2011 Streetfighter Shootout Conclusion

Bart Madson | October 31, 2011

BuuS gets some on the 2011 Ducati Streetfighter during performance testing at the famous Barona Drag Strip.
While it comes out on top in another Streetfighter Shootout, the Ducati Streetfighter commands a high price for its performance. Too high for our test riding cadre.

Adding up test rider scoresheets, once again the Ducati Streetfighter comes out on top. The Ducati epitomizes its Streetfighter name – mating Superbike performance with a more palatable street package. That said it’s far from the most comfortable ride in the test, leaning heavily toward performance rather than comfort. But take the Streetfighter out on a twisting back road and let its class-leading handling, brakes and exhilarating engine performance shine. Do that a few times and like us, you’ll be hooked too. Add in its gorgeous styling and the Ducati earns another Streetfighter shootout win. The victory comes with a big asterisk, however, as its 15K MSRP puts it out of reach for the everyman rider.

The Kawasaki ends up second in the scoring, again, but it gives the Ducati a run for its money. A lot less money at $10,599! Ridden back to back it’s tough to deny the Ducati the win, but it’s impossible not to acknowledge the Z1000 gets the edge in terms of value. Any doubts on that fact are erased when looking down at the For My Money picks, where the Z1000 bats .600. If MotoUSA were to give a bonus point for every FMM pick, the second-place Z almost sneaks out a win.

Is third-place fitting for the Speed Triple? Maybe so, if we’re going on numerology… The law of threes applies, perhaps, but there’s no denying the Triumph’s playful and potent Triple give it an edge in individuality. There’s no other ride like the Trumpet in this shootout. The revamped British bike has improved engine performance and handling, and it’s a far

2011 Kawasaki Z1000
The 2011 Kawasaki Z1000 is all about high performance thrills at a bargain price. A streetfighter for the working man.

more comfortable than its Italian rival. Same goes for affordability at a full three K less in MSRP. The scoresheet says what it says, but there’s no arguing the Brit stands apart from its Japanese and Italian rivals.

One bike always suffers the misfortune of being “fourth-best” in our comparison tests, and this time it’s the CB1000R. The Honda Inline Four proves more than capable, and a proficient engine for the street, but gets “fourth-best” status when matched heads up with its burly rivals. Same goes for handling and brakes. We do find the Honda a good-looking mount, however, and its $10,999 MSRP is attractive too. We know Big Red won’t approve of the designation, we just want a little more pop from the Four and its fortunes will improve.

As for our wild card, the Ducati Diavel finally met its match. Where it embarrasses its Performance Cruiser rivals, the Streetfighters humble it. Not in terms of engine power, where the Tetastretta Twin does some humbling of its own. The top shelf brakes and electronics also bow to none in this high-performance class. It’s only when the road kinks up that the nimbler competition proves swifter. The stonkin’ Diavel delivers a high grin-factor to be sure, at least until it comes to price – as it makes even its sibling Streetfighter start to look like a bargain. In the end, our wild card busts.

Ken Hutchison: Kawasaki Z1000

2011 Triumph Speed Triple
After being uncomfortable on the Italian bikes one tester was left favoring the Triumph’s unique engine character.

This is an easy decision this time around as the Z1000 looks bad-ass, has a ripping fast engine and handled pretty darn well on the race track in addition to being comfortable. That is a difficult combination to be in this day and age. Sure, I like the racy nature of the Ducati Streetfighter and it is sexy as hell but at the same time I really dig the Japanese Manga-styling of the Kawasaki. It looks like a bike Canada might ride while saving the world from his buddy Akira instead of his ceramic rotor two-wheel drive super-cycle. If you rode this bike to Comic-Con, dressed up as a super hero, everyone would think it was custom. Add that wild style into the mix with a formidable engine and chassis and what you get is the coolest Streetfighter I’ve ridden in a long time.

Bart Madson: Triumph Speed Triple
I have to go with the Triumph here. The Speed Triple has always been one of my personal favorites over the years. The new look is growing on me… But it’s the three-cylinder engine that I dig most. I actually liked the performance and character of the Ducati Twin more this time around, but the Streetfighter and Diavel are way too rich for my blood and I didn’t feel as comfortable in the saddle on the Italian bikes. The Japanese entries are both great choices too, and I’d be happy with either, but the unique character of the British bikes is worth the extra coin – at least my coin anyway.

Adam Waheed: Kawasaki Z1000
I’d purchase the Z1000. First, I really like the way it looks especially in its green/black colorway. It’s a head turner for sure. Even though the engine isn’t the fastest of the bunch it is the smoothest which makes it a friendly bike to ride. I also like the cool airbox intake which gives it an

2011 Honda CB1000R
Despite high marks for its good looks and affordability, the Honda CB1000R lacked the performance numbers and personality compared to other motorcycles in the test.

aggressive and ear pleasing roar when you’re hard on the gas. The chassis complements the engine well and it feels light on its feet. The suspension offers a good balance between sport and comfort plus the ergos are well positioned for a taller rider.

JC Hilderbrand: Honda CB1000R
The Honda isn’t the most exciting in any way, but I find myself excited by riding it because I don’t have to think about anything. The whole bike feels very refined and it is the easiest for me to ride quickly. I also think the CBR is a looker. Overall, it’s the best mix of performance and price.

Brian Steeves: Kawasaki Z1000
1. Kawasaki based on my bang for the buck algorithm.
2. Streetfighter after I stockpiled enough aluminum cans for a few years.
3. Diavel after I stockpiled enough aluminum cans for a few decades.
4. Honda after I stockpiled a few months of cans to get the suspension re-done.


Bart Madson

MotoUSA Editor | Articles | Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for 10 years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to motorcycle racing reports and industry news features.

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