The streetfighter formula is simple: Take one thoroughbred supersport or superbike, hold the full fairings, and add a taller handlebar mated to a comfier seating arrangement. More often than not, the result is track performance fit for the mean streets, and that’s precisely what the 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2 is here to do.Bologna’s middleweight-ish brawler doesn’t stray from the path. Starting with the race-replica Panigale V2, Ducati bestows the Streetfighter with comfort and a few other tweaks, adding real-world versatility to its résumé without betraying its pedigree. We put the miles on the Streetfighter V2 in the city and canyons, as well as a full day at Buttonwillow Raceway Park to hit you with the Fast Facts.
All-day ergonomics make all the difference on the 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2. As much as I love supersport machines, their upright brethren outshine them when it comes to road sensibilities. The rider triangle leans into the sport realm, letting you stick your elbows out for a bit of fun, yet the ample handlebar props you up enough to keep weight off your wrists just so. Next up is a wider, flatter, and thicker 33.3-inch-high saddle that is remarkably plush. Thanks to the narrow chassis, my boots reach terra-firma easily. Of course, the rearsets are relocated a smidge lower and forward, rounding out the spacious accommodations while ensuring the V2 retains plenty of lean angle at the racetrack.
The 955cc Superquadro V-twin engine hits the spot. The Streetfighter V2’s lively 153 horsepower at 10750 rpm and 74.8 pound-feet of torque at 9000 rpm are the kind of figures superbikes were churning out a few generations ago, striking a wonderful balance: Always enough and never too much. A few minor low-rpm V-twin shudders are shaken off not long after idle, and what’s left is an engine that practically struts around town when trotting along below the 6k rev mark. Bring the rpm above that point, and the twin-cylinder mill spools up with vigor, delivering broad midrange torque that is downright perfect for canyon curves. Although that thrust helps lunge out of any turn, it’s at the racetrack where you can exploit a dose of fast-revving top-end ferocity.
Shorter final-drive gearing lets you dig into the powerband faster. Ducati popped on a rear sprocket with two additional teeth, allowing riders to easily access all that aforementioned torque. That does sacrifice top speed, but with a street focus and not much wind protection, you won’t hear me complaining. Compared to the Panigale V2, the Streetfighter V2 can provide more torque anywhere, anytime, than its fully-faired brother.
A snarling exhaust is your soundtrack. In stock trim, the Superquadro engine has a mighty pleasing roar and hits a crescendo when exploring the full breadth of the revs. As with any high-performance machine, some radiant heat is felt when muddling through traffic or idling on pit lane. In the case of the 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2, it’s most likely due to the rear header looping directly beneath the subframe. While noticeable, it isn’t a deal-breaker, even when the thermometer reaches 90° F.
Sporty shifting is part of the package. Well-spaced gear ratios make it easy to keep the 955cc V-twin in the sweet spot. If that isn’t enough, we have the second-generation Evo 2 up/down quickshifter to help us along. Shifting is solid, especially when ridden in anger, where it counts. There’s more electronic wizardry in play, as the first three gears feature dedicated torque strategies to mellow power delivery.
Sport, Road, and Wet riding modes change the SF’s style on a whim. Sport’s full-zoot, wake-you-up-in-the-morning direct throttle response is athletic without becoming overbearing and pairs nicely with aggressive riding, as do the more relaxed default rider aids. It can become a hint choppy when you’re being lackadaisical and letting the revs drop. Road is still a full-power engine mode, but backs everything off for a more gentlemanly riding experience. Wet mode curbs peak horsepower to 110 and softens response dramatically while cranking all the nannies up to their most watchful states, as it should.
A full suite of top-tier electronics is standard. A six-axis IMU informs a bevy of Panigale-derived rider aids, including eight-level cornering traction control (Evo 2), three-level cornering ABS, four-level wheelie control, three engine-braking settings, and an up/down quickshifter (Evo 2). Despite the Streetfighter V2’s street orientation, a fuel gauge is absent on the tidy 4.3-inch full-color TFT display, and there’s no cruise control for those longer highway slogs.
A round of applause for the rider aids, please. With TC in its lower settings, getting on the gas as early as I wanted out of Buttonwillow’s many hard-driving exits was an easy request to make. TC 2 was my happy place at the track, while I stuck with 3 for the street. WC 1 allows a modest front-end loft; with how useable the 955cc engine is, forgoing that aid is totally reasonable. ABS 1 disables ABS in the rear and the IMU, leaving it all up to the monkey behind the handlebar when trailing deep into corners. That said, ABS 2 is more than capable at the racetrack, intervening ever-so-slightly in hard-braking zones with bumpy tarmac. It was never enough to make me ditch the reassurance of cornering ABS in any setting.
