Ducati’s two new SuperSport models mark a significant change of direction for the traditionally sportsbike-focused Italian powerhouse. These bikes, according to the factory, “blend Ducati’s sporting side with road focused performance and accessibility.” What this means in practice is an everyday Ducati sportsbike. “The SuperSport isn’t a sports tourer or an entry level superbike,” explains Paolo Quattrino, the SuperSport’s product marketing manager.
“It is a unique bike in its own right, a versatile sportsbike from Ducati.” While fans of Ducati’s Panigale range may raise an eyebrow at this point, the SuperSport isn’t designed for them. “The target customer for the SuperSport bike desires a good looking sportsbike that is fun to ride and can be used every day,” says Quattrino. To achieve this goal, Ducati have done something that other manufacturers have failed to do – they have designed a ground-up new model rather than simply take the shortcut of sticking a fairing on an existing machine.
So while, on the face of it, the SuperSport models appear to share many components with the Hypermotard and Monster range, in actual fact very few items are common. The engine’s internals are almost identical to the Hypermotard, however alterations to the intake and exhaust system have shifted the power lower in the rev range while longer final drive ratios have also been added. The SuperSport makes 80% of its 71.3ftlb of torque at just 3000rpm, while its peak power of 115bhp appears at 9000rpm.
This is backed up by the same comprehensive electronics package as found on the Hypermotard, with ABS, traction control and variable fuel modes, while the S also becomes the first Ducati since the Panigale to come with a bidirectional quickshifter. And that’s not its only similarity. The SuperSport’s sporting credentials have been upheld with geometry that is similar to the Panigale’s, giving it agile handling with a possible 48° of lean, while a longer wheelbase than the sportsbike adds greater stability. Both the trellis frame, which uses the engine as a stressed member, and the single-sided swingarm are unique to the SuperSports, and so are the wheels. On the S version the Öhlins suspension is fully adjustable, but even the stock bike’s Marzocchi fork is fully-adjustable, while the Sachs shock is variable for spring preload and rebound damping.
So that’s the sporting side covered, what about the versatility? As well as a two-position screen that increases in height by 50mm on its tallest setting, the SuperSport bikes come with a relaxed riding position and the option of plug and play heated grips. Pillions are catered for with a seat that has undergone a claimed 30,000km of testing, and boasts integrated grab rails under the tail unit and the option of a bigger accessory grab rail.
The seat height of 810mm can also be increased or reduced by 20mm through an accessory seat unit, while the 16-litre tank is made from steel to allow the fitment of magnetic tank bags. Styling-wise, the SuperSport borrows heavily from the Panigale, with LED daylight running lights, but the frontal air scoops actually contain the headlights, a neat touch that gives it a unique look. Are Ducati onto something with their idea of a relaxed sportsbike?
The SuperSport bikes look and feel good, but the base model’s price tag of £10,995 could be a barrier when the competition are all under £10,000. The higher spec S costs £12,295 in red or an extra £200 for the matt white paint. Unlike every other Ducati model, the firm expect to sell 60% standard and 40% S model, bucking the firm’s general trend for selling more of the higher performance variants. And even more interestingly, Ducati predict it will outsell the 959 Panigale.