV. Bar an abrupt on/off throttle response, the engine is pretty faultless, just a bit dull in comparison. If you were to shorten the gearing up things would get much more interesting.
So at this point you’re probably thinking ‘OnTheBackWheel is a biased prick’ and hates the Triumph. Well this little Triumph has a couple of tricks up its sleeves.
For starters, the suspension is superior in all ways. I know MV cut some corners making this bike more affordable, but putting non-adjustable suspension on it was a fail in my books. The bike works well on smooth tarmac, but that’s about it. The Triumph tracks so well and is pretty much unflappable. The bike soaks up bumps and allows you to push things with little effort. One point to the English corner.
The Triumph also gets the nod in regards to brakes too. Both have great power (the MV probably pulls up quicker), but the Triumph has an easy pull and progressive feel. The front brakes on the MV have a slightly wooden feel and really take some yanking. I don’t like the ABS rear brake on the STR either, the ABS kicks in too early. Backing into corners is good fun, but having the rear end skipping around with ABS activated is not.
The Triumph is stable at speed and progressively tips into corners. Combine that with the supple suspension and a smooth motor (bar the throttle response) and it is just so easy to ride.
The MV on the other hand feels like a push bike. The way it changes direction and tips into corners is amazing. But combine this with the poor suspension though and it is noticeably harder to ride for longer periods.
And that’s why a lot of people love the Street Triple. It’s just easy to ride. If you were to give the bikes a mark out of 100, I have no doubt it would come on top. The bike is just as good at riding to work as it is carving up corners. For me I would make a couple of simple mods and thrash it. But the MV is the bike I would buy (and did). It is pretty manic, shakes her head over bumps and the seat is horrible. But the chassis corners brilliantly and the engine is fantastic. The engine modes actually work too. Change the map from ‘sport’ to ‘normal’ and it is noticeably less crazy.
At the end of the day, neither bike is perfect. If you were to take the chassis, engine and technology from the Brutale and fit the Street Triples suspension and brakes you’d be getting pretty close though. I would name it…Breet, a weird MV Agusta/Triumph hybrid, frowned upon by society but loved by me.
For an in-depth review on each bike look at my individual reviews: