For once, traction control...
For once, traction control doesn't interfere with wheelies.
Let's just create a new class in the sportbike sector, shall we? The term streetfighter has seen its day, after all. Some journalists are even designating some of the bikes featured in cruiser shootouts as such. So, how do we sharpen the notion of a streetfighter that's been dulled from overuse and improper labeling?
How about street killer? That doesn't leave much wiggle room for debate, and excludes any bike that can't wheelie at will, pull monster stoppies and roll ridiculous burnouts on command. Now that's the true spirit of a fightin' machine. But don't neglect racetrack sharp handling. That should be one of the bike's abilities as well, and all of these elements combined narrow the field down to a pretty exclusive few.
There aren't many that can join such an elite club outside of straight-up race replica sportbikes, but Ducati's Streetfighter has just been accepted. OK, so we might have to do something about its name, but aside from that this bike is all business.
Introduced at Spain's exclusive Ascari circuit, the world's press representatives were mildly confused at the choice of venue. A technical and demanding racetrack seems an unlikely place to introduce a street machine, but it underscores Ducati's absolute confidence in the Streetfighter. Most of the press wasn't sold on the notion initially, particularly as Spanish canyon roads offer some of the best riding on the planet. But honestly, who could complain?
Obviously, we were anticipating a stripped down version of the 1098 superbike "softened" for the street, but this was the racetrack. It didn't take long to discover that this bike meant to carve out a spot all its own though, not merely coast on big brother's reputation.
Stacked radiators help keep...
Stacked radiators help keep the bike as narrow as possible.
Thankfully, during the press conference the loathsome phrase of "retuned for the street" wasn't uttered a single time. Those are four little words that have cursed many a naked bike in the past. Not this time.
Until now, Ducati's Monster line appealed to streetfighter/naked bike enthusiasts, but for different reasons. It offered entry into an exclusive group, but also had enough performance and attitude to hold its own in a street battle-to a point. There was a likely scenario that a once crashed Japanese sportbike turned fairingless fiend could come along and trounce it in a brawl. But there's no chance of that with the Streetfighter.
It doesn't physically feel like a sportbike, yet its intentions are more obvious than your standard naked, and much of that impression comes emotionally-one of Ducati's best tricks. The bars are upright but still low enough to offer some attitude, while the pegs are lowish and much more comfortable than a sportbike. Matched with a comfy seat this thing starts to sound somewhat soft on paper. But don't be discouraged, it gets good...