The very first streetfighter motorcycle was released in 1994 by Triumph. A quarter of a century later, they're still an enduringly popular model. By blending the aggression of a sports bike with urban utility, these practical, agile bikes deliver the controllable power and easy handling needed for city riding.
At their heart, they're naked bikes - stripped-down, tamed-down versions of the sports bike that keeps the performance but loses anything that isn't strictly necessary for city commuting.
But there's a little more to them than that. Whereas naked bikes lose most of their decorative parts, streetfighters are basically hot rods, naked bikes that have been souped up with taller handlebars, shorter, louder, and lighter mufflers, and fitted with upgrades for a menacing aesthetic.
With almost every manufacturer now offering at least a couple of streetfighters in their range, there's an almost infinite number of bikes to choose between. But which streetfighters rank as the best?
Find out as we count down the 10 best streetfighter motorcycles of all time.
10. Kawasaki Z650
As Top Speed notes, the Kawasaki Z650 is a mid-size streetfighter that scores highly for practicality and usable performance. With its nimble handling and agility, what it lacks on the track it more than makes up for on the city streets.
The aggressive, Sugomi-inspired Z styling with its bold front face, minimalist bodywork, and sharp lines ensures the bike looks as good as it handles, while the torquey 649cc parallel-twin engine and lightweight chassis deliver outstanding performance and versatility.
Fun, fast, and, at $7,249 MSRP, very affordable, the Z650 ranks as one of the best middleweight bikes in the segment.
9. MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR
Luxurious, rowdy, and equipped with more bells and whistles than you can shake a stick at, the MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR is a capable, efficient machine with head-turning good looks. Its 798cc inline-3 engine pushes out an impressive 140 horsepower at 13,100 rpm and 64 lb-ft of peak torque at 10,100 rpm.
Riding aids include multiple engine maps, eight levels of traction control, an on-board diagnostics system, and ABS as standard. If you can swallow the hefty price tag, it's a great bike.
8. Honda CB1000R
Autowise has named the Honda CB1000R as one of the best streetfighters around. With its nippy 998cc engine, superb handling, and controllable power, it's easy to see why. Its responsive throttle and light clutch are ideal for city riding.
It might lack the beefy presence of some of its rivals, but its Neo-Sports Café styling is still a feast for the eyes. Even if it wasn't, who cares when it handles this beautifully? Expect to pay around $13k for the base model.
7. Yamaha MT-07
Yamaha's range of naked streetfighters is widely regarded as one of the best around, with big, powerful engines and stunning aesthetics. The MT-07 is no exception. Blessed with mean, bold bodywork and razor-sharp angles, it looks the part.
Thanks to its perfect balance of features, its torquey twin-cylinder engine, and its controllable power delivery, it acts it too. Despite being one of the most popular bikes in the segment, it's incredibly priced - expect to pay just $7,699 for the base model.
6. Kawasaki Z900
The aggressively styled Kawasaki Z900 might lack the electronic rider aids of some of its counterparts, but it's still an incredibly easy bike to ride, and a whole lot of fun to boot. Its 948cc inline-four engine is capable of producing an impressive 126 horsepower and 73 lb-ft of torque.
With prices starting at just $8,399, the Z900 is ideal for riders looking for a cheap, cheerful motorcycle that's capable of tearing up the streets.
5. Suzuki GSX-S750Z
The Suzuki GSX-S750Z is a lean, aggressive machine that builds on such legendary bikes as the GSX-R750. The responsive 749cc inline four engine boasts 113 hp, while the addition of traction control, Idle-Speed Control, and a cool Low-RPM Assist package ensure capable performance and control at both low and high speeds. As middleweight bikes go, it's undoubtedly one of the best in class.
4. KTM Duke 390
Blessed with sharp styling, a responsive 373cc, liquid cooled, single-cylinder engine, and a lightweight frame, the KTM Duke 390 is proof that the best things come in small packages.
The top of the range components extend to include an Evaporative Emission Control System ‘EVAP’ system, Bosch fuel pump, an in-segment TFT instrument cluster and LED headlights. If you're looking for a bike with the perfect blend of performance and utility, this is it.
3. BMW G310R
As Top Speed notes, the G310R might be the smallest bike from BMW, but it's anything but small when it comes to performance. Its size makes it ideal for new riders, but even those with years of experience under their belt will still find this lightweight powerhouse a ton of fun. As you'd expect from BMW, it looks just as good as it performs.
2. Ducati StreetFighter V4
Ranked by The Things as one of the greatest Italian motorcycles of all time, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 is a premium bike with power and attitude for miles. Powering it along is the same potent engine that drives the Panigale V4 superbike. Fast, practical, and capable of cranking out 208 horsepower and 90.5 lbs.-ft of torque, it fully justifies its $19,995 base price.
1. Triumph Speed Triple
The Triumph Speed Triple was the first factory-produced streetfighter ever made. Originally launched in 1994, it generated a huge buzz on its release. All these years later, it's still considered one of the most competent streetfighters around.
Despite its beefy, brawny design, it's surprisingly light on its feet, with the agile handling and nimble moves that make it ideal for city riding. Its competent 1050cc triple-cylinder engine produces a hefty 148 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and 86 lb-ft of peak torque at 7,150.
The components, which include Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes, and Pirelli tires, are top end, while the overall design speaks volumes about why Triumph has dominated the streetfighter segment for so long.
Muscular, powerful, and endlessly versatile, it's easy to see why it's still as popular today as it was back in the 1990s. Expect to part with around $14,350 for the base S model or $16,350 for the upgraded RS version.
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Written by Benjamin Smith
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