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2009 Streetfighter Comparo III Conclusion

Monday, September 7, 2009

2010 Ducati Streetfighter
In a perfect world we’d have one of each in our garage.
Perhaps the coolest thing about these three motorcycles is that they all bring something a little different to the table. This is why choosing one of these machines comes almost completely down to the type of riding you plan on doing.
If you’re looking for a smooth riding streetbike that can inhale mile after mile then perhaps the $12,999 Aprilia will be your best choice. It’s wide, tall handlebar provides a relaxed seating position and its small fly windscreen actually works. Plus, it’s still a good looking motorcycle, only now in a classical way. Its engine still works well on the street with plenty of power to scoot it down the road. But during an aggressive ride it lacks both performance as well as that exhilarating engine feel that the other bikes in this test have. On the other hand, the powerplant is very easy to manage for riders at any skill level. While its suspension is no longer the best for racetrack duty, on the street it soaks up bumps well and offers the best overall ride quality. Run it hard into a corner and it still serves up decent performance, it’s just not as sharp as the other two bikes.
Both the Streetfighter and the 1125CR were easily the biggest surprises of this comparison, but for different reasons. As we expected, the $14,995 Streetfighter shined around the racetrack where its track-derived chassis and previous generation World Superbike-based engine were engineered. But on the street it’s simply a bit too aggressive. It delivers a rough ride and its handlebar is mounted too low, creating a seating position that is too racetrack oriented. The ultra-high transmission gearing isn’t well suited for full-time life on the streets as well, and it can be more difficult to maneuver in the tight urban confines.
2009 Buell 1125CR
You want the best all-around Streetfighter? Then you need the 2009 Buell 1125CR.

We are, however, absolutely in love with its styling, engine sound, and the way it scares people as we’re wheeling past them, clicking easily through the gearbox down the road. If Ducati could just make the bike a bit more street-able – i.e. higher handlebar, a more relaxed seating position, lower gearing, they’d have a winner without question.
Which leads us to the biggest surprise of this test: the $11,999 Buell 1125CR. Never in a million years did I think the 1125CR could best the Ducati. But it did. And it isn’t because it’s the fastest or prettiest – because it’s not. Not even close. It’s top dog because it delivers the most important intangible sensation when riding: Fun. It handles so perfectly that you feel like the bike is an extension of one’s being. Its ergonomics are well thought out and while its engine isn’t the fastest, it still has character and delivers all the right sensations, albeit at a tad slower speed. In fact, our only real complaints are some very minor styling and fit-and-finish issues. So, if it’s the best handling, most fun, easiest-to-use Streetfighter that you’re looking for, look no further. Say hello to the 2009 Buell 1125CR.

For my Money:
Steve Atlas, Executive Editor:
“This is a tough decision. I like the Buell a lot – it does everything really well and around Horsethief it was easily the quickest by virtue of how easy it is to ride and that awesome chassis. Not to mention it costs several thousand dollars less than the Ducati. But… I’d still have to go with the Ducati. It’s not the easiest bike to ride, or the most comfortable, or even the quickest around the racetrack, but man does it look the part. And that sound, oh that sound! I mean, how do you say no to an Italian Supermodel?”
Adam Waheed, Road Test Editor:
“It’s hard to ignore just how much of a value the $11,999 Buell is. And for someone who’s new to motorcycling or on a budget this bike might just be the one for them. But for my cash, I’d spring for the Streetfighter. Just the way it looks is enough than when you factor in its engine and the way it wakes the neighbors. It’s definitely the bike for me.”

Frankie Garcia, Test Rider:
“Without question, I’d take the Buell. It’s the least expensive and delivers the most performance for my money. It doesn’t look all that great, but with the money I saved I could toss on some pipes, maybe get some accessories for it and I’d have a motorcycle that was all mine.”

