When I rode the Ducati Streetfighter V4 for the very first time, I was blown away by its sheer brutal acceleration and the kind of adrenaline it induces. The feeling was something I had never experienced on a motorcycle before. The fact that it holds the title of being one of the most powerful production motorcycles on this planet should give you an idea of what I am talking about. Talk of MotoGP-derived tech cramped into a hyper-naked machine with winglets. It was chaos dialled to the max. Having said that, when I was handed the keys to the Streetfighter V2, I experienced mixed emotions. On one side, it was about what to expect from the V2 after experiencing the kind of performance that the V4 packed, and on the other, the fact that the V2 is a stripped-down version of the middleweight-plus Panigale V2. And I am happy to inform you that the Streetfighter V2 doesn’t disappoint but enhances the whole experience and the proof of that are tall and long wheelies on demand.
Now, it is one thing to share design and looks with a higher displacement motorcycle and a completely different experience when the other motorcycle is a Streetfighter V4. It is one motorcycle that has the stance of a brat bully but still manages to steal the show with its imposing design, despite the minimalistic bodywork. It’s a bike that, instead of a fairing, gets winglets for downforce, has all exposed mechanicals, and sports that gorgeous tail of the race-bred Panigale, which is nothing but fantastic. Ducati, no doubt, has pulled off a fantastic job of capturing the essence of the original Streetfighter and merging it with the modern styling of its motorcycles to give us the current one. And the fact that Ducati hasn’t changed much with the design for the Streetfighter V2 is the best thing ever. It is very easy to mistake the V2 for the V4 simply because they look almost identical. Yes, there are a few design aspects like the wicked side-mounted winglets, the stubby exhaust on the side instead of an underbelly one, and lastly, a side-mounted rear mono-shock instead of a central one, as in the case of the V4.
Now design might be one department that the V2 shares with the Streetfighter V4, however, it is a totally different environment in the powertrain department. That’s because underneath the SFV2 is based on the Panigale V2’s raw and aggressive 955cc Superquadro L-twin mill. Along with that motor comes the unique monocoque chassis also from the Panigale V2, which dials in the bike’s character. This makes the SFV2 unique, in a way, since most of the large Ducatis are migrating to the V4 motor, thus effectively making this one last of the bikes to sport the aggressive L-twin high-performance engine.
To speak of performance, the SFV2 is only a snitch below the faired Panigale V2’s numbers. The motor is rated to produce 150.59 bhp of max power and 10.33 kgm of peak torque. The slight power drop is due to the lack of a frontal air scoop, which Ducati mentioned is due to the frontal design. However, in the real world, there is hardly any noticeable difference that pokes out at all. Unlike the SFV4 which is nothing but a brutal onslaught of power and torque from the moment you twist that throttle, the SFV2 places the rider in the fun territory of road riding. For the kind of power it produces, it is approachable and after getting accustomed, is a whole lot usable for day-to-day riding. Taking into account it being a large L-twin, the motor does feel jerky and clattery at lower revs, but that is only up to the 3000rpm mark, but is mostly the case in slow-moving traffic. The SFV2 runs a slightly larger rear sprocket (by two teeth), thus aiding in a better low-end pickup and the convenience of using higher cogs for lower speeds. But, once the revs are up, it’s a symphony to the ears every time you twist that right wrist. And all the more after how Ducati managed to replicate the V4’s exhaust note with the V2’s motor.
Along with the balance of versatility and high performance, the powertrain also benefits from most of the rider aids and features from the SFV4. You get the sophisticated six-axis Bosch IMU-based electronic rider aids suite that can be all customisable by the rider. You get eight levels of traction control, four levels of wheelie control and three levels of engine braking. And last but not least are the three riding modes — Road, Wet and Sport, providing varying throttle response and power delivery to meet all the conditions a rider could face on the road.
Now, as mentioned above, the Streetfighter V2 features a die-cast monocoque chassis that bolts directly to the cylinder heads of the Superquadro mill, making it a well-balanced motorcycle. It also houses other components like the throttle bodies, fuel circuits and air filter casing. For the suspension setup, the smaller Streetfighter comes with 43mm Showa BPF forks at the front and a Sachs mono-shock mounted onto the single-sided aluminium swingarm, both fully adjustable. Ducati has lengthened the swingarm by 16mm for additional stability which has resulted in the wheelbase standing at 1465mm, 26mm longer than the Panigale’s. What you get with that is excellent straight-line stability and smashing canyon carving cornering confidence. The setup offers a lot of front-end feel that one can rely on while diving into corners.
Also worth mentioning here are the Pirelli Diablo Rosso 4s. While there is a lot of grip available for road riding, the rounder profile of the rear tyre tips the bike promptly when leaned. To be honest, it does take some time to get comfortable with that feeling, but once familiarised, attacking corners only gets better and more engaging. And what goes in hand with that grip is the braking performance from the Brembo Monobloc M4.32 callipers up front mounted on semi-floating discs and a 2-piston at the rear. While the brake pads are a little less aggressive on the bite, they are still powerful and shed speeds effectively.
The next aspect of the Streetfighter V2 that Ducati has carefully executed is the riding ergonomics. Although the motorcycle is a Panigale V2 underneath, the footpeg positioning is down and a little forward providing a less aggressive stance. Even the seat is wider and thicker for better comfort, while the one-piece handlebar is wide and tall. All of this makes the SFV2 a very comfortable motorcycle to ride and live with. At 200 kg, the motorcycle is just as heavy as the SFV4, and because of this, it misses out on the lightweight playful feeling offered by other middleweight motorcycles.
The baby Streetfighter V2 from Ducati is nothing but a Panigale V2, without the fairing. And according to me, it’s a fantastic machine with brute performance and acute handling, packed into a menacing yet gorgeous-looking street naked. Complimenting it further is the kind of power that’s approachable, versatile and practical for everyday use. All of that while also being able to blast out of corners or pop long wheelies as desired. In my opinion, the Streetfighter V2 strikes the desired balance between power, handling and usefulness for a motorcycle.
Now, no Ducati comes cheap, and at Rs 18.10 lakh, the Streetfighter V2 is an expensive motorcycle for the pocket. But it is a motorcycle that sits at the top of the twin-cylinder 1000cc naked category and packs the performance, looks, and equipment to qualify as a desirable motorcycle. It is a Ducati after all, and it is a motorcycle that needs to be brought from the heart and not the mind. Yes, there surely are other machines that offer more power for less money. But, on the emotional quotient, the Ducati Streetfighter V2 is a motorcycle that will not disappoint.
MOTODATADucati Streetfighter V2
150.59 bhp@10,750 rpm
10.33 kgm@9000 rpm
Type: Aluminium monocoque
F/R: Twin 320-mm discs / 245-mm disc
F/R: 120/70 R17 / 180/60 R17
Rs 18.10 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)