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2010 MV Agusta Brutale: Nakedness Dressed To Thrill
by dan coe
Monday, December 21, 2009 For motorcyclists, Italy truly is the land of milk and honey. Perhaps the country could best be described as the Mecca of speed and everything lightweight. Whether created from carbon fiber, titanium, or forged magnesium, or designed around exotic components from companies like Brembo, Marchesini, or MV Agusta's own Cagiva Research Centre (CRC), in the world of performance, Italy truly sets the standard.
When it comes to iconic Italian status and the art of design, MV Agusta stands with exemplary status, in some eyes still unrivaled in many of corsa's circles. The legendary marque invited Soup to attend the official unveiling of the 2010 Brutale and test the all-new model at Misano in the Italian Rivera.
Incidentally, the introduction followed closely on the heels of Harley-Davidson's decision to sell its interest in MV Agusta. But, long before the present politics and possibilities of current corporate restructuring—back in 2007—MV's engineers began the process of entirely redesigning their lineup of Brutale naked sportbikes. For the stone-cold-serious MV Agusta devotee, it's hard to believe he/she felt that the motorcycle—a bike many still believe is the most elegant naked sportbike in the world—would require even so much as a facelift. Yet, CRC's engineers had been anything but idle, producing not one, but two completely new Brutales for the coming year.
The 990R & 1090RR
For 2010, the Brutale line will feature two models, the slightly smaller 990R replacing the 910 (909.1cc) Brutale last released in the 2008 model year, and also for 2010, a fresh, new 1090RR that punts last year's Brutale 1078RR from the playing field, with both machines undergoing an 85% redesign of completely reprised and non-interchangeable parts from earlier models.
With both machines being exceptional examples of naked sportbikes in their own rights, MV elected to offer each model to their consumers in the coming year. The 990R receives all of the major updates along with its big brother, yet the 990R will be priced with an MSRP that is actually lower than the 2008 910R. MV is targeting the smaller Brutale at the rider who might seek to spend fewer dollars, or demand fractionally less than the ultimate performance delivered by the larger 1090RR.
Starting with the engine packages, only the displacements, color of the valve covers, and a slipper clutch complementing the latest 1078cc 1090RR differentiate the 990R and 1090RR powerplants. The smaller-displacement 990cc engine has undergone a change of bore and stroke, moving from the previous 982.3cc capacity (a bore and stroke of 79mm x 50.1mm), to 998cc, this with a smaller 76mm bore and a longer 55mm stroke. Other than the increase in the 990R's displacement, MV still retains their exclusive radial valve design and center-of-engine cam chain positioning. With the larger Brutale, the engine's displacement remains unchanged at 1078cc. Engineers were already satisfied both with the torque and peak power that the previous 1070cc engine produced. So, instead of more output, attention was devoted to improving power delivery and feel.
Aside from retaining the same layout—MV's traditional design—both engines receive completely redesigned cases. The newly cast blocks alone result in a weight savings of 1.32 lbs. Now housed inside the new mill is an internal counter-rotating balance shaft using rubber dampers, the addition necessary to quietly mitigate unwanted torsional and secondary vibrations from the inline four. The balancer is located just off center at the right front of the engine and is driven directly from the crank's primary gear. Other similarities between the 2010 engines include the sharing of identical internal primary gear and transmission ratios, with the Brutale's gearbox designed around cassette-type removal and a totally new gear selection mechanism with externally fixed electronic gear-position sensor. The revised gear selector increases shifting leverage and also helps to more easily locate neutral, while the electronic gear indicator is an integral part of the Brutale's new eight-position traction control.
The new counter-balancer is only the start. Within the lower end, MV has totally revised both the lubrication and cooling supply systems. A redesigned oil pump provides improved oiling--now almost a pound lighter, yet with greater volumetric efficiency, especially at higher oil temperatures. Moving oil is now drawn through a longer pickup positioned both deeper and more forward in a much larger sump. Additional refinements to the lubrication system include the relocation of the oil filter, now moved from its previous location at the front of the engine (caged by the headers), to the bottom of the new, larger sump. The filter type also changes from a canister to an environmentally friendly, replaceable paper-style filter element--this allowing for much easier servicing via its below-engine access.
A complete redesign of the water pump resulted in a 65% improvement in cooling, reducing water temps particularly at idle and lower rpms. The pump's impellor is smaller, lighter, and receives a new seal proven to be more reliable than the seal used previously.
New Electronics, Now With Traction Control & Optional Throttle Response Programmability
Atop both of the new powerplants, MV engineers adapted completely new fuel injection systems. The change is designed to help blend throttle response, especially in the transitions from closed and partial-throttle openings. Truly a first for MV Agusta, a compact set of 46mm Mikuni throttle bodies sporting new single injectors with more spray accuracy have been matched with an updated Magnetti Marelli 5SM ECU. This Japanese-Italian union places the throttle's potentiometer on centerline with the throttle bodies, resulting in more-consistent calibration from bike to bike--an advantage for initial dealer prep and future servicing, as well.
Marelli's 5SM ECU contains updated hardware required to control what is the Brutale's most important new innovation: an eight-position Traction Control system. This TC system does not rely on wheel speed sensors but, instead, monitors the crankshaft acceleration rates in each gear--this based on preset algorithms and transmission gear selection. A computer now selectively controls the amount of wheel spin generated by the rider. The amount of TC control is selectable via the left switch group on the handlebar, with position eight being maximum and zero essentially nullifying the intervention. In addition to the TC system, the ECU now controls spark advance, fuel injection, and exhaust valve actuation--different for each gear including neutral. The new 5SM electronic package also offers the rider two different throttle-response programs, the first allowing for maximum engine output from closed to fully open and the second option providing a softer, less abrupt engine response upon opening, ultimately returning to full power at 100% throttle.
Outside of the engine, additional space has been created with the fitment of a new, lightweight oil-cooled starter generator assembly, now smaller, more compact, and quieter. Improved silencing is due to internal rubber dampers that reduce both noise and vibration. Aside from the new components being 2.64 lbs lighter, the added space provided room for both the voltage regulator and new exhaust valve actuator. With the addition of this valve in combination with weld-free and newly streamlined mufflers, MV claims the note from the exhaust system is both quieter and more refined.
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