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sandmacker   April 25, 2011 10:20 PM
There is no doubt that Buell has cut corners to make the bike financially competitive against the Japanese makes.But as far as the basics are concerned ,the Buell delivers.I didn't want another one of the same old same old bikes and that's where the Buell stands supreme. I own a 1125R, and yes there are some indiscresions that need to be addressed, but, in saying, as a fun bike to ride in the canyons, I have yet to ride better.It's one of these bikes that grow on you,so long as you work on those things that need addressed like the cans etc. Looks...function over form anytime
Patrick Lester -Buell 1125 cr  March 11, 2010 10:51 AM
I bought one on 1-2010 Great deal$6000.out the door. I recently got to ride it about 800mi in 1 week.It is a awesome performer unlike any of the 2 dozen bikes I have owned It feels like more than the 119hp it dyno,s at.Feels like the 146 as stated!Very agile handling.
mCGUIRE -sewer rat  February 6, 2010 10:03 PM
Oh by the way while I'm ranting, Why dosen't Harley move part of MV to the vacated Buell facility and start production and train the Harley guys the meaning of technology? They could put down their tape measure and buy a computer (you type W to start windows) and move into the 20th century
MCGUIRE -sewer rat  February 6, 2010 09:53 PM
I guese next time you will have to test the next bike co. that uses the 1125R Rotax motor. Both the Buell (deceased) and the Benelli use the side draft radiators which while funcitional make the bike too wide (am I the only one that noticed that). Perhaps Aprilla could start using the 1125 rotax to replace their dated buy still potent 1000 rotax. The old motor is a litte down on top speed against these two larger displacement mills but for high performance street riding where you rairly go 150 the 1000 should still do the job.Why didn't you mention that the Aprilia is the best handeling bike on the market (remember the two tunos (stock) that waxed the comepetition at Daytona two years ago (I did cause I was there). Aprila needs only to shore up its dealer network to be one of the best most inovative. One of their chief shortcommings of the present motor is the lack of ability to make the motor bigger (the v angle is narrow and space is tight at the bottom of the V.By the way the Aprilia has won several of these comepetitions before.
Andy -An even Better Buy!  December 16, 2009 10:40 AM
I bought my 1125CR on October 20th and got it for $6000 brand new because of Harley's ridiculous incentives to move the bikes
Toolbag -Haters  October 16, 2009 11:07 PM
I just picked up an '09 CR today. As far as you guys b!tching about having your feelings hurt at the H-D dealer, I have been to the Yamaha/Triumph shop & the Kawi/KTM/Suzuki shop in my town several times each & I was never treated better than I was at the Hardly shop today. The guy I bought the bike from was a total Buell fiend, not typical Hardly trash at all. My neighbor has had an XB12R for several years & has always been done well there. I'd rather deal with them than the pretentious Euro-trash set you come across at an Italian bike dealer. Too bad Buell was axed by H-D, but I am sure this is not the last we will hear of Erik Buell. Be American, buy American.
Hardley -Buell is Discontinued  October 15, 2009 08:27 AM
Buell is being Discontinued". Harley is also selling off the MV Agusta line-up. Just goes to show you that the Harley morons will not look at anything else with there tunnel vision. I can't imagine a beer belly, tattooed, do-rag with chaps rider on a MV anyway.
Romano -Buell safety recalls.  October 13, 2009 04:56 AM
