Ducati Supersport & Supersport S test


V2, 937 cm3, 113 hp at 9000 rpm, 96 N.m at 6500 rpm, 210 kilos with full tank

Adjustable screen, traction control on 8 levels, 3 driving modes, from € 13,190

In 1973, the Supersport, it is what was done more sporting at Ducati: one speaks then of the famous machine which paid homage to the famous victory of the iconic Paul Smart at Imola. In short, the Grail of any biker. In 1988, a new generation of Supersport (we used to say SS …) at Ducati: there, the Ducati 851 was already released and the Supersport (first appeared in 750 cm3, 400, 600, 900 and 1000 will follow) aimed already the compromise. And compromise is also what this third generation of Ducati Supersport is aiming for..

But we can aim for compromise without sacrificing the fundamentals: voted the most beautiful machine at the EICMA Milan 2016 Show, the Ducati Supersport does not forget the "feel good factor" and takes over the main lines of the plastic of the sculptural Panigale , with LED garlands on the front. We will notice two new stylistic details at Ducati: the junction between the tank and the fairing, as well as the surround of the dashboard, which Ducati presents as a tribute to the Supercars..

Ducati SupersportDucati Supersport

Under the fairing, we find globally the V2 of 937 cm3 already seen on the last generations of Hypermotard. This Testastretta 11 ° block has been very slightly modified, in terms of mapping and trim, to fit into the new frame and fairing. However, the developments are very contained: here it delivers 113 hp at 9,250 rpm and 96.7 Nm at 6,500 rpm, to be compared with the values ​​of the Mutistrada 950 (113 hp. At 9000 and 96.2 Nm at 7750) and those of the Hypermotard 939 (114 hp at 9000 and 98 Nm at 7500). The Supersport is therefore a little more full than the others at mid-range. It uses a new truss frame that uses the engine as an element of structural rigidity..

As often, the Supersport doubles as an S version: for € 14,690 (in red) and € 14,890 (in pearly white), you also have the up & down shifter as well as the fully adjustable Ohlins suspensions and the backrest saddle. Likewise, Ducati offers three packs for this motorcycle: sport (with aluminum master cylinders cut in the mass, a carbon front fender, racing levers …), urban (with an alarm, a tank bag and rubber-covered footrests) and touring (which includes suitcases of 2 x 22 liters, heated grips and a high screen). There is also an Akrapovic exhaust, which offers 2% more power and 9% more torque..

Ducati Supersport SDucati Supersport S


Sporty look, therefore, to which customers will be sensitive. We will have noticed that the Supersport inaugurates two new design features for Ducati: a junction between the tank and the fairing, as well as an integration of the dashboard in a sort of console in the color of the bodywork, which Ducati presents as a tribute to Supercars.

Ducati Supersport reviewDucati Supersport review

Otherwise, the Supersport is a fine and well-proportioned machine. Beautiful parts are present in abundance: Brembo brakes (M4.32 calipers and PR 18/19 master cylinder), 3 split-spoke rims, small digital dashboard, but very complete, new controls. If it wants to be accessible to all, the Supersport is not a cheap motorcycle, what these high prices confirm.

The Ducati Supersport sports a magnificent single-sided armThe Ducati Supersport sports a magnificent single-sided arm

In the saddle

810 mm: this is reasonable, especially since the 16-liter tank is thin and allows it to take shape around the machine. Two other saddles are available as an option: 790 and 835 mm. In front of you, the screen is adjustable over an amplitude of 50 mm and can be handled by hand. Before hitting the road, you have the choice between several possibilities with already three driving modes: urban (ABS on 3, DTC on 6, power reduced to 75 horses), touring (ABS on 3, DTC on 4, 113 horses ) and sport (ABS on 2, DTC on 3, 113 horsepower with faster by-wire response). Of course, personalized settings are possible.

Ducati Supersport engineDucati Supersport engine

Before leaving, we can finish the tour of the owner and see with pleasure that under the saddle, next to the tool kit, there is a waterproof cavity with the possibility of recharging a smartphone on a USB socket..

The ergonomics are quite natural (it reminds me of the Kawasaki Ninja 650, but the Ducati is thinner) and no journalist present, despite a great diversity of sizes, has complained about this machine. The pressure on the wrists is really limited and is not a source of discomfort. In this regard, the cursor has not been positioned too much on the sport side.

