All but one of our testers chose the 2012 Ducati Monster 696 (above) as the overall winner in the 2012 Women’s Street Bike Shootout, though the Triumph Street Triple R (below) beat out the field in objective performance measurements.
Tania Satchwell – 5’3”, 130 pounds – Ducati Monster 696
Up against the Triumph and Ducati, the Yamaha would clearly be my third choice. The Yamaha was solid in all aspects. For a rider of my size, it was a good fit and comfort wasn’t an issue. The thing that bothered me the most was that my knees rubbed the edge of the fairing. It has good power and good handling capabilities, but the Triumph and Ducati are on another level.
If you are a racer and planning to head out for a few track days, you won’t be disappointed with the Triumph. The aggressive power and the outstanding handling performance is definitely suited for a more experienced rider who can appreciate the full extent of what this bike is capable of.
I instantly fell in love with the Ducati. This bike talks the talk and walks the walk. In other words, not only does it look good and sound good, it can back it up with its power and performance. It is in the middle price range of the five bikes we tested, and overall I feel it would be the best value for my money.
Jan Plessner – 5’3”, 148 pounds – Ducati Monster 696
Before this test, I had never ridden a Triumph sportbike or Ducati. I have spent significant time on the Kawasaki Ninja 650 and have recommended it to literally hundreds of beginner and intermediate riders. It’s a great bike, at a great price point that can be enjoyed across town or across the state.
The Yamaha felt solid, but it just didn’t stand out for me in any particular area, especially up against our international line up. I instantly felt confident on it and I can see why a significant number of Yamaha brand loyalists would choose this bike. I hope to have the opportunity to spend more time on this bike soon.
The Beemer (above) failed to impress, especially considering that it was one of the highest priced bikes tested.The Ninja 650 (below) was a solid bike but couldn’t match the Ducati and Triumph in performance and aesthetic appeal.
I guess I had a certain expectation for the BMW and it was not entirely met. I expected the bike to feel more solid, more outstanding and much quicker. I hope to have the chance to sample it again for some sport touring. This bike would be perfect for a trip to Northern California and I’m looking forward to having the chance to prove my theory.
I think the Triumph is more of a Monster than the Monster. It reminds me of a rebellious youth or a young stud that just wants to get out and go. It seems happiest when you’re whipping it or pulling out of a corner. I enjoyed the exhilaration it offered and would love to get to know it better. It felt like the bike made me a better rider and I was comfortable and confident on it regardless of the road we were on or the traffic we were in. I do agree that for some, this would not be the best starter bike.
Ahhh…my new friend the Ducati Monster 696. Unless you have ridden one, it’s nearly impossible to understand the connection felt when standing near, sitting on or riding away on this bike. I’m not exactly sure why, but the way the bike looks, combined with the sound of the engine and the rhythm of the motor is soothing and exciting at the same time.
I’ve never named a car or bike and I’ve never felt like I had any sort of personal relationship with a vehicle. They are just vehicles that take you from point A to point B with a smile on your face, right? Well, when I was spending time with the Ducati, something was different. It felt like the bike could almost talk to me. Okay, maybe I am going a little overboard here, but I can promise you this is far from my last Ducati experience. I can’t wait to try another.
Sarah Schilke – 5’4”, 140 pounds – Ducati Monster 696
I absolutely love the power of V-Twin sportbikes, so they practically had to pry my hands off the Ducati. Considering the overall power, suspension, brakes and handling, it is a very good value and a gorgeous machine. I also liked the performance of the Triumph, but didn’t feel that it would be a good all-around motorcycle.
The BMW was a close second especially due to the standard heated grips. It would be an excellent sport-touring bike, capable of a good time for all kinds of riding. While I would recommend the Kawasaki and Yamaha to someone looking to transition into sportbikes, they are too milquetoast for my taste. I didn’t like the upright seating position or engine performance on either the Yamaha or the Kawasaki as much as I did on the Ducati and Triumph.
Testers weren’t super excited by the Yamaha FZ6R on the scoresheet, though the Yamaha remains a bargain sportbike.
Vicki Schouten – 5’9”, 140 pounds – Triumph Street Triple R
It was a very close tie between the Ducati and the Triumph in terms of overall looks, performance and appeal. However I have to choose the Triumph for all-around riding (both canyons and highway) and best bang for the buck in terms of price.
The Ducati was a very close runner up. This bike looks sexy, sounds great and handles very well in the canyons. It’s a very slick little sportbike. After comparing it on the highway, however, its slightly more aggressive riding style doesn’t make it quite as comfortable.
The Yamaha FZ6R was my third-place finisher. Overall, it is a nice handling and good-looking sportbike for the money.