First ride: Ducati SuperSport S
Finally! A fun Ducati sportsbike that isn't a pain to ride
The SuperSport was the winner of the Most Beautiful Bike award at last year's EICMA. Now Ducati isn't new to setting trends, but one quick look at this compact bike and you'll know exactly why it won. The X-shaped headlamp unit gives the face a menacingly striking look, the fairing is slick with no screws or rivets in sight, the exposed trellis throws in some grit, while the rear section with that single-sided swingarm accompanied by the dual exhaust cans look very premium. Fit and finish levels are top drawer – just as you would expect from a Ducati.
Today we're riding the S version – which essentially comprises the same mechanicals as the regular SuperSport motorcycle, save for a more sophisticated Ohlins suspension set-up on both ends, a rear seat cowl and the addition of a quickshifter. The SuperSport S is powered by the same 111bhp and 93Nm L-twin found in the Hyperstrada and the Multistrada 950, but is assembled with new Composit materials and components. And these tweaks could effectively send you into a frenzy when you wring the ride-by-wire throttle hard. One of the best things about this motorcycle is its linear method of power delivery. Of the three riding modes – Sport, Touring and Urban – Sport is definitely the map setting you'll want to be in. In Touring and Urban, it feels as though something's holding you back. Performance is best experienced in Sport mode.
Shifting at somewhere as low as 6000rpm results in a thoroughly enjoyable crescendo through the slick, short twin pipes to match this crisp ride. You can feel the power kick in from as low as 3500rpm and it's all nice and meaty all the way up to the 9000rpm redline. Things feel really out of place under 3,000rpm with the bike knocking and shuddering in a high gear. What makes this Ducati feel special is the fact that you could be cruising at 100kph with the needle hovering around the 4600rpm mark in fourth all day, and not have some part of your body aching when you hop off. Better still, if you choose to ride hard and fast, the bike is willing to comply on that front too. Its chassis, which is based on the trellis frame of the Monster, coupled with the sticky Pirelli Rossi III tyres and twin Brembo discs up front work really good together on this bike.
When it comes to sheer ability, the SuperSport S won't disappoint newbies or even the most experienced of riders. The ride quality isn't super stiff, and just about manages to take the sharpness of small bumps. The SuperSport S doesn't require you to put in much effort to change direction or when you're throwing it around a bend. The bike feels very confident taking corners at speed. It's just as precise as a thoroughbred SuperSport, but not too far off either. The Ducati is fast and predictable, making it a hoot to ride in twisty stretches.
The SuperSport S' ergonomics don't try to contort you into an uncomfortable forward-leaning riding position, so long stints should be a lot more bearable. Like the regular SuperSport, the S comes with the same list of safety features including Bosch ABS and traction control, besides the three riding modes. And it all works brilliantly. However, toggling through the list to find the right settings with the new button layout can be a bit frustrating if not used to it.
The only drawback about this SuperSport S – the Rs 13.39 lakh (ex-showroom, India) price tag. This Ducati is expensive. But then again, which Ducati isn't? It comprises everything you would want from your motorcycle with the unique ability to keep both new and experienced riders entertained.
937cc, L-twin, liquid cooled, 111bhp, 93Nm, 6m with Dual Quick Shift, fuel tank: 16 litres