Ducati SuperSport [2018-2019] Review
Ducati doesn't call the SuperSport S a sports tourer. Because the folks at Bologna wanted to answer that million dollar question 'Can I ride a sportsbike to work every day?'
What is it?
Why I would buy the Ducati Supersport S
Looks gorgeous, very easy to ride, accessible and usable performance, big array of electronics but most importantly, the Ducati brand image.
Why I would avoid the Ducati Supersport S
Kawasaki Ninja 1000 has a very tempting price tag.
Ducati doesn't call the SuperSport S a sports tourer. Because the folks at Bologna wanted to answer that million dollar question 'Can I ride a sportsbike to work every day?'. A sportsbike demands a lot of physical exertion and if used for daily commuting, you either need to get yourself a physiotherapist or stop riding altogether. But the wrist pains and back aches can be the thing of the past with the Supersport S. The Supersport S is an all new bike from Ducati with a few inspirations from its family. Panigale design, Monster ergonomics and the fun factor from the Hypermotard, all have been stitched nicely to create this gorgeous motorcycle. Ducati likes to call the SuperSport S an everyday sportsbike and we think they aren't wrong.
How does it ride?
The SuperSport S is built around the same 937cc Testastretta L-Twin motor that is seen on the Hypermotard 939. But this one gets new 53mm throttle bodies, new cylinder heads and redesigned crankcase. This motor churns out 110bhp at 9000rpm and peak torque of 96Nm 6500rpm. This motor is smooth and thanks to an excellent fuel system, it's a charm to have it around. Ducati claims that the 80 per cent of its peak torque comes at 3000rpm and they aren't lying. The torque flows in as soon as you twist the throttle.
The power delivery too, is linear and quite easy to get used to, even in the sport mode. Open the throttle more, and the linear surge in power helps the bike reach illegal speeds in no time. The SuperSport S feels the best between 4000rpm and 6000rpm. You have the right amount of power for commute, quick turns and the vibrations are at a minimum too. Post 7000pm, vibrations starts to kick in, but can be lived with. It is possible to do 60kmph in sixth gear restfully, making this motor a tractable one. Unfortunately, we didn't get to test out the bike in city traffic to figure out the heating issues. But the temperature did show north of 100 degrees Celsius after some quick bursts. The six-speed gearbox which benefits from the Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) makes the riding experience very addictive and seamless. It also means the only time you use the clutch is while stopping and getting the bike in motion.
The Supersport S is nothing like the mad Panigale and that's a good thing. The Supersport S is more relaxed, sober and friendly in every manner. The bike is taller than the 959, the rider sits a bit higher and has a supremely comfortable seat to saddle on. Then there's is the incredibly well laid out seating triangle. The raised bar and the low but slightly rear-set footpegs gives out an attentive yet laid back riding experience. Even for a 6.2ft tall rider, there's an enough amount of room around the fairing to tuck in the knees. All these aspects lead to a better commuting experience. Weaving through Kochi's Sunday traffic was a piece of cake for this Ducati. For spirited riding, all you got to do is, push yourself back a bit and tuck in your body. The neatly designed curved seat lets you achieve that. Plus, you have the adjustable windscreen, which protects the rider from cross winds. The Ohlins setup offered a perfect balance between sporty handling and city friendly riding. The bike handled all the bumps and potholes incredibly well which is a boon for daily commuting.
In the twisties, the Supersport turns into a different animal. The bike is super composed, sharp and more importantly, really easy to handle. And then there's the Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres-120/70 front and 180/55 rear. These rubbers are super grippy and builds up confidence in no time. The brakes are from the world of Brembo, four-piston calipers with 320mm dual discs up front and a single 245mm disc with two-piston caliper. The power, the bite, the feel on the levers were excellent. Zero complaints there.
Anything else I should know?
First thing you should know is that there's a standard model available as well. But that one misses out on the Ohlins suspension setup, auto blipper and rear seat cowl. And yes, it is cheaper by more than a lakh rupees. The Italians have equipped the Supersport S with crazy amount of tech, eight-level traction control, Bosch ABS, ride-by-wire system. There's also three riding modes, sport, touring and urban. All can be operated and customised individually through the switchgear. Changes can be seen on the TFT screen which also throws details in a nice and readable fashion.
The auto blipper which works both, up and down by default, can be configured to either work only on up shifts or can be entirely disabled. Ducati has configured the DQS to work only above 2500rpm.
The windscreen gets a one-step adjustable mode, however, it is difficult to operate it on the fly. The mechanism is quite sturdy and has been kept like that to avoid rattling. The paint finish and quality of the components are top-grade.
Should I buy one?
Beg, borrow or steal! It doesn't matter how you acquire the required moolah, but the Ducati Supersport S is a must buy if you have a thing for sports bikes. On the other hand, keep away from them if it is over aggressive and demanding nature is not your thing. This Italian has everything! It has the looks, it has the ability to bring you down on the knees and ask her out. The performance bit is sorted too. It is fast and if needed, can become sober, thanks to the riding modes. Then there's also the latest electronic packages that makes this Italian safer and appealing. It handles extremely well in the corners too, sorting out your weekend run with your buddies. In short, buy this Ducati if you can. Because if you won't, you're missing out on all the fun of practical sportsbiking.
Where does it fit in?
At Rs 13.39 lakhs (ex-showroom India), the Ducati Supersport S has the Kawasaki Ninja 1000 and the Suzuki GSX-S1000F to battle out with. While the Ninja 1000 is priced incredibly well at Rs 9.9 lakhs, thanks to its SKD assembly, the GSX-S1000F gets a price tag of Rs 12.7 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi).
1: HJC Rpha 10: The Rpha 10 might be an old model now, but it offers good comfort and fit. The air vents perform flawlessly. Price - Rs 37,000
2: Sena 3S Helmet Bluetooth system: This has made my life easy. The voice clarity is brilliant, so is the usability. It?s affordable, durable and practical. The rubber quality on the two-button control unit could have been better. Price - Rs 7499
3: Ixon Eager Red Jacket: Fit and finish is decent. Looks good. But not fit for summer season due to its textile nature: Price - Rs 12,500
4: Ixon RS Circuit HP Gloves: Good fit, usability and practicality makes this pair of gloves my first choice. Overall quality is good for the price. Price - Rs 8000
5: Cafe Racer Moto Kevlar Jeans: Offers good Kevlar protection, along with knee sliders. Looks cool too. Discounted price - Rs 2900 (actual price Rs 4200)
6: SIDI B2 boots: Nice all-round boots for track and road riding. Offers ample protection but lack ventilation. Price - Rs 17,000
Photography by Kapil Angane
Full Review-Hide Review