Finally, a real naked supersport

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Speaking at the US media launch of the Ducati Streetfigher 848 yesterday, North American general manager Dominique Cheraki described his ideal motorcycle — a real sportsbike sans the fairings and equipped with high bars to make it comfortable. The perfect bike for riding fast on real roads, whether they be city streets or mountain curves. That’s certainly not a new concept, but it’s not one that’s ever before been fully realized; in the translation from faired to naked, the handling and performance that makes a sportsbike a sportsbike has traditionally been lost. Is this new Streetfighter finally the real deal? A naked 848 Evo? Not really, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Photos: Brian J. Nelson

The difference between fast and slow

Spending the first half of the day riding in the mountains around Idylwild, California in a pack of other journalists, I was prepared to write off the little Streetfighter. You see, we were trickling along, slow as can be, while the group struggled to pass cars, negotiate corners and figure out the right way to turn at junctions. At this pace, you’re left without much to focus on but the suspension’s inability to deal with bumps — upright or lent over — the motor’s rough recalcitrance below 4,000rpm and the ergonomic…compromises that seem to go hand-in-hand with the Ducati badge.

Then after lunch and photos, apparently as frustrated as I was, Dominique took charge and took off, leading Cycle Canada’s Neil Graham and I down the mountain to the 10 at a much healthier speed. It’s a good thing he did, because riding the Streetfigher 848 fast reveals an entirely different motorcycle.

It says something about a motorcycle company when the boss is actually a real rider. Ducati, for all its cruisers and catwalks and own-brand wine still knows how to make a fast motorcycle. In the case of this Streetfighter, a very fast motorcycle.

What makes a Streetfighter

So the Streetfighter 848 is not an 848 Evo with the fairing removed and high bars fitted. I’m scoffing at the idea of referring to its bars as “high.” Instead, it’s a Streetfigher 1098 with a new motor, the suspension from a Ducati Monster 1100 and a few tweaks to make it handle better and look nicer.

Rather than the faired supersport’s 140bhp twin, the Streetfighter uses an 849.4cc version of the Testastretta 11° motor that gives the Multistrada 1200 and Diavel their 15,000-mile service intervals. That 11° refers to overlap between inlet and exhaust valves. That and some other internal changes put the emphasis on low-rev torque and smooth power delivery over the 37° overlap of the 848 Evo motor and its outright, high-rev power. This Streetfighter makes 130bhp at 10,000rpm and 69lb/ft of torque at 9,500rpm. Don’t let the close proximity of those two peaks fool you, this is a flexible engine, check out how broad and flat that torque curve is.

Neither does the Steetfighter come with the $13,995 Ducati 848 Evo’s relatively high-quality, fully-adjustable suspension. Instead, the $12,995 Streetfighter inherits the Monster 1100’s 43mm, fully-adjustable Marzocchi forks and Sachs monoshock, which adjusts for preload and compression damping only. While trying to help me find some damping for that shock, a Ducati tech described it as “limited.” The spring rates front and rear are good, but there’s just not enough compression or rebound damping in either component. Dialing in some more compression on that shock helped, but what I really needed to avoid getting kicked out of the seat over bumps was more rebound, which isn’t available. Without adequate damping, the relatively stiff springs are left to bounce you and the bike around unchecked.

The Streetfigher also ditches the 848 Evo’s Brembo Monobloc calipers for regular gold radial-mounts. These are actually a better choice, still deliver plenty of power and feel, just with a more-progressive action that’s better suited to road riding.

Critically, the rake and trail are sharpened over the Streetfigher 1098. It actually adopts the 848 Evo’s 24.5° rake, increasing trail to 103mm. Combined with a very low 169kg/373lbs (dry)weight and short 58.1 inch wheelbase, the result is an exceptionally agile motorcycle that somehow also manages to be unflappably stable. Steering is precise and there’s excellent communication from both the front and rear tires.

Aesthetically, the Streetfigher 848 gains sharp-looking LED position and brake lights and the body work is tightened up. The result is a cleaner, more refined look than the Streetfighter 1098. I’ve never been a fan of that bike either to ride or look at, but Ducati’s gotten it right this time. With sharp creases, minimal bodywork, strong surfaces and no stupid graphics, it’s one of the few bikes that actually looks good in yellow too.

