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The bold one

autos Updated: Dec 18, 2010 02:52 IST
Karthikeya Singhee
Karthikeya Singhee
Hindustan Times
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As a successor to the popular Monster S4R, there is a lot of expectation from the Streetfighter. Even before it rolled out of Ducati’s factory, the flagship naked bike had already generated a lot of buzz. The range also has the Monster 696, Monster 796 and Monster 1100. It is also available in the lighter ‘S’ guise, which we got to ride recently at the Sepang Race Track in Malaysia.

The Streetfighter’s styling is as bold as it can get. The single all-digital speedometer display and bar-type rev counter looks well detailed, but is difficult to read in sunlight. Riders can access a clock, lap time, air temperature, coolant temperature, twin trips and Ducati Traction Control (DTC) settings by pressing a dedicated button. The Ducati comes with good quality switches and comfy palm grips. The rider gets excellent grip from the large 16.5 litre fuel tank. A steel trellis frame maintains the Ducati family look. Its rear styling is stunning, as is its slender tail fairing ends in a pair of LED brake lamps.

It shares its 1099cc four-stroke, fuel-injected, twin-cylinder engine with the old 1098. A Ducati-mandatory desmodromic system mechanically operates the valves. Borrowing from MotoGP, elliptical throttle bodies help maximise power output to 155bhp at 500rpm. It’s also at 9500rpm that the Streetfighter produces its healthy maximum torque of 11.7kgm.

The hydraulically operated race bike-inspired dry multi-plate clutch in the Streetfighter feels a bit too heavy. Acceleration is neck-snapping. Where rival naked superbikes like the Honda CB1000R are tuned for low- and mid-range grunt, the Streetfighter is in its element in the mid and upper reaches of its powerband. Acceleration is supersports bike-quick, with the only fly in the ointment being a lack of wind protection that makes progress painful once over 150 kph.

The Streetfighter S we rode comes with Ducati Traction Control (DTC) that allows riders to toggle through eight levels of electronic intervention. Any difference in front and rear wheel speed has the electronics jump in and reduce ignition and, if still needed, help taper fuelling to the point where traction is restored.

True to Ducati tradition, the Streetfighter comes with a steel trellis frame. Though it calls for a fair bit of lean to reach its wide handlebar. While this worked really well on my track outing, some long-distance comfort will be sacrificed.

The Streetfighter gets twin, 330mm discs with radial-mounted Brembo Monobloc calipers in front and a single 245mm disc at the rear. Feedback at the levers is excellent and the brakes are capable of powerful stops. We estimate mileage in the region of 15-20kpl from a bike like this.

The Streetfighter S will cost R 20,18,000 and the based model will come for R 15,85,000 (ex-showroom, Mumbai). Its gut-wrenching performance, good handling and superb brakes make it more of a supersports bike without a fairing than a city-friendly, tuned-down naked bike. The relatively affordable and practical Monster 796 and Monster 1100 could be other options for those looking for a traditional naked motorcycle with a Ducati logo. Ducati streetfighter

Autocar India