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Does Brutus define a new genre of motorcycle?


November 15, 2012

Alessandro Tartarini, son of Italjet founder Leopoldo Tartarini, has designed what is being touted as a new motorcycle concept

Alessandro Tartarini, son of Italjet founder Leopoldo Tartarini, has designed what is being touted as a new motorcycle concept

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Now here's a motorcycle with a difference. Alessandro Tartarini, son of Italjet founder Leopoldo Tartarini, this week used the EICMA motorcycle show to present a new motorcycle concept.

The aptly named Brutus (not to be confused with the existing Brutus electric motorcycle), is billed as "the SUV of motorcycles," and runs a single cylinder, 45 bhp, DOHC, four-valve, liquid-cooled 750cc engine with electronic fuel injection and "two-speed" CVT with optional reverse gear.

Alessandro has not yet declared how much Brutus weighs, but highly-regarded Italian motorcycle magazine Motociclismo reports that it is "less than 220 kg," which we take to mean somewhere in the vicinity of 220 kg (485 lbs).

That weight would put Brutus in the same weight category as the 1000cc adventure tourers such as the Ducati Multistrada and BMW 1200 GS.

Now there are some significant points to be made here and the first is that the adventure tourers are built for dirt roads, not for serious off-road conditions. The reason they cannot be taken truly "off road" is that they are FAR TOO HEAVY.

So as a serious off-road motorcycle, Brutus is morbidly obese, and I simply cannot imagine how the manufacturers could consider making claims such as it being the only two-wheeled vehicle "at home in any conditions" and "a valid work tool for going where other vehicles cannot", because the specifications suggest exactly the opposite.

One of the other aspects of Brutus that is worrying is its lack of suspension travel – 80mm at the front and 100mm at the rear – that's approximately half the wheel travel of the adventure tourers and indicates to me that Brutus is unlikely to be capable of any speed off-road.

The most obvious difference to existing motorcycles are the rims and tires – six inches wide at the front and seven inches wide at the rear – dimensions normally associated with sports car tires. In some circumstances, perhaps snow or deep sand, balloon tires of this magnitude might be helpful, but at the same time, much of the advantage in terms of traction will be lost through the bike's weight. In all other circumstances, I find it hard to believe they will offer any advantage.

The press release for Brutus suggests it has been designed "outside the box and beyond fashion and sterile market analyses" – in my opinion it seems to have been built without sufficient thought and diligence to create a viable usable motorcycle.

Brutus will be available, according to the press release, with a range of accessories and customizable add-ons, including a sidecar version, a winch, a fire-prevention kit, a generator, and a "snow kit" which is pictured above.

So does this two-wheeled SUV (or perhaps monster truck) genuinely represent a new genre of motorcycle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

Usefulness is not relevant for premium desirability at premium prices - just look at the Swiss watch industry or Italian sports cars.


Overweight Rokon! Mind you 99% of SUVs never go off road ( known here in the UK as Chelsea Tractors!) so this would fit well into that market. Maybe he should go and spend some hours looking at his fathers designs and realise that sometimes "the box" is there for a reason


if this is a new genre I expect it to be the last. Horrible and ill thought out


I agree.

It was only a matter of time for someone to come and "improve" on the - until then - stupidest vehicle concept of all times, the S.U.V.

Simply cutting one of those in half now enables this completely new type of vehicle to fall over even harder than normal motorcycles. Oh progress, you are so merciless.


It's my ol' Yamaha Big Wheel 200.


Hideous piece of over-weight garbage. Looks like a kids scale model and fails as a design concept.

The irony is that his father has made a career out of selling lightweight machines so it is only fitting that the next generation should try to lose it by creating pointlessly heavy ones.

I trust that Daddy has a sense of humor.


nothing new, just a huge exposure due to EICMA

check this:


and there is another one build by a british brand as farm bike who don't need a stender because his wheels are so wide and soft to keep the bike up.

Geo Casapu

An awesome naked street machine, just needs proper wheels and tires, and a saddle rather than a beam.


Rich people's toy.

Fernando Albuquerque

@BeWalt there are many reasons people buy SUV's. All just as legitimate as the reasons people buy micro cars and hybrids. I'm not saying I like this bike. But just have a think why people might want a higher car. Here's a few reasons to get you started. They're easier to get baby seats in and out and easier for people with bad backs to get in and out. Maybe someone has a big family. They also need to grocery shop for them. So just have a think before you say something that makes you sound ignorant.


Looks like a revamped version of my 1987 Honda FatCat..

