The Ducati SuperSport S borrows heavily from its elder sibling, the Panigale, which is also possibly one of the prettiest motorcycles to look at in present times. The standout part of the design apart from the trademark red shade is the headlamp, which forms an 'X' shape and houses LED DRLs too. While it might look a bit odd at first glance, it sinks in within a short time and starts looking desirable. The fairing has plenty of sharp curves, something one expects from the Italians and Ducati has delivered in spades. Turn indicators are integrated into sleek rear view mirrors and add further to the oomph factor of the motorcycle.
Further back, the sculpted tank maintains the design theme of the front and neatly merges with a large and comfortable seat that offers good grip too. What has changed from the Panigale is the high-set clip-on handlebars and more forward set footpegs. Both of these give the SuperSport its touring/ everyday abilities. The rear seat has a removable cowl (only on the Super Sport S) and the LED tail lamp too looks the part. In a nutshell, an approaching Ducati SuperSport S will awe you, looking at it from the side you'll be in love and as it leaves, you'll want to rush to a Ducati showroom.
The Ducati SuperSport S and the lower-spec SuperSport are powered by a 937 cc Testastretta motor producing 110 hp of power and about 94 Nm of torque. While on a sportbike one is left struggling for power in the lower revs, the SuperSport engine offers 80 % of total torque under 3,000 rpm. This means pulling away in lower gears is a breeze and as a result of this riding in traffic is no longer a torture like it is on most sportbikes. The Super Sport S has an additional kit in the form of a quick shifter, which lets you upshift/ downshift without using the clutch.
A quick twist of your right wrist and the Super Sport S transforms quicker than you might imagine since there's a lot of torque in the lower revs. The motorcycle gains momentum with impressive urgency, leaving a wide grin on the rider's face, especially for those graduating to their first large-displacement bike. The vertically-stacked twin exhaust is adequately loud once closing in on 4,000 rpm and grows louder thereon. Yes, the sound is good and will let people from a distance know that a 'Big' motorcycle is around but does it pierce through your heart and lodge itself in your soul? I didn't think so but if you're someone who prefers the drummy base of a V-Twin over the shrieking sound of an inline then the Super Sport will keep you pleased.
The best part about the Super Sport is that while it's impressively quick, it isn't scary and unless the rider between the handlebars and seat doesn't convert into a nut the bike is predictable and easy to manage for most riders. This is also crucial because Ducati is pitching the Super Sport as a bike one can ride every day. Most of you would agree that riding while being overwhelmed by the machine is never a pleasurable and safe thing. So as far as Ducati's target consumer is concerned, the Super Sport/ S delivers an almost perfect combination of must-have qualities.
Negatives? Ah well, just one. Pray to the Almighty that you do not get stuck in a long traffic jam and if you do, please ensure you're wearing riding pants because the engine can get really hot in stop-go traffic. The good thing is that once given a short stretch to breathe, it quickly cools down too.
Ride & Handling
For a motorcycle that is aimed at every day or long-distance riding, the Ducati Super Sport S is as good as things can get in this price-bracket. The high-set clipons and forward-set footpegs reduce the strain on the rider's wrists and shoulders and the riding posture too is more upright than a 959 Panigale or a Triumph Daytona. As a result, it is possible to go touring on the Ducati Super Sport without destroying your back and shoulders. The Super Sport S gets additional kit over the standard model in the form of a Ohlins suspension, while the Super Sport has Marzocchi forks upfront and a Sachs monoshock at the rear.
Now while the Super Sport may look like a sportsbike, it isn't a hardcore one and hence it doesn't get a rock-hard suspension. Ride quality is actually quite impressive and most undulations on roads are dealt without any issues. Brakes are excellent and provide ample stopping power with twin 320 mm discs upfront and a 245 mm disc at the rear. Even under hard braking, the motorcycle doesn't dive much. The frame is a steel Trellis type and at a kerb weight of 210 kg, the Super Sport S isn't too heavy and is easy to use as a daily ride.
Around corners, the Super Sport S works like a charm and there is enough mechanical grip to keep the electronic nannies at bay. Talking of electronics, there's a rich package including ABS, ride-by-wire and traction control. One can also access three riding modes – Urban, Touring and Sport. Urban reduces power to about 75 hp, while Touring offers all 110 horses but with a higher intervention of traction control and ABS. Sport is where throttle response is quickest and ABS and traction control too intervene quite late, making it the preferred mode for me.
For anyone who loves motorcycles, Ducati always ranks high in the list of desires. The Super Sport S is one motorcycle that makes it possible to own a Ducati without having to sell off your organs or property. At Rs 12.08 lakh, ex-showroom for the Super Sport and Rs 13.4 lakh for the Super Sport S, the motorcycle is priced quite competitively.
The big question that then remains to be answered is whether the Super Sport has lost the key traits one associates with a Ducati? The answer to that is a resounding no as it looks smashingly good, goes real fast, has loads of electronics and most importantly is a party piece when it comes to having fun. If you have about Rs 13 lakh to spare on a motorcycle and want a sportbike that is easy to ride, the Ducati Super Sport fits the bill just right.