Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but we’re big fans of the Ducati Streetfighter V4 around here. The do-it-all naked bike is fast as hell when you want to get crazy, but as docile as a puppy when you don’t. For years, fans of naked bikes have yelled to the hilltops for a manufacturer to build one that was a sportbike without fairings. No neutering, no “re-tuned for torque” BS, just pure naked power – and a handlebar. Ducati has firmly delivered with the Streetfighter V4 and we’ve sung its praises endlessly. Which begs the question: what on earth could Ducati possibly do to warrant yet another press intro and new model launch?
It’s pretty simple. If I find a vintage Speed Triple story, I’m going to republish it. Now, 20 years later – 20 years! – we bring back to you MO’s First Ride aboard the 2002 Triumph Speed Triple. So many people have memories with this bike. A lot of them are good, but these early years of the Speed Triple also brought with it a few reliability problems. Let’s not focus too much on that for now and instead appreciate Triumph’s beloved three-cylinder naked bike that basically ushered in the category of naked sportbike.
Allow me to say it before you do: this is cheating. I know. The Ducati Streetfighter V4 SP is bonkers. And while it technically meets our rules of being available for purchase by the time of posting, it also kinda doesn’t because each of these were spoken for within a week of its release. Sorry.
At long last, the spiritual successor to Suzuki’s wildly popular SV650 (but not the actual successor, the SV is still staying in the Suzuki lineup) is finally here. Say hello to the GSX-8S, a motorcycle Suzuki says was “engineered from the ground up as an innovative path for future Suzuki sportbikes…”
Triumph has announced a shakeup to its ever-popular Street Triple range today, introducing not one, but three evolutions to the family, creating what it says is “the most powerful Street Triple range ever.” Building off the success it has forged by being the sole engine supplier for the Moto2 racing category, Triumph now introduces the Street Triple R, Street Triple RS, and the Street Triple 765 Moto2 Edition – the latter of which will be relegated to just 765 units worldwide.
Did we really need the Ducati Streetfighter V4 to be even trickier and more refined than the one that won last year’s Open Nakeds Shootout with ease? The one that out-horsepowered even the mighty Kawasaki Z H2 – 177 rear-wheel horses to 163? Actually there was room for improvement, as the mighty V4 S finished third in the Track portion of that seven-bike slugfest. But hey, if it’s a track bike you want, maybe you should just go ahead and get the Panigale. Nay, the Streetfighter is the stripped-down street version, and as such we were all bowled over by not just its scintillating performance, but maybe even more by its unexpected boulevard civility. Like having your cake and riding it too.
Honda‘s been teasing its new Hornet for several months now, first with a concept at EICMA, some design sketches in June, and more recently, details about its new Parallel-Twin engine. While we wait for Honda to officially reveal the the bike, we’ve managed to get further specifications for the 2023 Honda Hornet, thanks to vehicle certification data from Switzerland.
Heaping praise upon Yamaha’s naked bikes has become all too easy lately. Yes, the MT-07 did get dethroned in last year’s Middleweight Naked comparison, but not by much – and it took brand-new motorcycles from Aprilia and Triumph to do it. When it came time for the 900cc(ish) Nakeds last August, the newly revamped MT-09 surprised a couple people by taking the cake against KTM Duke 890 and five other very nice and mostly more expensive motorcycles. Sadly, when it was time for the Open Class Nakeds shootout last November, the MT-10 got left out. We thought it was too old, and couldn’t win. Plus, we knew the 2022 Yamaha MT-10 was on its way. Possibly to save the day.
When a manufacturer stumbles upon a winning formula, it tends to milk it for all it’s worth. A perfect example can be found under the Ducati umbrella. The Panigale V4S has been one of the company’s best-selling models, and when Ducati decided to give it the SP treatment and fit it with carbon fiber wheels, a dry clutch, and some other premium parts, all of them sold out within a week.
Barreling down the back straight at triple digit speeds on the 2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS feels surprisingly comfortable. It could be the reminiscent nostalgic comfort in having owned two of this machine’s predecessors – one of which, the Speed Triple 955i, was my first street bike. Or perhaps it’s the fact the Speed Triple has always been an upright street bike first with its performance refined and enhanced over the decades (nearly three, at this point). Or maybe still, it’s the high-level componentry working in harmony with the 2022 Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS keeping the chassis composed as I’m hard on the brakes, trailing off as I dip into the second gear left-hander.