John Grimes

If you let testosterone define your design, maybe a bit of reason afterwards would help, like a driveshaft instead of a chain. Who cares about loss of power when you have 750cc at your disposal? But sand, grit and chains don't mix that well, as offroading should have taught us in the past, say 100 years?


It is not designed for going off road at screaming speeds that leave no time for anything but paying attention to your riding; how ever much fun that is? It appears to have been designed for people who want to appreciate the beauty around them. It should be street legal and have some proper cargo space.


It's a modern Rokon that will place around 8 psi on the ground. That is not very much for off road travel.

Trying to compare this with the bikes you used, is like comparing a fully completed custom rock-crawler to a Jeep SUV that is sitting in the showroom.

Paul Brush

I'm holding back on my opinion until they announce their kit to connect 2 of these ridiculous things side-by-side to make a true SUV.

Bob Fately

Italian design philosophy can be summed up in a nut shell " it only has to look good sitting at the curb by the cafe well you drink your espresso" unfortunately this bike fails there as well


Now I am no motorcyclist- only one I've ever owned was a Suxuki TS50 many years ago (it may have been moped powered but at least it was motorbike format, with proper gears and such), and that bike wasn't built for handling- leaning it over when the tyres are tip-toeing on their outer 'knobbles'' (for want of a better word) didn't inspire confidence.

Leaning on this bike with so little actual rubber on the road (the contact patch would be much smaller due to the raised knobbles compared with a sports bike) would probably take bigger b***s than I've got- thats for sure.


if it was 2wd and had a hitch this would be a fun farm toy.

Jay Finke

See if it can survive a 18K+ mile trek like the one undertaken by Ewan McGregor in his documentary "the Long Way Round."

Maybe it could be in a new Terminator movie...


It's already been done. As a kid we had a fat wheeled mini-bike. Bigger tires just mean more mud is attracted. Then it doesn't go any place.

Looked similar to this: http://gokartsusa.com/Skyteam-T-Rex-ST125-Suzuki-R90.aspx

There is a reason you don't see these.

Although there is nothing new onboard the combination of elements is new. They are trying to build a mule. By that I mean a utility motorcycle that is meant to be gently used under bad conditions and to be repairable. A ring or valve job on a single is much cheaper than on a multy cyclinder. We have had double range transmissions from companies like Honda and Bridgestone. CVT transmissions are common enough. The nature of the wheels brings the Rhokon to mind. In my climate different tires would be called for as we never have snow and most of us have no dirt roads either. But this creature is not a dirt bike at all. But a harsh gravel road for a long driveway would be easy fro this bike. The idea of a 750 single in modern times is overdue. These things should never be pushed to their limits as vibration is usually a serious issue and the power pulses are sort of shocking. But one bang for every thirty feet of travel has its own thrills. I wait for a company to get really brave and put out a great 1000cc single. Electric starter for god's sake! Ever started a big single? Jim Sadler

Yamaha TW200: lighter, more nimble, actually affordable, proven. (Tho, IMO underpowered... watercooled 450cc mill from the YZF, anyone?)

No... this is not a new genre. Nor is it one that particularly caught on here in the States, interestingly. When I first saw it (back in the early '80s) I was intrigued by the notion of fat, soft knobbies on a 2 wheeler. Seemed a great alternative to the then-popular, and very dangerous, 3-wheelers.


Yea this isn't a new concept there were several versions of the atv tired dirt bike back in the 80s. Those bikes were actually capable although underpowered bikes that were of similar weight to other dirt bikes.

Problem is the started with a sport bike and should have based it off a dirtbike or duel sport

Phillip Tweedy

Needs a crawler gear and wagon for going hunting. Put some racks on for gear. Give it just a bit more suspension travel and get weight lower if possible. Give it front wheel assist (electric or hydraulic)...Ok... a bit much perhaps.


Why no mention of the ROKON 2WD motorcycle - the "true" SUV of motorcycles?

Bob Finley

They could have at least given it two wheel drive ala Rokon http://www.rokon.com/

Mike Barnett


Check out this from 1973, I saw one of these at the ISDT in 1974 and it was very radical for the time. Front & rear disc brakes, constant velocity transmission, alloy wheels and a plastic fuel tank. So sorry Brutus, all this was done 40 years ago and it won a gold medal !

David Buttery

Once again, it's always easier to play the critic than the performer.

First of all, it's an automatic(or CVT) so it was never really intended for motocross.

Second of all, it also has an optional reverse- so it will do will with sidecars or trailers.

