Bologna’s brawler Ducati Streetfighter V4 S in xBhp Garage

Bologna’s brawler Ducati Streetfighter V4 S in xBhp Garage

I love naked motorcycles. I always have. They are my favourite kind of motorcycles. And it is not just because of my history with them. It is just their very nature that draws me in. Fairing and everything stripped off, back-breaking clip-ons replaced with wider and more upright bars, and with all the punch of a superbike willing to transport you to wheelie heaven. Scratch the last part, I am not a hooligan.

There is one point I would like to correct. “All the punch of a superbike”, has not always been true, not on paper at least, until more recently. But in spirit, it is true. All superbikes have had a naked derivative and it is possible the other way around as well, but seldom is. GSX-R to GSX-S, S 1000 RR to S 1000 R, CBR (Fireblade) to CB, ZX to Z and so on. That was about why I inherently like naked motorcycles. Now, about the history. My journey started back in 2002 with a Bajaj Pulsar 180 Classic. It instantly set itself apart from everything else.

Leisure motorcycling was non-existent, motorcycles were seen as tools for cheap transportation and here was a motorcycle that not only looked purposeful but went like a hoot too. With 15 bhp, a massive muscular tank, and a mean fascia, Bajaj called it Definitely Male. To me, it was the start of my love affair with naked motorcycles.

The arrival of Karizma led me adrift. I was infatuated with it. That was followed by the Honda Blackbird, my first big bike. Both faired and both worlds apart from the kind that gave me that visceral kick. I loved those motorcycles to the core, don’t get me wrong, but they were a smidge off of what I wanted. As I drifted around in the world of fully-faired motorcycles, my love for naked motorcycles was rekindled in 2008.

I rode the Suzuki BKing around 8,000 km around New Zealand. I was in awe of it. It was perhaps the world’s fastest and most powerful naked and it was bound to be with the heart of the mighty Falcon- the Hayabusa. But I still did not have one in my garage. In 2012, I welcomed a Yamaha FZ-1 into my life. It was aggressive and muscular and full of intent. More than that, it had nearly 150 bhp on tap making it one of the most powerful naked motorcycles of its time. But after it went away, there was another hiatus.

Then in 2015, during the Indian in 0-100 Motorcycles project, I got to ride the MT-01 and I was blown away. One of the craziest and most radical motorcycles ever made, the MT-01 lit a fire under me. I had to get my hands on another naked. But the MT-01 and the BKing, both were commercial failures. They were probably a bit too radical for their time. After the end of that project, I got myself a Benelli TNT 899. To this day, I believe that it is one of the most beautiful naked motorcycles I have ever seen. Side-mounted radiators with the motorcycle’s frame snaking around it… it was beautiful. Its inline-3 may not have been everyone’s cup of tea but I quite liked it.

In fact, I used the TNT 899 to practice and get ready to race the TNT 1130 in the 2015 JK Tyre Championship. While aero and lack of power was a problem, I still had a lot of fun. Anyway, my next naked after the TNT was the Suzuki GSX-S1000 and I got it in 2017. Beautiful and with a respectable 148 bhp of tap, it was not a hooligan but enough to satiate my need for a street bike. Now, before getting the GSX-S1000, I tried the entire KTM Duke range in 2016. I went to Thailand and tried those motorcycles on both the track and road. If I am being honest, the KTM Super Duke 1290 is one of the most elusive and desirable street naked motorcycles for me. There aren’t a lot of motorcycles that have scared me. The Super Duke did. Makes me wonder why they do not bring it to India.

Coming back on track, not literally, I added another bombastic naked machine to my garage in 2019- the Indian FTR 1200. The FTR is one handsome looking motorcycle and an engine that makes it a heck of a machine to ride. It may not seem much on paper but it is more of a hooligan than most naked motorcycles. But there was a void. A void that needed to be filled with something more. As you may have already seen from the photos, the void has been filled by the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S. So a journey that started from the Pulsar 180 has brought me here, to the Streetfighter V4 S alongside some of the best motorcycles in the world. But… why the Streetfighter?

It is a valid question. Today’s motorcycle market is full of extremely powerful naked motorcycles that are fast approaching the revered 200 bhp mark. And before taking the plunge, I did carefully consider my options before finally deciding on the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S. So, let me take you through that process. First and foremost, it fits the bill. If you know me and if you have been following me for a while, you’ll know that I am building a garage, a dream garage, and I have been at it for a few years now. The very first motorcycle that became a part of that garage was the Ninja H2- the world’s fastest production street-legal motorcycle.

