Sports bikes, they offer stupendous amounts of power but for a good long ride, they are and always will be uncomfortable. They are super stiff, have a very aggressive riding position and the tune is always set for setting lap times and not devouring highways. If you see someone riding long distance on one, he either loves it to bits or has no other option. The sports touring segment was developed to solve this very issue, this segment is all about creating the perfect sports bike for long distance touring.
The Ducati SuperSport S is Ducati’s take on building on their sports touring workhorse, the SuperSport and adding a bit more ‘sport’ to it. It is designed for those looking for maximum sport performance while touring. The SuperSport S version gives the SuperSport an even feistier edge. The “S” version sees the already-complete SuperSport equipment upgraded to provide a passenger seat cover, 48 mm Öhlins TiN-treated forks and an Öhlins monoshock with integrated gas cartridge, both fully adjustable. Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down also comes as standard on the SuperSport S. Additionally, it also features the electronic system enabling clutch-free gear change, boosting the enjoyment of sports riding and lending a valuable hand in city traffic and on winding roads.
It’s designed for the everyday roads but also making it a capable machine on the track. Ducati boldly claims that the SuperSport makes any rider a sport rider, anytime and anywhere. The new SuperSport S features a racing derived frame structure that uses the engine as a stressed element. This structure is composed by a compact Ducati trellis directly fixed to the cylinder heads and by the engine itself; the shock-absorber and the rear sub-frame are also connected to the engine. The SuperSport S is for the riders who appreciate the value of high-spec componentry. In a way, the “S” version is the way to exhibit their riding expertise and sport bikes knowledge. If you are one of those who wants to have one bike to do it all, then the SuperSport S is the machine for you. A quick dash from UAE to Oman and back and then the track the next day is what this machine is capable of.
The SuperSport is powered by a specially adapted version of Ducati’s reliable workhorse, the 937cc twin-cylinder Testastretta 11° engine. It has four valves per cylinder, a secondary air system, liquid cooling, a 12.6:1 compression ratio and bore and stroke measurements of 94 and 67.5 mm respectively. Power output is a decent 110hp at 9,000rpm and a maximum torque of 93Nm at 6,500 rpm. All of these numbers might not sound a lot when you add words ‘race track’ in the mix but the way this power is delivered makes it a worthy track day contender.
This engine delivers about 80 percent of its total torque output at 3,000 rpm and the rest of it is delivered in a linear manner all the way to 9,000rpm. This configuration makes it an ideal tourer that doesn’t require a lot of gear shifts in the city or while overtaking on the highways.
Taking into account the likely usage of the SuperSport, engine control and injection systems have been tweaked to make the most of the twin-cylinder’s innate characteristics. Electronic throttle control ensures precise transmission of the rider’s wrist action to the engine; there follows a smooth, always-certain response that perfectly matches the SuperSport’s immense versatility.
Ducati’s Ride-by-Wire (RbW) system is an electronic interface between the twist grip and engine, which configures an ideal power response depending on the riding mode selected. The twist grip does not have a throttle cable connected directly to the throttle body butterflies, but instead delivers a signal to a control unit, which in turn operates an electronically controlled butterfly. The RbW system uses three different mappings to regulate power delivery. The three Riding Modes (URBAN, TOURING, SPORT) are enabled by combining class-leading technologies such as: Ride-by-Wire (RbW), Ducati Traction Control (DTC), multi-calibration 9MP ABS and the graphics on the instrument panel. You get 110hp with a sports-type delivery in the SPORT mode, 110hp with a progressive delivery suitable for a more relaxed riding style in the TOURING mode and 75hp with a progressive delivery for city use in URBAN mode.
Engine power is transmitted via a 6-speed gearbox with a new gear sensor. This means bikes in the SuperSport range can be equipped with the cutting-edge Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down unit, offered as standard on the SuperSport S. Featuring low-effort wire control, the clutch is of the oil-bath slipper type. The anti-patter function cuts in when the rear wheel exerts back-torque, reducing pressure on the discs to ensure vehicle stability during the aggressive downshifting typical of competitive riding.
One of the most striking highlights of the SuperSport range is its full LCD instrument panel. The SuperSport S has a neat and compact instrument panel with warning lights on the upper part of the dashboard while the lower part is comprised of an LCD display with a DOT-Matrix area to display all the other data.
Ducati has paid a lot of attention to the ergonomic triangle, aerodynamic protection and the long-distance riding comfort on the SuperSport S. The end result is a good mix of comfort and sportiness which promises the best of both worlds. The SuperSport S also has a height-adjustable Plexiglas screen can be set to two different positions over 50 mm of travel, ensuring adequate airflow protection even at highway speeds; enhanced protection can be had by fitting the larger plexiglas touring screen, available as an accessory which I think most riders above 6 feet might want to get.
The SuperSport S featured here is the only one in the UAE at the time of going to print and even though it has a healthy amount of competition from some very capable machines coming out of Japan and Italy, the SuperSport S manages to hold its ground. It is by far one of the best-looking sport touring motorcycle out there and the Ducati badge helps it stand out of the crowd. Although the pricing might be on the higher side when compared to its Japanese rivals, what you do get for that price is a well built, strikingly handsome and a capable track machine. There might not be a lot of sport touring riders out there in our region, but if you are one of those, don’t overlook the SuperSport S while you’re shopping.