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2011 Streetfighter Shootout

Monday, October 31, 2011

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2011 Ducati Diavel Streetfighter Comparison Video
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The wild card Ducati Diavel trades performance cruisers for naked streetfighters in this comparison review. See where the monstrous Duc rates in this Ducati Diavel Video.

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2011 Honda CB1000R Streetfighter Comparison Video
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Watch how the Honda CB1000R fares as it gets its first crack as Streetfighter Shootout glory in this Honda CB1000R Video.

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2011 Triumph Speed Triple Streetfighter Comparison Video
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The Triumph Speed Triple returns to the Streetfighter Shootout. See how the British bike stacks up this time around in this Triumph Speed Triple Video.
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2011 Kawasaki Z1000 Streetfighter Comparison Video
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The Kawasaki Z1000 is a familiar face in our Streetfighter Shootouts. Watch how the bruising Kawi rates this year in our comparison review in this Kawasaki Z1000 Video.
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2011 Ducati Streetfighter Comparison Video
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The Ducati Streetfighter defends its Streetfighter Shootout crown. See if it can repeat in this Ducati Streetfighter Video.
I don’t care much for sportbikes. Whoa! Wait! Wait, let me clarify: I don’t dislike sportbikes, it’s my wrists and back that have the problem.

At times riding a sportbike is like mainlining unadulterated joy, a conduit to a higher plane of high-performance consciousness. Hunched over fuel tanks with achy wrists is acceptable while turning hot laps at the track, or street riding at a nine-tenths pace. But for all-day, long-range comfort? No thank you. The Inquisition could’ve probably wrangled a confession or two by simply threatening to “throw him on the Ducati 848 for 200 miles.” Maybe it’s not that bad, maybe, but most folks will confirm that racing replicas don’t make for ideal street mounts. Fortunately, there are more forgiving high-performance options out there.

We already sampled a slew of such motorcycles in our Road Sport Shootout earlier this year. Those bikes are notable for their upright riding positions and street-friendly powerplants. Now we’re taking a stab at the stripped down versions we designate as streetfighters. Purists can chafe at the streetfighter tag line, and that’s fine by us. Call ‘em super nakeds, or super standards, or bikes for folks who realize they ain’t 21 no more… Whatever they’re called, these streetfighters bring sporty performance in a more palatable ergonomic package. Here’s the cast of characters in Streetfighter Shootout V:

Let’s start with the newcomer: Honda’s CB1000R. It’s all-new for 2011, at least in the U.S. market. But the Hornet, as it’s known in Europe, has been around in its current form since the 2008 model year. Next up is the bike that really defined the streetfighter class, the Triumph Speed Triple. This year the folks at Hinkley refined their flagship ride with engine and chassis updates, as well as new styling lines. Kawasaki’s Z1000 also returns, the Big Z unchanged from its redesigned 2010 model and looking to nab its first ever Streetfigher Shootout win (it finished second in 2010 and 2007).

That leaves us with a pair of entries from Ducati. The Ducati Streetfighter had to come back and defend its 2010 crown. And the racy Duc will be hard to dethrone, enjoying Superbike performance from its 1098-derived L-Twin and chassis. The other Ducati in the mix is the Diavel. MotoUSA has taken to adding a wild card into our 2011 shootouts, as much to satisfy our own curiosity as stir up the pot. The Diavel’s had us scratching our head as to its true identity ever since it debuted, so we toss it in with these Streetfighters to see if it can hang.

This motorcycle quintet might not be proper race bikes, but they aren’t dumbed down either. These bikes are high-performance offerings in their own right. All but one in this 2011 Shootout cranks out 125 horsepower to the rear wheel. And with a couple nuanced differences in power delivery, the powerbands on all are robust, torque-rich from top to bottom.

The sporty engines are complemented by more than willing chassis. All five feature three-way adjustable inverted forks, with many offering the same out back, and at the very least adjustment for preload and rebound. Four of the five motorcycles feature single-sided swingarms and radial-mount brakes calipers up front are no longer stand-out components, they’re standard fare in this class.

Our shootout testing process follows the usual MotoUSA steps: Tank-full curb weights checked on our Intercomp scales. Rear wheel horsepower and torque measured on the in-house Dynojet 250i. Performance testing took place at Barona Drag Strip, to gather quarter-mile runs and 0-60 acceleration. Street testing was performed on the favored backroads surrounding our Southern Oregon headquarters. We also upped the value of the performance factor by running the bikes for a day at California’s Streets of Willow circuit as well.

