Panigale Flavor Without Superbike Danger

It had been four years in the making, but Ducati finally released the revamped SuperSport family for the 2017 model year. This range brings sportbike handling and performance to the table with its race-inspired “Monster” frame and over 100 ponies on tap, but in a package meant to be less intimidating to prospective ’Ducatisti’ than some of their, shall we say, spicier models. The factory touts the new line as “versatile and accessible,” and while the base SuperSport is meant to appeal to riders who want a sportbike that’s a little light on the “sportier aspects,” the “S” model takes on some of the trappings of a proper racebike for a decidedly more sport-tastic nature. Let’s check out what the bike builders in Bologna have in store for us with this newest effort.

Continue reading for my review of the Ducati SuperSport and SuperSport S.

  • 2017 - 2018 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Testastretta 11-Degree L-Twin
  • Displacement:
    937 cc
  • Price:
    12995
  • Price:

Design

2017 - 2018 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S
- image 777372
Ducati may have designed this ride to bridge the gap between the laid-back riders and the more spirited ones, but the look is all sport and distinctly Ducati.

Duc may have designed this ride to bridge the gap between the laid-back riders and the more spirited ones, but the look is all sport and distinctly Ducati. Head-on, the family sports the “angry alien” headlight arrangement set within the brow of the front fairing that continues down to a fairly typical engine cowl and radiator surround.

The vented fairing peters out midway to the rear offering a tantalizing view of the rear cylinder and just a glimpse of the frame, and the rear end tapers off to nothing with the taillight housing tucked away neatly beneath. Short standoffs mount the rear turn signals, a detail that could certainly be improved upon, but the front turn signals come stashed in the mirror housings and so are about as clean as it gets.

Foot-to-butt orientation places the leg in the sport-typical jockey position, but the handlebars allow for an upright body position which plays a large role in the “relaxed sport” attitude. Both rides come with pillion seating and passenger footrests, but the “S” gets a "P"-pad cover that plays right into its race-tastic panache. Seat height is typical of the genre at 31.9-inches tall.

Chassis

2017 - 2018 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S
- image 777378
The SuperSport definitely has a strong Panigale superbike flavor without the superbike ability to get yourself into trouble.

Weight was a front-burner topic during development and the factory used its tubular Trellis frame as the foundation. The stressed-engine arrangement substitutes the engine for a large portion of the frame, even going so far as to mount the rear shock and subframe on the mill.

Swingarm design is of the single-sided persuasion, and the die-cast aluminum construction does it’s part to keep weight down while leaving an unrestricted view of the rear wheel from the right side. Rake and trail are set up for nimble handling at 24-degrees and 3.6 inches with a 58.2-inch wheelbase.

The siblings differ a bit when we get to the factory’s choices in suspension components. On the base model, a Sachs monoshock works on a progressive link while the front end runs 43 mm Marzocchi usd forks, and both ends come with adjustable preload and rebound damping. The “S” model gets a bit of a suspension upgrade with fully adjustable, usd, 48 mm Ohlins forks and monoshock from same.

Brembo M4-32 Monobloc four-pot opposed-piston calipers bind the pair of 320 mm front discs, and a twin-pot caliper binds the 245 mm rear disc with the Bosch 9MP ABS included with the standard equipment package. Additionally, the ABS comes with three separate maps for varying levels of slip before the system intervenes. Light alloy wheels with triple, Y-shaped spokes mount Pirelli’s Diablo Rosso III tires with a nimble 120/70 up front and 180/55 in back.

Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame attached to the cylinders head
Rake: 24°
Front wheel trail: 91 mm (3.6 in)
Front suspension: Fully adjustable 43mm (1.7 in) usd Marzocchi (S: 48 mm Ohlins) forks
Rear Suspension: Progressive linkage with adjustable Sachs (S: fully adjustable Ohlins) monoshock. Aluminum single-sided swingarm
Front brake: 2 x 320 mm (12.6 in) semi-floating discs, radially mounted Monobloc Brembo M4-32 calipers, 4-piston, radial pump with ABS as standard
Rear brake: 245 mm (9.6 in) disc, 2-piston caliper, ABS as standard
Front Wheel/ Travel: Y shaped, 3-spoke in light alloy 3.50" x 17"/ 5.12 inches
Rear Wheel/ Travel: Y shaped, 3-spoke in light alloy 5.50" x 17"/ 5.67 inches
Front Tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso III 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso III 180/55 ZR17

Drivetrain

2017 - 2018 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S
- image 777374
The “S” model gets a little something extra in the gearbox with an up/down Quick Shift feature as part of the standard equipment package.

