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Your Complete Guide To Streetfighter Motorcycles

We can all appreciate the raw power and capable suspension of a race-bred superbike. Why wouldn’t we? I’m glad they exist. However, anyone who says they enjoy riding around all day folded into one of those things is 100% lying to themselves. Lucky for us, that’s why streetfighter motorcycles exist. 

Streetfighter… Naked bike… Hypernaked… Buttnaked hyperfighter… Some of these terms are more common than others, but do they all mean the same thing? Let’s dig into what makes a streetfighter a streetfighter and decide who’s making the best one out there lately while we’re at it.

What Is A Streetfighter Motorcycle?

Honestly the words “streetfighter” and “naked bike” are pretty much interchangeable nowadays. 

Things weren’t always that way though, as the term streetfighter used to refer to a very specific sort of bike. 

In the late 80s and early 90s, European motorcyclists were buying up fully-faired sportbikes as quickly as they could get their hands on them. Unfortunately, their hooligan spirit and healthy appetite for risk often led to their shiny new sportbikes being crashed in short order. 

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of wrecking a sportbike, you’ll know that the most expensive part of rebuilding them is almost always replacing the expensive bodywork. 

It’s much cheaper to simply throw the fairings in the trash, lash a headlight to the forks, and get back to properly thrashing your bike. 

And that’s where we get both the name and the style that we now know as streetfighters. 

Streetfighter motorcycles are sportbikes at heart that have been stripped of all their fancy clothes. The engine is just as wild as a fully-faired race replica, as are the brakes and suspension, but the bodywork is essentially non-existent and the low-and-painful clip on handlebars have been replaced with a nice tall motocross-inspired handlebar. 

So who makes the most bonkers streetfighter motorcycles out there currently? Glad you asked. 

Below you’ll find the current cream of the “hyper-naked” crop, as well as some budget-conscious alternatives for the rest of us. 

The 9 Best Streetfighter Motorcycles

Although each of the motorcycles below is undeniably distinct, they all follow the same formula to earn their “best streetfighter motorcycle” title: 

Racetrack worthy engine + Racetrack-grade suspension – Racetrack style bodywork = Every bike on this list.

Spoiler alert: There’s really no “best” across the board when it comes to streetfighter motorcycles.  They’re all powerful, they’re all fun, and they’re all more comfortable than a sportbike. If you want to know which would be the best for your riding style, here’s what you need to know. 

Ducati Streetfighter V4
Ducati Streetfighter V4more info

Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

MSRP: $24,395

Engine: 1,103cc Desmosedici Stradale V-four

Power: 208 HP

Torque: 90 lb-ft

Wet Weight: 439 lbs

Take Ducati’s flagship Panigale V4 superbike, strip it down to its bare essentials, and get ready to hang on. 

On paper the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S is about as mental as it gets, cranking out over 200 horsepower with zero wind protection to speak of.

It’s got the full suite of premium components including active Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes, forged Marchesini wheels, and a laundry list of rider aids from traction control to lean-sensitive ABS. 

Despite all those gnarly sportbike roots, the Streetfighter V4 is surprisingly comfortable for day to day riding. A large part of that comfort is due to the active suspension, which automatically softens whenever the bike is switched into street mode. Over longer distances you’ll still get tired of it quickly (a reliable byproduct of zero wind protection), but chances are you aren’t buying the Streetfighter for its touring chops anyways. 

Of course when you’re ready to really push the Streetfighter V4 to its limits it’s happy to oblige. Drop it into sport mode on the street or race mode on the track, and you’ll feel the full benefit of 200+ ponies with race-ready suspension settings to match. 

Who is the Ducati Streetfighter V4 for?

If you want a premium bike with premium components and a premium price tag to match, chances are you’ll lean toward the Ducati. You’ll be lacking nothing in fit and finish, the latest gadgets, and all the bragging rights that come with owning an exotic Italian motorcycle. 

Wheelie lovers be warned: Between the anti-wheelie settings, decreasing torque maps, a counter rotating crank, and those big ol’ winglets on the front, the Streetfigher isn’t made to be a hoon-around wheelie machine. Racetrack precision are the Streetfighter’s bread and butter, so if you’re looking for a high powered hooligan machine, this ain’t the one. 

Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS

Triumph Speed Triple was one of the first production streetfighter motorcycles on the market
Triumph Speed Triple – more info here

MSRP: $18,300

Engine: 1160cc Inline 3-cylinder

Power: 178 hp

Torque: 92 lb-ft

Wet Weight: 437 lbs

Triumph’s big triple got a complete redesign for the 2021 model year. 

The engine, chassis, exhaust, wheels, brakes, dashboard: It’s all brand spankin’ new and it all contributes to a Triumph Speed Triple that rides like none before it.

