Ducati Streetfighter V2 review: Price, engine, electronics, features, riding experience
It’s effectively a Panigale V2 with more forgiving ergos and a brutal but gorgeous clothing set.
Come to think of it, one of the most exhilarating and enjoyable motorcycles I rode last year was the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S – yes, even on our roads. But let’s face it, 208 hp and an on-road price close to Rs 30 lakh are both in the near-unobtanium realm for most people, and that’s why the Streetfighter V2 comes across as so appealing. It looks almost identical, comes with a still impressive 150bhp, but much more realistic and it will cost a lot less too. Is it actually the baby Streetfighter who perfects the ‘Fight Formula’, then?
Ducati Streetfighter V2: engine, chassis
Although the SF V2 may look almost identical to the V4, it is actually a completely different motorcycle – just as the Panigale V2 is completely different from the Panigale V4. The obvious difference is in the engine, with the name indicating that this bike has the 955cc L-twin engine from the Panigale V2 instead of a V4 engine. However, the chassis is also different, with the SF V2 running a monocoque-style chassis, a radical concept that debuted in the 1199 Panigale in 2012.
Given how drastically different it is under the skin, Ducati has done a stellar job of making it look like its big brother. Aside from the different exhaust, the lack of fenders (which I like) and the slimmer 180/60 rear tire, there’s very little to distinguish at a glance.
We only spent a few hours with the Streetfighter, much of it in the pouring rain. After jumping off the DesertX with its engine muted, the first reaction to the SF was, “Oh yeah! That’s how a Ducati twin is supposed to feel! It’s loud, brash, revs at 11,000 rpm and delivers a good kick in the pants every time you open the throttle.
The design of the side shock absorbers is reminiscent of the 1199 Panigale.
Within five minutes of driving, we found ourselves on narrow, winding roads outside of Bologna, and strangely enough, the Streetfighter felt like more work than the DesertX. Apparently, small bumps were pushing me out of the seat, and the steering was also affected by road imperfections. I wasn’t the only one who noticed this and a quick inspection of our bikes rear shocks revealed that the preload was so tight that there was absolutely no free sag in the shock – ah, that explains that.
Ducati Streetfighter V2: driving, characteristics
Adjusting the suspension (fully adjustable—Showa up front and Sachs in the rear) on our road was not an option, so it was just a matter of getting used to the stiffness of the bike and moving on. And boy, does this motorcycle move. The engine feels a little gruff and snappy at very low revs, and in typical Ducati fashion it wants nothing to do with life below 3000rpm, but the ferocity that comes above is addictive . At 153hp, it’s around 2hp less than the Panigale, but it’s still a very fast bike. And to really need more power, you would have to be on a big racetrack.
One of the neatest Euro-5 exhaust designs.
As with the Panigale V2, the braking performance of the Brembo M4.32 calipers is very good, but you would expect newer, more premium hardware at this price. When it comes to electronics, it’s the usual Ducati story with plenty of rider aids, many of which are multi-level adjustable. Just like the Panigale V2, there are three riding modes, but where the Panigale V2 gets Race, Sport and Road, the SF V2 gets Sport, Road and Wet.
The Panigale-inspired TFT display is compact, yet crisp.
Ducati Street Fighter V2: first impressions
Our brief driving experience with the SF V2 in Italy reveals that it offers a remarkably similar experience to the Panigale V2, but with more comfort. It still feels very much like a stiff, racy machine, but with a more forgiving riding position that takes a lot of the pain out on the road. I can’t wait to see what it will look like once we get a chance to dial in some compliance in the suspension and drive it on our roads. There’s also the question of how hot it will be with that exhaust loop under the seat – my educated guess is “very”.
The sculpted seats resemble those of Panigale, but better padded.
The Streetfighter V2 has just been launched in India at Rs 17.25 lakh, ex-showroom – much cheaper than the Panigale V2, which is currently selling at Rs 19.5 lakh, ex-showroom. This means the Streetfighter V2 will be more expensive than the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and only slightly more affordable than the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS. It just can’t compete with either on paper, but we’ll see how it fares in terms of usability, soul and desirability once we get to drive it here.