Fully stripped, this base...
Fully stripped, this base model gives a clear view of the 90-degree L-twin engine. Dual split radiators handle cooling duties and allow the front suspension to compress fully. Magnesium crankcase covers and valve covers (not shown) weigh next to nothing. A modest savings, but a savings all the same. Note also the huge exhaust system utilizing 63.5mm diameter piping, the largest ever on a production Ducati.
To achieve the clean, naked look at the front of the bike, some subtle re-plumbing of the ram-air inlets had to be done. The new tubes are now shorter than on the 1098, and if you believe the Ducati propaganda machine, also results in the five-horsepower disadvantage, as well as a five ft-lb torque deficit from the superbike. But that's about all that the Streetfighter lacks compared to its sportier sibling—the same updated version of Ducati Traction Control, (DTC) available on the 1198 makes its way onto the Streetfighter, as does the Ducati Data Analysis, the on-board computer that records throttle opening, vehicle speed, engine speed, engine temperature, mileage, laps and lap times. It can also record gear selection and monitors the DTC, giving a graphic display of when intervention took place. Oh, right, one little caveat: the DTC and DDA are optional on the base model—standard, of course, on the upgraded S model. By now you should know what to expect with S model upgrades, and the Streetfighter is no different: an Öhlins 43mm inverted fork and shock, both fully adjustable, replace the Showa variants on the base model. Interestingly, the same shock linkage from the 1198 makes its way here. But because the swingarm is slightly longer, shock progression is slightly softer. Both the base and S models are adjustable for ride height separate from rear preload. Other than that, the only way to tell the base and S models apart is by the bronze frame and wheels on the S (black/grey on the base), and exclusive paint jobs. Base model comes in Pearl White, S model in Midnight Black. Both models are also available in Ducati red, of course.
Swingarm length on the Streetfighter...
Swingarm length on the Streetfighter is extended 35mm compared that of the 1098 for increased stability. Note also the standard Showa shock, complete with ride-height adjustable linkage.
Thanks to the protruding exhaust...
Thanks to the protruding exhaust shield, here you can plainly see how the right foot looses contact with the peg during left turns.
This frontal view shows the...
This frontal view shows the 1098R number plate inspired headlight. The intake ducts just below the light have been shortened to accommodate the new-look front end, resulting in modest decreases of five horsepower and five lb-ft. of torque.
Street Brawler Turned Track Bruiser
On paper the Streetfighter appears to be just the kind of naked bike this market needs; the riding position is more relaxed, power output is only slightly down and the bike just has this aggressive look that can scare little kids. It screams bravado and much like our project R1, has the recipe to put a smile on the face of anyone who throws a leg over it. So it was only natural then for the introduction of the new Streetfighter to be held at the Ascari Race Resort in southern Spain.
Wait, what? A racetrack intro for a bike that distinctly belongs on the street?
Yep. No matter; the Ascari course is one of the premier facilities in the world and surely we could replicate most any scenario on the street at the track, right?
Well, not quite. The track setting, while always enjoyable, simply doesn't suit the Streetfighter. For starters, the high bars and low pegs that make the seating position great on the road is a bit awkward on the track. While the leverage the bars provide proved helpful at times during aggressive cornering, more often than not their high placement made it difficult to find a comfortable position for track riding. More alarming still is that the high bars would occasionally cause inadvertent throttle inputs.
Due to the lack of real estate...
Due to the lack of real estate because of the new headlight, the electronics controlling the DTC and DDA had to be relocated to the rear of the bike on the rear subframe underneath the seat.
That said, in most regards the Streetfighter is a much more comfortable bike to ride than its predecessor, the Monster S4Rs—mainly in that the rider isn't splayed out over the gas tank and has a much more commanding view of the road. But like the S4Rs, finding a comfortable seating position is still a challenge. On the former, the right passenger footpeg bracket would jut out enough to place the right foot at an awkward position when banking for extreme left turns. That same trait remains with the Streetfighter, only now it's the exhaust shielding. After initiating turn-in, the exhaust shield would push the foot to the edge of the peg and at times it would slip off the peg completely. Of course, that could just be a byproduct of the disproportionately large feet of yours truly as other journalists with smaller boots didn't seem to experience this issue. Thankfully, we're fairly confident these aren't issues most street riders—the target audience—would face during normal riding.