Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ducati Streetfighter S: Riding impression

The guys at Solo Moto say the Ducati Streetfighter S is almost a full-on superbike rather than just a naked streetfighter

We quite love the big, brutish, slightly outlandish Duacti Streetfighter. With its powerful v-twin from the 1098 superbike, big-and-beefy styling and aggressive stance, the Streetfighter looks like it’s always spoiling for a brawl in the pub – and we kind of like that. Earlier this year, we interviewed the Streetfighter’s designer, Damien Basset, which made for an interesting story about how the bike was developed. Now, the guys at Solo Moto have ridden the Streetfighter S and they seem to be suitably impressed with the machine. Here are some excerpts from what they have to say about the bike:

The Ducati Streetfighter S isn’t only meant for the road, it could also be a threat to other bikes on the track – because it isn’t just a naked streetfighter, this awesome bike is a real, naked ‘superbike.’ Visually, it’s nice and compact and looks very attractive. Also, it’s packed with high-quality components – Marchesini wheels, Brembo radial brakes, Ölhins USD fork and shock, various carbonfibre bits and digital instrumentation.

While the Streetfighter’s trellis frame is largely derived from the 1098/1198 superbike, its swingarm is 35mm longer than the 1198, to get more traction. The look is very clean and uncluttered, with various tubes and wires having been tucked away neatly, out of sight, despite the fact that there is no fairing here to hide those bits.

At 20,295 euros (US$29,833), the Ducati Streetfighter S is pretty expensive. The standard Streetfighter costs much less, at only 16,295 euros (US$23,953), but then it doesn’t have Ölhins suspension, Marchesini wheels, various carbonfibre components and Ducati’s DTC traction control system. But for those looking for even more exclusivity, even the Streetfighter S may not be enough – you always have the option of adding a Termignoni exhaust and many, many other parts from the Ducati Performance catalogue…

To ride, the Streetfighter S is like a proper superbike, but with high handlebars. While most superbikes’ extreme riding positions work very well on the track, the Streetfighter’s higher, wider bars work much better on the street. Also, part of the reason why the Streetfighter S works very well is that it weighs just 167kg – less than some 600s!

The Streetfighter S’ 155bhp engine produces power in a very strong, linear fashion. Low-rpm torque delivery is perfect – the bike always pushes ahead forcefully, though things never threaten to get out of hand. The DTC traction control system is a great addition to this bike – it has all of eight settings and can also be switched off. With its sensors, the DTC system takes things like gear selection, engine revs and the bike’s lean angle into account. And depending on the chosen setting, it reduces power delivery when needed, to prevent the rear wheel from sliding out under power.

On the road, the Streetfighter S can be a real weapon, provided you remember that this Ducati is a very powerful machine that’s definitely not for beginners. Accelerate hard and in any of the lower gears and the bike inevitably lifts its front wheel off the ground – you need some restraint to ride this bike.

The bike corners very well and is very agile – it changes direction effortlessly and the steering is precise. Getting the suspension set-up correctly could take some time but once that happens, the bike is a real tool for very high speed cornering. The 330mm Brembo brakes also work very well and are almost too powerful under some circumstances – you have to be careful while braking hard on wet and slippery surfaces!

You can’t really expect the Streetfighter S to work as an everyday motorcycle – it’s a bit too extreme for that and can get a bit tiring during extended urban use. Also, the instrumentation – which looks good and offers an overload of information – isn’t as legible as it perhaps could have been. No, the Streetfighter S is a stunning machine that isn’t practical for everyday use, but is meant for people who really want to appreciate and enjoy its sheer beauty, and who like being looked at and admired by envious passers by.

At its price, the Streetfighter S definitely isn’t a mass market product – that would be the more accessible Ducati Monster 1100. But for those who want the very best high-performance naked streetfighter in the world, the Streetfighter S is your bike.


High quality components
Powerful engine
Traction control system works very well
Agility and stability
Stunning design
Works on the street and on the track


Brakes need a delicate touch on wet roads
Exposed radiator is susceptible to damage

For the full article, please visit the Solo Moto website here. Also read our exclusive interview with Ducati Streetfighter's designer, Damien Basset, here

A video of the Ducati Streetfighter in action...

Ducati Streetfighter Ducati Streetfighter Ducati Streetfighter Ducati Streetfighter

Jeremy Burgess: ‘Valentino develops the bike, the other guy just rides it!’