Like its bigger brother, the Streetfighter 848 gets eight-level traction control and Ducati’s data analysis system, which allows users to download performance data to a USB stick.

It’s also worth mentioning the tires. Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corso tires are seriously nice; the kind of thing you’d put on another bike to improve it. With all the Japanese OEMs cutting costs by fitting shit tires stock, it’s nice to see Ducati actually allowing owners to fully realize the performance of its motorcycles straight out of the showroom by using real rubber. These Pirelli’s stick like glue and experience with them on other bikes has shown them to be relatively long-lasting and good in the rain too.

Sore wrists, stiff legs, can’t win

Aside from unresolved front suspension, the big problem with the larger, older Streetfighter 1098 was torture rack ergonomics. With the whole idea in translating a sportsbike to a naked being comfort and accessibility, that was a huge problem. The larger bike is a literal pain to ride, even on a race track.

On this new Streetfighter 848, the bars have been raised 20mm and the pegs sit half an inch wider. That 20mm helps a lot, but the bars are still remarkably low, leading to wrist pain in town (obviously), on the highway and even while riding fast on mountain roads.

The footpegs, shared with most other Ducati models, still lack tread and they still sit too close-in, meaning your boots will ride outside their tips. This is a problem for two reasons: 1) even riding in grippy Alpinestars Supertech Rs, my feet repeatedly slipped off the completely smooth peg tip. 2) your boots are going to go down a lot if you’re pulling any serious lean. On the right side, a large piece of black plastic keeps the shotgun pipes from melting your boots, but it also gets in the way of your heel, meaning you can’t really get your foot on the peg all the way while cruising. Riding in town is still going to be absolute torture.

Wait, you said “real naked supersport”

Yep. Despite de-contented suspension, compromised ergonomics and less power, that’s somehow still what the Streetfighter 848 is. Leaned way over on a bumpy road, those bumps are going to upset the suspension, but that doesn’t translate to running wide. Once you realize that you’re not going to wash out the front because the spring is bouncing around, you can really push it hard. My best guess as to the reason for this seeming contradiction — too soft damping, but still great handling — is that Ducati’s just nailed the geometry. I really can’t emphasize it enough, this thing is incredibly agile, changing direction or altering lines mid corner faster and better than a supersport 600, but also completely stable; I never got so much as a faint waggle in the bars. It’s handling is absolutely perfect for tight mountain roads.

And yeah, the motor feels blunted in comparison to the 848 Evo, but once you get over missing that peak power, the huge plateau of torque is perfect for driving through and out of corners. Real world, actually fast riding isn’t about rocketing out of corners on full throttle, but more maintaining a fast pace through reducing radiuses, around blind corners and over changes in elevation. It’s in those conditions where a broad swath of usable torque beats outright power, and that’s what this motor excels at.

So maybe not just an 848 sans fairings, but a unique motorcycle in its own right. A very fast one that remains accessible, easy to push hard and is just a ton of fun on real roads.

How to make the Streetfigher 848 a perfect motorcycle

In fact, Ducati has done such a good job on the Streetfighter 848, that it’d take very little work to make it the absolutely perfect weapon for attacking tight roads. Here’s how to do that:

- Get the forks rebuilt. The spring rate is good, but you might as well take the opportunity to have it tailored for your weight. More importantly, fitting aftermarket internals will bring more damping and greater adjustability. This will boost the bike’s already incredible front-end feel while enabling that front tire to float over bumps.

- Replace the shock. You want one that’s fully adjustable and actually has some damping in it. Again, that will enable it to better deal with rough pavement, all that’s really necessary to really perfect the handling.

- Fit higher bars. Everyone’s different, but two inches higher should be about right. Yes, that’s quite a bit, the stock ones are retarded low. These will speed steering further while actually making the bike rideable for periods exceeding half an hour.

