August 19, 2011
The big news in the big red booth at the Milan EICMA show this November will be a pair of new Ducati Streetfighters—a lower-priced middleweight with the 848 motor, and a revamped big brother with the 1198cc “11-degree” motor from the Multistrada 1200.
The smaller bike is what really interests me. When I rode the 1098 Streetfighter, I found a fantastic-handling and somewhat comfortable “sportfighter,” but it almost had too much power for a naked—as well as a sticker price that didn’t encourage the kind of antics the motor and chassis do. There’s nothing wrong with the smooth-running, revvy 848 motor, plus it’s a lot less money. It would seem widening the line to bring in more casual buyers is a no-brainer.
A spy shot of the new model, posted to the forum Ducati.ms, shows what looks like a very finished bike. Its 848-ishness is confirmed to most observers by its 5-bolt rear hub (the 1098 uses 6) and lower-spec cast Brembo calipers and Marzocchi fork. Power will likely be about 130-135 hp, or around 115 at the wheel (based on the 848 EVO’s claimed 140 crank hp and the fact that the 1098 Streetfighter is down about 5 horses from the 1098 from whence it came). Expect a torque boost as well. Wet weight will probably be about 3-5 pounds less than the 420-ish of the current Streetfighter. As for price, I’d expect it to be roughly $500 less than the $12,995 848 EVO. Rumor has it that it will be available in red, matte black and yellow.
The 848 model will probably just be called…Streetfighter. The Streetfighter S will be the (only) 1198cc version. It’s pretty much accepted by Ducati fans worldwide this bike will use the 11-degree motor we’ve tested (and liked!) in the Multistrada 1200—it’s a smooth, impossibly torquey, capital-F Fast at 155 hp and as icing on the cake, has 15,000-mile valve adjustment intervals to keep maintenance costs down. Expect it to have premium brakes and suspension and be priced somewhere around the current-model Streetfighter S’ $18,995, and the rumor mill says red, black and titanium gray for colors.
That pricing may worry Ducati dealers—or will it? The air-cooled, 100-hp Monster 1100 EVO is $11,995, just $500 less than the likely price of the 848 Streetfighter, and with 35 more hp and about the same weight, the 848 would be a no-brainer for me. Ducati’s natural strategy is to keep from cannibalizing monster sales (Bologna’s bread and butter)? Perhaps, slash the 1100’s price $1000 or more(made palatable to Ducati by the falling price of the Euro). Sounds good to me.