Let’s get ready to rumble
Is it a tourer? Is it a sportsbike? Is it a hamsandwich? Andy’s on a mission to find out
My Ducati Supersport S has been asked to perform more on the sporty side since I took delivery of it in May. Short backroad blasts and a Donington Park trackday certainly saw it earn its sporting stripes. But now it’s time to see if it can cover decent miles in relative comfort?
Ducati have never claimed this is a Yamaha FJR replacement or even a Honda VFR800 rival (although many have made that comparison), describing it simply as a sportsbike for the road.
The implication is that this bike is capable of anything. If you really want to cover thousands of miles every year and cross Europe in complete comfort, buy a BMW R1200RT. If you want to win the fast group at a track day, buy a Ducati Superleggera.
While the Supersport S does err on the sporty side, I have also found the adjustable screen effective and the riding position comfortable-ish.
But it will soon face a stern test of its touring credentials. I’m planning a week-long trip to Scotland. Leaving a couple of days in the middle of the trip to walk around a bit, the bike’s all-round abilities will be put to the toughest of tests. Big motorway mileage, scratchy Scottish mountain roads and two 600-mile plus days in the saddle should reveal a lot. So it had better be a lovely saddle. I’ve made a couple of key upgrades to make this long-distance mission enjoyable and not just an endurance test. I’ve fitted Ducati’s Comfort Seat (£212), a set of Ducati side panniers
‘The bike’s allround abilities will be put to the toughest of tests’
(£960) and a tank bag (£180). I’ve also treated the bike to a set of Akrapovic silencers (£853).
The standard seat is okay, but I’ve noticed the sidepanels digging into my legs after an hour or so in the saddle and the new seat’s extra padding is immediately noticeable. So much so, that initially I felt raised-up. As the seat gives a little and I get used to it, I reckon this will be money well spent. And you don’t even have to lose the neat-looking seat cowl.
The Ducati panniers are expensive, but add stylish practicality. Each bag is 25 litres and while you won’t get the kitchen sink in, I should be able to stash enough kit for a week away. I’ve also got Ducati’s magnetic tankbag (£180) on order to add a bit more carrying capacity. It looks like it has the quality to be trustworthy, too.
The panniers require a small mounting rack, which took about half-an-hour to fit, clip on and off in seconds and can be locked in place. The right-hand pannier has a heat guard underneath to stop the bag from melting, although it’ll be interesting to see if the waterproof outer cover survives – it has so far.
The Akrapovic cans were a bit fiddly to fit so I called on a Ducati mechanic to help. There’s no need to mess around with the fuelling and, to be honest, they don’t make a huge difference to the bike or its noise – they just add a bit of style.
I didn’t want to turn the Supersport into an out-and-out tourer, just give it a dash of longdistance practicality.
Now I can’t wait to see how it perfoms when I head for the hills.
DUCATI SUPERSPORT S Ducati’s Comfort Seat (right) will soothe Andy’s tender never-regions
highlands Our esteemed Editor prepares for his trip to the Scottish the rain in the midst of a typically-wet August. Best get used to