Will, Could you please let me know what the Buell CR safety recall were about. As a potential buyer it would be great to know. I went for a ride on a BMW F800R and it was hotter to sit on in traffic than the buell. I live in Mackay and it was a warm day when I test rode both bikes. Sitting on top of an engine is always going to make you hot. Every bike I have had was like this. I would have thought that having the tank on the sides rather than directly above the engine would have helped reduce the heat. I must agree that having anything to do with the Harley set is a worry. I guess it takes us out of our comfort zone and we dont like it. I have had crap service from many businesses not just bike shops. I once waited 3 months for a instrument panel for a GSX1100. Romano
Will -Buell 1125CR  October 12, 2009 02:27 PM
READ THIS BEFORE YOU BUY THE BUELL! I own this bike and there are three major issues that Buell refuses to address: 1. Heat: Indescribable -- I'm shocked Buell has dodged a class action on this -- the engine heat transfers to the frame (which is full of fuel) which becomes so hot you cannot rest your legs to the inside of the bike. I've had red thighs on every ride over 71 degrees! There is a fuel remap for this but it does not solve the problem. 2. Service -- Buell is the ugly step-child of harley and my experience with their service group at two alternate dealers is horrible. My son waited 3 months for a front brake line clip! 3. Safety Recalls: The 1125r has had 7 recalls -- how many will we see with the 1125R? Neither the 1125r nor the 1125cr are ready for Prime Time -- look/read alternate revivews!
Romano -Street fighter comparo  October 12, 2009 05:12 AM
Looks are in the eye of the beholder. I believe the styling of the Buell is way out there as is many other advanced features of this bike. I cant believe how good the belt drive is just for one. The air pods are functional and on most naked bikes the radiators are like balls on a dog anyway. The CR Buell is a great bit of kit and if the styling dont suit and that is your priority dont buy it. You'll just have to miss out.
Get Real -Buell - no way  October 6, 2009 12:07 PM
Yea sure I am going to buy a Buell. Then I get to go to the Harley dealer and hang out with the harley morons. Maybe the harley dealer can sell me a "screaming eagle kit" for the Buell. Then I could have straight pipes and it would sound cool like my harley brothers and I could make an ass of myself just like they do. The Buell is butt ugly and I would not be caught dead inside a harley dealership....... Oh wait - I could wear a do-rag too because it is kind of a harley.
Fabio70 -Don't censor this, please !!!  September 23, 2009 06:26 AM
You could have put "Buellibility" in the votes tab, so the gap could have been greater !!!
Fabio70 -Don't censor this, please !!!  September 23, 2009 06:26 AM
You could have put "Buellibility" in the votes tab, so the gap could have been greater !!!
Fabio70 -Don't censor this, please !!!  September 23, 2009 06:25 AM
You could have put "Buellibility" in the votes tab, so the gap could have been greater !!!
Fabio70 -Very funny  September 23, 2009 06:17 AM
I read the article and I found it very funny, especially the result. I'm still laughing.....
Brad Walter -Buell- Touno- Streetfighter comparison  September 21, 2009 12:30 PM
Yes the Buell has a better motor now, but there are major problems with owning one!!! You have to go to a Harley dealership with total idiots to deal with. Yea I want these stupid jerks with pathetic tatos, long greasy hair, and chain wallets, who know nothing about this motor, suspention, or tires helping me!!!! Improve the looks and get them away from Harley shops, before they will ever be a viable choice.
VPM -More street-able?  September 15, 2009 10:49 PM
"If Ducati could just make the bike a bit more street-able – i.e. higher handlebar, a more relaxed seating position, lower gearing, they’d have a winner without question."

