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2011 Streetfighter Shootout Conclusion

Monday, 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.

2011 Ducati Diavel Photo Gallery
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2011 Honda CB1000R Photo Gallery
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2011 Triumph Speed Triple Photo Gallery
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2011 Kawasaki Z1000 Photo Gallery
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2011 Ducati Streetfighter Photo Gallery
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SpeedV4   July 8, 2013 04:19 PM
These bikes are all a decent value for the money and surely there's a lot to be said for ripping around town on a sit-up bike with plenty of power, moderate weight and good handling & brakes...but these bikes are all butt-ugly. I'd rather get an old Gixxer 1000 and put risers on it. Especially for the money.
pacman52   January 14, 2013 03:39 PM
To me, the CB1000R does everything I like from a naked bike and price wise, it's not too bad. I think the CB1000R does everything very well without being the best.. I would take any of these bikes if you give it to me... My two choices: CB1000R & Speed Triple
bradvanhorn   July 19, 2012 06:18 AM
Update: I bought a 2012 Speed Triple in April. So far I've done a little bit of commuting, a few back road rides, and one track day at VIR. I'll be at VIR again for two days in Aug and then I'll be moving to New Orleans in Sep, so track days at the new NOLA track will be my new vice. The Speed Triple is everything I was looking for - comfortable riding position (I have a permanent neck injury which makes racer ergos effectively intolerable), extremely playful and versatile engine, stable and confidence inspiring suspension, and just plain fun to ride.
bradvanhorn   February 9, 2012 11:21 AM
I finally sold my R6 and am selling my [older] VMAX, and I'm doing this so I can buy a standard, naked, streetfighter, whatever you want to call it... I had been looking at the Z1000 but in the end I just couldn't get past the odd styling. This morning I stopped at the Triumph dealer and sat on a new Street Triple R. I really liked the feel of the bike and was tempted to put down a deposit. However, while I was talking to the salesman the mechanic brought out the newly prepped Speed Triple. Wow. It sure looks better in person than in pictures; the single sided swingarm is a real eye catcher. So I sat on the Speed Triple and found I like the feel as much or more than the Street Triple R. I bounced back and forth between the two and it was hard to pick only one. I'm going to have to think long and hard about which I really want to buy but I'm pretty certain one of these two will be my next bike.
twowheelflyer   January 4, 2012 10:21 PM
With a 180 mile range, at least you could tour on the S3. I think it looks better in the flesh than in pictures. Not a stunner in the looks dept.
proheli   November 14, 2011 10:39 PM
Lol. So many Duc haters. I suggest you all lose 30 lbs. and do a little stretching. Then you can take your own test ride and do your own "FOR MY MONEY" section. After the -30 of course. Needless harping on something you can no longer handle (or never could) is remarkably unattractive. Besides, I'm guessing that if you Really wanted a "Fighter" or "Sporting" motorcycle, that most of you are smart enough to soften up the front suspension all by your little lonesomes.
McHack   November 9, 2011 12:32 PM
You mean 5 guys, NOT picking a Duc because they're tight wads... :P Each one of that went w/ the Z1000 used money as a major contributing factor! I just cant warm up to the Z1000's looks, like its from a Transformer movie... O.o The Honda seems sterile to me. That leaves any of the european bikes... but, the Ducs are so pricey, I think I'd just go w/ the new Speed Triple R.
bradvanhorn   November 7, 2011 06:44 AM
"Nothing says more than 5 of 5 guys NOT picking the Ducati."

This is a great comment and I fully agree. Bike A "wins" on points but it is not the bike anyone really wants to ride.

I've been at the local dealer almost every week to look at the Z1000. After 22+ years on sportbikes (and currently having a 2007 R6 and a 2000 VMAX), I'm ready to dump the racer ergos. After sitting on the Z1000 (I wish they would let me test ride it) and reading the various recent articles, I'm convinced to buy one. Now all I have to do is sell my R6 and then convince my wife :-)
Glen   November 5, 2011 08:00 AM
The Ducati Diavel is a womans bike. I know my wife loves her's.
hari   November 2, 2011 12:24 PM
I totally agree with 'neo1piv014'. I've owned and ridden the 02,05,08 R1's and an 06 GSXR1000 in the last 10ish years. Last week, I've gone and traded in my 08 R1 for a 2012 Z1000. Wow, what a great bike ! I should have gone down this path earlier, duh what was i thinking! Having had to put up with the "un"ergonomics of sportsbikes for the past decade, my back is thanking me for making the right choice. So much more comfortable. The motor is incredible & so torquey. A lot of power down low. Every time I ride, it puts a grin on my face. I don't think I'll be missing the top end only powerband of the superbikes as in reality I'm not gonna do 280km\hr on the streets, hey I'd like to keep my license thank you. My only grievance is, the lights at night are not the most powerful (in stock form anyways) and I think MotoUSA should also test the brightness of the lights as I think it is an important feature as they are not all the same and a lot of people who buy these might use it as a main mode of transport (bright lights at night are certainly helpful).
Poncho167   November 2, 2011 08:10 AM
For the second year in a row I will take the Kawasaki. The bike has everything I would want in a bike and I don't mind the look of the exhaust.
RENDELL   November 1, 2011 08:23 AM
I had fun reading this, almost felt like I was riding the Diavel. Damn... I like all of them.
ssalmons   November 1, 2011 04:02 AM
I don't even read the articles anymore, I skip straight to the "for your money." Nothing says more than 5 of 5 guys NOT picking the Ducati.
neo1piv014   October 31, 2011 02:43 PM
I love the streetfighter style of bikes, though I think doing a lot of track testing seems kind of off kilter for this genre. Just looking at the way these bikes were scored, I could have won this comparison just by taking the fairings off a BMW S1000RR and called it a streetfighter. Even though the class is supposedly "defined" by upright ergonomics, street friendly powerband, and riding style. Picking a naked 1198 doesn't seem to jive with that mission statement.
daytona   October 31, 2011 02:11 PM
The full comparo shall include all italians beauties: Tuono Aprilia, TNT Benelli and Brutale MVAgusta
alang   October 31, 2011 02:00 PM
Wonder how the new Tuono V4 will compare. And wonder if Heli bars are available for the Streetfighter. When the SF first came out, I was thinking "this is going to be THE BIKE". After sitting on one, I about fell over the front wheel. About the same as clip ons, with the seat tilted forward into the tank. Terrible ergos.