The second-generation MV Agusta F4 1000 and Brutale models are now available in South Africa from importers Italmoto.
These bikes, unveiled in Europe in September 2009, were produced under Harley-Davidson custodianship, though the financially troubled American company has now decided to sell MV Agusta despite only acquiring it in August 2008.
The Brutale's a naked bike with all its mechanical bits on display, and fine bits they are too. Nobody can accuse this Italian machine of being conformist and blending into the crowd
The 'melting' headlight could have been styled by Salvador Dali
It's available in 990R and 1090RR versions at R175 000 and R220 000 respectively and the 990R was my ride to go and watch the sixth round of the World Superbike series at Kyalami.
The appopriately named Brutale's aggressive lines make it look like it came straight off a Terminator movie set and the unusual "melting" headlight could have been styled by Salvador Dali.
Compared to the first-generation Brutale, launched about a decade ago, 85 percent of the components are new. This is much more than just a restyle.
your legs might need some stretching after an extended trip. For the rest, however, rider comfort is well taken care of.
The seat's wide and comfortable though it's higher than the previous Brutale's. It was perfect for my 1.8m frame and I could straddle the bike with both feet flat on the ground.
The handlebars are more upright than a superbike's so your wrists aren't in agony after half an hour's riding but the footpegs are reasonably high so your legs might need some stretching after an extended trip.
The straight-four engine has increased from 982cc to 998cc, with power up to 102kW and torque to 106Nm. While not quite superbike fast it's very eager and responsive with good mid-range muscle enhanced by a new exhaust system which has a choke valve operated by the injection control unit.
There are two throttle mappings, sport and standard; the latter provides a less snatchy action to make the bike easier to ride around town. In sport mode the bike has more instant response, giving the throttle an almost trigger-like action.
Gearshifts in the six-speed transmission are very smooth but there's a big gap between first and second and I often hooked neutral by mistake.
Traction control with eight settings is standard and adjustable front and rear suspension, combined with the high-set footpegs and a quick-turning feel suggest the Brutale will make a very decent track bike, though I didn't get a chance to test this in my brief ride.
Its Italian what can I say like Italian cars its a work of Art
The price? Objectively the Brutale's probably no better than a Japanese machine costing R50 000-R60 000 less. In fact it's slightly down on power compared to rivals such as the Kawasaki Z1000 or Yamaha Fazer 1000.
But emotionally, it's a different story. Brand Italy - whether an Armani suit or a Ferrari or a Ducati or an MV Agusta - gets to charge more for exclusivity. You're not just buying a motorcycle but a lifestyle and MV Agusta is the Armani suit of motorcycles.
Many of the bike's parts have been designed and crafted by MV Agusta, rather than sourced from mass-market suppliers, in the pursuit of technical and aesthetic superiority.
It's about heritage, too. MV Agusta was founded in Italy in 1945 and has created some of the world's most sought-after motorcycles, renowned for their attention to detail and provocative design. MV Agusta has also secured its place in motorsport legend with an unrivalled 75 World titles.
If Ducati is the Ferrari of motorcycles, MV Agusta is the Lamborghini its just a way of life they beautiful to look at and even nicer to ride but then I am biased towards Italian sport machines