Now for the beating heart: the 937 cc Testastretta 11-Degree L-Twin engine. This liquid-cooled mill runs in what most Americans would call a 90-degree "V", and it sports Ducati’s signature Desmodromic valvetrain that actuates the four-valve heads with push-open and pull-closed cams that preclude the need for valve springs and eliminate valve float at high rpms. The 11-degrees refers to amount of crankshaft rotation that occurs during valve overlap, a feature that keeps emissions low and helps it meet Euro-4 requirements.

Decidedly oversquare, the engine runs a 94 mm bore and 67.5 mm stroke. A pair of 53mm throttle bodies meters the induction via ride-by-wire control that provides the rider with the option of using three separate engine mappings for varied conditions and riding styles. Set to the hottest profile, the mill delivers its full horsepower with a sporty throttle response. In the middle setting, full horsepower is still on tap, but with a progressive delivery that keeps things somewhat relaxed. At the bottom of the scale, power is limited to 75 ponies with a progressive power curve for urban environs and conditions with less-than-stellar traction.

The mill cranks out a maximum of 113 ponies at 9 grand, and 71.3 pounds of grunt at 6,500 rpm, plenty for its 463-pound curb weight, but the smokin’ hot, 12.6-to-1 compression ratio will put you at the premium pump every time. A six-speed transmixxer crunches the ratios with a slipper-clutch that limits backtorque to prevent wheel hop on aggressive downshifts and also has the happy side-effect of providing a softer pull at the lever.

Much like with the suspension components, the “S” model gets a little something extra in the gearbox with an up/down Quick Shift feature as part of the standard equipment package, but the base model SuperSport has it as an available option. Traditionally, Desmodromic engines are considered high-maintenance items because of the need for frequent valve-lash adjustment, but Duc set a 30,000 mile service interval on the valve-lash adjustment, so routine maintenance no longer eats your lunch.

Engine: Testastretta 11°, L-Twin cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid cooled
Displacement: 937 cc
Bore x Stroke: 94 x 67.5 mm (3.7 x 2.66 in)
Compression ratio: 12.6± 0.5 :1
Power: 113 hp @ 9,000 rpm
Torque: 71.3 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm
Fuel injection: Continental electronic fuel injection system, 53 mm Mikuni throttle bodies with full Ride-by-Wire
Exhaust: Lightweight 2-1-2 system with catalytic converter and two lambda probes. Twin aluminium mufflers
Gearbox: 6 speed
Primary drive: Straight cut gears; Ratio 1.84:1
Clutch: Wet multiplate clutch mechanically operated, self-servo action on drive, slipper action on over-run

Price

2017 - 2018 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S
- image 777361
MSRP on the Supersport is holding steady at last year's price with a slight increase on the 'S' model.

U.S. MSRP is reasonable with the base SuperSport fetching $12,995, and the souped “S” model falls just below the $15K mark at $14,995. Ducati covers your new Supersport with a 24-month unlimited mileage warranty.

Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Ducati Red (Supersport S: also Star White Silk)
Price:
SuperSport: $12,995
SuperSport S: $14,995

Competitor

2016 - 2017 Suzuki GSX-S1000 / GSX-S1000F
- image 680843
2017 - 2018 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S
- image 777375
Both mills enjoy slightly different electronic augmentations, but at the end of the day it really comes out even unless you're Hell-bent on a particular function.