These guys are wimps. I found the Ducati seating very relaxed, especially after getting off the Ninja which I have no problem riding several hours on.

Jay Springsteen -Gifted Engineering from the U.S.A.  September 13, 2009 03:17 AM
Little wonder that Buell is known for having the best frames in the world. . . . RUTHLESSLY ENGINEERED IN EAST TROY, WI, USA. Congratulations to Buell for running away with this test.
Scotty Parker -This Buell is IMPRESSIVE  September 13, 2009 03:15 AM
In all the years and all my championships, I've never been on a bike as impressive as the Buell. I am thrilled to see they are the new AMA NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. . . . well deserved.
Chris Carr -If you really ride.....  September 12, 2009 07:45 PM
If you really ride and want to motard like you've got a sac, you'll find that the Ducati has the suspension that will give you what you came for. I drift, take street jumps, and basically ride supermoto style like a hooligan. I've ridden all 3, and the Ducati is all that. Put some Renthal bars on it, and you have the sickest beast on the planet. Hands down, it's the winner. Look at my AMA standings and you'll see that I'm not joking.
Helge -buell cr  September 12, 2009 12:34 PM
Ihave ridden the cr1125, and i love the engine,lots of power from the
bottom to the top(best twin i tried)-the chassie are unnstable,and its
fell small and cramped..
Rick_A -Others, indeed  September 11, 2009 08:55 PM
Like the rest, aside from a few competitors missing, I think they gave an unbiased, factual, and well drafted review. That said, I've never put much stock into the top picks in these kind of reviews. It all boils down to individual wants, needs, desires, values, and budget.
Alex -Streetfighter - lowered gearing? Shurely shome mishtake  September 10, 2009 01:55 PM
The Streetfighter feels as if it wants to stand on the back wheel constantly. Only a fool would lower the grearing. Don't underestimate the aggression of it. For a real world report, look here: wwwl.gliddofglood.com
Moosestang -Shao You are a fool  September 10, 2009 07:51 AM
If that is really how you pick your women. That nice looking one that does nothing well will take half your money and have sex with all your friends. Good luck with that.
moosestang -Jr  September 10, 2009 07:47 AM
Anyone think Jr has ridden a buell? Anyone?
Reggie Borden -Street fighter comparo  September 9, 2009 09:18 PM
OK first I would like to say that I own the 2006 Speed Triple and I really like my bike. I purchase it because of the price but I got an awesome bike but my heart belongs to the Ducati S4RS, not to into styling of the 1098 SF, I know it is bad but it looks too much like the streetbikes, and I like them naked. I love the 1078 brutale, and the BMW K1300R, and the Tuono. I really think that any of these bikes are top notch motorcycles. The only way to know for sure is to have a real comparo that includes all of these and more, don't forget the KTM Superduke. I swear the two sweetest sounds I ever heard from a bike was the KTM and the Touno w/ Akrapovic exhaust. I want the them all. RLB, AKA Buck Naked Seattle, Wa.
moosestang -I hate the internet, because no one can expression their opinion without being a complete douche!  September 9, 2009 08:08 PM
The ducati should purrrr like a kitten at all rpms for the price you pay, but that is not the case it seems. Due to the price and poor running at low rpms of the ducati, i'm seriously looking at the cr. Plus you can find a 2009 cr for $9k. I could buy another used motorcycle with the 6,000 dollars i'd save over the streetfighter. The streetfighter has the best profile by far, but from head on the buell has it all over ducati. The Duc is to slim, looks anorexic to me and the headlight assembly is to futuristic. The buell from the front looks like some pissed off robot. I keep waiting for a little red dot to sweep back and forth like a silon in battle star Galactica. If buell could only fit a better looking can under that thing.
Greg -Buell Clutch? Needs edit  September 9, 2009 03:49 PM
The clutch lever really is on the left side, not the right.
Davide -the handler  September 9, 2009 03:01 PM
I was surprised to read this too but not that the Buell is the best handling. Even they were surprised by that, you haters should ride one before spouting off. I have seen some pretty cool looking CRs on the road.
SimpleSimon -Math  September 9, 2009 02:18 PM
Check your spreadsheet.

310 302 244

gsxr600 -how in the world?  September 9, 2009 02:00 PM
lol. i have to agree with the majority here on this board. i just can't see the buell competing against the duc. i've seen both up close and the finish cannot be compared. as far as comfort is concerned, buy a tourer. these are supposed to be streetfighters, read these are supposed to be wild. how can the duc be marked down for not being easy to ride. thought that was the fun factor!
Seattle Dave -They didn't talk about the horrible maintenance you'd get with a Buell  September 9, 2009 01:45 PM
You guys forgot that you'd have to suffer at a Harley Davidson dealership and be treated like dirt by their arrogant staff while they work on their ugly bike. At least they got rid of that crappy sportster/Buell engine and put a real powerplant in it, but judging by the fact that the Harley mechanics are no better than a shaved ape, I wouldn't expect them to know how to work on the new rotax design. Spend your money on the Ducati or the Aprilia
NJ Bears Fan -a fine comparison  September 9, 2009 11:01 AM
Though the Tuono doesn't seem to me like the outdated dog that it's made out to be, I liked the comparison and how the editors didn't automatically bow to the throne of Ducati coolness. At least when arriving at the ultimate conclusion anway. OK, the "for my money" section does a bit, but that's where it belongs.

