A 320 mile day proves that Ducati have sussed the ergonomics of their new Supersport. And when the road gets twisty it’s fun too
YOU COULD SUGGEST, and you’d have a point, that a Ducati Supersport isn’t a very appropriate motorcycle for the 160-mile ride from Lincolnshire to West Sussex for the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The journey works like this; A1 drudge 65 miles, M25 tedium 45 miles, A3 drone 34 miles, blissful B-road blast through Hampshire and Sussex 16 miles. So all but the last short stretch don’t really need the Ducati’s V-twin shove, intuitive handling and ‘get a move on’ attitude, though the booming exhaust note is an absolute joy through the Hindhead tunnel, especially when you’re in company with a V12 Ferrari. We synchronised downshifts for maximum aural entertainment. Hopefully none of the other tunnel users has suffered permanent hearing damage. But here’s the thing. It’s comfy. I arrived at Lord March’s gaff feeling perky and fresh, spent the day in petrolhead heaven, then rode home through stationary M25 traffic and felt sufficiently alert and ache free to enjoy dinner and a trip to the cinema with Mrs W. You can make a case for adventure bikes, and I often do, but for this 320-mile day the narrow bars, instant wallop and precise steering of the SS felt ideal. Why so comfy? The ergonomics seem as good as an old VFR, the lean to the bars keeps my back in a perfect poise and the dual seat’s gentle bum stop cossets the backside of a 5’10” rider perfectly, so I’m stable on the bike without having to tense arms or legs. I’m concerned about the effect of excessive heat on my nuts though. The rear cylinder and the loop in the exhaust system are directly under the rider’s bum. Crawling through traffic on a summer’s day your rear end gets so hot that you have to stand. Or go faster. I’m pretty sure that excuse won’t wash, so if the SS was mine I’d be investigating ways to insulate the seat or getting some heatproof pants. Further practicality is provided by the fuel range, on this journey it did 146.7 miles from fill-up to fuel light, then I continued to 174 miles before chickening out of a tense game of fuel light roulette. Refuelling took 15.5 litres (Ducati quote a tank capacity of 16 litres), so it’s averaging 52mpg. There’s stuff I haven’t mentioned. The screen’s adjustable – I left it in the lowest setting and was impressed with how quiet it was. There are riding modes – but I used it in Sport the whole time. And the mirrors are useless, but at least fold away neatly when I need to get the bike through my house’s front door. All of this sounds very worthy. All I’m saying is that for the 288 miles of this journey that were on dull dual carriageways the Supersport is very good. Don’t worry. For the 32 miles that were on those fabulous sweeping roads across and over the South Downs it’s brilliant.