Best Naked Motorcycle of 2021

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

Best Naked Motorcycle of 2021: Ducati Streetfighter V4S

Here goes the broken record again: The Ducati Streetfighter is So. Damn. Good. We rode it a lot this year; first it was the First Ride review, then we rode a $50,000 modified version, then threw the stock one back into the mix for some street and track testing during our seven-bike Heavyweight Naked Bike test. Over and over, we walked away thinking, “Damn. That was good.” It came out on top of the street portion of our naked bike test, and it came one spaghetti strand away from taking top honors in the track portion as well.

What’s in this magic sauce from Ducati that makes it so sweet? The obvious ingredient is that 1103cc V4 engine and its split personality. Traditionally, you’d have to choose whether you wanted a gentle puppy of an engine or a howling screamer of a fire-breather. With the Streetfighter, somehow you get both. It’s shockingly fast when you open’er up, but is also just fine plodding around when you feel like being lazy.

Let’s see, what else? Oh yeah, you’ve got world-class electronics that are easy to navigate, a seating position one could conceivably ride all day on, and stellar good looks, including wings! What else is there to want, really? John Burns would cry foul over the lack of cruise control, which really is an odd oversight by Ducati, but considering the rest of the package, we’re willing to let that one go.

You might have noticed that our MOBOs this year include a Naked and a Standard category. On the surface bikes in both categories are similar in that they’re naked (or shall we say minimally clothed) with handlebars, but to put the Triumph Trident 660 or Honda NC750X – the top two in our Standard MOBO category this year – up against the Streetfighter simply wouldn’t make sense.

The Streetfighter is all-conquering.

Best Naked Motorcycle of 2021 Runner-Up: Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory

You can call it a sympathy vote if you want, but we still have a soft spot for the Aprilia Tuono. With the Tuono V4 Factory, Aprilia has given the bike a slight update to fine-tune a platform it’s been fine-tuning seemingly since Ryan was in diapers.

Now that Aprilia has differentiated the standard RR and Factory models a bit, it’s worth noting that our Runner Up award is going to the Factory model – the more sport-focused of the two. If you find yourself on the touring edge of sport-touring, perhaps the standard V4 is worth a look. You certainly will find yourself with a similar smile on your face. However, in our case, the Factory, complete with Öhlins SMART EC 2.0 electronic suspension, a new swingarm, and various other minor updates was the one pulling our heartstrings.

In the same seven-bike Heavyweight Naked Bike Shootout that saw the Ducati Streetfighter come out our winner on the street, our poor Aprilia could only muster a fourth-place finish. However, once we took the Tuono to Thunderhill and let it manifest its racetrack DNA, its true performance potential shot it up the charts, where it ultimately came out our racetrack winner (by the slimmest of margins).

Like we’ve said a million times before, its distinctive V4 bark is very different from the Ducati’s (arguably better, if you ask me) and really makes you feel alive in full song. Combine that with an excellent (though not quite as good as the Ducati) electronics suite, plus one of our favorite chassis of all time, and the formula for success is still proving to be a winner all these years later. Pro tip: switch the electronic suspension to manual mode for track duty and reap the rewards. Best of 2021 Categories

Become a insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

More by Troy Siahaan

Join the conversation
3 of 14 comments
  • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on Dec 07, 2021

    So glad to not see a KaTooM which is the sound the engine makes when KTMs blow up.

    Both of these bikes are awesome, but they would get me in so much trouble so I stick to slower bikes.

    The Tuono is an interesting one since it's about as covered with plastics as your average sport bike. I really find it a stretch to call it a naked bike. And it's basically the same bike it's been for far too long now.

  • Proheli Proheli on Dec 13, 2021

    You guy have to take a step back and look at the Tuono with a fresh set of eyes. There is no longer anything naked about it. Its a 90% faired hardcore sportbike. It shouldn't be in the naked category anymore. That ship has sailed.