The sport­bike for the daily rider

Cycle World - - Front Page - By Sean Mac­don­ald

When we talk about sport­bikes, we’re al­most al­ways talk­ing about mo­tor­cy­cles built with one goal in mind: ex­cel­lence on a race­track. Most of the sport­bikes pur­chased, how­ever, never see the bil­liardss­mooth pave­ment or cor­ner cop­ing they were de­signed to slay.

It seems as if I’m not the only one who saw this hole in the mar­ket. Ducati claims the Su­pers­port comes as its at­tempt to cre­ate the best sport­bike for the street pos­si­ble and that in do­ing so it didn’t bench­mark any other bikes or see any­thing as a real com­peti­tor. And, af­ter rid­ing the thing, I ac­tu­ally be­lieve them.

The Su­pers­port mixes bits from sev­eral mod­els in the line, at least in spirit. The mo­tor is the 937cc Tes­tas­tretta 11° en­gine, bor­rowed from the Hyper­mo­tard 939, only now with a few minor changes that smooth throt­tle re­sponse and move the power slightly lower in the power­band. Styling cues, in­clud­ing the face and body­work, come from the Pani­gale superbike, while the er­gonomics and gen­eral rid­ing ap­ti­tude feel pure Mon­ster.

To make it more com­fort­able

for daily rid­ing, the Su­pers­port has raised clip-ons and low­ered foot­pegs and comes with a wind­screen that can be raised or low­ered within a 2-inch range. Seat height comes in at a rea­son­able 31.9 inches, but Ducati of­fers af­ter­mar­ket op­tions to raise that by 25mm or lower it by 20mm.

For our eval­u­a­tion, we first rode the Su­pers­port S on the Mon­te­blanco Cir­cuit out­side of Seville, Spain, be­fore swap­ping to the stan­dard model for a jaunt in the lo­cal twisties.

On track, the extra lever­age on the bars and low­ered pegs made for a bit of an awk­ward ride as we learned our way around the 3-mile track. The Su­pers­port falls into cor­ners in­cred­i­bly quickly, and, once you get used to mak­ing lighter in­puts to steady mid-cor­ner lean, the pegs drag quickly as the pace and lean an­gle in­crease.

The Su­pers­port over­rides the Rosso IIIS read­ily, and I was get­ting de­cent amounts of slip on the exit of mul­ti­ple cor­ners with the trac­tion con­trol set at Level 2. I was as­tounded by the Duc’s abil­ity to not cut power dra­mat­i­cally enough to up­set the chas­sis while al­low­ing some slide as I drove out of cor­ners.

By the end of the sec­ond ses­sion, I’d got­ten used to the bike and was in a proper game of cat and mouse with a fel­low jour­nal­ist and was rid­ing the bike as hard as I would a Pani­gale. My lap times likely wouldn’t have been the same, but the ex­pe­ri­ence was in no way lack­ing. For only par­tak­ing in two ses­sions on the track, we were hav­ing a ball.

The street is where the Su­pers­port re­ally shines. I hadn’t re­al­ized it on the track, but the re­vised fu­el­ing is a mas­sive im­prove­ment and makes the bike eas­ily us­able for all rid­ing, even in its sporti­est en­gine map­ping.

The sharp han­dling that took


some adapting to was im­me­di­ately ap­pre­ci­ated in the tight, ur­ban streets of the tiny towns out­side of Seville. With those tiny streets came pot­holes, brick, and cob­ble­stone, which, while a far cry from comfy, weren’t nearly as painful on the Su­pers­port as they would have been on a nor­mal sport­bike.

Ev­ery­thing from the way the bike builds power to how it han­dles to the rid­ing po­si­tion is im­pec­ca­bly de­signed for daily rid­ing and carving canyons. We rode an in­cred­i­ble sec­tion out­side Seville I’ve ac­tu­ally rid­den sev­eral times on dif­fer­ent trips, and the Su­pers­port was the per­fect ma­chine to try to ride them to their po­ten­tial.

I know it’s a small dis­tinc­tion, but a sport­bike with up­right bars and an up­right bike with a fair­ing are dif­fer­ent things. One can be turned into a sport-tourer, the other into a makeshift track­bike. Think of the Su­pers­port less as a small Kawasaki Ninja 1000 and more of a Ninja 650 on steroids.

Track­days are great, but not ev­ery­one has the time, en­ergy, or money to do them of­ten. And go­ing on long trips on ca­pa­ble bikes is awe­some, but not ev­ery­one goes on those enough to need a bike built specif­i­cally for that. How­ever, there are a ton of peo­ple who ride their bikes daily, like to go for a fun af­ter­noon ride in their lo­cal twisties, want to ap­pre­ci­ate the bike for more than just its prac­ti­cal­ity, and who want to oc­ca­sion­ally hit the track or take a trip. For them, the Ducati Su­pers­port is per­fect and there isn’t re­ally any­thing else like it.



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