MV Agusta Brutale 989R


Make Model

MV Agusta Brutale 989R


2008 - 09


Four stroke, transverse four cylinder. DOHC, 4 radial valves per cylinder


982.3 cc / 59.9 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 79 x 50.1 mm
Cooling System Cooling with separated liquid and oil radiators
Compression Ratio 12.2:1


Mulitpoint electronic injection


Digital CDI
Starting Electric

Max Power

141 hp / 102.9 kW) @ 10900 rpm

Max Torque

123.5 Nm / 91.8 lb-ft @ 8100 rpm

Clutch Wet, multiplate


6 Speed
Final Drive Chain
Gear Ratio 1st Speed 13/38 109.7 km/h (68.1 mph) at 11600 rpm
2nd Speed 16/34 150.8 km/h (93.6 mph) at 11600 rpm
3rd Speed 18/32 180.3 km/h (111.9 mph) at 11600 rpm
4t Speed 20/30 213.7 km/h (132.7 mph) at 11600 rpm
5th Speed 22/29 243.2 km/h (151.0 mph) at 11600 rpm
6th Speed 19/23 265.0 km/h (164.5 mph) at 11600 rpm
Frame CrMo Steel tubular trellis and aluminium alloy

Front Suspension

Upside-down telescopic hydraulic fork with rebound-compression damping and spring preload adjustment

Rear Suspension

Progressive, single shock absorber with rebound compression damping and spring preload

Front Brakes

2x 320mm discs 4 piston caliper

Rear Brakes

Single 210mm disc 4 piston caliper

Front Tyre

120/70 ZR 17

Rear Tyre

190/55 ZR 17
Trail 102 mm / 4.0 in
Dimensions Length 2020 mm / 79.5 in
Width  760 mm / 29.9 inc
Wheelbase 1410 mm / 55.5 in
Seat Height 805 mm / 31.7 in
Ground Clearance 135 mm / 5.3 in

Dry Weight

185 kg / 407.9 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

19 Litres / 5.0 US gal

Standing ¼ Mile  

11.1 sec

Top Speed

246.6 km/h


The Brutale is the result of never-ending research by MV engineers seeking to make improvements and satisfy the demands of MV riders. The Brutale stands for vanity and power.

To create such a spectacularly beautiful naked motorcycle calls for great attention to be paid to even the very smallest detail. When a man buys a suit it can be given a nip here and a tuck there to disguise any imperfections he may have. The same can certainly not be said for a naked man or naked bike where nothing can be hidden. The only clothes a Brutale has are its tank and side panels. The rest is engineering.

The very essence of MV Agusta as a company dictates that appearances are never overlooked for functionality. They have always sought to create pleasing lines between the handlebars, frame, exhausts, saddle, wheels and fittings that, in this case, combine the “Brutale” looks with its character and performance. So, after the 750 and 910 cc models, it was felt time to breathe some new life into the machine with increases in cubic capacity, torque and power output.

Other changes were slight tweaks and the addition of an “R”. Capacity went from 909 to 982 cc bringing the engine close to the performance characteristics of a one litre machine and it once again left the competition floundering in its slipstream. We believe that the Brutale 989R is the only motorbike currently available at an affordable price and that it has a sense of “pull” that is unmatched in the motorbike world. It has a soul that cries out not only for accomplished riders but that also wants to be treated with tenderness and aggression at the same time, someone able to tame the power of the new engine. Machines like the Brutale 989R need a long life. By their nature they are presumptuous enough to believe that they are the be all and end all of the evolutionary process of motorcycling. The Brutale is not just a motorbike, it is a symbol, it is passion and, it is a reason to be.


The Brutale is unique in both its concept and in the mystique it exudes. It is not just a question of lines but also of the love for a motorbike that should never be just a cold collection of technical elements. There has to be passion, brilliance and love. Only an Italian company like MV Agusta could create such a machine. Iit is the details that make all the difference on a ‘naked’. The instrument panel will have new graphics to highlight the Brutale’s new image. It is the engineering components that, more than any other element, redefine the look of the machine and underscore the “Brutale effect” i.e. power and performance. To achieve this, components have been taken from the MV Agusta racing department.