Post that, Triumph dropped a bomb in the motorcycle market. It was called the Rocket 3 R. When I saw the 2nd-gen Rocket 3 R for the first time, it did something. It sort of flicked a switch inside of me. There was a photo of that motorcycle on the beach, a part of the launch proceedings, and as soon as I laid my eyes on it, I wanted it. It was the first time that I wanted a quote-unquote cruiser so badly. But there was a bigger reason behind me deciding to bite the bullet and get the Rocket 3 R. It is the world’s largest capacity production motorcycle. Do you see the pattern here, the theme at play? Superlatives, the largest, the fastest, the quickest, and so on.

have already told you about my love for naked motorcycles. So when the time came to choose one from this genre, I had a few contenders. The Z H2 was one. The new Triumph Speed Triple RS was one. But they both lost out on a few points, they had something missing on a few fronts. For example, the Z H2 did not excite me much. It was so because of the weight and also, the way it looked. It did not work for me. Another aspect of this was the fact that I already had the Ninja H2. The Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS was almost perfect. It sounded awesome, it looked quite good, and it was quite powerful too.

So what went wrong there? Well, it had 180 bhp which is massive but not… superlative. So, it simply was not powerful enough for me. There was another contender and it has been mentioned earlier as well- the KTM Super Duke. But it is not available in India. So, if I wanted a motorcycle to fulfil a very particular purpose of being at the top of the food chain, the choice was quite clear. In today’s market, there is nothing like the Streetfighter V4 when it comes to naked motorcycles. In terms of power, it has 208 horses making it the world’s most powerful street naked motorcycle. Superlative, and a fitting addition alongside the world’s fastest and world’s largest. My favourite kind of motorcycles are naked motorcycles and this one is at the very top in this genre and so… I just had to go for it.

I had my eye on it ever since it was unveiled. But it was not launched in India when it was launched globally. Here, it was launched a year after. But when it was, it set the wheels in motion for me to plan it out and bring it home. Since it is home and you can see it, let us talk about the elephant in the room- the livery. As you can tell, the livery is based on the Joker. Why is that? Not a lot of people know this but the designer who worked on this motorcycle was inspired by the Joker, at least as far as the front fascia of the motorcycle goes. And it did need some inspiration as this is the part that differs from the Panigale V4 the most. The rest of the motorcycle is more or less the same sans the fairing, of course, and some tweaks.

About the livery, I am very pleased with it and I love the way it looks. I have worked on nearly all the liveries that my motorcycles have sported but this is the first time I have used purple or this particular shade of green for that matter. Purple is a very different colour, it is even more peculiar when combined with this green. Usually, people would not go for something like this. But since it is the Joker, it had to be a little cuckoo, right? I have ridden a whole lot of Ducatis. By the time of my last big ride with Ducati, I had probably ridden the Bologna machines more than anyone in India. But I never thought that I’d buy a Ducati in India simply because these are pricey machines. But it happened and as they say, ‘Once a Ducatista, always a Ducatista’.

Needless to say, the day of the delivery was a big one for me. I have always loved to share these moments with the xBhp community. Physically, it is only possible for people in proximity to join. And that is why we click photos, make videos, and include things like this in the print magazine too so that all of you can be a part of it as well and share my happiness. The delivery was taken from North Star Automotive in Naraina, Delhi. Since this was a very important day and spelt my comeback to Ducati, I tried to make it as special as possible.

So, I turned the whole showroom into an exhibition of sorts. The best of the best photos I have clicked, the best of my memories from some epic rides on a Ducati, were all used as large posters to dot the walls of the showroom. It was an interesting watch for onlookers, and for me too as I got to relive some of the most iconic moments I have had with the Ducatis; from meeting Valentino Rossi at the World Ducati Week to riding some of the best (and worst) roads in the world aboard a Ducati. Nostalgia is a powerful tool and it worked as expected, instilling the delivery experience with a lot more substance.

I would like to thank God for bestowing his blessings upon me. I would like to thank the people who have supported me. I would like to thank people who criticise me for letting me know that I am headed in the right and sometimes, for helping me better myself. I would like to thank all the people who joined me in this milestone moment. More than that though, I would like to thank all of you for being a part of this journey of me and xBhp. It would not have been possible without you.

Now my garage needs superlatives in the category of ADVs and a thoroughbred track-bike. But I am not in a hurry. I will get there eventually if I keep at it but regardless of whether I do or don’t, I am going to make sure that I enjoy this journey. So till then, be seeing you on the road.



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