MV-AGUSTA BRUTALE 800RR SCS (2020 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Beautiful, refined finish
  • Excellent handling
  • Automatic clutch

At a glance

Power: 138 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.7 in / 830 mm)
Weight: Low (386 lbs / 175 kg)

Prices

New £14,680
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

It’s nice to see how the MV Agusta Brutale 800RR has come of age and blossomed into a refined, capable, but still exhilarating naked supersport weapon.

It doesn’t come with the latest generation electronics, colour dash, or electronic suspension but it’s still well equipped, beautifully finished and the racket from its autoblipper alone is reason to reach for your wallet.

The addition of its automatic clutch doesn’t bring anything to the party for normal riding, or take anything away, but it works perfectly and saves effort through traffic, around town and adds an extra layer of specialness to the riding experience.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Our test bike is the most refined, capable and exciting Brutale 800RR we’ve thrown a leg over. Everything from the power of its brutal Brembos, to the way it rolls beautifully into corners and the riotous din from its three slash cut pipes is feelgood overload.

The hard seat is a pain after a few hours and it gets fidgety over bumpy backroads but the MV handles and hangs on like a supersport racer over smooth ground.

MV Agusta Brutale 800RR SCS right turn

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Brutale 800RR has the most visceral autoblipper in biking. Rich, gravelly and mechanical, every burst of power shoots three-cylinder chills through your body as each cog slices precisely home. It’s just as tuneful on the way up, with a loud crack through the quickshifter as the revs kiss the redline.

The MV’s electronic shifters deserve a place in an orchestra, but that’s not what makes the Italian so unique. There’s an extra back brake pedal down by your right foot and when you let the clutch out in first gear, nothing happens…

It’s because this is the new MV Agusta Brutale 800RR SCS (Smart Clutch System). It still has a normal six-speed gearbox with that blood-spitting shifter and blipper, but for pulling away and coming to a stop you never need to operate the clutch lever. It’s impossible to stall.

Think of it as a reverse slipper clutch – when the motor is under load it engages and gives you drive and when it’s not it disengages, so when you roll to a stop, in any gear, it acts like it’s in neutral. To pull away, just select first (if you hadn’t changed down already), twist and go.

Based on a Rekluse automatic clutch from the off-road world and refined using the MV’s ride-by-wire electronics, the system weighs just 36 grams more than a Brutale 800RR’s conventional clutch.

MV Agusta Brutale 800RR SCS extra brake lever

MV have got it working perfectly and even added that parking brake to stop it rolling away when it’s parked on a hill (the gear will no longer hold it). It gives you the involvement and control of charging up and down the gears but makes stop/start riding as easy as riding a scooter. You can still use the clutch normally if you want – to tease up a wheelie, perhaps, but you don’t need to.

We’ve tested MV’s SCS before on the 2018 Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso. It makes a lot of sense on a tourer where you’re doing lots of low-speed and sometimes two-up work, but this is the first time an automatic clutch has appeared on a supersport naked like this. It’s now also fitted to the 2020 Dragster 800RR.

Once you’re moving the SCS doesn’t make any difference to the ride, as you don’t need to use the clutch with a shifter and blipper anyway, even at modest speeds, but when you slow down you don’t need to feather the clutch or pull it in. Just stamp on the gear lever and let the clutch do the rest.

With 138bhp to play with the MV never feels slow and there’s so much midrange grunt the Brutale is always straining at the leash, even in top gear. In fact, it has more oomph at road speeds than its 205bhp Brutale 1000RR sister, which makes the 800RR feel far more alive and exciting.

It’s also revvier and more involving than even the best big super nakeds, although with a chassis based on the original F3 675 race rep, it isn’t as spacious and returning 36mpg it’ll only do 100 miles before the fuel light (and 132 to empty).

The SCs model is based on the updated 2018 Brutale 800RR, which got a new cylinder head, cams, primary gears, starter clutch, gears and ride-by-wire updates. MV also refined the chassis with calmer steering geometry, beefier engine mounts, tweaked suspension internals and lighter wheels.

MV Agusta Brutale 800RR SCS rear wheel and exhaust

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

As you’d expect the MV is finished to perfection and now even comes with a three-year warrantee and two years' roadside assistance, which makes ownership more attractive than ever.

MV Agusta Brutale 800RR SCS rear quarter

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

It isn’t cheap and insurance will reflect its high ticket value, so it’s more of a machine for the fortunate few, but it’s worth it if you can afford it and the auto clutch gives it an extra string to its bow. 

There are plenty of cheaper alternatives to consider in the middleweight naked sector including the Kawasaki Z900, Triumph Street Triple RS and Yamaha MT-09 SP.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

The 800RR has Brembos, fully adjustable suspension and grippy Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres, but doesn’t have the Brutale 1000RR’s more advanced rider aids, but there’s so much grip it’s never a problem and it still has traction/wheelie control, ABS, rider modes and an up/down shifter.  

It makes do with a now old-school black and white LCD dash (with laughably dull idiot lights), but with most of your time spent looking at the road, a colour display is a nicety you can easily live without.

MV Agusta Brutale 800RR SCS dash

Specs

Engine size 798cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 12v, inline triple
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 16.5 litres
Seat height 830mm
Bike weight 175kg
Front suspension Marzocchi 43mm forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension Single Sachs shock, fully adjustable
Front brake 2 x 320mm front discs with four-piston Brembo radial calipers. ABS
Rear brake 220mm rear disc with twin-piston Brembo caliper ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 36 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost -
New price £14,680
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Three years

Top speed & performance

Max power 138 bhp
Max torque 64 ft-lb
Top speed 150 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 132 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2013: 125bhp Brutale 800 launched. Based on the three-cylinder F3 675 supersport machine, with a bigger engine it sat it in the middle of MV’s naked range, in between the Brutale 675 and the four-cylinder 1090R and 1090RR.

2014: RR version gets a host of fruity engine and chassis upgrades. Power is boosted to 138bhp

2018: Brutale 800RR is updated to Euro4 with engine, gearbox and chassis updates, but power remains the same.

2020: Brutale 800RR SCS. Same as the 2018 model but comes with an automatic clutch.

Other versions

Brutale 800RR: The same as the SCS but without the automatic clutch.

Brutale 800RC SCS - Reparto Corse limited edition version of the Brutale 800 with the automatic clutch fitted.

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