Sporty, comfy Ducati

The 937cc SuperSport is touted as a sports bike that is fun for track days and cosy for street use and touring. ST senior correspondent Zaihan Mohamed Yusof reviews the Ducati unlike any other sports bikes.

Its SuperSport S is quite unlike other sports bikes

When I collected Ducati's 2017 SuperSport S for a review, I had expected my body to ache from riding it.

Most, if not all sports bikes, come with potentially back-breaking raised footrests, a nose-down attitude and low clip-ons. These give them their agility and handling prowess on the circuit.

Compared with a race-focused 1299 Panigale R Final Edition I had straddled at the Ducati Singapore showroom, the SuperSport is clearly a more forgiving ride.

On the SuperSport, my feet rested flat on the floor. The reach to its taller handlebars seemed natural and the bike felt level to the ground.

A light pull of the cable-actuated clutch lever made me wonder if the SuperSport could be a different kind of Ducati as I left the Leng Kee Road showroom.

The 937cc SuperSport is touted as a sports bike that is fun for trackdays and cosy for street use and touring.

It has Ducati's familiar twin-cylinder bark, a single-sided swingarm and well-made fairings that give it an aggressive look. Its multi-gauge dashboard is minimalist with only a compact LCD screen tucked behind an adjustable windscreen.

  • SPECS / DUCATI SUPERSPORT S


    Price: $44,500 with COE, without insurance

    Engine: 937cc 8-valve water-cooled L-Twin

    Transmission: Six-speed manual, chain-driven

    Power: 110bhp at 9,000rpm

    Torque: 93Nm at 6,500rpm

    0-100kmh: Under 3.5 seconds (estimated)

    Top speed: Unavailable

    Fuel consumption: 5.9 litres/ 100km

    Agent: Ducati Singapore

While some may see the ride-by-wire SuperSport as a mid-level Ducati that lacks punch, doing so would be missing the point.

The SuperSport's 110bhp and 93Nm of torque may appear tame compared with current litre-bikes that produce close to 200bhp.

But how many of those megapowered sports bikes can be ridden daily without turning wrists and knees into jelly? It was amazing that I rode for 238km on the SuperSport without my limbs getting tired.

Also, the smaller output allows a rider to exploit the SuperSport's performance without being scared silly by huge torque surges.

For most riders, this is where the SuperSport trumps powerful, higher-revving bikes.

In Race mode, where throttle response and power delivery are the liveliest, the SuperSport motor pushes hard after 3,500rpm and continues strongly right up to around 8,500rpm.

In sixth gear, with its digital rev counter showing 3,500rpm, the SuperSport's speedometer reads 90kmh - barely working up a sweat.

All three modes - including Urban and Touring - feature various levels of traction control and anti-lock brake intervention.

The bike's up-and-down quickshifter makes seamless gear changes as you set up for fast turns. You become less distracted when all that is required is to "drop" one or two gears without the use of the clutch lever. An instant automatic rev blip follows.

However, a purposeful nudge on the gear lever is needed to avoid false neutrals.

It is also hard to ignore the bling from the gold 48mm Ohlins upside-down forks and rear monoshock.

Without making any tweaks, the fully-adjustable suspension allowed me to hold a stable cornering line in fast bends and make fairly quick directional changes.

I rode over minor road dimples and dips without upsetting the SuperSport's demeanour.

The Ducati's Brembo brakes reacted progressively to braking inputs. Yet, they lacked the initial bite commonly found on purpose-built track machines.

Like most sports bikes, the SuperSport suffers from engine heat. Caught in traffic, you can feel your inner thighs slowly roasting.

Granted, there is a premium to pay for the SuperSport S. But where the SuperSport S would appeal to most fans of sports bikes is its ability to do a bit of everything - from the occasional track day to touring to everday street riding.

And it does so rather painlessly, I'm glad to add.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2017, with the headline 'Sporty, comfy Ducati'. Print Edition | Subscribe