Jeremy Burgess says Rossi could remain in MotoGP for another 4-5 years or even more

Valentino Rossi’s chief mechanic at the Fiat Yamaha MotoGP team, Jeremy Burgess recently gave full credit to The Doctor for having developed the YZR-M1 into a competitive machine that other riders could also ride well, without the bike needing additional development work.

‘Valentino showed that he could win on a Honda that other riders could win on, and he could then take the Yamaha machine that no other riders could consistently win on and win on it,’ says Burgess, speaking to MotoGP. ‘It’s not as easy to develop the bike as it is to ride the bike. We have a rider in Valentino who develops the bike and we have on the other side of the garage one guy who just has to ride,’ he adds. [We wonder what Jorge Lorenzo would have to say to that!]

Moving on, Burgess also says he believes Rossi could race in MotoGP for another few years without too much trouble. ‘He is a young man. He’s 30 years-old, he has had a very clean, accident-free career and is in perfect physical condition. Being the phenomenon that he is, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could continue racing until he is 35 or beyond. As long as he is competitive, he certainly will continue to race – I am sure of that,’ says Burgess.

Talking about his own plans for the future, Burgess implies that he might leave MotoGP when Rossi does. ‘When Valentino makes the decision that he no longer wants to continue racing, that will be the point where I will make my own decision about what I do in the future. I am 56 years of age, so if Valentino does four more years I will be 60 and we could make a decision then,’ he says.

‘To pair up myself with a young rider in his early 20s or late-teens would be like coupling a kid with his grandfather and I don’t think that combination would necessarily work as well as it has so far,’ says Burgess, when asked whether he might someday work with a younger rider.

Friday, October 09, 2009

2010 Yamahas get… new colours, revised ECUs!!!

The 2010 Yamaha R6 gets new colours and an ECU upgrade

Yamaha have announced the 2010 YZF-R6 and, well, apart from new colours the bike seems to the same as the 2009 model. Yamaha claim the R6’s ECU has been remapped and the exhaust system has been redesigned, for a bit more torque at lower revs and improved mid-range power delivery.

The other ‘new’ bike announced for 2010 is the European-spec XJ6 Diversion F, which comes with a new fairing for improved aerodynamics and weather protection. The bike is available in blue and black, ABS is optional.

The 2010 Yamaha FZ1 and FZ1 Fazer also get revised ECU mapping for more consistent low- and mid-range power delivery.

And finally, there’s the 2010 Yamaha TMax, which is now in its 10th year of production and is now available in white, with a two-tone seat and titanium-polished wheels.

Yamaha say they understand if you aren’t thrilled to bits with their 2010 bikes. No, well, they don’t. But we do wish their 'new' bikes were a bit more exciting…

From top: The 2010 Yamaha FZ1, XJ6 F Diversion, TMax, YZF-R1, Fazer and XJ6 get new colours and revised ECUs. The lack of new bits notwithstanding, we're still in love with the R1. Truly, deeply, madly. We just want The R One!
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Valentino Rossi: Special liveries don't work as well as the 'normal' ones!

From top left: Hawaiian livery used at the 2001 Italian GP (Mugello), Austin Powers livery used at the 2003 Valencian GP (Valencia), Yamaha 50th Anniversary livery used at the 2005 US GP (Laguna Seca), Fiat 500 livery used at the 2007 Dutch TT (Assen)
Below, from left: Fiat Abarth livery used at the 2007 Australian GP (Phillip Island), Italian football world cup livery used at the 2008 Catalan GP (Catalunya) and Fiat Punto Evo livery used at the 2009 Portuguese GP (Estoril)

There’s an interesting article on, which takes a look at the number of times Valentino Rossi has won races when he’s ridden a bike with a special one-off livery, versus the number of times he’s won aboard a bike with his usual, ‘normal’ colours.

Between 2001 to 2008, Rossi rode with special liveries in a total of eight races, taking two wins and six podium finishes. This means a special livery win rate of 25% and podium rate of 75%. Now, leaving out the races where Rossi did ride with a special livery, his win rate in the premier class has been no less than 48%, while his podium rate has been 76%.

So, according to these numbers, Rossi should avoid using a special livery in any of the remaining races in this season if he doesn’t want to take any chances with winning the 2009 MotoGP world championship!


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