Brutale Buyers Remorse - BIG TIME - MVAgusta.net
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post #1 of 66 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Brutale Buyers Remorse - BIG TIME

Let me begin by stating that I want to love my Brutale. I've owned dozens of motorcycles over my 40 year riding career, and I've looked forward to getting an MV Agusta for many years.

After searching for quite some time, and with the help of this forum, I finally took the plunge three weeks ago, adding a 2006 910s Brutale with 1700 miles on the clock to my motorcycle stable. It was love at first site - a supermodel graciously accepting my invitation to a long term commitment.

Before moving ahead, I checked with the local dealer, who knew the bike, and he pronounced it "in great shape, very well maintained". In fact he had sold it to the then current owner. I made an appointment for a complete fluid change, suspension adjustment (previous owner is taller and lighter than me) and some other minor things. He suggested, wisely, that I ride it for a few weeks, and then we'll take care of everything.

So today I took the Brut to an ERC at the MSF class. It's an eight hour training, in a closed area (a large parking lot) with a lot of low speed drills (rarely over 25 MPH). Well, it was here that I began to have doubts.

Over the last three weeks, and 400+ miles, I've noticed that the bike stalls frequently. Very frequently. In fact, I've not taken a ride yet without the bike stalling. But they have been spaced out, not frequent. Today, the bike stalled five times on the way to the class, and dozens (no exaggeration) of times on the range.

Because of the low speed riding, and high temperatures, the fans ran often, and caused the battery to drain several times. I couldn't start the bike unless I got a push and popped the clutch. This happened at almost every drill, dozens of times during the day. Each time the battery died out, all of the settings (trip odometer, clock, etc.) erased and reset at zero. Frustrating.

Then the surging started. I've had minor surging over the last three weeks (idle at 1250, races to 1500-2500, then settles back down), but today it was nonstop. The bike raced from idle to 2500 RPM all day long, making slow speed drills very jerky and hard to control. Coupled with the bike stalling I was really getting steamed.

Apparently so was the bike, because I started dripping what everyone agreed was radiator fluid. I guess the low speed drills caused the temps to rise (indicator at 199-204) and the result was a constant spit, or worse, of radiator fluid.

I felt betrayed - kind of like taking a supermodel out to meet the family, and she turns out to be "flatulent" all night long. But that wasn't the end of it. The brakes started to squeal every time I used them. The were not hot to the touch, and were not used very hard at all. The squeal became louder and longer all day long.

So here are my issues, and the question is "Are these problems fixable, or is this what I have to look forward to?"

1) Stalling - this is the reason I am considering a divorce. This is a safety issue, and stalling EVERY TIME I ride the bike isn't acceptable. Worse, when the battery is dead, the only way to restart is popping the clutch. At 60 MPH on the highway, even in top gear, the bike is revving near 4500 RPM. That is a pretty dangerous place to pop the clutch, especially if the clutch isn't a slipper clutch. The bike skidded, but I was ready for it and had feathered the clutch. Still, this is NOT acceptable.

2) Engine surging - from idle to 2500 RPM and back, all the time, every ride, regardless of temperature or distance travelled;

3) Battery is trashed - seems that the battery is at the end of its life - it's original to the bike ( most likely) and is about three years old. Not a lot of miles, but a lot of time. I'm told the replacement battery is pretty expensive, but I've not checked it out. At the class another rider had a voltmeter and I had him check out the alternator, which was functioning well. I recharged the battery during the lunch break - 30 miles of riding at 5K RPMS or higher. The battery drained during an hour later in the day.

4) Radiator cooling appears limited - the fans couldn't keep ahead of the heat buildup by riding and idling gently during a 88 degree day. Unless I shut off the bike and let it cool down, the radiator overheated and spilled fluids everywhere (I'd guess several ounces, but it's hard to tell -- the circle was almost a foot in diameter).

5) Brake squeal - probably a combination of brake dust and possible rust deeper in the brake mechanism. I ride my bikes in all weather, and had ridden in the rain earlier this week. I've ridden all my bikes in rain, and never had brake squeal as a result. The rotors do not appear warped, and the brakes stop well.

6) Ego bruised - Sophia (I name my bikes - can't think of a better model for MV Agusta than Sophia Loren - I'm old and still love her) had a very bad day, and I'm worried if she can recover. When we arrived at the class the instructor came up to me and was drooling over the Brutale "I've always wanted to see one in person". Sophia was in her glory, beaming and proud. I offered him a ride at the end of the class - I thought he'd have to change his underwear he was so excited. Alas, after watching Sophia faint several times, wet her pants and buck like a bronco during low speed maneuvers, he declined a ride at the end of the day. "I didn't know Agusta's were so tempermental. I'll pass. My ride hasn't given me a problem in 80,000 miles (Yamaha FJR, which he rode like a true pro)." Sophia was crushed. I saw her wilt before me, and she wet her pants again, as if on cue. Then she farted, the result of the engine surge. I must say it didn't become her, but I forgive her.

