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A guy on a scruffy bike
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I've testridden them (both regular and S versions), and been very impressed. If I had to buy a new bike, it is on my short list. Here is what I wrote up when I test rode them at the introduction in June of 2009:
PhilB said:
This weekend was the introduction of the new Ducati StreetFighter, which is basically a naked bike version of the 1098 superbike. 155hp, about 370lbs dry, lots of attitude. I had seen it at the Cycle World show in Long Beach, back in December, and was not super impressed style-wise. This is what I wrote back then:
The big news at the Ducati booth was the world premiere showing to the public of the StreetFighter. For any who don’t know, Ducati’s naked bike line has been the Monster for a long time. It began with the basic air-cooled 2V/cyl engine, and later the “S4” versions were added using the water-cooled 4V/cyl engines from the 916 through 999 lines. These were cool, but never quite aesthetically gelled – too many hoses and radiators to fit well in the Monster style frame. Ducati has decided to split the line now. The Monster will continue, but only with the air-cooled engines. The naked 4V/cyl bikes will get their own style, and become the StreetFighter line. So this is the first of those, basically a naked 1098. They did a pretty good job of capturing the street fighter style, and a quite impressive job of cleaning up the mechanicals and hiding a lot of the hoses and gubbins in a little chin spoiler setup so it looks pretty clean. There’s not much on the market now that would be a direct competitor, really. Perhaps the MV Agusta Brutale. It’s got a lot of ‘tude, like a Triumph Speed Triple on steroids. I don’t think it quite grabs me, but it is cool, and I’d certainly like to ride one at some point.
So now comes the chance to do that. I went to GP Motorcycles in the early afternoon, and took a spin on the standard StreetFighter, then went one town over to Moto Forza in Escondido where they were having a more formal test ride setup. There I took another ride on a standard HyperMotard first, then the StreetFighter S.
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StreetFighter impressions:

Holy shit.

Might as well smear my driver’s license in seal blubber, tape it to my helmet, and jump in the polar bear enclosure at the zoo. This bike is a moving violation, that doesn’t even wait to happen; it just happens.

Getting on, the bike is a little tall. Not quite as tall as the HyperMotard, and certainly not unmanageable, but quite a bit taller than my Monster. The bike’s stance is sort of canted forward like a hot rod – low in the front, high in the tail, with the rider pretty far forward. The instrument panel is small and low down on top of the headlight, so the bike visually disappears before you. You look forward and just see the world rushing at you. You look down at the instruments, and you can actually see the tip of your front fender and tire right out there leading the way.

The main impression of this bike is that it is confidence-inspiring. The riding position is comfortable, the controls all work very easily and precisely, and the performance happens effortlessly. Everything is low effort. The steering with the wide bar is light. The clutch is light. The shifting action is very light and smooth; I was particularly impressed with it. The braking is one finger, maybe two in a panic stop. This would be a great chick bike; it rewards finesse, not being manhandled.

Even on a first ride, being extra careful due to unfamiliarity, it was much faster than I generally go. I went up a little twisty stretch that I am very familiar with; it’s on my usual way home from work, so I ride it most days. The second corner is the trickiest, slightly off-camber, and tightens a bit as it goes. It is marked 30mph; on my bike I take it comfortably at about 60, at 70 I am starting to drag boots and muffler. On the StreetFighter, I swept around it at what felt like a comfortably slow pace, with plenty of reserve, glanced down at the speedo and saw it was at 80. No drama, no worries, just smooth ridiculous speed. It was like that everywhere. Effortlessly, on an unfamiliar bike, going 20mph faster than I usually go, perfectly easily and safely. Astounding.

This bike was fitted with the Termignoni exhaust, which gave it a rich deep rumble, a bit loud, but not really obnoxious. I did stop by my house to show it to my wife, and she said she heard me 3 blocks away, and knew it had to be me – nothing else sounds like a Ducati. She thought it looked pretty sweet (this one was white), but noted that the passenger perch looked a bit less than sumptuous.

