Ducati’s Knockout Punch

Shorn of bodywork and clad with angular, armor-like skin, Ducati’s new Streetfighter looks like a hard-edged menace to two-wheeled society. But creased styling tells only half of this bike’s story.

Based on the 1198 super bike—a rather fierce bit of kit—the Streetfighter has a more relaxed fork angle and a longer swing arm, for less twitchiness and greater stability. An 1198-sourced engine produces a meaty 155 horsepower and 85 lb-ft of torque, but the bike’s more manageable ergonomics make tapping into that power a relatively confidence-building affair. There are the usual Ducati trademarks like a wake-the-neighbors exhaust note and head-turning road presence, but the bike’s finest features are savored from the saddle. The “S” version adds top-shelf Öhlins suspension, a downloadable data acquisition system, and eight-setting traction control. For those seeking super-bike performance and everyday usability, the Ducati Streetfighter takes the edge off without losing its brutal side. (www.ducati.com)

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