Believe it or not, the 990R is the more docile "street" based version of the two bikes. The obvious change is the bump in displacement to 998cc (from 982). MV claims horsepower and torque figures (at the crank) to be 139 and 76 ft-lb., respectively. Beyond that, both Brutale's come programmed for two EFI maps (wet and dry) and eight-position traction control.
On the chassis side, MV has continued its relationship with CRC in San Marino. The combination steel/chromoly trellis frame is TIG welded for strength and rigidity. It has been redesigned for stability, however, with a resulting half degree more rake than before (25 from 24.5 degrees). Front suspension duties are care of 50mm Marzocchi forks with full adjustment capabilities. A Sachs shock out back, also fully adjustable, handles the bumps in the rear. In keeping with the stability theme, the single-sided swingarm is 20mm longer, yet weighs 1.2 kg less than before. Stoppers are 310mm discs clamped by four-piston Brembo calipers, radially mounted, each piston measuring 32mm in diameter.
For Mature Audiences
There's no getting around it, size matters, and when it comes to naked sportbikes the only way to earn your keep is to bring the heat. And that's just what the 1090RR does. As the name would imply, the RR features a larger engine...but not a 1090cc mill. It is, in fact, the same 1078cc powerplant (via a 79mm bore and 55mm stroke) we've seen before only with the same improvements performed on the 990R. Other than the increased displacement, the 1090RR differs from its little brother with adjustable footrests, forged aluminum wheels (as opposed to cast units), a slipper clutch, 320mm discs with caliper pistons measuring 34mm in diameter, a steering damper, and a rear Sachs shock with a piggyback reservoir, needed for the high and low speed compression circuits. Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier RR tires are fitted standard to the RR, while Pirelli Diablo Rosso's come on the 990. The 1090RR is meant as the pinnacle in Brutale performance. A machine that is better suited to the more experienced rider who can meet its demands. So naturally we were curious to see if it would live up to the hype.
Circuit Misano Adriatico
MV Agusta chose the famed Circuit Misano Adriatico as destination for the world's press to put both bikes through its paces. Our time on the track would be followed by a street ride for a thorough evaluation.
Starting with the 990R, it's clear straight away that the improvements to the fueling have made a big difference. On previous generation Brutales, no matter how smooth one was with the throttle, there would always be a dead zone before the bike surges to life. Not anymore. Now gentle operation of the throttle was greeted by equal metering of the fuel, resulting in a much more linear power response. Thankfully, this is also true of the 1090RR. Both machines drive off of corners well, with the 1090 obviously having more punch. Not surprisingly, even the bigger bike seems to lose steam when the revs near redline.