If the bike performs well and feels well while doing it, it's a winner, and that's the Buell.

Snaggle UK -Buel  September 9, 2009 08:35 AM
How could you vote this overpriced badly built ugly bike over the Tuono and SF . How large was the bung from buel to even agreee to testing it never mind letting it win . There are a few over here in the Uk and they rust within days and loose 50% of there value as soon as there bought . Also where is the KTM/Bking etc etc ? Biased? I think so Yours disgusted Snaggle
Mongo -Tuono value  September 9, 2009 01:27 AM
"sure its been around a while, but it seems like the best buy when you compare previous year leftovers."

Yes you can find new leftover 07 and 08 Tuonos for less than $10,000 OTD. As the article mentioned, the bike hasn't really changed, so you may as well save some money.

For the 13k MSRP quoted, I'm certain you can find a Tuono Factory with ohlins front and rear and forged wheels. But it's understandable they're not going by "street pricing". Earlier this year, there were a few Buell dealers practially giving 1125Rs away. $8000 + tax !

jr -what are you talking about  September 8, 2009 10:29 PM
The only pro on the buell is the engine - that´s really great. Everything else on this bike can never ever be compared to Aprilia or Ducati. It´s the most ugly one and finished really bad. The SF is a great bike and even if the Tuono has been around a while - it´s much much better than a buell. I think you didn´t even ride one of these bikes - or you are sponsored by buell.
Snowscum -Smoked the Aprila  September 8, 2009 09:35 PM
Go Buell!!!
Chris -SF comparo  September 8, 2009 03:11 PM
Also interesting to note is that the Aprillia beat the Triumph and Buell CR on motorcycle.com in their naked bike comparo less than a year ago. I really wish MCUSA would have included the B-King even though it was only a 2008 model. I searched everywhere and the only group test I ever found of that bike was against the new Vmax (which it absolutely destroyed in every measurable category). I would love to see how it stacks up against the Ducati, MV, KTM, Triumph, and most of all the new Honda CB1000r.
Spammer -text numbers  September 8, 2009 01:33 PM
Just reading through the text and than checking the scorecard it makes me really doubt the (point awarded) winner. You spent a whole paragraph complaining how awful the details on 1125CR are, and than award 30/30 in the fit&finish section? Everywhere it says how good Duce sounds in comparison to others, yet Buell gets the same points in the sound section? I could get on and on with this... I understand you feel the subjective winner for you is 1125CR but at least TRY to be honest in the scorecard section.
Helge -The winner..  September 8, 2009 01:08 PM
Ducati sf is just a ugly copy of MV AUGUSTA BRUTALE 1078,the meanest streetfighter...of the bunch...
MCUSA -Bikes Missing  September 8, 2009 11:15 AM
Guys, it'd be great to always get every bike in the class we are testing for a comparison. Really, we try our best, but it doesn't always work out. Anyway, in defense of our selections here, the Tuono was the champion of both our prior streetfighter comparisons, which included the Speed Triple. So, we pitted the winner of our prior comparos against the two newcommers. As for the Super Duke, we are working on getting better access to KTM's street lineup... Stay tuned.
Samxrl -Thems fightin words!  September 8, 2009 10:58 AM
I agree the others. Where in the heck is the speed Triple and Super Duke? For the price, I'd be willing to bet the Triple Kicks the other bikes butts in terms of performance for price. To not include those bikes makes this comparo null and void in my books. Of they can round up and Aprilia and a Duc then they sure as heck can round up a KTM and a Triumph (both with better dealer networks).
Henrik -The Winner  September 8, 2009 05:40 AM
The ultimate winner, and one bike far too oftn missing from these comparisons, is the Moto Morini Corsaro. The engine is just incredible, with more torque than all the others, and equal top hp as the Ducati but at around 6000 rpm. The chassis matches the power, and gives you a simply amazing roadster.
Henrik -The Missing Winner  September 8, 2009 05:37 AM
For sure the Triumph, KTM and MV Agusta should be compared to these three, as all three are likely to finish ahead. However, the ultimate winner is the Moto Morini Corsaro. Seriously, the engine on that bike is just awesome, with more torque than all the others, and equal power to the Ducati but at around 6'000 rpm. The chassis is perfect for a roadster, with quick turning and very planetd feel on the angle.

