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2011 MV Agusta Brutale 1090R Review


by Josée Bouchard

What a looker! The aggressively styled MV Agusta Brutale 1090R made its debut in Canada in 2011, and I was stoked! How often do you get the chance to ride a bike from this storied Italian brand? As soon as I twisted the key in the ignition, I felt tremendously happy and eager to hit the open road and rush-hour traffic.

2011 MV Agusta Brutale 1090R front 3/4 view
The 2011 MV Agusta Brutale 1090R, a great ride for thrill seekers and experienced riders! (Photo: Mv Augusta)

While the Brutale 990R remains in the lineup, the 1090R stands out with a new powerplant, 8-level traction control, new chassis settings, and a redesigned rider's seat. A quick walk-around also reveals superior attention to detail, with a flawless paint job and finish.

Here I go!
The 2011 MV Agusta Brutale 1090R is fairly tall, even with the seat set in the lowest position (at least for me and my 5'4'' frame). With the bike resting on its side stand, I could easily swing my legs on each side, which meant that I would have to be extra careful in order to avoid falling off my perch.

I managed to remove the stand using every last fibre of my short left leg, and then I struggled with the mirrors, whose placement seem like an afterthought justified only by some safety requirement. Failure to adjust them properly resulted in me seeing a mere five feet of road behind the motorcycle. I tried again while on the go, but to no avail. Clearly, the mirrors need to be revised and/or repositioned.

The Brutale 1090R took off quite smoothly, much to my delight, but I had to hang on every time I shifted gears because the force kept throwing me back. However, it all quickly became very pleasant and nearly addictive. Modulating the throttle is no picnic; it's more like turning a switch on and off. As I found out, and you will too, the Brutale didn't get its name by accident. Seasoned riders will likely tame the beast in a short time, though.

A transmission that meets expectations
I spent some time about town before venturing onto the highway. This machine proves to be very nimble and agile in traffic, with a generous engine brake and torque that make for easy getaways. Unlike the 1090RR variant, which benefits from a slipper clutch, the MV Agusta Brutale 1090R feels like riding a V-twin with significant engine brake when you release the throttle. That's cool since you don't have to rely on the disc brakes as often when tackling overcrowded city streets.

2011 MV Agusta Brutale 1090R right side view
This machine proves to be very nimble and agile in traffic, with a generous engine brake and torque that make for easy getaways. (Photo: Josée Bouchard)
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