- Go down a tooth on the front sprocket. With surging, jerkiness and no power or torque below 4,000rpm, you really don’t want to be riding there. Yet in 2nd gear, at town speeds, that’s where you’ll find yourself. Shortening the gearing will also put some urgency back in the power delivery.

- Fit grippy pegs. Enabling your boots to stay put is an absolute necessity.

- Keep the stock exhaust, but find a better heat shield. Hopefully the aftermarket will pony up here. The stock exhaust note is the perfect mix of evoking performance without being excessively noisy. Loud pipes destroy rights.

Should I buy one?

Not if most of your riding is in town. The upright ergos and low-down punch of of the Ducati Monster 1100 would be much better.

Not if you need to spend over half an hour on the highway on a regular basis. There’s no turbulence because there’s no bodywork, so wind blast isn’t a problem in tight leathers, but it would be in baggy textile gear. Again, the ergonomics are a limiting factor here. The seat is a board, the bars are incredibly low and the pegs are very high.

But, if you’re looking for something exclusively to play with, something to ride in canyons or up and down mountains all day, you’d struggle to do any better than this bike. It’s light, agile and fast, but it’ll make all that accessible to relatively inexperienced riders too. It’d be a great first fast bike for someone coming off an SV650 or a Monster or a great fast bike for people tired of trying to make bikes designed to win races work on the road. Like real world, real road corners? This Streetfigher 848 is the bike for you.

  • GGno

    The real naked supersport is the v4 Tuono.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      supersport = 600-ish
      superbike = 999cc+

      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben W

        Forgot that distinction in terminology. I thought the same thing as GGno.

    • CCarey

      I would have thought the Street Triple would be the only nekked Supersport.

      • http://www.pedalgents.com holdingfast

        same here?
        edit* I would have thought the Speed Triple is the only naked superbike?

        is it cuz there’s no actualy superbike version of the speed triple? woot?

    • kraij

      bahh the Tuono is just ugly…

  • Charlie

    This may be real competition for the Brutale 675 I want. The streetfighter is a bike that looks better in person as well. Wes, how’s the exhaust note?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Nice and crisp and deep. It sounds like an exotic v-twin, which is pretty much what it is.

      • Charlie

        Thanks, just called the local dealer and sending him pics of my 796 Hyper trade. I’m looking for a toy – light and fun, with a exotic flavor. Mix in some Ducati yellow paint and you have a value prop at $13k

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Sounds like it’s the right bike for you then.

      • oldnick

        I have to agree. When I first picked up my bike I couldn’t believe how good it sounded for a stock system. It is loud enough to enjoy, but not so loud that it annoys other road users or my neigbours.

        Although Termis may sound a little louder and “better”, and weigh a lot less, there is no way I’m spending $2500 (Australian pricing).

        On the seating position/bars, I’m about 5’9″ and I’m reasonably comfortable. I can do 2 hours before I start to get tired, probably about 1 hour around the city. I don’t find that the bars are too low for me or that I have much weight on my wrists; IF I pay attention and make sure I maintain good posture.

        Of course everyone is different and even after a test ride it is difficult to know how things will gel in the long term. I didn’t have a test ride but when I picked it up I loved it, then for the next week kept thing I made a big mistake, and now, almost 2000Km later, love it again.

  • TuffGong

    Glorious in many ways,including gloriously limited in the real world….

    • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

      It may be different in cruiser country but here in the old world, they’ll be a dime a dozen, like street triples were in 2009~2011, and z750 before them.
      I already have two friends who just got their’s (one coming from a street, the other one from a speed).

      • sargent

        It’ll be a rare bird around these parts (Indiana). I think I’ve seen a total of 2 Street Fighters outside of a show room since the bigger one was introduced. Same with the Street Triple, and one of those is just because it’s a guy I ride with.

  • doublet

    Correct me if I’m wrong (and I may very well be wrong) but I feel as if I recall a write-up about this very bike being a terribly overpriced for what it is?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      It’s only a grand cheaper than the 848 Evo, while sacrificing over a grand in suspension quality. But, it still ends up being a unique, good bike.

