2017 Ducati SuperSport and Supersport S Test
In the world of motorcycles, it often comes down to balance and compromise, and the all-new 2017 Ducati SuperSport S and SuperSport take that ethos to heart as the latest pieces in a fully-developed line-up from the Bologna-based brand.
The SuperSport model has been MIA within Ducati’s lineup since 2007, and sorely missed by many Ducatisti. This year, two new SuperSport models return in the form of the SuperSport and SuperSport S with the responsibility of living up to some lofty expectations. From the luscious roads of Seville, Spain, and the technical corners of Circuito Monteblanco, we grabbed some seat time aboard Ducati’s latest sport machines.
- It might hold the name of SuperSport, but it’s a whole new beast. Anyone familiar with Ducati will know of the air-cooled, 2vpc SuperSport machines from the days of yore, and in many cases will have fond memories of them. While the 2017 SuperSport taps into the approachability of the classic SS models, this is a new breed of SuperSport aimed motorcycle riders who demand performance, utility, and comfort—big shoes to fill. Fortunately, the 2017 Ducati SuperSport meets those expectations.
- If you learn one thing about the SuperSport, learn that it can handle. The 2017 Ducati SuperSport is a sport bike—make no mistake. Whether I was twisting the throttle at Monteblanco or admiring the Spanish countryside, the SuperSport S and SuperSport are remarkably stable when cornering.
- The 2017 Ducati SuperSport is the gentlemen’s sport bike. Hitting the curb at 463 pounds (per Ducati), the SuperSport tips into turns gently and predictably, while still delivering all of the snap that a sport enthusiast could want. Featuring an ample wheelbase over 58 inches, and a rake of 24 degrees the new SuperSport is incredibly planted throughout the turn, encouraging a healthy boost in confidence. On track or on the street, all feedback was detected without any feelings of vagueness with due credit to the WSBK-informed Pirelli Diablo Rosso III rubber.
- Bleeding-edge sport heritage and comfort are present in the SuperSport. Ducati wanted to create a sport motorcycle with a wide range of utility, and the SuperSport satisfies the needs of many riders. With an accommodating seat height of a tad less than 32 inches, riser bars, and a luxuriously soft seat, the SuperSport line will happily turn laps in anger without leaving the rider sore in places previously unknown. My 32-inch inch inseam didn’t create any excessive bend in the knees that would lead to discomfort—optional seats of varying heights are a factory option. The narrow chassis allows riders on the shorter side to touch the asphalt, giving them a bit more confidence during the ride. The sculpted 4.2-gallon tank is not just a great anchor— it is easily braced during braking, and casual riding.
- It may be a 937 like the Hypermotard, but it is a significantly different engine. Engineers replaced the cylinder heads, updated the 2-1-2 exhaust system, strengthened the transmission (without changing ratios), and sourced different throttle bodies. This gives the SuperSport powerplant a much different set of characteristics than the hooligan Hyper.
- The SuperSport’s 937cc Testastretta 11º motor has streetable power. With claimed peaks of 113 horsepower at 9000 rpm and 71 ft/lbs of torque at 6500 rpm, the SuperSport line is wildly fun, and knows when to calm things done. Below 4500 rpm, the SuperSport is tame, making it pretty docile in the city and a formidable commuter platform. Impressively, 80 percent or more of the peak torque is available over a spread from 3000 rpm to redline.
- The L-twin is also ready for the track. Opening up the twin 53mm throttle bodies and poke above 4500 rpm mark and you’ll experience an incredibly tractable engine that gets your adrenaline going in no time, pulling all the way to the rev-limiter. The 937cc has loads of personality, and encourages any rider make use of truly manageable power. If you need to overrev occasionally, the Testastretta 11º engine spins up another 1000 rpm past peak horsepower.
- Experienced riders will laugh hysterically as they make use of every bit of the 937cc powerplant. At the same time, the SuperSport will give novice riders will get their first real tastes of true performance—in all, it’s a win-win. Fueling is quite good, with no flat spots. The ride-by-wire throttle is crisp and pristine, allowing for great mid-corner control. If there are any sore spots, the twin does get a bit buzzy when gobbling up highway miles.
- Confident and smooth shifting can be had on the SuperSport series machines. The six-speed transmission might share ratios with the Hypermotard, but the gearbox is impressively precise.
- The only differences between the 2017 Ducati SuperSport and SuperSport S are suspension and accessories. The standard SuperSport comes equipped with a fully adjustable inverted 43mm Marzocchi fork, accompanied by a fully adjustable Sachs shock with linkage assistance. However, the classed up SuperSport S comes equipped with fully adjustable Öhlins suspension at both ends. Additionally, the SuperSport S features a sleek seat cowl, quickshifter, and red alloy wheels (the standard gets black paint). Other than that, and a $2000 premium for the S, they are identical machines.