Work on equipping and fine-tuning the Brutale 989R limits the introduction of radical new technical solutions and the new “evolution package” consists of the following:

  • - decals and colour schemes;

  • - instrument panel graphics;

  • - revised suspension calibration;

  • - 989 cc engine;

  • - resized catalysers;

  • - Brembo radial brakes.

The number of modifications made to transform the Brutale 910S to the 989R were inversely proportional. Changes to the ride have made the Brutale seem like a different bike altogether.


Nine hundred and ten ccs weren’t enough it would seem for many riders. They wanted more pull, more torque, more horsepower. They wanted more and that was that. With its new 982 cc engine, the Brutale will sate the insatiable. This isn’t so much a matter of seeking maximum performance as of taming four cylinders to work together to offer a perfectly balanced ride. This is no easy feat when you’re dealing with 141 HP shoe-horned into a small compact frame like the one on the Brutale. Bore and stroke now measure 79 and 50.1 mm. The pistons are the same as those on the 1,078 cc version and the compression ratio has been lowered to meet Euro 3 homologation requirements. The reduction however has been achieved in a particular way so as to soften the surge when torque really kicks in. Another reason is that with the engine in its new configuration, the pull offered by as muscular an engine as the one in the new 989R means that less compression is needed and it leaves the 910 behind in terms of response and range. The graphics confirm this notion.

All the technical development work focussed on obtaining a smoother response to the throttle to thus offer an easier ride especially in the stop/start traffic we see in built-up areas. The bigger catalyser also played an essential role in this issue. It has meant more room to manoeuvre with emissions and thus allowed a richer mix. The fitting of new throttle bodies inherited from the F4 R ’06 involved making the final drive ratio longer by using two teeth less and the ratio now reads 15/41 as opposed to 15/43. This modification has elongated the overall gearing and as a result, the top speed has increased by between 3 and 6 mph over previous figures to take the Brutale 989R up to 165 mph flat out.


Retaining the chrome-molybdenum trellis frame was a simple choice for MV. The trellis frame is more than merely aesthetically pleasing, it capably handles the reconfigured engine power output and last of all, is easy to work on when so required. In the first versions of the Brutale, the frame was designed to bear theoretical torsion and flexing parameters greater than those it would in fact have to handle. This was because we knew that eventually we would arrive where we are today. Therefore – no changes needed. The geometry is the same as are the other settings as proof of the fact that we knew right from the start where we would end. The rake is 101.5 mm (3.99 in), the wheelbase measures 1,410 mm (55.51 in) and the maximum overall length is 2,020 mm (79.52 in) for an overall weight of 185 kilos (407.8 lb). The classic single rear swingarm sets the scene and is a symbol of technology and originality.

It is a perfect example of art on two wheels not to mention its performance. All of MV’s considerable experience has gone into making this bike compact, mean, and superbly rideable.


The addition of new brakes and the increased power output of the 989 cc engine have meant making changes to the front forks. The ends now have lugs to carry radial mounted calipers while internal calibration has been modified to handle the increased loads the suspension will have to deal with. Great care has been taken to ensure that none of the comfort that a bike like the Brutale 989R provides its rider is lost. For this reason, the type of forks remains unchanged and the Brutale boasts a pair of upside down 50 mm Marzocchi to keep the front end glued to the road when the rider is using the machine with a certain degree of zest. Travel has been extended from 126 to 130 mm (4.96 – 5.11 in) to offer a better response over bumpy surfaces.

The rear shock absorber remains unchanged. The new calibration parameters match the bike’s performance and can react instantly to the heavy compression the swingarm is subjected to under the hard acceleration that the bike provides thanks to increased torque from the bigger engine.


The new Brutale is now even more Italian with new Brembo brakes. The new system on the 989R features 32mm radial units with four-piston calipers. The increased stopping power is offset by better usability on the road and therefore better overall performance.

The Brembo forged aluminium five-spoke wheels measure 3.50” x 17” at the front and 6.00” x 17” at the rear with 120/70 ZR 17 and 190/55 ZR 17 tyres.


THE Brutale has always been hard edged and hard to get the best out of during its entire model run, from the original 750cc model right up to the 910. MV’s new 989 R is no less a rider’s bike, it demands you are up to the task but there isn’t the untamed rawness like before, there is some refinement in the 989 R.