      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben W

        Which begs the question – how would the pricing compare when converting the 848 Evo to a comfortable naked versus upgrading the Streetfighter 848 to be as competent? My guess is the Evo conversion would be less expensive, but it would take some skill to make it look as relatively clean as the Streetfighter.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Yeah, looks are important to a lot of people though.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Doublet, Wes is infamous for trashing things he eventually can’t live without. Like his Vanson jacket and Sean’s Aerostitch on”extended loan” and the Yamaha Super Ten and…

      Personally, I think he does it just to be continually shocked & amazed by all the things a life of motorcycling offers.

      • ike6116

        I think it goes the other way too. I remember reading the Labrador feature and others around it where all he did was glow over the BMWs but now it seems he goes out of his way to say that every other ADV bike is better.

        Then there was the trashing of CycleWorld as an old boys’ network of soCal guys who raced motocross together… then you guys very nicely don’t “eat their lunch” on the JackPine.

        Jeckyll and Siler.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

          Eat what lunch? We covered the Jack Pine at least a year before anyone from the Kalifornia Klub.

      • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

        I think that’s a good trait to have. Opinionated, but open minded enough to give something a shot.

        I know the F800GS love then hate gets brought up a lot, but that’s a segment that’s seen some serious competition crop up. When there is only one of something … it’s the best. When there are more to choose from opinions change.

  • James

    I wouldn’t mind putting that motor in my 796.

  • PenguinScotty

    Interesting read. When i first heard about the 848 naked, it definitely seemed like a great naked fighter. However, i am a bit disappointed that for roughly 13k, you STILL have to go and upgrade the suspensions. Bars, sprocket and pegs i can definitely understand, since everybody is different.

    So, in your opinion, the 848 naked is a great stepping stone to go to a bigger naked, like a Z1000 or SuperDuke? Power wise, i would think it can easily keep up with those two.

    Damn, now i need to go ride one, thanks!

    No, but really, great read, and thank you again.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      It’s a better bike than either the Z1000 or SuperDuke. Much better handling, the motor is nearly there and the ‘fighter is much lighter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben W

      The Z1000 and SuperDuke aren’t much bigger, but they’re very different bikes from this Streetfighter. Both are less sporty and more comfortable.

      I went from a Honda 599 to a Z1000 and don’t feel like a stepping stone would be necessary. It’s really about getting the right bike for your intended use. I ride around town and commute all the time, so the Z1000 is great. This Streetfighter wouldn’t be.

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

    I wonder how long it’s going to take for the aftermarket to sort out the general low-RPM shittiness of this engine. It’s taken 2 years for the Multistrada 1200′s engine. Only in the most recent two months have aftermarket tuners truly figured out how to reflash the stock ECU so that all the emissions-regulations neutering below 4000 RPM could be bypassed. The MTS 1200, as it comes from the factory, is a bitch to ride slowly in city traffic or off-pavement — especially 2-up — because of the engine’s sputtery behavior below 4000 RPM.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      And looking at the HP/torque chart, it’s very telling that the engine’s performance below 5500 RPM is not shown. I bet the torque drops precipitously below that.

    • oldnick

      I have a Streetfighter 848 and at low RPM its not too bad. While running it it in I kept the original front sprocket but I have since dropped one tooth so I can now get into third gear around town. The fueling is pretty good, although the throttle is very quick and off/on at low revs in first; even more so now. So, the engine doesn’t splutter, but it does require a bit of clutch slipping in heavy slow traffic, etc.

      Mind you, I’m in Oz, so it may be different in other countries.

  • Roman

    My 2003 Triumph Speed Four had fully adjustable suspension front and rear, but the 2012 Ducati Streetfighter 848 doesn’t? Doesn’t reflect too well on Ducati, honestly. Sounds like a great engine and chassis, but why cheap-out on the suspension of all things?

    • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

      Because most owners wouldn’t even know how to adjust them if they could, so most users won’t mind. All users would however mind a higher pricetag.
      And because they couldn’t possibly do an S version if this one already had all the nicer stuff on it.

      • Roman

        But you could say that for the fared bikes too. If you promising a naked supersport, deliver a naked supersport, not something that needs $1500 in suspension investment.