Some notable gains include a 30+ horsepower increase and 30 lb weight decrease over the outgoing model.

A new electronics suite is also standard, and includes five selectable riding modes, as well as customizable throttle response, ABS intervention, and traction control.

An up and down quickshifter is coupled with a slip/assist clutch to deliver predictable traction through even the most aggressive downshifts, and works with a new six-axis IMU to carry that stability through corners. 

Who is the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS for? 

If you want a premium, high-powered streetfighter without the “luxury” brand baggage, the Triumph is a clear winner. 

Really all the Speed Triple is missing is the “wow factor” of 200 horsepower on paper, styling gimmicks like aero-winglets on a motorcycle without wind protection, and active electronic suspension. 

Personally I prefer a properly dialed conventional suspension over an active electronic one, but I’m also the type who couldn’t justify spending $30,000 on any motorcycle ever so… to each his own. 

Honestly even 170 horsepower sounds pretty silly for street use. 200 ponies as a “new standard” is clearly a product of a horsepower war that no one actually needs but some will brag about anyways. In typical Triumph fashion, the Speed Triple is capable but refined. A great fit for the distinguished rider who needs to see 150mph on the dash from time to time. 

MV Agusta Rush 1000 Streetfighter
MV Agusta Rush – more info

MV Agusta Rush 1000

MSRP: $38,800

Engine: 998cc Inline 4-cylinder

Power: 208 hp

Torque: 86 lb-ft

Dry weight: 410 lbs

Speaking of unnecessary luxury bikes, the MV Agusta Rush 1000 exists. 

Yes, if the $32,300 asking price of the MV Agusta Brutale 1000 RR isn’t quite impressive enough for your “refined” tastes, you can pick up one of the 300 limited production examples of the MV Agusta Rush 1000 for an extra $6,000. 

Surely at this point you’ll want to know what you get for your money?

You’ll get the same chassis, swingarm, and engine as the Brutale 1000RR, which the Rush is built around. 

Aside from that you’ll get an SC project exhaust and retuned ECU for an extra five or so horsepower, some “luxury” gimmicks like a lean sensitive headlight and “Moto GP” inspired winglets, a redesigned tail section that looks like a toy spaceship, and a big carbon fiber hubcap for your rear wheel (seriously, it has a hubcap). 

Who is the MV Agusta Rush 1000 for?

Anyone who cares whether or not the alcantara seat under their sweaty arse was stitched by hand. 

That might sound a little harsh but…. C’mon. 

If you’re an emperor shopping for new clothes, MV Agusta has some “motorcycle art” they can’t wait to sell you.

Still, if money is no object and you want to make the guy on the “premium” Ducati feel small, this is the Streetfighter for you. 

Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Streetfighter
Tuono V4 Factory – more info

Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory

MSRP: $19,500

Engine: 1077cc V-four

Power: 175 hp

Torque: 89 lb-ft

Wet weight: 461 lbs

You’d be right to argue that the Tuono V4 is the least “street fighter” looking of the bunch here (it seems to grow a little more fairing with every design update), but its RSV pedigree is so undeniably sporty that it wouldn’t feel right leaving it off our list. 

The Tuono is the darling of just about every moto-journalist on the web, and rightly so. 

Its V-four engine was a sensation when first introduced in 2011, and it’s only gotten better with each update. The latest version sports the highest redline yet as well as a new ECU courtesy of Magneti Marelli that sweetens the Tuono’s electronic rider aids even further. 

What is widely considered the sweetest package available in the “hyper-naked” market has gotten sweeter. 

Who is the Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory for?

Pretty much anyone who can afford a $20,000 motorbike. 

Yes the Tuono delivers absolute superbike-level performance, but it’s also comfortable, provides a degree of wind protection, has a unique and thrilling engine character, and a little bit of that exotic Italian pedigree sprinkled in without the “pomp and circumstance” that’s associated with Ducatisi or whoever these people are that buy new MV Agustas. 

For most riders the tough choice will be between the Tuono’s beloved V4, the cult following of KTM’s Superduke and its rottweiler of a V-twin, and the Triumph’s even split between the two.

Yamaha MT-10 – more info

Yamaha MT-10

MSRP: $12,999

Engine: 998cc inline-four

Power:  158 hp

Torque:  82 lb-ft

Wet weight:  463 lbs

Based on the engine and chassis of the 2015 R1 superbike, Yamaha’s MT-10 is getting a little long in the tooth. Still, the fact it’s still the best streetfighter coming out of Japan six years later speaks volumes to its quality. 