They may not be that easy to find, but tou owe it to yourself to test one if you are thinking of a bike in this category.
Tessier -Can't fix ugly  September 8, 2009 04:50 AM
Sure a butt load of after market accessories can fix the fit and finish aspects of the Buell but you can't fix the fact that the bike is just undeniably ugly! To admit that it's ugly and then in the next sentence say if it where my money I would buy the ugly one is like saying that your super model girlfriend is super hot, she's great in bed, but she takes for ever to get ready so that's why you married her fat friend. It makes no sense your never going to get that Buell to look hot! You guy's are crazy i'll take either of the Italian twins.
Tro John -Buell  September 8, 2009 02:23 AM
Sorry to say, Buell is ugly looking bike......frankly, if I'm going to pick on this 3.....I'll go to Ducati or Aprilia...
Helge -BRUTALE ?  September 8, 2009 12:18 AM
Brutale 1078 ,superduke r and speed triple is missing in this test...
shao -1125CR....  September 8, 2009 12:07 AM
I checked a 1125 in a bike show a while ago, the fit and finish was horrible. Those gaps between panels were so wide that i can almost stick my fingers in. I don't like the overall style either, it kinda reminds me some twisty sci-fi fantasy I had when I was teen. I would not consider the 1125 no matter how good it performs, bikes are like women, I'd pick the nice looking one over the one who can cook or with a masters degree.
Brian -Sweet!  September 7, 2009 11:09 PM
Ahhh. Awesome! So Ducat has the arrogance to name thier bike "Streetfighter" and then gets beat by the....wait for it....AMERICAN! SWEET! :-D
Cool -Others...  September 7, 2009 07:27 PM
Yeah, definitely like to see the Triumph Speed Triple on there... How about the CB1000R? & other Jap offerings?
pipthemini -really???  September 7, 2009 05:53 PM
i agree with everyone, about the missing English and Austrian competitors, probably lack of support from manufacturers. Calling the pontoons on the side of the Buell anything but fugly is not right. But thats cool that the underdog won the camparo, even though its one god awful looking dog.
HarleyDrifter -MV Agusta Brutale  September 7, 2009 05:19 PM
I enjoyed the test. I had hoped it would include the MV Agusta Brutale. The Ducati and MV are on my short list of bikes that I am looking to purchase. Update this test with the MV and Triumph Speed Triple.
Nick -Ergos  September 7, 2009 05:07 PM
The article comments on how the Aprilia would be the best for long trips given its seating and handle bar position but it still scores the worst in the ergonomics section? How can that be?
robert schmid -tour comparison test  September 7, 2009 04:23 PM
get real ! the buell better then the ducati.......i don't think so
Karl -WOW  September 7, 2009 04:11 PM
This is the same bike-1125CR- that beats up on 600cc bikes in AMA and now it just beat up on a couple 1000cc+ bikes.

I guess if DMG was doing this comparison it would be the Buell 1125CR against a Yamaha FZ6 and a Ducati monster 800…you know to make things equal.

Frankthetank -Aprilia Tuono  September 7, 2009 12:02 PM
I dunno, I think the Aprilia is the best looking bike of the bunch, sure its been around a while, but it seems like the best buy when you compare previous year leftovers. For the price I would take the Aprilia anyday. Also what about service intervals? No mention there.
Ian -test  September 7, 2009 09:07 AM
Wot! No Triumphs?
Firebladed Fool -Where are the others  September 7, 2009 07:20 AM
Where's the KTM SuperDuke, Trimp Speed Triple, and ones I'm sure I'm forgetting. They're still in the current production line-up, so let's bring all the street-fighters out to play.