The Best Streetfighter Motorcycles [2020 Version]

Contrary to popular opinion, a streetfighter is not just another name for a naked bike. For a streetfighter to earn its name, it must have an aura of aggression about it, a feeling of wanting to go fast and corner hard, a sense that it’s a superbike with the fairings missing. There are many naked bikes that are aggressive, for sure, but the seating position is more standard than a superbike hybrid.

As well, a streetfighter can also be a custom bike, from a builder or individual that intentionally takes a sports bike and makes it into a streetfighter, much like how in the 50’s and 60’s sports bikes were made into cafe racers. For the purposes of this article, though, I will be focusing on the streetfighter bikes that come as such from the factory.

#10: 2020 Triumph Speed Triple S

2020 Triumph Speed Triple S

This list wouldn’t be complete without this motorcycle mentioned somewhere on it. The only reason that it places #10 is that it is getting a bit long in the tooth. However, it does keep the original idea of a streetfighter, that being a sports bike (the Daytona Triple) without fairings. 

The Speed Triple does have a few concessions to the streetfighter idea, however, with a slightly less sports-riding position and more of a forward-leaning standard riding position. It still has the rowdiness about it, though, and that’s what a streetfighter should have.

#9: 2020 Suzuki GSX-S750Z

2020 Suzuki GSX-S750Z

The Suzuki GSX-S750Z is a bit more purposefully built as a streetfighter over the Speed Triple mentioned above, however, it still shares much of its DNA with its superbike cousin, the GSX-R750. The tank gets a bit of a build-up, giving the idea of a pit fighter hunching up his shoulders with fists ready.

As well, the “punched in” look of the front headlight, almost in line with the rear of the front mudguard, gives it a look of having been in a couple of scraps already. And it comes with performance to rival the GSX-R750, using the same 113 HP 749cc inline-four for a heart.

#8: 2020 Kawasaki Z900

2020 Kawasaki Z900

Honestly, the only reason that this is higher on the list than the GSX-S750 is the frame. Like the Suzuki, it has the hunched up tank ready to get in the pit and smash some faces, but that trellis frame gives it the feeling of flexing to the crowd before getting in the pit.

Another reason that the Z900 scores a little higher is that it has a bit more of a growl in the exhaust note, something Kawasaki does so very well. With an aftermarket exhaust or even a decent slip on, this thing will be roaring at opponents and beating its chest.

#7: 2020 Honda CB1000R

2020 Honda CB1000R

The Honda CB1000R is a special bike for Honda, in my opinion. They have a great range of standard and naked bikes for everyone to enjoy, and then they give you a short jab to the nose with the CB1000R. As you’re reeling back and feeling to see if your nose was broken, you can appreciate that this is the fighter wearing a nice suit.

What I particularly like about it is that it’s very subtle in how it shows its power. The classic drop headers to the straight pipes from the older CB models. The super-flat LED headlamp. The short tail. And the engine with light highlights, like that fighter in the suit rolling up his sleeves. A strong entry from Honda.

#6: 2020 KTM 790 Duke

2020 KTM 790 Duke

Much like the Honda, but with a bit more purpose-built to its angles, the KTM 790 Duke is a fighter with a nice suit on. It’s comfortable, it’s more standard position than sport, but still, there is that raised tank, the strong-as-steel looking swingarm, the exhaust tucked up, high and back.

It’s not a tailored suit like the Honda though. This is one of those fighters that shows up to a news conference with the jacket undone, no tie on, top button undone, and flexing a bit for the crowd. Subtle, but also exciting and purposeful.

#5: 2020 BMW F 900 R

2020 BMW F 900 R

Germans. Like the Italians, they really have an eye for design. However, the German design is much more of a purposeful, task-focused design instead of going for lines that look pretty. Still, the F 900 R is a motorcycle designed to punch at those around it. 

Of particular note is the “engine blade” fairings. Instead of completely removing the fairings around the front of the bike, BMW shortened them into two triangles that look ready to cut up the air and added an underbody spoiler held by two lower blade fairings to disturb air going around the base of the rear wheel for better grip. I just have to personally say, it looks awesome.

#4: 2020 KTM Super Duke 1290 R

2020 KTM Super Duke 1290 R

The big brother to the 790 Duke, the Super Duke 1290 R has no pretensions about wearing a nice suit. This motorcycle shows everything, from the huge 1301 cc v-twin-engine, the massively muscled tank, the short and low seat, the forward handlebars and the trellis frame holding the whole thing together.

It looks especially mean when it comes to the factory black paint, letting the traditional KTM orange highlight only the truly muscular bits. The split headlight is a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it thing, but personally I love the look.

#3: 2020 Yamaha MT-10

2020 Yamaha MT-10

The marketing for this bike alone is right in line with the streetfighter concept, “The Dark Side of Japan.” The lines of the MT-10 speak to nothing but brutal power, the stance is low and ready to go. I also really appreciate the twin radiator look, with the oil cooler under the primary radiator instead of a combination radiator-like other manufacturers do.

Add to that sense of purpose that this bike has the screaming powerhouse engine from the YZF-R1 with a bit of minor tuning for more mid-range grunt, and you have one of the strongest streetfighters out of Japan, pretty much ever.

#2: 2020 MV Agusta Brutale 1000 RR

2020 MV Agusta Brutale 1000 RR

With a name like Brutale, you would expect this thing to look mean, and it checks that off immediately. Muscular with a singular purpose, this bike is chomping at the bit to go and eat something large. The tank leading into the diving lines of the front are perfect, and the quadruple exhaust, 2 per side, just gives it a fully thoroughbred look.

Not to mention that this is one of the most powerful streetfighters on this list, with a 998 cc engine with 205 HP. And, this is just my personal opinion, MV Agusta knows how to make a bike, no matter the intention, look drop dead gorgeous. Every little detail and flair with purpose.

#1: 2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

As good as the MV Agusta Brutale 1000 RR looks, there can only be one king. Anticipated for years, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S had a lot of expectations to meet. And I can safely say, I think they’ve met them all. The design is inspired by supervillains, especially the Joker from DC, who Ducati themselves say is the inspiration for the “madly grinning headlight cluster.”

The four winglets on the front just add to the look, as well as being functional in directing air up and around the riders’ legs. Ducati calls this design principle as “Ego Booster,” and if that didn’t sell this motorcycle as a streetfighter, it uses the insane 208 HP V4 from the Panigale V4 S, without any detuning or returning. It’s just a powerhouse of a streetfighter, exactly like a bike like this should be.

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