The Ducati Streetfighter V2 is a performance-oriented naked bike based on the Panigale V2. We put it through its paces in the country of its origin, Italy, to bring you this first ride review
Story: Azaman Chothia
After a sunny morning with the DesertX, it was time to head back to the Ducati factory quickly, and what better way to do that than astride a Streetfighter? Launched internationally last year, the Ducati Streetfighter V2 is essentially a stripped-down Panigale V2. The design is almost identical to the Streetfighter V4’s, the distinguishing elements being a slightly different tank, the exhaust unit, and the missing biplane wings, although wings are still available in either plastic or carbon-fibre as part of accessories if you wish to go crazy on a track-day. They are said to produce 27 kilograms of downforce at 265 km/h.
When it comes to looks, the Streetfighter ticks all the boxes, especially because of the menacing V-shaped LED DRL at the front, a single-sided swing-arm, and a sharp tail section just like the baby Panigale’s. The unit we were riding had a pillion seat but there is an option to go for a cowl to get an even sleeker finish. Additionally, there is a new and unique Storm Green colour scheme that was introduced recently.
The riding position is less committed than on the Panigale thanks to the wide handlebar unit and the pegs are set slightly lower and forward. This is still an aggressive motorcycle but it makes more sense for riders who are not going to visit the track too often and plan to carve up the nearest mountain instead. The 200-kilogram kerb weight of this motorcycle is hardly felt and, at 845 millimetres, I did have to tiptoe around because of my short stature, but it was not something that bothered me too much; I was able to manoeuvre the bike easily.
At the heart of this machine is another one of Ducati’s crazy powerful engines. This is the 955-cc, Superquadro, 90°, twin-cylinder motor that puts out 153 hp at 10,750 rpm and a peak torque of 101.4 Nm at 9,000 rpm. This translates into two hp and around 3.5 Nm less as compared to the tune of the Panigale V2. The gear ratios remain the same but the Streetfighter uses a 45-tooth sprocket at the rear compared to the Panigale V2’s 43-tooth one. Considering that the bike has no fairing, its single-sided swing-arm has been redesigned to be 16 mm longer for more stability and to suit its naked character better. This was my first experience with this motor because I still haven’t had a go on the baby Panigale and it was just so exhilarating. The power delivery is smooth in an aggressive way and it just asks to be revved to high rpm while the exhaust emits a raw grunt which I quite liked. The bike really gets into its element post the 6,500-rpm mark and that is when I had to crouch to tackle the wind blast. It is so engaging to use this motor as it responds well in any situation. The engine is mounted on the same aluminium front frame from the Panigale V2 and sports a trellis subframe at the rear.
While it is said to be a more accessible motorcycle, 153 horsepower is still no joke on a street bike. The three riding modes are Sport, Road, and Wet where the Wet mode restricts the power to around 100 hp while the other two have the full 153 hp on tap. Apart from that, an entire suite of electronics such as power modes, wheelie control, traction control, engine brake control, and more is at the rider’s disposal. The safety that comes with these electronics was surely helpful when it started to pour down on us just a few minutes into the ride.
The 43-mm Showa Big Piston Fork at the front and a Sachs monoshock at the rear are fully adjustable and set up on the stiffer side. After getting acquainted with the motorcycle, this translates into super sharp and telepathic handling. The bike felt stable and inspired confidence with every passing minute and allowed the rider to push and have more fun with how planted it felt in the corners. The quickshifter worked flawlessly and I was able to quickly downshift before flicking the bike into a tight corner.
To keep the power in check, braking duties are handled by twin 320-mm discs gripped by Brembo Monoblock M4.32 four-piston calipers at the front and a 245-mm disc with a two-piston caliper at the rear. This set-up also includes Bosch cornering ABS EVO as an electronic assist. For great levels of grip, the bike sports Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV tyres which even handled the wet sections of roads fairly well. The 4.3-inch TFT dash has the same layout as on the Streetfighter V4 and is fairly easy to use with the well-laid-out switchgear on the left. The only thing it misses out on is a fuel-gauge but there is a light that lets you know when it’s time to refuel.
After riding the Streetfighter V4 in December last year, I was completely blown away. The V2 has many of the same capabilities and showed me why even 153 hp is more than enough to satisfy a rider’s need for speed. This performance-oriented naked is a great addition to the line-up, especially for those who love the idea of the Streetfighter V4 but can’t afford to shell out the premium that it demands. Its killer looks, potent engine, and great handling abilities make this a really fun bike for riders who want a sporty performance tool that will double as a daily bike as well. It is by no means a bike for new riders but something to explore after spending enough time with a middleweight. I surely had an ecstatic time riding this Streetfighter V2 and the reason was the superb twisties taking us back to the Ducati factory.
Considering the fact that the Panigale V2 is priced at Rs 16.99 lakh (ex-showroom) in India, we might see this one being launched for approximately Rs 16 lakh (ex-showroom). There is no word on the date as yet but we may expect to see it being launched latest by the first quarter of 2023.