- We put the SuperSport S’s Öhlins suspension to the test on track. In standard track settings, the inverted 48mm Öhlins fork is sprung towards the aggressive side, though certainly not on the level of Ducati’s Panigales—under heavy braking, you will not experience heavy dive. The SuperSport S holds its lines with ease mid-corner, though on exit, a fast rider might experience a bit of squat; that, of course, can be massaged out with adjustment. Though more sporting than the SuperSport’s suspension setup, the S model doesn’t detract from comfort and gives you the confidence to explore the bike’s 48-degree lean angle capability.
- The Ducati Quickshifter is quite a tool on the track, but requires some finesse. The SuperSport S features a quickshifter for upshift and downshifts. In practice, the quickshifter is extremely sensitive to any sort of input—it can be unintentionally activated. A practiced foot will give it smooth and deliberate input. Kill times on upshifts could be shorter, although this is a street-oriented quickshifter. Once you become acclimated to the device, it’s a handy tool in the bag of tricks.
- We took to the canyons of Spain to test the SuperSport’s suspension. Sprung significantly lighter than the S model, the SuperSport does incredibly well on the street, whether you’re doing some hard riding or just heading to work. The suspension elegantly takes up the hardest of potholes, and keeps the bike planted when on rough surfaces. On entry, mid-corner, and exit, the SuperSport remains predictable and stable.
- The SuperSport has a competitive braking package. In the front, Brembo M4.32 calipers latch onto dual 320mm floating discs, and with the matching radial master cylinder create a user-friendly braking experience. Not as aggressive as a true superbike, the SuperSport’s braking is progressive, and confident, lacking that vicious initial bite that could startle less experience riders. In the rear, a single caliper slows down a 245mm disc that has a good amount of response, great for trolling around parking lots and the city.
- The SuperSport has modern electronic support. There are three riding modes—Sport, Touring, and Urban)—that adjust the power, ABS and traction control. You can also independently adjust the ABS (three levels) and traction control (eight levels of intervention), and both can be disabled. The LCD instrumentation also interacts with your smartphone via Bluetooth.
- Stay protected from the elements aboard the SuperSport and SuperSport S. On both SuperSport models, the windscreen is adjustable windscreen. Whether on track or the road, it helps deflect significant amounts of wind from the rider.
- If you get the SuperSport, please get the full Akrapovic system. Do yourself a favor and spring for this—one listen will explain why.
- The 2017 Ducati SuperSport fills an important gap within the brand’s lineup. Sport-oriented, without the uncompromising nature of the Panigale supersport motorcycles, the SuperSport is an appealing quick-footed canyon chaser, commuter, and occasional track weapon.Photography by Milagro
- Helmet: Suomy SR Sport
- Jacket: Spidi Evorider (street)
- Suit: Spidi Supersport Wind Pro (track)
- Gloves: Racer High Speed
- Jeans: Pando Moto Karl(street)
- Boots: XPD X-Two (street); TCX R-S2 Evo(track)
2017 Ducati SuperSport Specs
- Type: L-twin Testastretta 11°
- Bore x stroke: 94 x 67.5mm
- Displacement: 937cc
- Compression ratio: 12.6:1
- Maximum power: 113 horsepower @ 9000 rpm
- Maximum torque: 71 ft/lbs @ 6500 rpm
- Fueling: Ride-by-wire EFI w/ 53mm throttle bodies
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Clutch: Wet multiplate w/ slipper action
- Final drive: Chain
- Frame: Tubular steel trellis frame mounted to cylinder heads
- Front suspension: Fully adjustable 43mm Marzocchi fork (S: Fully adjustable Öhlins fork)
- Rear suspension: Fully adjustable linkage-assisted Sachs shock (S: Fully adjustable Öhlins shock)
- Front wheel: 17” x 3.50”; Three-spoke light alloy
- Rear wheel: 17” x 5.50”; Three-spoke light alloy
- Front tire: 120/70 x 17; Pirelli Diablo Rosso III
- Rear tire: 180/55 x 17: Pirelli Diablo Rosso III
- Front brakes: 320mm discs w/ Brembo M4-32 Monoblock four-piston calipers and radial master cylinder
- Rear brake: 245mm disc w/ two-piston caliper
- ABS: Standard (three-levels, plus off)
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 58.3 inches
- Rake: 24 degrees
- Trail: 3.6 inches
- Seat height: 31.9 inches
- Fuel tank capacity: 4.2 gallons
- Curb weight: 463 pounds
- Colors: Star White Silk; Ducati Red
2017 Ducati SuperSport Price:
- $12,995 MSRP
2017 Ducati SuperSport S Price:
- $14,995 MSRP