Triumph Street Triple RS vs MV Agusta Brutale 800

Triumph Street Triple RS vs MV Agusta Brutale 800

Abhishek Wairagade

Leisure motorcycling has never been better. Adventure tourers, supersports, sportstourers, nakeds…we’ve got them all now. But if you ask me, the meat of the matter is in the middleweight category. More specifically, the middleweight nakeds. In fact, this segment is the most hotly contested of them all right now. Now I agree that the litre class supernakeds are hotter, but they are overkill for our conditions. It’s therefore the middleweights that really let you have the best of both worlds and therefore the best suited to our environment. They say variety is the spice of life; starting with the Ducati Monster 797 at one end of the spectrum and the Triumph Street Triple RS at the other, there is so much to choose from. You not only have the touring friendly Aprilia Shiver 900 but also the brutal, mental MV Agusta Brutale 800. That is not all, the KTM 790 Duke is expected to debut in 2018 along with the revamped Monster 821. If you are power hungry, there is also the sexy as f**k Brutale 800 RR coming soon, with 148 horses on tap!
If that statement itself got your juices flowing, then you have come to the right place. In the past two issues, we tested the crazy a** Brutale 800 and were blown by its supernaturally instinctive nature, combined with jaw dropping looks. However, it is the Street Triple RS which seemed like the better all round package. Both are fast, good looking, nimble and with a dash of violence in their natures. These two Europeans go head to head in this battle of the nakeds. Can English charm win over Italian passion?

Triumph Street Triple RS
The flagship Street Triple was launched at an astonishing price of Rs. 10.55 lakh, blowing up the competition without even cranking its British triple. The RS variant brings with it a poise of confidence, not many can match. There’s every reason for it to be calm about itself; it gets top shelf elements such as Brembo M50s, Showa USDs, Ohlins monoshock, Pirelli Supercorsa SPs and a 5-inch TFT instrument cluster.

You don’t sit as high as you do on the Brutale and the handlebars are narrower as well. The rake is sharper too at 23.9 degrees while the RS is also lighter by 9kg. The dynamics though are on an altogether different level. The quality of damping at both ends ensures classy moves, while keeping you comfortable most of the time.

In fact, just a short stint on the RS makes the Brutale feel ancient. The engine is super fun to be thrashed around and its super smooth nature gives out almost zero vibrations. The supersport-ish top-end is outright addictive and it continues to deliver power in a devastating manner. You will be surprised to hit the limiter sooner than you’d imagine (12,750rpm). It might lack the sensorial nature of the Brutale but on track it’ll chew the likes of Z900 and the MV for breakfast, lunch and even dinner. In all… it’s ‘super’!

The RS’s all-round performance is hard to beat, be it on the road or even track. The suspension too is stiff, but not as much as the Brutale’s. In fact, the RS treats you like a younger brother, forgiving you, every time you make a mistake. The highlight of the bike is its friendly nature, making even the entry-level riders feel completely at home while also keeping the hardcore bikers grinning. We are not just talking about riding here, but riding fast; really, really fast. It might not look as glamorous as the Brutale, with a double-sided gullwing swingarm (superbly calibrated) but it does not try to kill you every time you head out. The TFT screen is a highlight too, although the riding modes are slightly complicated to toggle through and it resets every time you switch off the ignition (if you are in track or rider mode). But the Triumph is a revelation when it comes to the engine and riding dynamics and not many bikes can boast of such an outstanding kit at the price. Remember, the same 765cc engine will soon be powering Moto2 bikes and not every bike can claim such an honour. Think of the RS as a super comfortable commuter, a supersport and an able hooligan; an irresistible package that is going to be hard to match for years to come. The RS then, not just blitzes the competition but completely overpowers almost everything, even from a class above.

Its been hardly two months since I met her and boy does she manage to bowl me over, every time I look at her. To my eyes, the 2017 Brutale 800 is one of the most beautiful machines on two wheels. MVs are beautifully carved, with tremendous attention to detail, and the story continues with the Brutale 800. Everything, starting from the carved seat to that triple exhaust and even the side stand have been designed thoughtfully. Obviously, there is clearly a lot of focus on form over function. The Brutale looks fast even when it’s stationary and in a country like ours, it’ll win a lot of buyers just for this aspect.

I have ridden this MV for over 500km but every time I get onto the saddle, there is an air of freshness to it. Every time you start, you start from scratch. Fire the motor and the in-line triple rumble whispers to you, asking: “Welcome! So, you’re back to kill yourself?” There is something very intimidating about the Brutale. Both, the RS and the Brutale are powered by in-line triples and when you consider the previous iterations, it was the Hinckley-based maker which triumphed over the Italian, but this time the Italians have a trick up their sleeve. Thanks to Euro IV policing, the 2017 Brutale 800 is  short on power by 13 horses over the RS. But it makes up for the lost bhp thanks to additional 6Nm of torque, developed at a staggeringly low 3800rpm! Every time you open the throttle in Sport mode, you can’t stop the front wheel from staying on the ground. It gets your heart beating faster while you applaud the excellent fuelling response. Not just that, the electronics package on the MV is excellent and you wonder if it’s actually working at all, as the bike wheelies even when the traction control is set at level 8.

The longer wheelbase on the 2017 Brutale 800 along with its sharp 24.5-degree rake angle allows for quick responses. Kudos to the wide handlebar that not only keeps your wrists happy but also leaves very little to be desired, in terms of steering inputs. The reverse rotating crankshaft minimises the opposite gyroscopic effect. The experience is completely sensorial at all levels, keeping you on the edge at all times. It reminds you of the joy of living life on the edge and the experience is so raw, that it squeezes everything out of you. Remember, this isn’t a bike for the faint hearted; but if you are someone who prefers unadulterated things in life, the Brutale 800 is as raw as it can get. The MV then, is all heart and soul, full of character. It simply expects you to be on the same page and rewards you to the fullest, when you ask for it.

These two bikes hold their own batons and are completely different in character but as road testers we must stick our neck out and choose the better one, even if it’s going to cause a ruckus. It isn’t a case of shooting fish in barrels but the Triumph outclasses the Brutale in several ways. The Street Triple RS saves you Rs. 5 lakh over the Brutale, gets you the best of components and is an extremely easy machine to live with. Its multifaceted personality is properly suited for Indian conditions, keeping you comfy in traffic, allowing you to go touring while also letting the kid in you create havoc on weekends as you head to the mountains. It’ll be the only bike you’ll need in your garage.

The MV Agusta on the other hand is custom made for someone who wears his heart on his sleeve. The Brutale 800 is like a voluptuous Italian bella on two wheels when it comes to the aesthetics. She’s not the easiest of ladies to woo and plays a hard to get but once you’ve won her over. But you won’t want the affair to end for a very long time.

Fast Bikes India