        • Sean Smith

          What’s the name of your guy? The best prices I can find for a cartridge kit and shock are around $3000…

          • Roman

            Haha, well I’m thinking Race Tech, not Ohlins…

    • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

      Shitty suspension on a13k motorcycle? What a travesty. It looks good and sounds good and then it rips you off to the tune of thousands of dollars…sounds like a true Ducati to me!

  • FiveG

    “a real sportsbike sans the fairings and equipped with high bars to make it comfortable.” Why doesn’t that describe the Tuono — or even the Dorsoduro 750 (albeit, with a better seat)?

  • Coreyvwc

    I’m still not sure how these things manage to look so damn terrible in photos, and yet look just right in person.

  • Holden and Annette

    Ah, Wes rode it and wrote it. I was wondering. The review lacks a byline.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Actually, the credit clearly says “Wes Siler” right before the publish date at the bottom of the article.

      • Holden and Annette

        D’oh!

  • Joe

    I know it doesn’t really compare, but how does the Street Triple R stack up to the Streetfighter?

    Striple is cheaper, with better suspension, but you guys seemed to like both the R and the Streetfighter a lot.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      The streetfighter is more of a dedicated performance bike. The Striple R has broader capabilities.

    • http://lightsoutknivesout.tumblr.com/ Scott Pargett

      I have a Street Triple with a Daytona front end (ohlins cartridge and proper springs), and a penske rear shock, about Was imagining taking the two out together and seeing how that went.

      From what I can gather I think the only advantage the Fighter has is a 30hp.

  • Andrew

    So for perfection add:

    - Ohlins shock
    - Ohlins fork
    - Speedymoto rear sets
    - Speedymoto exhaust shield
    - neg. 1 front sprocket

    The first two can be had from the Ducati accessories catalog, the rest from many places.

    Seems like the Ducati Streetfighter 848s waiting to happen.

    • smoke4ndmears

      dont forget fuel mapping!

  • http://www.faster-faster.com fasterfaster

    “That’s certainly not a new concept, but it’s not one that’s ever before been fully realized; in the translation from faired to naked, the handling and performance that makes a sportsbike a sportsbike has traditionally been lost. ”
    I gotta agree with the other commenters – the Street Triple R is that bike. It has all the sport of this bike, with (it sounds like) better ergos, better suspension. It’ll do A-pace at a track day in stock form, and there’s no better tool in the canyons. I suspect the new Brutale 675 will be right there with it as well. However, I’m certainly not upset to see this space get more crowded. These bikes make the best real world sport bikes, and we’ve had a notable dearth of them until now.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Nah, the Striple R is a wonderful, wonderful bike, but it’s not as outright sport-focussed as the Daytona or this streetfighter. This Ducati is a middleweight sportsbike that just happens to be naked.

  • Raubert Van Harris

    Looks like a great $10k bike. I’m sure people will still buy it though.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Hold the phone! There is Ducati branded WINE out there?!?! Why are you not reviewing THAT?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Fuck, we really should. Where can I order some?

      • Archer

        Sweet leaping hay-seuss, it’s real.

        http://www.desmorosso.com/en/index.php

        Complete with Ducatiesque overblown ad copy.

        • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

          $450 for a six-pack. Smoking deal.

      • nymoto

        Here you go, haha – wait nevermind – Archer got it

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    Doesn’t everybody put aftermarket rearsets on a bike anyway? Even one that costs $13k? The suspension is another matter. An extra $2150 (quoting generic ohlins cartridge kit / ttx36 prices) is a big bullet to bite on a brand new bike. It would have been nice to see Ducati help the buying public out a little bit there by including it. Maybe in a later model?

    Looks like a great street bike. And it is great looking. Glad to see this ‘streetable performance’ niche expanding. Also, I agree with this: “Real world, actually fast riding isn’t about rocketing out of corners on full throttle, but more maintaining a fast pace through reducing radiuses, around blind corners and over changes in elevation.”

    • aristurtle

      They’ll probably put the full Evo suspension in a Streetfighter 848 S Extra-Fancy model, to be released later, if this is the Ducati I’m used to.

      • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

        And somehow priced higher than their supersport equivalent. Haha! What a business.

  • Kevin

    Those guys at Cycle Canada do a great job, give them our regards.

  • jonoabq

    So to get this thing properly sorted (suspension, ergos, pegs, radiator & oil cooler guards, crash protection) as a daily driver puts it in the $18k range? Maybe its just sour grapes, but that seems like a fair bit too much for a middleweight naked. I mean every bike has it’s deficiencies or trade-offs, but shit suspension should not be one of them at $13k(base).
    I want a bike I can live with day in and day out, not one I can only tolerate for 30 minutes at a stretch. Oh yeah, maybe that’s why I don’t have a Ducati…oops, my bad, never mind.

    • Sean Smith

      Most bikes have shit suspension. If its not intended for racing, that’s the first place manufacturers cut costs. It sucks ass, but right now it’s just a fact of motorcycling.

      • jonoabq

        “Most bikes have shit suspension.” Yes, they do. And it is more than a little unfortunate. I rode the wheels off of an 06′ Tiger but only after I put a fully adjustable Penske 8987 in the rear and Race Tech cartridge emulators & Wirth springs in front did it stop scaring the shit out of me. And like this Ducati, it pisses me off to no end that manufacturers cut corners with something so critical to handling/capability/safety as suspension components…fuck at least give me something fully adjustable and with a bit of range so it can be dialed in for rider weight, local roads, tire choice. It doesn’t have to be great, just not shitty, especially at everyday speeds.

        • Kurt

          If they are going to cheap-out on something, I’d prefer that it were suspension rather than motor or electronics, both of which are harder and more expensive to fix.

      • Scott-jay

        Yo’ youth is showing, Sean.
        Ever ride a bike from the Eighties?

  • Chris Wilson

    Haven’t ridden the smaller street fighter yet but i’d be amazed if it’s better than the street triple r, that bike is an absolute cracker for all the reasons you mention and the mid range growl is seriously addictive

  • http://www.ClevelandCycleWerks.com scottydigital

    I see knee down, must be Grant riding;) zing

  • Mike

    What an abortion.
    Simply putting the Superbike engine in Monsters with an uprated suspension just made too much sense or wouldn’t sell enough bikes?
    At least the old S4 & S4R’s looked good.
    Sticking with Monster, thx, as I like to ride for more than an hour. Clearly this isn’t for me.

  • *

    Dangit! Why does my Speed Triple take 1050 cc’s (=heavy!) just to make a piddly 115 bhp and this thing cranks out 130 hp from a mere 848cc? I know Triumph engine tech is usually a generation behind, but come on! Or is this the infamous apples-to-oranges different dynos thing?

    • TuffGong

      Because your Triple makes oodles of torque and has a broad mid range,which is where you ride most of the time.The Duc is a dog(according to the article) at less than blast speed.Peak hp vs real world grunt…..

    • jonoabq

      I suspect that as a compromise to outright top end your triple is easier to ride through a broader rpm range, more forgiving if you get it wrong…yet still, in the right hands can be ridden surprisingly fast if you wring its neck.

      • *

        Ya, coming from a 15,000 rpm Honda 600RR, I’m still learning to just relax and surf the torque curve rather than shift like a maniac. I wouldn’t call the bike slow, but it’s not the monster motor I was expecting. (I weigh 150lbs, btw) No flaming intended here, Triumph fans. I have to learn to adapt my riding style, which is a crucial ability in a rider, as I understand.

    • Good Thomas

      what year is your bike?

      dude, don’t worry, your speed triple is one of the greatest bikes in the world.

      i commute every day on mine (2011 model). i take it to the canyons, go on multi-day tours (well, only 2 days at a time which is all i can do time-wise), and i’ve even taken it offroad (to the extent the trona pinnacles area can be considered offroad). i’ve broken the law with her by riding her near her top-end speed of 150+ mph on Interstate 10 (foolish, and only once – just couldn’t help myself). a practical lady, but one who makes you feel special. agile, very quick, powerful. gentle when you want her to be, she turns into a monster with a twist of your wrist. forgiving of your flaws and mistakes. good-looking in a british sort of way. just a great, great machine.

      i think my 2011 S3 makes 130bhp. but it doesn’t matter. i guarantee it’s a better bike than either of the streetfighters. i’m sure the streetfighter can do one or two things better, but considering the whole package, it ain’t got nuthin’ on the speed triple.

