Che Bella Figura: The Ducati Streetfighter V2 Shows Her Prowess | Motourismo
By Toby Alberto
|Hang ten. Toby Alberto and the Ducati Streetfighter V2 poses for the camera at Clark International Airport, one of the landmark stops during the 2nd We Are Ducati, We Ride As One global event. Photo: Arabelle Jimenez|
When my editors Monch and Arabelle informed me that we are covering the Ducati 2023 “We Ride As One” event, and that I would be repping Motourismo as a media demo rider for one of the Ducati bikes to be loaned out, I was excited and concerned at the same time – excited because this would be my first time to try out a Ducati, and concerned because this would be my first time to try out a Ducati!
The "We Are Ducati, We Ride As One" event that was held on May 6, 2023 is a worldwide gathering with thousands of Ducati enthusiasts hitting the roads together, starting from their local dealerships. Ducatisti ride simultaneously around the globe and share photos and other media from their respective localities that best represent their country. In the Philippines, the chosen convergence venue was Clark Global City in Pampanga.
The Ducati Reputation
Ducati has set a niche for itself to be one of the premier luxury brands for motorcycling. Since its deep heritage in coming out with their “Cucciolo-based” 48cc motorcycle in the early 1950s, they have evolved into producing the slickest and fastest motorcycles today.
According to TheThings.com, each Ducati is made in relatively limited production. This, in addition to their being handmade with precise details in Italy (and later on, Brazil and Thailand), is a contributing factor as to why these magnificent motorcycle machines are at a relatively high price point. This perhaps covers the rationale behind my reaction of both anticipation and trepidation.
Coordination with media participants for the event was efficiently and effectively communicated via a Viber group. As I was designated to be the rider rep for Motourismo, I confirmed my attendance and was informed that a Ducati Scrambler Urban Motard was reserved for my use during the event. I was somewhat relieved (and a midge disappointed) that this was the ride I was “assigned” as I am a bit familiar with the bike’s format being the owner of a Kawasaki W800 – a cruiser bike with a similarly configured ride position and displacement as the Scrambler.
The group was also notified of the various meeting places and times on event day. I opted to go to Ducati Manila (located in Katipunan, QC) to meet with riders going to Clark on the morning of 6th May.
I got up extra early on May 6 primarily because I had failed to secure my assigned Ducati bike as I was informed that it was made available the day before. What arrangements and procedures there would be prior to the ride I wanted to get out of the way.
Expectedly, I was one of the first to arrive at Ducati Manila. Securing my personal bike’s parking, I was led by the friendly staff to sign off on the loaner bike. To my astonishment, the endorsement documentation did not indicate “Ducati Scrambler Urban Motard!” In its stead, it read “Ducati Streetfighter (V2)!!” I suddenly got a chill! As I signed off on the bike, the sensation I felt was akin to buying a ticket for a ride on an amusement park’s roller coaster! After the turnover of keys and documents, I was led to see my ride for the day.
|The slick and sleek Ducati Streetfighter V2|
Now, I am no master on the “sportier” spectrum of the motorcycle world. My interests mainly were in the retro classic genres. I am not even kept abreast about developments in the exciting world of the MotoGP, if that’s any indication. But I also do like trying out new things, especially if they are as interesting as what lay before me that early Saturday morning.
The Streetfighter V2 is a beautiful bike. It’s not “pogi” (handsome) like I would describe a scrambler or a cruiser. It is beautiful like a Victoria’s Secret Model would be beautiful. It is svelte, sleek, and refined. This intimidated me somewhat. Now that I’ve seen her, I was even more nervous about riding her out (ahem! keep your smutty thoughts to yourselves!).
The Ducati Streetfighter V2
In the whole motorcycle lineup of Ducati, the Streetfighter would be one of the bikes that I have little familiarity with. What I do know about it is its anecdotal reputation. Young riders from different walks of life who I’ve come to chat about bikes with have thrown out the name “Streetfighter” as one of their aspirational bikes.
Looking at the bike before me, I can now see why. The Streetfighter is a sports naked bike which is somewhat of a paradox upon my initial inspection. The handlebars have an upright, “comfort” position while the footpegs and foot controls have a more aggressive, sporty setting. The signature Ducati red colorway is always a desirable feature on the Ducati bikes, and the Streetfighter is well-adorned with it, along with some grey and black trim accents. Beautiful.
Briefing and Ride Out
More Ducatisti started trickling in the Katipunan shop. Before long, a critical mass started to form, a briefing commenced with a prayer, a short summation of the ride route and convergence venue, and a “Forza!” cheer for good measure.
|The energetic Ducatisti from the Ducati Manila meeting point.|
We geared and saddled up. Gratefully, my assigned Streetfighter was parked at the back-most part of the parking area, lifting the pressure for me to abruptly takeoff and giving me time to get to know the bike better before riding out. Perhaps seeing my hesitation in approaching the bike, a Ducati technician approached me to give me the lay of the land, so to speak. He showed me the basics (with a Ducati, nothing is basic. Trust me) – the ignition, how to toggle through the digital instrument panel, how to do settings on the bike (he kept it on “sport” and I forgot how to set it on “road”), and a myriad of other details about the bike that my nervous condition coupled with the urgency of me taking off soon would inevitably be left forgotten.
