Ride On: 2017 Ducati SuperSport S

IS this the perfect bike? That’s a legitimate question here. The 2017 Ducati SuperSport S could well be described as two wheeled porn.

If you have never heard of Ducati, and for that to happen you have to have been living under a rock or in a cave for the last 90 or so years, the brand was founded in Bologna, Italy in 1926, producing its first motorcycles after the end of World War II, going on to become one the most recognised and desired marquees in the motorcycle world.

Every bike Ducati builds has a distinct style and sound, making them not only a functional and sporty mode of transport but also, to some, a work of art that is just as at home as a sculpture on a plinth in the lounge room.

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It can be a race winner on the track, a performer on a track day, and can take your breath away when it’s at full noise. And when it’s done all of that, it can take you to work every day. Simply put these bikes are amazing.

The motor on this animal is the L-Twin 937cc Testastretta, and for a bike that has 113bhp at 900rpm we thought it would be harder to manage. We were wrong. It is an absolute pleasure to ride. Handling is sharp and tight, acceleration is ridiculous and it has a comfortable riding position.

Then there’s that sound – THAT sound. It makes a really nice popping noise when down shifting, especially when using the Ducati Quick Shift (DQS). The raised handle bars on our test bike make it a very comfortable daily rider and you can easily change them out for lower bars for track days.

ABS brakes make it safe when you have to hit the anchors, quickly if it comes to that, and the suspension is fully adjustable to suit the rider. At the front are 43mm Marzocchi forks that have fully adjustable dampening and pre-load. The rear is a Sachs mono-shock on a single sided die cast swing arm. All this provides an all-round brilliant ride feel and handling.

There are three riding modes to choose from – Urban, Touring and Sport. All of these modes can be fully customised which means you can make the bike handle to your level of experience or riding preferences. This comes courtesy of the excellent and pretty easy to use on board computer.

This can also be done on the fly, allowing you to match the bike to the conditions, however we would recommend that this be something best done by the side of the road and not while riding. Of the three modes Urban is the most forgiving, and dare we say it – tame.

Power is limited to 75bhp in this mode, making it perfect for the new owner who may not have had as much experience with a more powerful bike, or for riding on loose surfaces. DQS is also switched off. It makes it very easy in traffic and not twitchy at all.

For those who are used to bigger engine you may find this option under powered and too tame but we would recommend that if you are upgrading to a bigger capacity engine, you use this mode at first as it will provide you with the confidence to go to the next level. This bike has been designed so that it is all about confidence building.

Touring is perfect for the experienced rider day-to-day. It will provide you with enough get up and go as it gives you access to the full 113bhp. This will definitely satisfy the boy or girl racer in you while still being poised and refined enough to handle the daily commute.

DQS mode is turned on in the Touring setting, along with full ABS, providing maximum braking and stability control – which in turn makes for a fun ride that finds the balance between safety and power, pretty much spot on.

Sport mode is just silly, like super performance silly, and better suited to the very experienced rider who uses their bike on the track for race days or just doing a track day, to see if or when you run out of talent. This mode makes it hard in traffic and therefore is best suited to the open road or the track. DQS is on in this mode.

The bike weighs in at 210kg, but don’t let that bother you. It is very easy to manage as most of the weight is quite low down, and in essence, the bike is really well balanced making it feel lighter than it is.

The bike also has LED day running lights with headlights coming on automatically. This is something that is usually reserved for cars, but on a bike it makes a lot of sense. After all LED running lights use next to no power and make the bike safer and more visible.

There is so much to say about this bike that there just isn’t enough room to fit it all in. We could easily go on and on but we recommend that, if you are looking for a bike that will sooth the boy or girl racer within, as well as being an awesome daily rider, then it’s hard to go past either the SuperSport or SuperSport S. This one sets the bar high, very high across many categories.

The SuperSport S we tested came in the super cool Star White Silk paint scheme for the fairing, which can best be described as metallic pearl matte white, with a Ducati Red frame and Glossy Red wheels. It’s also available in that famous Ducati Red fairing with Ducati Red frame and Matte Black wheels.

It’s a tough choice, perhaps have one of each? With the pricing starting at $17,990 for the ‘base model’ SuperSport (red only) and $19,990 for the red SuperSport S (add $300 for the White) its excellent value for money.

Our 2017 Ducati SuperSport S was supplied by Ducati Australia and New Zealand. To find out more, visit your local Ducati dealer.

Tony Cavanagh
Tony Cavanagh
Tony Cavanagh has always had a thing about cars. He usually owns two at a time (there may also be a motorbike in the garage as well). Excessive maybe, but a car guy is a car guy. He's driven everything from Minis (the original ones) to V8 Commodores and 4WDs, as well as little go fast Japanese buzz boxes and hot hatches. He loves everything automotive, and doesn't have a clear favourite – yet.


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