2012 Ducati Streetfighter 848 First RideDucati | July 5, 2012
In world of motorcycle we do thrive on the excess, damn consequences if it isn’t the best interests. We do crave for fastest, nastiest & the sexiest machines that we’d get the mitts on. Trouble here is that the approach for life mostly ends in some kinda pain, be it the remorse of buyer or worse, getting over the head. Streetfighter of Ducati is perfect example. It is really sexy, goes like scalded cat & is pretty sharp. Only thing here is you will need to be very sharp for using it to the full potential. Fortunately, Ducati recognized this & has brought forth Streetfighter for mere mortals in form of 2012 Ducati Streetfighter 848 First Ride.
During marketing & the technical presentation team of Ducati stressed focus on concept of friendlier, Streetfighter that was easier to ride. Targeted consumer for 848 is any rider that isn’t extreme & wants more usability, some one who yearns ride that is more confidence inspiring. Ducati has set out for making this happen along with smaller displacement, all new Streetfighter which will satisfy the criteria & still be naked high-performing bike.
Cornerstone of the new Streetfighter is 849.4cc L-Twin Testastretta 11 power plant. Sharing same basic config along with 848 EVO Superbike, 11 degrees of the valve over lap is made for giving a smoother character of engine which is suited more to street duty Street fighter 848 will be used for most often. Most notable difference amidst engine of Superbike & Streetfighter is cam shaft profiles that are tuned for delivering punch that is more street-friendly. Bore, stroke & compression ratio are quite identical, along with service interval of about 15,000 miles.
New super bike-derived frame is quite similar to 1098 Steetfighter, but it has less of rake & trail for confidence and stable inspiring traits of steering. Wheel base is same as 1098 @ 58.07 inches, but it is longer than 56.3-inches wheelbase 848 EVO. Attached to rear of frame of trellis is new 1 piece swingarm that is cast aluminum sprung by Sachs that are fully adjustable shock set for comfortable ride. On the up front there are 43 mm Marzocchi forks having handle that is full adjustable, the imperfect surfaces of road that Streetfighter 848 we see. Both front & rear are set for softer in the spring rate & damping as compared to 1098 sibling.
Just like all the Ducati of late, Streetfighter 848 is standard along with system of Ducati Traction Control, having 8 adjustment levels. Full system of Brembo brake sans ABS slows entire kit down along with 320 mm discs that are squeezed by the four piston radial mounted calipers having pads of soft-feel in front. Duties of braking in rear are now handled by 245 mm single disc & 2-pistons caliper. I found it really interesting that this bike which is aimed @ being usable on roads does not have any ABS as the standard equipment.
Ducati set me up just down road from the headquarters & stones throw from the factory of Ferrari & the facilities of testing at Autodromo di Modena which is newly constructed. Having 11 turns, this track is really ultra-tight having more than the fair share of some second-gear decreasing-radius corners which would challenge & frustrate during sessions of short track. I also rode through hills above the Modena so I could gauge performance of 2012 Ducati Streetfighter 848 First Ride in real world. You can call picturesque land scape that is painted along with ever undulating & curving asphalt ribbon of real world. For me it was a bit more like dream.
Immediately I did find that the cockpit was very comfortable, especially reach to 20 mm higher handle bars. Tapered unit of aluminum gave me stance that was slightly more upright as compared to 1098, & did keep pressure off wrists. Seat for foot peg height was really roomy, however the right heel got cramped by exhaust shroud while I placed the balls of feet on pegs. Word here is that Ducati had spaced peg mounts out 10 mm from frame for allowing more of clearance, but to me this still was not enough. It was not big concern on street, & I adjusted position of foot accordingly. It was different story for track though. Moving foot pegs outwards decreases clearance cornering slightly & when combined along with interference from the shroud, toe slider for new Dainese boots did pay the price.
Twisting throttle on small Streetfighter does produce spread of linear power from about 2500 rpm for redline. Like good streetfigher should, this 848 wheelies very easily in the first & second gear, but once limiter comes in on fast one, front end drops like potatoes sack. Grunt that is tire twisting coming out of corner is something that makes the twins blast for riding, & this bike isn’t any different. The throttle response was really instantaneous yet not really abrupt, which perfectly was suited to tight hair pins which we encountered above the Modena. This boost simply is enough for being fun with out getting out of the hand. It just is really easy for controlling power, but if DTC can get dialed in for helping out ham-fisted. Personally, I liked setting #2 for the street duty. On track I had kept same setting & didn’t have any problems with traction loss or too much of interference. It was not really noticeable too.
Small 2-lane, some time 1-lane roads in hills did have every thing from the billiard table smooth the sections for potholes to the bumps which could turn in to jumps at right speed. Having such diverse surfaces of road, suspension of 848 would get to test. On the sections that were less chewed up this yellow Ducati did handle well, having balanced feel, but when the things were getting bumpy this suspension started to show some weaknesses. Any of the moderate sized heave for pavement will induce some of squirm. It was really apparent while on gas which was coming out of corner, but frankly speaking, it was more of annoyance and not any thing else. Along with some time for fine tuning Sachs shock & Marzocchi setting of fork, mainly the spring pre load, I’d think that squirm could be lessened or eliminated. On track, suspension got firmed up considerably & had created chassis that was rock solid, confirming the thoughts for increasing preload.
On street, cornering on 2012 Ducati Streetfighter 848 First Ride was blast. The effort on taller bars is really light, & flicking in to corner @ appropriate speed is really a cake. Changes of mid-corner were really easy as thinking regarding it, & even unexpected decreasing turn of radius wasn’t any a problem. On track I did struggled for getting this bike for completely dropping in to corner, especially for tight, 2nd gear corners which required some trail-braking all way in to apex before any squirting to next corner. It looked that bars that are super-comfortable on street were fighting against me for the last bit of some lean. Straight bars had coaxed me in to holding the elbows up just like I was on the moto cross bike. After I made some effort for dropping elbows, resistance had lessened & track started to flow. I could pick up pace very considerably, & grip was phenomenal from Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tires helped bike stick just like glue. When my track session had come to end, I was yearning for more time as each of the lap bond between me & Streetfighter had improved.
As I expected these Brembo brakes had performed along with poise. Sintered pads that had soft-feel on front did not have much of initial bite as I’ve become accustomed for, but power & feel was pretty stellar. Even as laps had counted down track, there was 0 fade which got surprising for such tight lay out. Rear brake wasn’t really powerful as I’d have liked & feel wasn’t on same level as that on front.
Ducati has great hit on the hands along with 2012 Streetfighter 848. It isn’t nastiest or the most powerful, but is still sexy & pure performance from Italian. One fact that it’s more manageable for an average Joe & will still coax some smiles & bench while racing from fast guys goes at show which more is not always the better. One concept of more controllable still really exciting Street fighter just makes a lot of sense, & 2012 Street fighter 848 is one good proof.