It's all Trevitt's fault. You see, it was his idea to take a track-focused literbike (in this case, a '07 Yamaha YZF-R1) and soften it up a bit for the ultimate street ride ("Strip Search," Sept. '08). After clamoring about how the FZ1 (and most other naked bikes for that matter) would be far better off if the engines weren't neutered versions of their racing brethren, Trevitt took it upon himself to build his iteration of a true naked bike. He stripped an R1 to the bones, yanked off the clip-ons, slapped on some handlebars, lowered the rearsets and placed them forward slightly. This gave the ideal riding position for attacking the streets. But it didn't stop there; steel-braided brake lines were added to help tame the hooliganism that would ensue following the Micron slip-on exhaust and the one-tooth-smaller countershaft sprocket install. When all was said and done, Andrew's Franken-bike creation was an absolute riot that we were hoping would start a trend among the OEM's.
And So It Was Born
Apparently Ducati heard our pleas and responded accordingly with the Streetfighter. Okay, so maybe the folks at Borgo Panigale were hard at work designing the bike long before our project even started, but the end result is exactly what we've been asking for all this time—a naked bike sharing the same engine as its superbike cousin without any of the "re-tuned for torque" nonsense littering the press materials. No, what we have here is an all-new bike for Ducati that takes cues from—but isn't a stripped-down version of—the 1098/1198 family.
Leverage from the handlebars...
Leverage from the handlebars was helpful, but the overall high placement of the bars (that we’d normally praise for street use) was a bit of a hindrance on the track. Hands were at an uncomfortable position, causing inadvertent throttle inputs at times.
Visually, the Streetfighter appears to be a bare-bones 1098, but in reality it's an all-new motorcycle for the company. For a naked bike the Streetfighter posed a design challenge, as it was supposed to loosely mimic the lines of its fully-faired cousin. With the uncluttered and shortened front section, the rest of the bike had to be similarly altered to maintain proportions and still keep the look. To do this, the fuel tank was shortened 2.5cm and the tail section received a similar nip/tuck. And despite the similarities, the Streetfighter frame is not identical to that of the 1198—though it is derived from it. Looking at a side view, it clearly looks longer than its superbike derivative. And it is; swingarm length is 35mm longer than the 1098, while the swingarm pivot is also relocated. The front is slightly less twitchy at 25.6 degrees of rake (compared to 24.5 degrees on the 1098). This, no doubt, can only help in the taming of wheelies, because the bike is ready and willing to do a number of them. In spades.
It would have been easy for Ducati to keep pumping out 1098 engines to put in the Streetfighter, even after the switch to the 1198, but between the introduction of the 1098 to today, the factory has made some big strides in production and metallurgy and it was only fair for the new model to be included in these advances. Power comes from a 1099cc mill, though crankcases are shared with the 1198 using the 1098 crank, rods, pistons and cylinder heads. The new engine also benefits from the vacuural casting process also seen on the 1198 and 1098R. We've covered the process in detail before, but to sum; each casting of the crankcase is done in a vacuum to reduce cavitation and weight. It also ensures each piece meets exacting tolerances.