It’s hard not to like the Brutale 989 R, it looks unbelievably aggressive, goes like stink and most riders could never truly trouble the handling. All the previous Brutales have been like this but what makes this one so much better? In my humble opinion the fuelling does. Gone is the light switch fuel delivery which had you lurching like a learner in traffic, either surging forward almost uncontrollably or inducing violent engine braking. Sure out on the open road this was vastly less noticeable but it was always there, somewhat spoiling the ride of an otherwise awesome machine.

And then there was the suspension – settings ranging from extremely hard to ridiculously hard. The first time I rode a Brutale it was on crap roads. I actually stopped three times to adjust the suspension in a 65 kilometre journey, it was that unforgiving. I never could tell the difference each time I made the adjustments. Even on the softest setting it was kidney bruising.
It might sound like I’m giving the earlier models a torrid time. I enjoyed riding them but I enjoyed riding the 989 R much more.

The inline four-cylinder engine now displaces 982cc (it was 909cc before). It’s not really that different in specification to the 910, 16 valves, a compression ratio of 12.2:1, Weber Marelli fuel injection and engine management system, cassette-style six-speed gearbox, wet clutch. The result is 104kW (142 hp) at 11,000rpm, just 650 rpm shy of the redline. Max torque of 104.5Nm is reached at 7,800rpm, so on paper you get the impression there’s no need to rev the bejesus out of the engine. In the real world it loves to rev all the way to redline, without a clearly noticeable drop off in power near the top.

The chassis mixes the chrome-moly trellis frame with the beautiful alloy single-sided swingarm, massive Marzocchi 50mm fully adjustable upside down forks grace the front – check out the size of the triple clamps – and a fully adjustable rear shock (inc high and low speed damping) does duty at the business end.  

Six-piston Nissin calipers may have been used for aeons on the previous models but now the Aprilia has gone all-Italian. Radial-mount four-piston Brembos grab 310mm discs on the front while a four-piston single calliper does likewise with a 210mm disc at the rear. A four-piston caliper on the rear may seem like overkill but it doesn’t seem to work that well anyway, a fault many Italian bikes are afflicted with these days. It’s almost like they’ve fed the rear caliper a diet of Ritalin to keep it under control.  

The wheels are regular in size, 3.5 inch front and six inch rear. What’s not regular is the look, the star design is very modern and befitting of a bike of this quality.

Styling of the Brutale has been evolution rather than revolution over the years, but it still looks horn. What do I like about it? For me it’s the engine out in the breeze, the single sided swingarm/wheel combination and the twin exhausts up one side. Everything else ties those styling cues together. If you think it’s ugly, get a Labrador and a cane to guide you around.
The bike doesn’t come at a bargain basement price so you expect a high level of quality in the bike. Everywhere you look it’s obvious much thought went into the original design and it’s the way in which the minimalist approach works with the obviously expensive look that sets the 989 R apart from many of its rivals. Sort of like a muscle bound boxer in an Armani suit.  

On the street

The riding position is compact front to rear, it feels very short from handlebars to seat for a six-footer. Riding a Brutale is always a slightly strange sensation, almost like you are too far forward over the ’bars. But you soon get used to it, and this riding position comes into its own when you start attacking the corners.

And attacking the corners is where the 989 R is at home. There’s so much grunt on offer you can either hold a gear and let the torque do the work or you can work the gearbox hard and go at it like a loony. Either way you will be rewarded with a fantastic ride. I much preferred to use the torque approach, you could keep the bike composed easier with less cog swapping. Even if you over-braked for a corner and found yourself in too high a gear exiting the corner, the 989 R would just motor out without fuss. But the best approach was to hold one gear, keep off the brakes as much as possible and let the massive engine braking slow you down.

We’ve worked out the fuelling is much better than before, and so is the suspension. It feels more compliant and is now actually fun to ride on a bumpy road rather than skipping from bump to bump like before. It’s no adventure tourer but you get the drift.  


MV’s engineers have done a great job taming the engine while still keeping the character. It’s still not perfect in the fuelling department, but then again there are always trade-offs in achieving the high power outputs in modern bikes.

When it comes to aggression they don’t come much more punch happy than the Brutale 989 R. But the punch is now softened slightly, rather than go in fists blazing there’s some Ali inspired dancing like a butterfly. It still packs a massive sting though.

Source cycletorque.com.au