Ducati Supersport: Back to the streets
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Ducati have launched their all-new Supersport in Sydney, with the bike now filling what was a glaring gap in the Ducati lineup, but that’s not the full story...
Ducati’s 2017 Supersport is a bike that many potential Ducati riders have been longing after for a while now. With the Panigale range heavily track focused, and the naked Monster range a little too street oriented, there was room in the range for something with the street manners of the Monster, but could also give riders a taste of Ducati’s iconic sportsbike heritage.
Sure, it’s not going to keep pace with the Panigale on track, but with a mission to bring back the street oriented Ducati sportsbike, the Supersport (and it’s upmarket Öhlins equipped sibling the Supersport S) is than capable of giving riders who don’t want a superbike a more street friendly, yet thrilling ride.
At its heart is a Testastretta V-twin engine (or L-Twin if you are already part of the Ducatisti fanbase) pumping out a healthy 83.1kW and 96.7Nm of torque and nicely wrapped in a classic Ducati trellis frame chassis. It doesn’t sound like a heck of a lot for a sportsbike, but as one colleague put it, any more power and you can’t use much of it without heading to your nearest racetrack, any less and you quickly find the powerplant dull. In a nutshell, it’s a near perfect level of power for a bike that is targeted at riders who want useable, but fun power for everyday street use.
Out on the roads in New South Wales, the Supersport impressed with its incredibly rider friendly ergonomics and immensely comfortable seat. I don’t often believe people when they say a bike seat is all-day comfortable, but the 811mm high Supersport seat is one I’d wager actually could be. That’s something special in of itself for a bike that sits more in the sports side of the spectrum that touring.
With a fully faired body and adjustable windscreen (which can be pulled up for more wind protection on the fly) the gorgeous Ducati looks like everything you would want of an Italian sports bike and is likely to be one of the biggest selling factors of the Supersport. Just looking at stirs your desires.
When it came to the some twisty cornering action – the domain in which a sportsbike must perform well – getting into the swing of things was easy on the highways and byways of outer Sydney. I had started the day off on the Supersport S complete with a set of fully adjustable Öhlins 48mm forks and matching fully adjustable monoshock.
Auckland | Manukau City
$281.45 p/w $1,125.80 p/m
Manawatu / Wanganui | Palmerston North
$496.03 p/w $1,984.11 p/m
The ex-factory settings were spot on for my hefty near 100kilos and even on the rougher pot holed sections performed flawlessly. With our final destination a Top Secret private track outside of the city, I was able to test the Supersport S and base model back to back, with the Öhlins and Ducati Quick Shifter (DQS) equipped S model noticeably easier to hustle around the course.
With that said, the base model Supersport I actually found more engaging, despite the obviously lesser Marzocchi/Sachs suspension combo needing a good fiddle of the adjusters to get close the the compression dampening of the S from the factory settings.
Pulling the Supersport to a stop is a set of brilliant 320mm discs clamped by Brembo 4-piston calipers up front, with a 2-piston unit in the rear. The ABS that backs up the hardware is adjustable, and in its lowest active setting (Setting 1) deactivates the rear ABS allowing the rider to lock the rear wheel. With 200km/h attainable on the back straight of the course, the front brakes ample amount of stopping force were a welcome inclusion to the specsheet of both variants of the bike.
With a host of electronics on both, including three distinct and fully customisable rider modes (Urban, Touring and Sport), 8-stage traction control and adjustable ABS all able to be played with through the LCD dash. The Supersport was a hoot on the track, which was surprising for a bike Ducati is targeting at first time Ducati owners who aren’t exactly looking for a track bike.
Pricing is set at $20,990 for the base Supersport, with the Supersport S coming in at $22,990 for the bike in Ducati’s iconic red hue, with the sharp looking white Supersport S costing a slight premium at $23,290. Now if only I could find the money...
Engine: 937cc Testastretta L-Twin
Price: From $20,990
Pro: Great everyday characteristics, long service intervals, great power and stability combination
Con: Gearbox was a little hard to find neutral, changing settings requires multiple menu changes.