      • *

        ’05 Scorched Yellow w/Arrow Low Boy. Style for miles, so I think I’ll keep her and learn to love her, but I foresee an ’04-05 ZX10R in my future to satisfy my need for warp speed. Knowmsayin?

  • *

    One more thing: I thought the horsepower and torque curves always intersect at 5,000-something rpms–why doesn’t the chart above reflect this? School me, someone.

    • Campisi

      I think it’s because torque and power have different numeric scales on the graph. My understanding is that (when using the same numeric scale for both power and torque) it is mathematically impossible to have more torque than horsepower above 5,250 RPM, but I may have that wrong.

      • Mike

        hehe. That was the first thing that jumped at me when I saw the tq/hp curve and they didnt intersect at 5250rpm. It’s in kilogram meters of torques vs foot-lbs. Speak American!!

    • aristurtle

      They have different Y-axes. They’re two different graphs put on one image to save space; they’ll intersect wherever the hell you want based on how you set up the Y-scaling.

      • *

        I thank you, sirs.

  • Costa Mouzouris

    Interesting tidbit about Wes at press launches: The guy takes his job to heart. While we’re all faking it for the pics, Wes wants a quick turnaround between passes so as not to lose the heat in his tires. “Gotta get my knee down.” Cheers dude.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Aww shucks Costa, good seeing you.

  • jason

    Still friggin expensive. I am happy with my 79 kz1000. That cost a a fraction of that used. I think it wouldn’t buy the monoshock.
    Much as I love them. Too many machines are rich doofus toys.

  • Maxwell

    Everyone is so concerned with suspension having never even ridden the bike. How many of you have actually taken the time to dial in the suspension on your current motorcycle? Keep in mind “setting up for rider weight” is easily achieved because spring preload is still adjustable front and rear. The damping performance and hydraulic adjustability is mostly for rider preference. Ive ridden terribly damped bikes (Triumph Thruxton anyone?) very fast and still very much enjoyed myself.

    • Campisi

      In my defense, I have no idea how to set up motorcycle suspension; I imagine it’s the same story with many other people.

      • Sean Smith

        It’s startling how many motorcyclists know nothing about what’s going on underneath them.

        • oldnick

          Sounds like a good article for HFL. Suspension Tuning 101.

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            That does sound like a good article. Sean?

            • Good Thomas

              yes! i suspect most riders are like me – short on any real knowledge of the mechanics of motorcycles. and please write them so we can understand (i.e. like we’re 6th graders).

              how about a SERIES of articles?

              • BMW11GS

                I always feel that I understand in my mind that what I want my suspension is doing but don’t know how to achieve it and then when I do get one element right it is a compromise setting and then I have to find a comfortable middle ground that makes me want to fiddle with it again. It can go on for quite a while!

                • Devin

                  Problem 1: How do I adjust my suspension (oh thanks Sean)

                  Problem 2: Every HFL’er goes out to their bike ready to tinker and 90% go FUCK, 1,2,3,4,5 presets, no adjusting. Dammit!

        • Campisi

          It’s not that I don’t have a basic grasp of what suspension does, I’ve just never owned a motorcycle with adjustable suspension or even thought of it as something I can just fiddle with. The only reason I know anything about automotive suspension is because of Gran Turismo games and having installed aftermarket suspension kits in cars before.

  • Peter

    Seriously? Really? Come on…

    You can go buy any bike you like, regardless of cost or engine capacity, spend $2000 on fork internals and shocks and go and ride circles around bikes twice the cost of what you bought.

    Case in point: Kawasaki Ninja 650/ER6. My ER6n commuter has a Wilbers shock and race tech fork internals as is only moderately slower in the mountains than my tooled GSXR600, with a 65HP deficit and crap tyres.

    Oh and it has heated grips.