Inigo S. Roces / Inigo S. Roces | February 16, 2018 15:08
The daily driveable sport bike
These days, naked bikes and dual sports seem to be all the rage. Show up at motorcycle meet and you’d begin to think that fully faired sports bikes are becoming an endangered species. Indeed few can rival the visual impressiveness of a fully faired sport bike, but riding it regularly is another matter altogether.
Ducati hopes to change this attitude with one of its newest creations, the Supersport. Designed as a fully faired sport bike that can be used daily, this bike is presented as a very friendly alternative to its beasts like the 959 and 1299 Panigales but with the sexy dress kept on.
The SuperSport was designed as a middleweight sport motorcycle that can handle everything from in-city commuting, some like touring, and some track days thrown in between. It claims to be a bit of a jack-of-all-traits without really specializing in one particular thing. It might not sound very appealing, but it’s in the ride where the Supersport’s all-around nature begins to pay dividends.
Being a sport bike, the Supersport clearly draws some inspiration from the Panigale family. The beautiful headlights, fairing and tank are nearly identical copies.
It’s a shame the Panigale’s taillight wasn’t carried over too, but then again, how else would you distinguish a Supersport? Nonetheless, it still bears the trademark single-sided swingarm. The bike is offered in just red and a very special matte pearl white.
Underneath is where the Frankensteining is a little more evident. It’s powered by an L-twin engine derived from the Hypermotard 939. It’s a liquid-cooled, Testastretta 11-degree powerplant that produces 113 horsepower. It’s bolted to a steel-trellis frame, similar to that of the Monster 1200 but with some changes made.
Paired to the engine is a 6-speed transmission with bi-directional quickshifters. It’s held aloft by a 48mm Ohlins fork in front and Ohlins shock in the rear (exclusive to the S). It rides on Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tires, brought to a stop by Brembo brakes with ABS. This all amounts to a curb weight of 210kg.
All of the vital trip info is displayed on the fully digital cluster which shows the tach, speed and riding modes. Those familiar with Ducati’s system of adjusting settings should have no problem figuring it the controls built into the turn signals on the left handlebar. For first timers, it involves a long press and toggling through the menus. Electronic aids include three riding modes: Sport, Touring and Urban. It also offers 8 traction control and 3 ABS levels, allowing for some mixing and matching.
Finally, the Supersport also includes an adjustable windscreen. There are just two settings but, being able to simply pull it up for added wind protection is pretty convenient. No allen keys needed.
Just browsing the specs, one would think the Supersport would behave like a hairy, rev-happy sport bike, but it’s actually quite the opposite. The engine returns plenty of usable torque above 3000 rpm and despite the published curb weight actually feels very light and eager to lean. Another boon is its slim profile, making it very easy to squeeze in between traffic.
Finally, the drive modes make it very easy to manage the power with Urban and Touring modes seemingly tailor-fit for almost all situations.
Indeed the ride is firm, but not as bone-jarringly stiff as most would expect. In fact it does soak up some really bad bumps and makes some of the worst roads in our cities actually pretty tolerable.
It also doesn’t require a fully crouched riding position. Thanks to the raised handlebars and low foot pegs, it’s pretty comfortable to ride with a nearly upright position.
When you do want to push, the bike will gladly oblige. It’s certainly not horizon-grabbing power like a Panigale but will more than keep up with 800-1000cc bikes. Like I said, the bike is eager to lean and will gladly take on sweeping corners with little effort. Add to that the convenience of quickshifters and any leisure ride can be made exciting in an instant.
All told, the Supersport S is a very appealing proposition for those that really enjoy the look and feel of a sport bike but can’t quite commit to the peaky power, hard ride and steep learning curve of a full on sport bike.
It’s extremely easy to use, whether the rider is new to sport bikes or fairly experienced riders. It will do well in a variety of conditions and get the heart pumping pretty quickly when egged on. Ducati offers the Supersport in regular trim too, however, we highly recommend the S because of the Ohlins suspension and bi-directional quickshifters that are aleady fitted to it as standard.
Indeed, the Supersport S is a bit of a pricey model, especially when compared to its Japanese competition, but few can really hold a candle to its dropdead gorgeous looks.