LED headlight for the Ducati SupersportLED headlight for the Ducati Supersport

Starter: the V2 comes to life with a full and metallic sound at the same time, but sufficiently contained not to get angry with your neighbors.

In the city

The V2 Ducati have never had the reputation of being the smoothest engines in the world. Character, sir, has side effects. This one does not throw you shelling all the way down to take off your fillings, but at the legal speed of the grand boulevards, we will find that 3000 rpm in 3rd, it’s fine.

Supersport on the roadSupersport on the road

As has been said, the driving position does not attack the wrists and in addition, the turning radius is not disastrous. And in addition, we can almost see things in the mirrors. Everything is fine so !

Especially since the "urban" driving mode reduces power to 75 horsepower and really softens (but then, really really!) The response to the throttle. Suddenly, this Supersport becomes extremely docile !

On motorways and main roads

130 km / h, 5200 rpm in sixth. We are almost at half-speed (the red zone is at 10,000 rpm), the bike purrs nicely and at this speed, the pickups are correct, nothing more. On the other hand, by raising the bubble, the protection is sufficient for the shoulders, but the head still takes a little. The trellis frame and the quality suspensions do not generate and it is still happy, no movement. If you are going to drive in Germany on portions of free highway, we can confirm that the Supersport takes 245 km / h at the limit of the switch in 6th gear. Not bad for a 113 horsepower machine.

Supersport at accelerationSupersport at acceleration

On departmental

The weight of 210 kilos with the refueling, a fairly natural ergonomics on the road, a thin machine in the crotch, Pirelli Rosso III tires very correct in this exercise: the Ducati Supersport is a real bike that swings with a lot of naturalness from pif to paf. The test route was quite varied: from the fast curve, small bumpy roads, asphalt looking like billiards, bends that tighten in front of the precipice or the rail … enough to gauge the skills of this machine..

Supersport on a curveSupersport on a curve

And these skills, they are broad: already, let us praise the ease of handling. Then, agility is one of the qualities of the bike. The front axle is straightforward and precise. In the series of bends, the Supersport dives to the rope, accepts changes in trajectories, does not freeze. Other good news: the comfort is quite correct, with a saddle whose softness seems to remain conciliating over the kilometers, as well as suspensions which retain good manners in all circumstances, which never deliver vicious snowshoe hits. And this, already with the standard version. The S with its Ohlins, should do even better.

And the engine in all of this? We drove a bit in "touring" mode, then the switch to "sport" allowed us to gain a little liveliness. At the beginning, the sensations are a little mixed: yes, the power is there, there is no doubt about it. But it’s still a bit linear. Be careful, a beginner will find that it works hard and in our well-radared and perrichonophile country, there is enough to lose a lot of points very quickly. But here it is: there is nothing that sends you the pulp at the bottom of the panties either. Especially since if 80% of the torque is already available at 3000 rpm, in fact, we realize that the times become more energetic above 5000 rpm. Suddenly, between cruising at 90 to 3000 rpm in 6th gear, or, at the same speed, already taking 5000 rpm in 3rd, we will understand that it is necessary to play with the gearbox on a winding course..

Sequence of turns with the SupersportSequence of turns with the Supersport

Finally, at the end of a muscular course on departmental roads, the gearbox has never caused a false neutral point and the locks have always been straightforward and precise. And what good to say about the Pirelli Rosso III: grip, feeling, everything is fine.

On track

A versatile motorcycle on the track, it is possible. After all, who can do the most can do the least. But we still got the S version and its Ohlins and its shifter. The latter gave full satisfaction even if other journalist colleagues complained of false dead spots both when raising and lowering gears, which I could see by following one at the asp in the line. right. Straight line where, depending on size and talent, the maximum speed was between 235 and 245 km / h meter (not so bad for a 113 horsepower motorcycle!) And with the screen in the high position, it is easy to hold onto the machine to have a good speed search position. . The gap is quite tight between the 5th and the 6th, which means that the maximum speed is easily reached..

The Supersport S on the trackThe Supersport S on the track

Moreover, this very technical circuit with many hairpin bends shows that despite its linear character, the engine tows well and allows to tackle some breaks by raising the reports rather early (around 7000 rpm) while in the fast sections, it would be better to shift gears to 9000/9500 rpm, rather than systematically going to look for the red zone.