Those two transmission features are rare on motorcycles, indeed.

With those tires, I will say that it is well-suited for certain military and law enforcement applications.

I would recommend diesel for those markets.

I would say a lot of people would actually enjoy it for what it is if they rode it for a day in the right environment but they probably still wouldn't buy one.

A camel can't compete in The Kentucky Derby but would do poorly if it did... but you won't see many Arabian Thoroughbreds working in the Sahara, either.

So it is with this beast.

It is going to look silly alongside a CR 500 or a Hayabusa but you won't see those going everywhere this one will because the CR is not street legal and the Hayabusa likes asphalt(obviously).

As an adventure tourer with an automatic transmission and an optional reverse, it will more comfortably and easily traverse a broade range of surfaces than most adventure tourers.

The tires will compensate for weight in soft ground and the seat height is low- something that I don't personally care for in a lot of the AV's.

I extensively modified my '99 Triumph Tiger for this and other reasons- few would recognize it as a Triumph now.

Everyone likes it more now than before.

A lot of people will probably find this bike easy to ride&handle.

I hope he does well- most people writing these comments will never DO anything....


Fantic Motor KOALA 1990!!!!


Teo Bonte

I'll keep my Paris/Dakar BMW. It's big in a good way. This seems over worked and inefficient to say the least. I'd ride it to be sure, but I'm a pretty good judge of character. :D


I think I get what the Engineer is doing here. I am most likely older than most of you. So in the old days when the Triumph Bonaville 650 with a 750 kit installed was for 11 years the second fastest Off the showroom floor the bike . The Vincent was the fastest but I do not think they were allowed in the US. Anyway I rode my Bonivile everywere. I loved that MC. UT was heavy like the Brutus but guess what I found out. I had friends with at that time the most popular off road bikes were Yamaha Enduro 175, 250 and 350s. Bultaco and a few others did well but in sales the Yamaha was tops in the mid and late 60s. Nobby Tires 2 cycle oil injected Gas engines. Very powerful as are most 2 cycle engines. Not as powerfull as the newer stuff with Water cooling but respectable at that time. They also were very light compaied to my Big old heavy Triumph. Now. I saw a group of a bunch of dirt bikes trying to clime a hill outside of Spokane WA. I thought i would go watch. Some idiot said "Hey that thing will never clime this hill". Not the reason I stopped by but it was now on my mind. So I watched as the dirt bikes would get near the top and then start spinning the back tire even with the nobbies. Only a few ever made it to the top. Well I decided after watching and doing some off road riding that I would try it. Street tires and all. I let some of the air out of the back tire. Not much. Just a little to soffen it a bit. I put the thing in 2 or 3rd. Can not recall. But I got a run at the hill and I went right on past where the others had dug a trench spining their wheels and shooting dirt. Now. Why did I make it with that heavy thing up that hill with no nobby tires and heavy as hell. I will explain in a seconed. I tryed out two differant dirt bikes and could not make it. Tried again with the what in those days was called a super bike "anything over 600 CCs and I made it again with that supper bike Triumph Boniville. I called it Bonny. Here are the reasons. 1. I had lots of Torque rather than horspower. That torque allowed me to not have to shift gears on the hill and loose momentum. 2. Because of the torque I could start out in 2nd or 3rd no problem. " I almost never used first gear on that bike anyway". 3. The Street tires I am not sure if they helped or not but I think they did as more surface area and it would pack down the sandy dirt rather than dig it up. Thus a little more traction but that part I will never know for sure. 4. and this is the most important part. The bike was heavy. More than the Brutus If I recall my bike was just under 600 LBs. Thus Momentum was what got me to the top. When the other bikes hit the area where the ground had been torn up by them spining the wheels they lost traction and so did I. However the lighter bikes lost speed faster than the heavyer bike and I was also not off the ground as long so I got back to getting traction sooner and with both the less loss of speed due to Momentum = stored and kinetic energy also stored energy "The same engergy that keeps you car or truck or a train going after you cut the throutle" The heavyer the more time it takes to slow down. Thus giving me an edge. Just enough to get me to the top of that hill. Now one more thing. Someone said chains and dirt and sand do not mix. That would seem to be the case but in those days only two bikes had a drive shaft. A BMW and a MotoGuzy. So all the dirt bikes had chanes and I think the reason they worked OK was the metel was a lot harder than the rock in the sand and it would just grind it into a powder that acted a little like grafite ( A very good lubricant" Chain mettel was not the softer mettal but rather simalar to Ball bearing tool steel. Try this experiment some day. Try pushing a heavy box accros a conreat floor with and without sand on the floor. You will find with the sand the box is easyer to push. Same principle with the chain and or Graphite as a lube. Even if there is oil and dirt mixed. It works OK. Not a big problem as it would seem at first thought. Now . One more thing. When off road riding I find that larger heavyer bike to have a nicer ride than the lighter bikes when you hit bumps etc.. I have even used my Harley Davidson for off road stuff and It is great. Just great for riding along and a dirt road or even off road if it is not too rough. IT sure is not going to work well in a Motocross situation but having a nice drive in the mountains and an unmaintained Fire trail to see the sights and smell the air and have a smooth ride a big bick is my first choice. Maybe this is what the fellow had in mind or something like it. He may have had a simalar experiance as I. I think the Brutus will have more power and more Torque than My old Trumph Bonnie and it would kick the pants off of those dirt bikes as we used to call them in a hill Clime anyday and with a gracefull manor. I would buy one if not too much $. I own lots of differant bikes. I like them all. They all have good and bad points to them. You cheat yourself if you do not have an open mind. What if I had never stopped at that hill clime. I did not mention that I won a tournament at that hill clime a few weeks later. Folks could not beleave it and I could not eather until I sat and thought out WHY. It was not that I was a great rider. It was the bike and the situation. Jim BH CA