Its brakes are as good as if not better than the R1, it’s all day comfortable with plenty of legroom for riders six foot or taller, it has above average wind protection for a streetfighter, and the crossplane-crank four cylinder delivers exotic feeling thrills on a UJM budget. 

With that being said, although the Yamaha MT-10 does everything well, it’s certainly a bit softer than the competition. The “SP” model is no longer available, so the suspension isn’t as precise as other bikes here. And while the motor will absolutely rip your arms off if you let it, it won’t rip them off nearly as quickly as something like the Aprilia or KTM. 

Who is the Yamaha MT-10 for?

Anyone who loves a good time on a budget. The Yamaha can’t really compare to other “top of the food chain” streetfighter motorcycles, but the fact that it costs $13,000 and deserves to be on this list should tell you everything you need to know. 

KTM 1290 Super Duke R
KTM 1290 Super Duke – more info

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

MSRP: $18,700

Engine: 11301cc V-twin

Power:  180 hp

Torque:  103 lb-ft

Wet weight: 437 lbs

The third generation Super Duke R is faster, lighter, has better suspension, and improved electronics over the outgoing model. 

If you’ve ever ridden the absolutely mental naked missiles that were the first and second generation of 1290 Super Duke, that may be hard to believe, yet here we are. 

No one needs a 180 horsepower V-twin, but KTM knows we all want one anyways, and they build it to perfection. They market it as “The Beast” to the public, and honestly it is the most deserving of the title out of everything on this list. 

What do you think a 437 pound motorcycle with 103 lb-ft of torque on tap feels like? 

If you said, “Trying to spoon a wolverine” you’re not far off. And that’s exactly why you should want one. 

KTM has put some work into refining the “less aggressive” street ride mode to be a little more relaxed but… I mean… There’s no relaxing on this bike and that’s kind of the point. 

Who is the KTM 1290 Super Duke R for?

If you’re a thrill seeker first and foremost and want performance over everything, this is the bike that will deliver. 

KTM has always done a fantastic job of delivering motorcycles that are first described as “insane” and shortly thereafter “wonderful.”

The 1290 Super Duke R is absolutely both of those things. 

What’s A Good Cheap Streetfighter Motorcycle?

If you’re looking to get into streetfighter motorcycles but don’t want the prize-fighter price tag, there are some budget alternatives out there with plenty of punch. 

Obviously that’s going to rule out more premium and/or exotic brands, but Japanese “big four” are here for us as always. Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Suzuki all have aggressively-styled middleweight streetfighters in their lineup, with each offering its own appeal. 

Kawasaki Z900 ABS – $9099 (125hp/73 lb-ft of torque)

Kawasaki Z900 super naked motorcycle
Kawasaki Z900 Super Naked – more info

If you’re interested in outright power over everything, the Kawasaki Z900 is tough to beat. It’s got the highest peak power and torque of the bunch, and throws in some “premium” electronics to boot. 

ABS now comes standard (hence the “ABS” name), as does Kawasaki’s traction control package, selectable rider modes, smartphone connectivity, and a big ol’ TFT dash. 

At $9,099 MSRP, it’s also more than $8,000 cheaper than Kawasaki’s top of the line streetfighter, the supercharged Z H2.

Yamaha MT-09 $9,399 (117hp/69 lb-ft of torque)

Yamaha MT-09 streetfighter
Yamaha MT-09 – more info

If you love the feeling of an angry three cylinder engine but want the ease of ownership that comes with the Yamaha name, their base model MT-09 delivers hooligan thrills for under $10,000.

For 2021, the Yamaha MT-09 was new from the ground up including the engine, chassis, suspension, and electronics package. 

The lovable character of the engine is still there, but the chassis/suspension shortcomings of the previous version have all been addressed, making the latest MT-09 a competent canyon carver. At $9,399 it’s the most expensive of the three sub-$10k options here, but for my money I’m going with the three cylinder.

Suzuki GSX-S750Z $8499 (114hp/60lb-ft of torque)

The Suzuki GSX-S750Z is the most over looked of all the streetfighter motorcycles
Suzuki GSX-S750Z – more info

The Suzuki GSX-S750Z might be the most overlooked of all the streetfighter motorcycles on the market, which is a shame because it’s got a lot to love. 

The engine, for instance, is a modified version of the legendary K5 GSX-R750 power plant that’s retuned for more low and mid range power. 

All things considered the S750Z is a little dated compared to other models on this list both in styling and performance, but for $8,499 it’s a lot of bike for the money with ample power and suspension for all your streetfighting needs.

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Sunday 19th of September 2021

Reliability is very important on any vehicle. And Yamaha has all of the other motorcycle manufacturers beat by a significant margin when it comes to reliability. The MT10 is a bargain for the money!