I was no stranger to raw acceleration. Or at least so I was convinced, until I had the pleasure of test-riding the most brutal Ducati I had ever laid eyes on: the Streetfighter 1098.
When I first researched this machine, I understood the term “Streetfighter” to refer to the naked body style of the motorcycle – stripped of excess. Not until I first turned the key, pulled the clutch in, and pressed the starter, did I begin to understand what I had gotten myself into. The guttural growl of the Italian V-twin is unprecedented, and the rider cannot help but feel empowered by the immediacy at which you can transform this growl into a bellowing roar. The mere twitch of your wrist makes you aware you are piloting a machine whose name alludes to much more than simply the body-style.
“It couldn’t be that much more spectacular than my Kawasaki Ninja, right?” I thought to myself as I gingerly depressed the shifter down from neutral, engaging first gear. Moments later I enjoyed my first terrifying wheelie: I rolled on the throttle, and before I could say “porca troia! (holy sh*t)” was blasting down the asphalt with only one tire on the ground. With the help of adrenalin flowing through my body, I safely touched the front back down; in awe like never before.
The V-twin engine layout results in obscene acceleration capable of bringing the front wheel right up before you can comprehend that you’ve already broken every speed-limit in the country. Nothing could have prepared me for the breathtaking freedom this machine provided. A whim could transform my surroundings into a blur, scenery ever accelerating out of the corners of my eyes, perfectly in sync with the torrential roar escaping from the titanium exhaust system. The premium Brembo brakes and Oehlins suspension pieces help create an unexplainable trust and confidence in the machine, no matter how fast you’re coming up on “turn 4” during a therapeutic blast through the canyon.
Such a companion is rare to come by, and like any good friend, the Streetfighter always has your back when encountering another two-wheeled, or four-wheeled predator at a red light, always ready to lay down strips of rubber and tire smoke for your mutual amusement.