Definitely more Sport than Touring – Story by David G. Williams
I was lounging in my lair one fine day, when the telephony device jangled. It was a young fellow from The Highroad Collection, my local BMW/Ducati dealer. He said “Hey, how about riding a Ducati?” I responded “OK!” He queried “Which one?” I responded “SuperSport S, natch.” And that was that.
The new SuperSport (or SuperSport S) is a sort-of sport-touring bike. “Sort-of” because the clip-ons have a slight rise to them, and because you can get some Ducati soft panniers to hold your delicates for a weekend away. I mentioned camping at one point, and someone laughed. It’s really a sport bike. But a fairly comfy one you can travel on.
The standard SuperSport comes with a fully adjustable 43 mm USD Marzocchi fork, and holding up the back end is a progressive linkage with adjustable Sachs monoshock and aluminium single-sided swingarm. If you plump the extra cash for the “S” you get fully adjustable Öhlins suspension at both ends. The SuperSport S also gets a seat cowl, and a pretty awesome quickshifter.
Controls are not overly complicated for a modern Ducati. Certainly not as befuddling as the Multistrada 1200 with its endless menus to scroll through, just to adjust the grip heaters. I hate that. For the SuperSport it’s just a couple of buttons with an eye to the digital display and you can set your ride mode (Sport, Touring, Urban) and scroll through various temp, distance, and time functions. You’ve also got a gear indicator and fuel gauge. I like that. It has a bar-graph tach. I don’t like that. The display is also black on grey, not full colour like its fancy cousins, which is too bad, but it’s legible, so no biggy.
Fire it up, and it sounds just like a Ducati, with the exception of the old dry clutch rattle, this being a wet multi-plate unit. The slipper clutch lever is light in use, especially because on the S that I rode, the only time I used it was when I had to stop. Pulling away was quite easy as the bike just felt right from the get-go and the motor makes good torque.
Oh, baby. This thing will fly. The 113 hp @ 9,000 rpm doesn’t sound like that much. But crank the throttle and hang on as you bang up the quickshifter, which was so smooth it was barely noticeable, and you may find a tent in your khaki’s. It makes more than adequate thrust (the bike, that is). Need to shift down? Close the throttle and tap the shifter. The bike matches revs perfectly with a seamless downshift. Now, I am not a fan of what I consider to be useless technology, like ride modes, electronic suspension control, tubeless tires, that sort of thing. But I love me some Ducati quickshifter! If only it could be retrofitted to the Mighty V-Strom in my garage.
The SuperSport would not be deterred from its intended course by any manner of road surface irregularities, and a little upper body movement was all that was needed to change directions. The seat was pretty comfy, I could sit fairly upright if I wanted to, and there was no buffeting of my helmet. I was in my happy place. But then I started to notice a few things. Like make sure you pee before going on the highway, because the tank will put some pressure on your bladder under some circumstances. The mirrors are pretty useless at speed, showing a fuzzy mess behind you, but what’s behind me, I no care on a Ducati! And that fuzzy mess in the mirrors is caused by high-frequency vibes which are also felt in the grips enough to be annoying. The optional Termi exhaust was OK-I’d be on the fence about spending for that. Ah, who am I kidding, I’d buy it.
If those vibes in the grips could be cured, this would be a pretty perfect bike for anyone who wants to enjoy more than a little sport and enthusiastic riding, including at a track day, and still be able to go away for a few days, with a pillion. It’s compact and beautiful, goes like stink, and that quickshifter… But I can’t abide the vibes. Fix that Mr. Ducati, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a bike.
A SuperSport can be had for $13,995 CAD plus fees and taxes, with the S version listing at $15,495 CAD. Call your local dealer for US prices, then buy the S.
Story by David G. Williams
David lives in North Vancouver and is an avid wild camper and motorcyclist. His freelance writing and photography occasionally appear in Motorcycle Mojo magazine. He considers himself handsome, but we’re not convinced. Check him out on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.