Bikes are rated on our standard score sheet in a variety of objective and subjective categories. Final rankings are tabulated by awarding 10 points to the top ranking bike, followed by eight for second, seven for third, six for fourth and five for fifth. The varied opinions of our test riders in the shootout text, as well as the For My Money selections, supplement the score sheet judgments.

2011 Triumph Speed Triple - Barona Drag Strip
The MotoUSA Streetfighter Shootout included quarter-mile and 0-60 runs at the Barona Drag Strip.
We rounded up the usual suspects for test riding duties. MotoUSA Pater Familias Ken Hutchison leads the way, the spirit of Hutch’s ‘80s-era mullet bristling in the wind as we flogged the five test bikes on street and track. Road Test Editor Adam Waheed, author of our last two Streetfighter Shootouts, lends his opinion, as does Off-road Editor, JC Hilderbrand, who offers a relevant, if dirty, take on the things. And we also call upon ringer Brian Steeves, who handles performance testing, as well as testing the stress factors of frame welds and fork seals with constant wheelies, stoppies and whatever you call them things that leave long, black streaks on the road… Also there’s me, the one who doesn’t care much for sportbikes.

Let the hair-splitting commence!

2011 Streetfighter horsepower dyno.
2011 Streetfighters Torque Dyno
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Hutchy   November 2, 2011 02:41 PM
Sands: I guess I could have described the Z1000 engine character in more detail rather than simply using the word, smooth. In low rpm, it is pretty dang smooth, no vibes and not much power. As the engine builds rpm it gets real buzzy in the rev-range around 55-75 mph in 5-6 gear. Its also where it starts making power so if you want to ride the Z1000 in power it is going to transmit quite a bit of vibes through the bars. If you're going to putt around at 1500-3000 rpm everywhere, you weel feel the engine is in fact...smooth in that range.
sands   November 2, 2011 01:13 PM
I'm a bit confused because their seems to be a bit of a contradiction in engine smoothness in the article regarding the Kawasaki...One one hand it says "Our only big gripe is the Kawasaki engine proves the buzziest of the test." Then this “In the case of the Z1000 it has great power, it’s very smooth" and this “The Kawasaki engine feels boring,” admits Kenneth. “It is super smooth, very quiet and doesn’t make the intake or exhaust howl I expect from a green machine. So How could it be "super smooth" and also the "buzziest of the test"? Just curious... Thanks for the article!
JBZ   November 2, 2011 07:47 AM
Hey MotoUSA, I have two questions: 1) How would your 2004 Z1000 project bike compare to this crop of nakeds? I ask because I have an 04 Z1000 (Green) with similar motor and suspension mods and I'm thinking about a new bike in the Spring. 2) How would the new Streetfighter 848 stack up to these bikes. It's more competitive in price and should mix in with HP figures. thanks for your input.
guambra2001   November 1, 2011 11:52 AM
Thank you guys so much for doing these shootouts!!! I love naked bikes and love how confortable and fun they are. I have a Buell 1125CR and I think it's one of the most amazing bikes ever built, anyways keep up the great work you guys rock!!
Piglet2010   October 31, 2011 09:39 PM
If The Motor Company replaced the lump in the XR1200 with a Revolution engine, they too could have been part of the comparison.
neo1piv014   October 31, 2011 07:46 PM
@Superlight - The Yamaha FZ1 comes to mind, as does the old BMW F800s, but yeah, I would love to see more half dressed bikes out there.
MCUSA Bart   October 31, 2011 02:06 PM
We held out as long as possible for a Tuono V4, but it isn't quite available yet... 2012 test will probably see new Ducati to go against the Tuono.
daytona   October 31, 2011 02:03 PM
Hadn't you any chance to include a Tuono?
Superlight   October 31, 2011 11:32 AM
While I agree that full-on sportbikes are pretty uncomfortable on the street at less than a 9/10s pace due to their racy ergos, these "Streetfighters" also have a big problem - lack of sufficient wind protection. A tiny "flyscreen" above the headlight is not the answer, though a 1/2 faring might do just fine, but where are they?