Ducati 888 SP4 & MV Agusta Brutale – So today, after much anticipation and following extended conversations with Paul, one of FVM’s customers, we got together for what was a fantastic day out on two stylish Italian motorcycles – Ducati 888 SP4, a really special bike from the early nineties, well, 1992 to be precise; and the MV Agusta Brutale Dragster 800, a sample from 2015, some 23 years younger.
We started off with a look around both bikes and both agreeing that both bikes held the attention in their own ways; both having bucket loads of Italian character; the 888’s testament in that it still looks good today and gets plenty of comments by other bikers in the car park . The Dragster also gets its fair share of looks from people, with its beautiful cast single sided swingarm and thuggish looks! Having ridden the Dragster over to the Brecons from Bristol, I had a good idea of seating position etc, so sitting on the 888, it became immediately apparent you sit more in the bike and are stretched out further by the longer wheelbase and setup.
The Dragster in my eyes is a bike that is seriously under rated and not enough people know about/appreciate. This is one of the best sounding, handling, all round, comfortable bikes I have had the pleasure of riding. The engine configuration provides plenty of torque and power and the accompanying sound track just gets addictive, especially north of 8000 rpm. The radial front brakes are typical Brembo; good feedback, progressive and haul you up when the need arises. Handling seems firm when you first set off, however the bike feels planted and yet subtle once in the bend. All in all a cracking bike.
Paul however was itching for a go on the MV, and to be completely honest, i wasn’t disappointed to be given the opportunity to ride his 888 SP4! I was lucky, as back in the heyday I got the opportunity to ride some other limited edition models such as the RC30 & RC45, so this was an opportunity not to be missed!
Paul suggested a route and i agreed to follow at a nice sedate pace… well that lasted about a mile! Some great views from the car park, unfortunately no photos of the route.
It was really confidence inspiring to find that time has not been cruel to the 888 SP4; the brakes are fantastic; the Ohlins suspension was very compliant and holds the road better than some much more modern bikes. The seating position just took me back to the 90’s, but with the additional benefit of power and handling! Within 5 miles the only thing holding me back was the speed limits and the thought of having to replace any 888 parts if things went pear shaped. The noise from the 888 is an aural cacophony, with the airbox howling in tune with the exhausts, the more throttle you ask for, the louder the 888 bellows. The engine is fantastic, plenty of torque and really coming on cam at 6k rpm.
The roads Paul chose were ideal for the two Italian bikes, twisting and undulating, presenting challenge after challenge, whilst still allowing us to enjoy the bikes and their soundtracks. I was concerned for the older brakes on the 888, but i had no need. The Brembo Gold Series P4’s are fantastic, offering good, progressive braking with loads of feedback.
So, Ducati 888 SP4 & MV Agusta Brutale, what a choice. Putting the bikes back to back was a great experience and suprised me as I expected there to be a world of differences. It just goes to show how well developed the 888 was for its time. The Dragster still provided great entertainment on the way home. I wouldn’t have been disappointed to have to ride either bike back. Both are great bikes in their own ways. Both bikes gather comment and crowds when parked up and have typical Italian flair and character. Both bikes provide a great soundtrack and sublime handling. A day that won’t be forgotten quickly.
Ducati 888 SP4
- 90 degree L twin; DOHC; belt driven desmodromic 4 valves per cylinder; fuel injection
- 118bhp @ rear wheel; 84 Nm torque
- Wheelbase 1430mm
- Seat height 760mm
- Wet weight 188kg
- Ohlins forks and shock – all fully adjustable
- Brembo Gold Series P4.30/34 calipers
MV Agusta Brutale Dragster 800
- Transverse triple, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
- 125 HP; 81 Nm torque
- Wheelbase 1380mm
- Seat height 811mm
- Dry weight 167kg
- Marzocchi forks and Sachs shock – all fully adjustable
- Brembo radial mono-block calipers
- Traction control
- Multiple maps and settings that can all be customised
If you would like any further information on either of these bikes please feel free to contact us
Categorised in: Frome Valley Motorcycles - News
This post was written by Mike Webster