I flagged the tech guy when I noticed the (low) fuel indicator was on and I asked if there was a fuel gauge on the bike. He answered that I probably needed to load gas in it soon and that the Streetfighter did not in fact have a fuel gauge. Huh. With that, I finally hopped on the bike. The ride height was surprisingly reassuring. It looked higher than what I expected but I was able to safely plant both feet on either side of the bike quite flatly, which was a surprise to me because I quickly glanced that it had a published spec of an 845mm seat height (I stand at 5 feet 10 inches tall and I do not know what my inseam measurement is. Something to provide perhaps in future reviews). Having been (somewhat) briefed and being all geared-up, I mustered up the courage to start and get ready to go.
Cruise to Clark
I put the motorcycle in gear (there are 6) and eased the throttle while giving the clutch a getting-to-know you release. The engine didn’t die! What a relief. I carefully peeled out of the dealership’s curb and joined the rest of the Katipunan (unexpectedly free flowing) traffic.
|The "Street"fighter on the highway.|
First impression was that the bike is not an unforgiving beast at the onset. It allowed me to gingerly operate it without protesting – too much. There was some protest indeed. I observed some roughness in the engine as I kept the gearing on the low side as I navigated past the Ateneo and UP areas. Once past that and as I approached Congressional avenue, I was more confident on gearing up.
Approaching Mindanao avenue, traffic started to build up. The bike was surprisingly nimble at lane filtering and I was also surprised by how relatively light it was (it has a printed dry weight of 178kg, lighter than my personal use Kawasaki W800, which posts a 217kg kerb weight). Getting on the North Luzon Expressway, traffic was relatively light so I decided to see what this Ducati had to give. Shifting gears up was remarkably smooth and I was at expressway speeds in no time! I then came to realize that this, and not the traffic-infested city, was the Streetfighter’s natural habitat!
|Enjoying the ride. Photo: Arabelle Jimenez|
Cruising through Bulacan and into Pampanga (with a minor traffic hold up on the viaduct) was actually enjoyable, despite the unfamiliar leg position that I held. It also dawned on me that the bike’s design would have someone of my size naturally knee-grip the tank as an added “tool” to navigate the bike and make the shifting of rider weight more accessible. I generally kept to the prescribed speeds of the expressway and the bike was just purring. I could tell though that the bike would be “happier” if it were traveling at a more rapid pace.
We rode as one!
I soon arrived at Clark and expectedly, given my leisurely speed, I was one of the last riders to touch base at Ducati Clark. We took off for the parade around the airbase almost as soon as I arrived.
|Touching base with Motourismo publisher, Monch Henares at Ducati Clark. Photo: Arabelle Jimenez|
The summer sun was out in its full glory and the hot weather was starting to set in too. Much has been said about Ducati’s “hot” reputation, but having worn compression pants under my Bull-it riding jeans, I have yet to feel discomfort from the heat coming from the bike despite being under the sun and riding on low gears.
|Motourismo Editor-In-Chief Arabelle Jimenez and Publisher Monch Henares with Ducati Marketing Manager Renzo Ongkiko and Moto Media star, Jinno Rufino.|
I didn’t realize the full rider turn out of the day until we stopped at our first photo-op point – the Clark International Airport. There were hundreds of Ducatis around – a proverbial sea of red! We then rode around the premises a bit more before we came together at the Clark Parade Grounds for that day’s program.
|The Streetfighter among its Ducati brethren.|
The program nourished our bellies and our senses! A welcome drink of ice-cold water really hit the spot after riding under the sun at the onset of May. I thirstily downed three bottles consecutively. Breakfast was Fil-Italian inspired, perhaps a conscious “homage” at the Ducati heritage and its present host country.
After some keynote remarks and fun awards, the other main event was unveiled – the introduction of the 2023 Ducati Monster SP – another awesome-looking bike that may merit another review (wink, wink!).
|Unveiled! The 2023 Ducati Monster SP. Photo: Arabelle Jimenez|
With the event almost wrapped-up, I decided to ride out sometime at noon to stay ahead of the Manila-bound traffic from the North. Armed with a more congenial relationship with the Streetfighter, I confidently took the bike out at a more brisk pace. It was pretty much green and go all the way back to Manila and I was back at the Katipunan Ducati shop before 2:00 pm.
Parting thoughts on the Streetfighter
Without mincing words, I think that the Streetfighter is a motorcycle BEST suited for young riders. The design, the potential for speed, the technology, the “angas,” all that speaks more to the younger set. After all, as I have mentioned earlier, yung mga bagets, ambisyon talaga nila ang Ducati Streetfighter. By young, I do not mean inexperienced. I believe you have to be a relatively experienced rider to truly maximize what the Streetfighter has to offer.
Toby Alberto is a career bank officer with The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, but his real job is driver and cook for Mesdames Catherine and Audrey at Chez Alberto.