The Supersport S on a curveThe Supersport S on a curve

The Supersport is not a confirmed tracker: with its high handlebars, it is a bit difficult to feel the front in tight bends, while if you can take 48 ° of angle before rubbing, you did touch the exhaust in the big fast break uphill (as well as on the road, in a compression). And, with the original settings, the bike is really too soft. Back to the pits: a little more compression at the front, better braking rebound at the rear.

The Supersport S on the cornerThe Supersport S on the corner

The quality of the Ohlins means that these settings have a real impact on the feeling and on the efficiency. The rocking horse effect on heavy braking is now contained, the bike is more precise and accepts to be a little more abused. More rigid, it is then the tires that start to suffer in this exercise and keeping a little traction control shows that they are suffering on re-acceleration. Nevertheless, the Supersport allows you to have fun and a novice biker can have fun on occasional track days. In any case, among the rare competitors that it will meet in this niche (Honda VFR 800, Kawasaki Z1000 SX), the Supersport is lighter, more precise, more fun..


Ducati remains faithful to the trellis frame and the one that equips the Supersport is new. The standard version uses a 43 mm diameter Marzocchi inverted fork and a single shock absorber. The S replaces it with a fully adjustable 48mm Ohlins and a separate cylinder rear shock. As we saw in our paragraph dedicated to the track, the settings have a real impact on driving. In both cases, the travel is the same: 130 mm at the front and 144 mm at the rear.

Shock absorber of the Ducati SupersportShock absorber of the Ducati Supersport


320mm discs are clamped by Brembo radial calipers. The bite does not have that sudden violence that we know on many Ducatis: thus, the Supersport continues its effort of accessibility and even beginners will be comfortable on it. The feeling and the dosage are therefore perfect on the road. On the track, we realize at the end of the straight that the power is there, by increasing the effort on the lever a little more at the end of braking. ABS is well calibrated.

Front brake of the Ducati SupersportBrakes of the Ducati Supersport

Comfort & duo

No duo during this test, so we will not comment while noting that grab handles are available as an option. What we can say, moreover, is that the comfort, if it has nothing of a Pullman, is nevertheless quite correct, with a soft saddle and rather effective suspensions and which have no cartoonish reactions to the bumps. With the bubble in the high position, the shoulders are protected from the aero flow. However, we will also recognize that a VFR is softer and that a Z 1000 SX protects better..

The screen of the Ducati Supersport is adjustableThe screen of the Ducati Supersport is adjustable

Consumption & autonomy

On-board computer reading: 11.5 l / 100 on the circuit. No wonder that. On the road, at the end of a winding course where we did not often pass the sixth (we were most of the time high in laps in 2 or 3, because of moderately fast turns), the consumption was raised to an average of 6 l / 100, with an amplitude of 5.4 to 6.3 depending on the other drivers. Suffice to say that in real life, we will do much less. In fact, the 16 liters of gasoline must provide a range of 250 to 300 kilometers.


It can do everything, this Ducati Supersport! Road and sport! Certainly and this is the problem of machines that aim for compromise, it does not excel in any area, but it does it all the same..

What we will remember is above all its great ease of handling, its excellent agility: the Supersport can be recommended to almost beginner bikers, as it is obvious and well masks its 210 kilos fully loaded. Thus, those who completely love the look of the Panigale, but do not want to undergo the radicality of these machines will find in the Supersport a perfectly comfortable palliative in all the exercises of everyday life or even the weekend..

More road oriented, the Supersport can also accommodate suitcasesMore road oriented, the Supersport can also accommodate suitcases

However, if the equipment is modern and the peripherals are of high quality, we are close to 15,000 € for a white S and at this price, we are starting to compete with downright sharp roadsters. This does not prevent Ducati from having high objectives (for the category), with 400 sales expected this year….

Strong points

  • Sensual look
  • Ease of handling
  • Agility
  • Useful electronic aids
  • Versatility
  • Correct comfort
  • S suspensions
  • Controllable and powerful braking, in fact…

Weak points

  • Price a nothing high, especially in S…
  • A little linear motor for thrill seekers…

Ducati Supersport and Supersport S technical sheet

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: 140 kilometers of small country roads south of Seville (E) with the Supersport, then two 20-minute sessions on the Monteblanco circuit with the Supersport S fitted with Akrapovic exhausts.
  • Motorcycle mileage: 600 km
  • Problem encountered: wondering why photographers always choose the most rotten bends (like at a stop in second) while the route is rich in splendid rows….

Competition: Honda VFR 800, Kawasaki Z1000 SX

Video test of the Ducati SuperSport and SuperSport S

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