So where do I go from here? A battery and tuneup seems reasonable. But the surging may be a deeper problem - SKU or some other major expense? Overheating - I live in the south, it gets hot early and often. I ride in city traffic over half the time - overheating and a dead battery every other ride isn't what I bargained for. Nor is surging engine RPMs and bad riding manners.

I want this relationship to work - I left my former ride to get the Brutale - I was gentle with Viffer (Honda VFR Anniversary colors) but firm, and I knew Viffer was hurt deeply. Three years together and NEVER a problem - V4 power and a fun ride was just a turn of the key away.

Sophia and I need therapy, and some strong advice to save our relationship -- we are committed to finding the answer, but we both agree that if isn't to be, it's best to part ways now, before deeper feelings of resentment or bitterness poisons our relationship.

Please help - if not for me, for Sophia. She is sobbing in her room (a very comfortable garage where she is free to socialize with the BMW or the Jaguar), and being fed a trickle charge until her vital signs return to normal. It pains me to see her like this, and she is still wetting her pants.

"When in doubt - hit the throttle, you'll either solve the problem or remove the suspense."

Last edited by lencap; 05-01-2010 at 10:04 PM.
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post #2 of 66 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 06:02 PM
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When I got my '08 910 R one of the first things I did was take a similar course in a parking lot. I found out quickly that the throttle abruptness was most noticable at low speeds (and around 2000 rpm). There are a number of fixes (see my profile for for what I did) to help the situation. You should be able to get rid of the stalling and greatly lessen the abruptness. On a spirited ride, which is what most do with these bikes, you may very well get to appreciate the hair trigger response of the throttle. For low speed parking lot stuff this is not the ideal bike. Most that have these sort out as much of the abruptness as they need and love the bike for what it does well. The new ones are supposed to be more tame, but not everyone is looking for that. Good luck. Now that you have the bike try and sort throught the issues. You may well get to love it as most of us do.
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post #3 of 66 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 06:35 PM
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At the risk of sounding like jerk, the bike is not the problem. Would you take a ferrari to drivers ed? That bike is meant to be ridden. Hard.
Before you divorce, go to a track day. Once you ride her the way she is meant to be ridden, she will treat you right.

You took your super model to Dairy Queen when what she needs is coldstone creamery.
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post #4 of 66 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 06:35 PM
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At the risk of sounding like jerk, the bike is not the problem. Would you take a ferrari to drivers ed? That bike is meant to be ridden. Hard.
Before you divorce, go to a track day. Once you ride her the way she is meant to be ridden, she will treat you right.

You took your super model to Dairy Queen when what she needs is coldstone creamery.
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post #5 of 66 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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BobK - thanks for the reply, I'll check out your mods. CAG, of all people you could never sound like a jerk. Your posts are uniformly informative and friendly, and frankly a large number of them helped me decide to get the Brutale to begin with.

I do realize that slow speed stop and go riding isn't what the Brutale was built to do. But, I do live in a city and have to put up with city traffic, at least until I can get to less crowded roads.

The stalling is my main problem, and something that isn't related to the motorcycle class. It's happened on every ride, just more of it today. The battery dying I can attribute to age and today's conditions. The question about the SKU is something that is also of concern. I've read many posts on this forum about stalling, and it seems not to be an isolated problem, and some have suggested that it's related to SKU problems.

I haven't noticed any posts that equate surging or stalling to a weak battery - but I guess it's possible. All I want to do is fix Sophia - divorce is a messy process, both sides lose. I've waited a long time to get an Agusta, I'm not going to let it go easily. I just want to have a better idea of what I face before beginning the corrections, and I also would like to know if any suggested fixes will cure the problems or if they'll remain issues in the future.

I've owned Alfa Romeos (GTV-6; 164LS, Spider Veloce) all wonderful cars with a soul. They too were tempermental, but I stuck with them over many years because when they were in the "sweet spot" there was little that compared with them. I expect that the Brutale will surpass my fond Alfa memories - I just want to be sure I'm up to the task and that I address everything instead of having things uncorrected.

Again, I'm in love, not looking for a divorce. If the bike never ran again, I'd put it in my living room and feel the money was well spent as sculpture.

Thanks also to this forum - great people, great advice and very friendly. You're all invited to Sophia's debutant ball.

