Ducati bikes have been growing in numbers these days, and fast, so utter the name Ducati and there is a resounding applause of motorcycle history since it was conceived in 1926 by three brothers Messrs Bruno, Adriano and Marcello Ducati. However, a word of caution, if the name ‘Streetfighter’ brings back memories of the head-to-head fighting game, you leave us no choice but to‘hadoken’ you into oblivion.
So what is a Streetfighter? It’s no brawler that walks the streets of course, but it does make reference to those who have made aesthetic modifications to their own motorcycles by converting their super or sport bikes into a naked bike for a more ‘raw’ or ‘rougher’ look, much like when you compare a professional boxer with a street brawler.
The Ducati Streetfighter S really needs no introduction since its release in 2010. Many people seem to think that parts were cannibalized from both Ducati’s 1098 and 1198, and it is true. The 1,099cc L-Twin cylinder, 4 valves per cylinder Desmodromic, liquid cooled engine does come from the 1098 and is mated to the 1198′s tubular steel Trellis frame, sans body work of course, but effectively there are more changes to this bike than meets the eye.
The Streetfighter, in essence, has a new rear sub-frame that shortens the bike by 3″, versus the 1098. The 1″ shortened fuel tank is also new, as well as the instrument cluster, exhausts, lights, handle-bars and that extra ‘S’ in red on the tank .
The engine on the other hand still belongs to the 1098, but the crankcase hails from the 1198 simply because its 3kg lighter thanks to a new casting method.
With this bike being the ‘S’ model, getting on it didn’t feel any different than the usual Streetfighter and it still felt solid and chunky in your hands. Never-the-less 2kg is what separates these two street brawlers where the Streetfighter is 169kg, the Streetfighter S weighs in at 167kg.
Now engage the electric-start button, reach both hands to the bars and listen to that clunky L-twin motor from Ducati as it idles. Now give it some twist and it’s ready to rumble ‘signore’ with all that blunt-force trauma coming from the engine, the noise is simply brutish once you’ve got it going.
At slow speeds, you’d find this a fantastic commuter to hang on to. Albeit it’s not as low slung as a sportbike, so it makes it a little more upright and the single seat allows for a great feel of spaciousness. The main purpose of designing this bike was to cram as much power into it whilst making it as compact as possible.
With this bike having a dry-sump clutch, it definitely requires a little more effort to engage than usual, which pretty much rains on the parade when you’re doing an urban commute with a tremendous amount of start-stops. It’s comfortable enough to be on and the thing about this bike is that it is phenomenally stable at any given speed. It simply wants to stay up right at all times, so it adds to the comfort levels for this bike, but this sort of environment makes this particular Ducati seem lacking and clumsy.
However, look further outskirts and this bike soaks up tarmac just like how mama’s pasta would in boiling water. Add some twists into the tarmac and it would be like putting carbonara sauce onto the pasta. Semplicemente delizioso! Going back to how it wants to stay upright at any given speed, I stand by it, but once the bends start coming towards you, getting your knee down is without effort.
This bike is capable of transitioning between corners, not only with ease, but also with grace. By this I mean, she’s not only fast, she’s confidence inspiring and extremely stable around the bends at speed.
Do not throw caution to the wind because this Streetfighter S has an extremely sensitive twin 330mm Brembo Monobloc discs up front and a single 245mm disc in the rear. Additionally, the ‘S’ comes with Öhlins suspension, lightweight forged wheels, carbon fibre components, and the exclusive Ducati Traction Control system.
A little more attention is required for the front brakes, because these brakes can be engaged with lesser effort than necessary. Meaning, inexperienced riders may need a little bit more time to get properly acclimatized to this bike than usual.
Even though the seating room was generous, it is a tad high for shorter riders, room at the foot pegs seemed a tad cramped as the exhaust shield cuts into the foot-room quite noticeably and the foot-pegs felt somewhat slippery and short. My feet felt a quite claustrophobic of course.
Once you place your hands on the handlebars you can feel the grips are lower than the usual standard bikes, that’s more like a sportbike and the bars are bent slightly towards the ground that puts you in a more aggressive stance, but it does load your wrists a little and the slightly harder Öhlins suspension adds to it.
However, this riding position does allow you to duck down closer to the tank much more easily to alleviate yourself from the windblast when travelling at warp speed down the North South Highway and did I mention it was extremely stable? Thanks to the steering geometry and a longer swing arm, it adds to the fantastic stability of this bike.
Engine response is simply smooth and immediate throughout the rev range, yet the abruptness isn’t really there, until the shift lights blink and thank goodness for those, because you can get caught out when enjoying the engine note as the revs climb ferociously quick after 7,000rpm when the power really kicks in.
To sum it up, the Ducati Streetfighter S eats fast bending tarmac for breakfast and though it’s got blinding fast speed, it has enough stopping power to make your eyeballs leave their sockets long after you’ve come to a complete stop. Power delivery is ‘splendido,’ smooth and very much refined as a connoisseur’s ‘vino collezione.’ Bellisimo!
Technical Specifications: Ducati Streetfighter S (RM163,000)
Engine and transmission
Displacement: 1099.00 ccm (67.06 cubic inches)
Engine type: V2, four-stroke
Power: V2, four-stroke
Torque: 115.26 Nm @ 9500rpm
Bore x Stroke: 104.0 x 64.9 mm (4.1 x 2.6 inches)
Valves per cylinder: 4
Fuel System: Injection. Marelli electronic fuel injection, elliptical throttle bodies.
Fuel Control: Desmodromic valve control
Cooling system: Liquid
Clutch: Dry multiplate
Exhaust system: Lightweight 2-1-2 system with catalytic converter and 2 lambda probes. Twin stainless steel and titanium mufflers
Chassis, suspension, brakes and wheels
Frame Type: Tubular steel Trellis in ALS450
Rake (fork angle): 25.9°
Front suspension: Öhlins upside-down fork
Rear suspension: Progressive linkage with fully adjustable Ohlins monoshock
Front brakes: Double disc. 4-piston calipers
Front brakes diameter: 330 mm (13.0 inches)
Rear brakes: Single disc
Rear brakes diameter: 245 mm (9.6 inches)
Front tyres: 190/55 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Corsa III
Rear tyres: 190/70 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Corsa III
Physical measures and capacities
Wheelbase: 1,476 mm (58.1 inches)