Although the style still doesn’t really grab me, it is not a bad looking bike. It seems it would be competent all around, much like my Monster – good for general usage, comfortable enough for traveling (one-up), fantastic at fun blasting. You could get some soft luggage on it. The mirrors actually give you a good view behind. It’s really well thought out all around. The standard model comes in red or white, with a black frame; I’d definitely take the red. I had been a bit skeptical of the idea of trying to contain that level of superbike performance in a naked standard style bike, but they have done an excellent job.
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HyperMotard:

I had test ridden one of these once before and really liked it. I still do. It’s clearly not going to beat the StreetFighter in a race, but it does perform really well. The big air/oil-cooled twin has a ton of grunt, and really sounds and feels it. This bike takes a different riding style than the StreetFighter; much more active, more manhandling, more effort. But this is also a hell of a lot of fun. This bike still puts a grin on my face like no other bike I’ve tested. The shifting is a little clonky, but otherwise everything works smoothly. The passenger area is much improved over the Monster or StreetFighter, and there would be more room for luggage as well.

I’d have to say, for my money, this would still be top of my list if I was to buy a new bike.
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StreetFighter S

This differs from the standard mainly in having higher standard suspension (Ohlins instead of Showa at both ends), as well as having the electronic traction control (DTC) system. Neither of these changes were strongly apparent on the street. We were riding fairly briskly, but I think you’d need to be hitting it pretty hard for the Ohlins or the DTC to really show up as making a difference. This bike had the stock exhaust, which was definitely more civilized than the Termis were. The S comes in red or black, with a bronze colored frame; it looks really good in the black.

The impression of effortlessness and confidence-inspiring was reinforced. Again, it just felt like the bike naturally wanted to do the right thing, all the time. It never felt like I was wrestling the bike, or like I had to “tame” it. It just went fast, smoothly and easily.

I would probably not spend the extra for the S version, given that I am not really a very hard rider, unless I was rich enough that the $3K difference didn’t matter much to me. Either way, though, I think this bike is a fine machine, and stands to be a big success for Ducati.
PhilB
 

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A guy on a scruffy bike
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15,367 Posts
Thanks PhilB
You're welcome. A lot of Duc dealers are pretty open with testrides. There's also a truck full of demo bikes that tours the country. I've ridden most of the lineup at one time or another, at any of several of the SoCal dealerships. Also, where I am right now in Ohio, a local dealer had an event last Saturday for the introduction of the 848 EVO. While they didn't have testrides on that because both of the ones they ordered were already spoken for, they did have a StreetFighter and a MultiStrada 1200S available for rides.

I'd suggest you go try one out. Just be prepared to be severely tempted.

PhilB
 

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I just bought one a week ago. I pretty much 100% agree with Phil except I dont find it tall, the clutch is stiff as hell, and I find the bike rewards positive confident input more than finesse. BUT we may both be saying the same thing.

I find the bike to be geared to tall from factory and whomever ok'ed the exhaust/ right foot situation should be fired. But honestly these are tiny insignificant things once you are on the bike. The faster you go the more stable the thing gets. I frequently find myself cruising at 90 and having to back off.

Here is a quote from a different post I made that sums it up best for me.....

"I really don't speak or write eloquently enough to properly describe this bike. You ever watch the "when animals attack" shows on T.V. and the stupid person walks up to the cute deer or the slobbering buffalo then said animal proceeds to kick the living shit out of that person?....Yeah that is what this bike reminds me of....."

You should test ride one. You will want it.
 

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A guy on a scruffy bike
Joined
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15,367 Posts
I just bought one a week ago. I pretty much 100% agree with Phil except I dont find it tall, the clutch is stiff as hell, and I find the bike rewards positive confident input more than finesse. BUT we may both be saying the same thing.

I find the bike to be geared to tall from factory and whomever ok'ed the exhaust/ right foot situation should be fired. But honestly these are tiny insignificant things once you are on the bike. The faster you go the more stable the thing gets. I frequently find myself cruising at 90 and having to back off.

Here is a quote from a different post I made that sums it up best for me.....

"I really don't speak or write eloquently enough to properly describe this bike. You ever watch the "when animals attack" shows on T.V. and the stupid person walks up to the cute deer or the slobbering buffalo then said animal proceeds to kick the living shit out of that person?....Yeah that is what this bike reminds me of....."

You should test ride one. You will want it.
Well, I've been riding a dry-clutch Monster for 17 years, so it takes a *very* stiff clutch for me to notice. :D It seemed light to me. I have read that aftermarket longer footpegs are available to solve the boot/exhaust problem.

PhilB
 

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Ha after 17 years of dry clutch you could prob getva job as a nut cracker. I am looking into a larger slave cy to lighten the pull a bit but I have gotten more used to it.

I am looking at footpeg options. It's really not horrible. I just think it was stupid to produce the bike that way from the start.
 
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