"When in doubt - hit the throttle, you'll either solve the problem or remove the suspense."
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post #6 of 66 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 07:01 PM
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+1 it's a love and hate relationship.... once you got it dialed in to your specs it'll be perfect... little patience... we have tons of brut riders here that can give you assistance on those glitches....
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post #7 of 66 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 07:28 PM
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Yeah, I've been noticing the stalling as well on my '06 Brutale 910, which I bought from the dealer a couple weeks ago with 13k miles on it - absolutely mint condition. In the first few rides around the city, I noticed that she was stalling at idle, which is usually around 1.2-1.3k - quite embarrassing when I'm at the stoplight next to the lovely ladies. So at stops, I've been keeping the throttle open at 2k, which is quite difficult given the feather touch. Frustrated, I finally took her back to the dealer, who indicated it's a rather low idle RPM (said it should be at 1.6k) - indicated it's a fixable problem, but the hiccups were most likely due to the bike being stored in the garage for so long and in need of a good breaking in. Taking her in next week for a full diagnosis.

But I took her on an intense group marathon around the Bay Area last night - revving to red on countless occasions, and *finally* popping her into fourth (been keeping her within second, if not first, throughout the city). The stalling was non-existant when we came back into the city.

I'm definitely a Brut noob, but +1 on the comments that the Brutale is *not* a city bike and is meant to be ridden hard...and fast. I came from a Ducati Monster which was perfect for my commute, and I expected the same from MV. I don't regret the purchase one bit, but I'm definitely keeping my eyes open for another Duc for my day-to-day...

'06 MV Brutale 910
'00 Monster 900Sie (sold)
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post #8 of 66 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 08:07 PM
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I too had similar problems with my '06, which turned out to be battery issues. A BMW/MV Agusta Dealer installed the wrong battery to get me on the road (unbeknown to me) and the stalling and dead battery issues were a little tough to diagnose (who'd look for the problem to be the new battery?) But a (very economical) battery from E-Bay solved that problem altogether. I also learned that the charging system will not replenish the battery under the circumstances you described...Or putting around town, for that matter. Different kind of bike, one not intended for that environment.
Temp issues? Yes, again these Butales are meant to be unleashed and are happiest when allowed to run unbridled. Not happy in stop and go environments for which they were not designed. I had expected the plastic fan to melt by now and obtained an aluminum replacement (which I have yet to install), but I find that if I ride the Brute in a 'go' environment it runs at perfectly normal temps.
Sophia is provably just fine, a little temperamental when asked to perform in a parking lot with an old battery (which, by the way I keep on a tender, learned my lesson), a high-bred aristocrat being asked to behave as a commoner. (Heh, heh) The coolant leak ought to be easy to diagnose and could be overflow at those temps. Don't know about that brake squeal as mine is whisper quiet and authoritative when asked to whoa, but that ought to be a pretty straightforward fix (glazing? debris? Have you looked at it yet?) I find myself kneeling in front of the MV altar looking at this bike more than other bikes I own..."It's amazing how much you can see by just looking" (Yogi Berra).
Yup, it's an Italian mistress: Gorgeous, temperamental and willing to play...by its own rules.


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post #9 of 66 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 08:08 PM
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My wife's 07 Brutale 910R had some stalling issues. The battery went bad and I replaced it. The bike has been running fine since. I would replace the battery and have the bike properly serviced. I agree with CAG. I can think of no bike that is worse to go play with in a parking lot than a Brutale unless it would be an F4. You can get a replacement battery over at Batteries Plus on Atlantic Avenue for $69.95 and I am sure that Doug up at Matison can service the bike properly. I would replace the coolant also.
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post #10 of 66 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for the posts. I was brash in my initial post - BIG TIME definitely overstated my frustration. Maybe big time was more appropriate, or even - little time.

Now that I've had a good meal, taken a shower and wiped the day's grime away with a nice bottle of vino, I went back to Sophia's home and had a chat with her. She was hurt, feeling that I loved her only for her body, and didn't appreciate the rest of her.

"What about that ride the other night - you know the one that left a smile on your face all night? Or what about the fact that every day you've taken me out, someone comes up to you and asks about me?"

She's right, Sophia gets more attention than almost any other bike I've ever had. And so what is the problem if I need to get it properly tuned and serviced by the local dealer (Thanks Martin, I've all ready left a message with Doug). I've only had three weeks with my Brutale and I still admire the bike every time I see it. And even with the "character" issues I've described earlier, the bike has more capability than I have skill.

Maybe I should get a Vespa for my in town riding - small, easy to ride or park, and enough storage to take care of everyday needs. Maybe Sophia would feel better with a fellow countryman to talk to.

In any event, my apologies to the forum - I spoke rashly and denigrated Sophia when it was my fault that she was asked to do things that were far beneath her station in life.

CAG was right, you don't take a Ferrari to driving school, and you don't ask an Italian princess to wash the dishes.

Thanks everyone - I feel better, and I've promised Sophia that I'll have her properly serviced this week.

"When in doubt - hit the throttle, you'll either solve the problem or remove the suspense."
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