I wouldn't want to right this thing at a bottom of a tight ditch or have a leg caught under it after a laydown. There are other alternatives that work way better than this beast.

Paul Smith

Excellent bike. A larger and more dependable off road bike has always been needed. This not a motocross racer, but one you could realistically take down the Baja. Water cooled is always heavier, but also much more reliable and appropriate for slower off roading, especially in hot climates. The review is incorrect to worry about the suspension travel, because most off road is not at high enough speed to need it. And weight is not a problem in off road is you have enough traction and power. It dampens vibration and is a great advantage. This is not a kids toy, but a real off road bike for adults.


It's called the Yamaha TW200. It's been around for 20 years. It gets 85mpg. It's feather light. It's incredibly reliable. You can find a nearly new used one for about $1200. The tires this thing is wearing are originally designed for it. End of story.

Mike Langford

It would be interesting to see how the snowmobile kit works. I've seen them aftermarket on dirt bikes but never offered through the manufacturer. With the winch & the other options, I'd say that it CAN go more places than other bikes- except the 2-wheel-drive Rokons.

They just need to word their claims & abilities more carefully and do some good concise online video work to show the full potential of the bike. If they made it 2wd like the Rokons it would be more formidable than people realize and definitely be capable of going places Quads can't go, as far as narrow trails go.

With the sidecar or trailer, I can see that it can establishing a new genre. Quads are not street-legal in many countries. It will have more appeal in that market than against traditional Adventure Touring bikes.


There is only one celebrity endorsement that matters - has Evil Knevil broken a bone riding this behemoth? ;)


Does Brutus define a new genre of motorcycle?

Nope. The Rokon TrailBreaker already did that in 1963, prototyped as early as 1958.

Gregg Eshelman

Like the snowmobile version, but for off road I think hard to beat the 2wd Christini www.chrisitini.com The US army is trying it. Comes in 2 stroke or 4 stroke. It's light, has the right handling, and great price.


It is hard to gauge how it would handle or heavy it would feel from the pictures. My friends and I ride a difficult trail a couple times a year. We bring a mix of 2wd and 4wd 4 wheelers, a couple dirtbikes, and 4wd side by side. It is a slow paced crawl where victories are had a section at a time often with winches, ratchet straps, or brute strength but we have fun doing it.

The low seat height would make the weight a bit more manageable but still not easy. It outweighs my 4 wheeler by 65 lbs and I can say even with grab bars picking up a 420lb machine while standing in mud isn't easy to do. Picking up a 500 lb motorcycle in mud would be a 2 man job.

I once had to take a 300lb dirt bike over a bunch of fallen trees on a hot day with gear on and I'm pretty sure I lost more than the combined weight of the Olson twins in the process.

At the same time if people only bought the most practical toys Harley Davidson wouldn't be doing so well. The design looks testosterone fueled enough to get attention which could be enough for a few people.


It seems clear to me that this guy doesn't ride much. But after all it's just a concept, I doubt it will ever be produced. It would be nice to see the Rokon reinvented with a stronger water cooled engine, better suspension, reverse, and street legal.


The post by Griffen above says it right.

