Ducati's 848 Streetfighter overpowers Triumph Street Triple R

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Ducati say their Streetfighter 848 is suitable for riders who want Ducati’s legendary sports bike performance without the head down, arse up seating stance of a race replica. And our world first group test proves they are right.

The Streetfighter 848 is Ducati’s usable naked Streetfighter (unlike its bigger brother), complete with traction control, data log facility and modern day styling.

But it’s up against Triumph’s Street Triple – by far and away the best naked a middleweight of the past four years, and even better in the R form we’re testing. Complete with radially-mounted four-piston calipers, fully adjustable suspension front and rear and sharper steering from its taller seat height, it’s a fearsome weapon.

And so the scene is set. MCN took the fight to Ducati’s back yard near Bologna in northern Italy.

The first half-hour ride to our mountainous battleground is spent heading north to Milan on the A1/E35. For once the Autostrada wasn’t particularly busy of tailgating traffic with plenty of chances for side-by-side roll-on tests. The result? One-nil to Ducati.

It doesn’t matter what gear is chosen below 5000rpm, the Triumph nips ahead by a yard before the Ducati overcomes engine inertia and charges forward to pass the Triumph.

Although the Triumph’s rev range is taller, its triple in-line engine spins quicker to hit peak revs (13,750rpm) earlier, provoking a mass of flashing blue, gear-shift indicator lights and stuttering engine because the rev-limiter has come into play.

Swapping bikes at the next exit toll shows the bikes have similar seating positions. Neither bike has overly high pegs but the Ducati feels like it has because of its 840mm seat height. By the time you’ve got feet on both pegs this height isn’t important because the one-piece tapered handlebars place the upper body further forward and lower towards the clocks into an appreciated attack stance. Both bikes are comfortable enough for 100-mile blasts though the Ducati’s seating position makes life a teeny bit easier on neck muscles.

Read the full test in this week’s MCN (November 16), on sale now.

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Trevor Franklin

By Trevor Franklin