Fully-adjustable suspension rises to the rigors of the racetrack and remains compliant in the mean streets. The 43mm Showa BPF fork and Sachs shock return with cushier road settings, resulting in a firm but fair ride on the street. The SF V2 takes hits on the chin like a champ without transmitting much to the rider and keeps the monocoque chassis balanced. I explored the range of adjustment on tap at the track, mainly due to the shock being under-sprung for my pizza-appreciating 180+ pound frame. Despite that, I was able to land on settings that gave me a pointed middleweight fighter, staying composed under hard braking and equally so when it came time to boogie.
Handling is one of the 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2’s greatest strengths. The primary chassis update we are working with has a 0.6-inch longer single-sided swingarm than the Panigale V2, adding a portion of road-going stability into the mix via a one-inch longer wheelbase and compensating for the rider’s weight being biased further rearward. While its 441-pound curb weight isn’t the lightest in class, you could have fooled me with the Streetfighter V2’s desire to flip from side to side with ease, planted feel at the apex, and confidence-boosting mechanical grip. Street or track, the result is always the same—the SF V2 is light, playful, and eager to please.
Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV tires are standard issue. In truth, we don’t entirely need anything stickier than what the PDRIV offer for the street. These sensibly sporty tires provide a good grip on the road, and this multi-compound design offers impressive mileage. The Rosso IVs wouldn’t shy away from a cheeky track day—although the Diablo Rosso IV Corsa and Diablo Supercorsa SP are more suited for track duty. What matters here is the tall 180/60 rear tire profile that encourages the perky handling we’ve mentioned and gives you more edge grip.
We opted for the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC3—formerly known as the Pirelli Track Day Tire—for our time at Buttonwillow. Having extra grip in your back pocket can never hurt, and the Supercorsa SC3 is a great option when out heading to the track. Part of the DOT race tire SC family, the Supercorsa SC3 is the firmest compound, with softer SC1 and SC2 race-oriented options available. Grip and feel are a noticeable improvement above even the sportiest street-focused rubber. The SC3s also deliver the added benefit of a wider operating window, which can’t be said of softer compound, more sensitive racing slicks. In addition, the marginally harder SC3 compound features incredibly quick warm-up times, allowing riders to skip the use of tire warmers. However, we encourage getting the tires up to temperature for extra security when rolling out of pit lane.
Brembo delivers the goods once again. The tried-and-true four-piston M4.32 calipers and 320mm rotors return for duty, with the only change in the choice of brake pad compound. Since the Streetfighter V2 will be battling it out on the streets more often than not, Ducati opted for a less aggressive brake pad to take the edge off the initial bite. Power is plentiful, although my tastes gravitate towards what the Panigale V2 is rocking, thanks to their feel and attack. In the rear, the two-piston Brembo caliper works with a 245mm rotor and works nicely.
The 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2 combines tech, power, and handling in a compelling package. We have the brawn of an energetic V-twin mill mated to a monocoque chassis capable of fancy footwork. That description alone makes it more user-friendly and versatile than many of its liter-class compatriots can’t claim, delivering a machine meeting the needs of intermediate and experienced riders alike in a wide variety of settings. It does come at a price, though additions like the impressive suite of rider aids and overall comfort do soothe that sting, giving you a whole lot of machine for your money.
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends, the weekly podcast brought to you by Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
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In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams takes the smallest BMW ADV bike on an urban adventure in Los Angeles. The BMW G 310 GS is a full size motorcycle with a modest engine, so of course we wonder if it is a little too underpowered and might struggle. Don put it through its paces and gives us his take.
In the second segment, Neale Bayly and Kiran Ridley have returned from the Ukraine to Paris where Kiran is based.
Kiran is an award winning photojournalist, and as an accomplished documentarian, he has covered stories as diverse as drug smuggling around the Mexican border, to the devastation of the Australian Bush Fires, to the tragedy of the Mediterranean migration crisis. Neale and Kiran reminisce about their motorcycle adventure in the Ukraine, and their observations and experiences with the incredibly resilient people of Ukraine, who have been put through such brutal hardship.