Brutus is not for everyone, but if it should have a lot of torque with a single cylinder that large and it will be great for farmers, sidecars, trike conversions, and the CVT with reverse will be great for towing .

The Brutus also opens up possibilities for us gimps with spinal cord injuries or similarly impaired that don't do so well with foot controls, brakes or clutch shifting.

Back in the 70's another company made a similar unit called the "Brute Cycle" but more of a large mini-bike. They were made in Fairmont, Mn. by Lakesports Mfg. Still a collectible.


I've been riding since childhood , I'm 58 now . I can tell you this motorcycle isn't a valuable design . It weighs way to much for it's tires so steering would be like having a ski instead of a wheel . As for touring or ever day use , would you want fat knobbies . The Harley Davidson surprisingly is better in dirt , even with a 3x21 front wheel .

Gianfranco Fronzi . November /18/12


Let's see a modern off-road 450, weighs 240 lbs, has 400mm of suspension travel and makes 60 hp. Some have compared this to a Rokon, that's funny, a Rokon weighs 150 lbs, has two wheel drive and a 12 ph motor. This is the most ignorant motorcycle concept I have even seen, not a single practical application.

Eric Eisinger

Take off the knobbies but a 260/280 on the front and a 300/320 on the rear and you have a perfectly acceptable new take on a street cruiser. I don't think it should go where the developer intended but that doesn't mean its without use!

Gavin Greaves

I really can't see what genre this is really aimed at. Regardless of anything else, with those tyres it's going to be an absolute pig to steer in virtually all conditions. Whatever it will do, it will do it very slowly as it seems to be optimised for NOTHING other than brutish looks..


People buy their vehicles more as fashion accessories than vehicles so this brute (ie dumb animal) will have a market somewhere.


Weird motorbike, like a cross of my old SR 500 and a John Deere tractor!

Tord Eriksson

Governments around the world retreating from the U.S. Dollar and the American Dream Life style now as the Fiscal Cliff, and the economic wall to be hit afterwards approaches - Even Nissan gone very small electric, and similarly Honda produces a natural gas commuter car as Ford goes from V-8 engines of massive size to a three cylinder engine as small as the one on the Smart cars. Even GM has the Cruz as backup to the very expensive and almost useless Volts, Cadillac,s and huge pick up trucks. This bike seems to appeal to a certain section of America.

Bruce Miller

Like the BMW 1200cc boxers, sheer weight (coupled with high center of gravity) make the rider's job quite strenuous in off-road situations - and particularly on loose surfaces. Coupled with fairings and other accoutrements that make it difficult to see the exact track of the bike when looking down at the front wheel, these engineering oversights make riding on blind faith and "by the seat of the pants" the norm. Not your cup of tea if you enjoy staying upright.

For those who have super strength, balance and reaction time (possibly from riding this type of beast and actually staying alive) no need for any changes. For everyone else, the properly engineered enduro will, one day, come with adjustable weight distribution, center of gravity and, like every other road going vehicle, a trend toward less rather than more un-sprung weight. Oh...and I'd like to see the front wheel, if for no other reason, just to make sure its still attached.


I love the motorcycle painting job done on this bike. Thanks for sharing this article, my dad always takes his bike in to get fixed up. This is truly an amazing bike, looks like a lot of fun.


When you build an "all worlds" motorcycle you inevitably get the worst of all worlds. Bike are mostly specialist instruments and because they can fall over easily the key to nearly every bike is no unnecessary bulk.

If you are going to ride it around the world (KTM990/690...or BMW etc.) It has fuel capacity, multi terrain tyres, long travel suspension, and so on. A road (sports bike) has aerodynamics', speed and stability, a motocross or street legal enduro bike has light weight, good suspension/tyres ergonomics.

The Brutus is not the bike the world has been waiting for, any attempt to build an all worlder (except the Royal Enfield Bullet) end in disaster because no matter where is goes it gets smoked by a specialised bike.

Who would buy one? The suggestion that it has military of law enforcement applications is equally unqualifiedly off the mark, it would get smoked on and off road by the specialist bikes that lurk on those specific terrains. Actually because of the inherent instability of low diameter fat tyres it would be a liability in any environment at anything over crawl speed.

And the last purpose of the bike ( attracting women) is out , this thing looks like a walrus has mated with the Mars Rover and had a deformed baby. A chick is always going to go for the loud thumpy Harley or Shiny fast bike. Taking your girl for a 2 wheeled tractor ride is laughable.

Unless you are both anoraks.

It is just a concept bike hopefully...

Speedbump Andy
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