I always thought that Ducati made a mistake by producing the Monster 600. Think about the name for a second…
The Monster was a brutal, stripped-down version of the 900 SS. The original one was available with a 900cc engine only, and later Ducati made an S4 version by using the engine of the 916, turning it into a “Freakin’ Monster”. But by fitting a 600cc engine they made a beginner-friendly naked bike. To be honest, I thought MV Agusta made the same mistake with the Brutale, in reducing the engine size from 1000cc to 800cc and from 4 to 3 cylinders. So can it still be called Brutale?
It looks like it goes
To be precise the bike we have here today is not the standard one. This one is the most extreme version, the Dragster RR. MV gave it a more aggressive look, more power, and a bigger rear tire. But is it enough to deserve its name?
Let’s begin with the style. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the most aggressive looking naked bike I’ve seen in a while, with a bunch of craziness in every detail. For example, spoked wheels are something that you can see on classic bikes or restyled café racers but not on a sporty naked bike with a new futuristic design. But they nailed it. And then there are these three exhaust pipes and the short tail that makes its look even more dramatic. Even the instruments are a wonderful piece of design and something beautiful to look at.
The Brutale looks amazing and in such a unique way that it confirms again that MV knows how a motorcycle should look like. And I like the style and its soul. While the KTM Superduke is a hooligan with a baseball bat, the Dragster is more like a punk with a college degree.
The sitting position is fairly upright and the three cylinder sounds like a symphony. The day we choose for our test was rainy and cold, but thanks to the 8 level traction control I felt pretty confident during the acceleration test. By the release of the clutch, the engine pulls and screams like a racing bike, more than the standard one. 20HP more, to be precise. The gears are perfectly chosen to make the best use of the 140HP and the quick shifter is simply an amplifier of emotions.
How does it feel?
I only had the possibility to ride it in slow corners and in the city and some remote urban areas; all sadly in the rain.
During the riding test, I had the feeling that everything was perfectly calibrated to fit together. The power is a lot but it’s not too much, it doesn’t scare. The frame is compact, it’s very light without feeling unstable. It’s pretty close to perfection, you might think. But it’s not quite there…
While the handling is fine I remain skeptic about the entry of the corner and the direction changing. And it has nothing to do with the frame or the front (fork by Marzocchi), which is solid and very communicative. It needs to be pulled into the corner with a bit more body work but once it’s in, it feels on rails. I think the problem is in the rear. You see, sometimes fashion dictates how things should look like, often at the cost of practicality and putting a 200 rear tire here is just too much. I think this bike would be perfect with an 180 or even a 190. In other words, you can’t explore the full potential and agility of the Dragster because a big rear tire is holding it back.
A second thought
So it has a big fat tire and a passenger saddle big enough for a short romance but not for a lasting relationship. So you need a thin girlfriend but you’ll get one because you ride an MV Agusta with a price tag of €16,500. But do I care about all these? No, I don’t. It has this Italian charm that would win my heart even if it didn’t have a seat at all. For fashion reasons of course. As we stopped for lunch we realized that no matter where we’ve been, everybody stopped to look at it even if they weren’t interested in motorbikes. You don’t need perfection to win someone’s heart.