Since the base SuperSport is billed as a street-friendly sportbike with definite racey undertones, the first potential competitor to pop into my head was another street-centric ride with trackside DNA; the GSX-S1000 ABS from Suzuki. Both bikes are undeniably sporty with the typical overall form normally associated with the genre, but while the Duc carries a bit of body paneling, the GSX-S rolls with a more naked panache that leaves less to the imagination.

Cheek fairings house the radiator, but fall away to nothing above the pointy and aggressive-looking chin spoiler. Beyond that, even though both bikes blend angular features with sexy curves, I gotta’ say I find the Italian aesthetics to be more pleasing to the eye. Subjective, but there it is.

Suzuki goes the aluminum-bones route with a twin-spar frame versus the tubular-steel Trellis under the Duc. Suzuki opts for fully adjustable, usd KYB forks and a fully adjustable, link-type monoshock in back, so neither ride gains any advantage here. Brakes are likewise similar with Brembo Monobloc calipers up front, though Suzuki chucks a Nissin caliper on for the rear wheel, and ABS protection is present as standard equipment across the board.

In the engine department, both mills enjoy slightly different electronic augmentations, but at the end of the day it really comes out even unless you’re Hell-bent on a particular function. What isn’t so even is the power output. Suzuki comes out decidedly on top with 137.8 ponies and 74 pounds of grunt on tap versus 113 horsepower and 71.3 pound-feet from the Duc’s Testastretta, and since these bikes weigh in within a couple of pounds of one another, this power goes directly to the pavement.

Suzuki picks up another solid win at checkout with its $10,499 base MSRP, a shade or three lighter than the $12,995 sticker on the Duc. Granted, folks looking at Ducati usually aren’t exactly bargain-basement shoppers and a couple grand or so is unlikely to dissuade them, folks on the fence will certainly be able to figure out something useful to do with those savings.

He Said

“Ducati, why do you do this to me? I’m already a fan of the brand, and eyeball your bikes often with a mixture of envy and anticipation, and then you go and add a bike that is made for folks who aren’t necessarily of the fiery-eyed pegdragger ilk and would be more rider-friendly than the overall looks suggest. Thanks a lot, guys...”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "The SuperSport definitely has a strong Panigale superbike flavor without the superbike ability to get yourself into trouble. By their own admission, Ducati presents this as a sportbike for any road, so it’s as comfortable as a commuter as it is a twisty-road thrill-seeker with features that even folks new-to-two-wheels can appreciate."

<Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Testastretta 11°, L-Twin cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid cooled
Displacement: 937 cc
Bore x Stroke: 94 x 67.5 mm (3.7 x 2.66 in)
Compression ratio: 12.6± 0.5 :1
Power: 113 hp @ 9,000 rpm
Torque: 71.3 lb-ft @ 6,500 rpm
Fuel injection: Continental electronic fuel injection system, 53 mm Mikuni throttle bodies with full Ride-by-Wire
Exhaust: Lightweight 2-1-2 system with catalytic converter and two lambda probes. Twin aluminium mufflers
Gearbox: 6 speed
Primary drive: Straight cut gears; Ratio 1.84:1
Ratio: 1=37/15 2=30/17 3=28/20 4=26/22 5=24/23 6=23/24
Final drive: Chain; Front sprocket 15; Rear sprocket 43
Clutch: Wet multiplate clutch mechanically operated, self-servo action on drive, slipper action on over-run
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame attached to the cylinders head
Rake: 24°
Front wheel trail: 91 mm (3.6 in)
Front suspension: Fully adjustable 43mm (1.7 in) usd Marzocchi (S: 48 mm Ohlins) forks
Rear Suspension: Progressive linkage with adjustable Sachs (S: fully adjustable Ohlins) monoshock. Aluminum single-sided swingarm
Front brake: 2 x 320 mm (12.6 in) semi-floating discs, radially mounted Monobloc Brembo M4-32 calipers, 4-piston, radial pump with ABS as standard
Rear brake: 245 mm (9.6 in) disc, 2-piston caliper, ABS as standard
Front Wheel/ Travel: Y shaped, 3-spoke in light alloy 3.50" x 17"/ 5.12 inches
Rear Wheel/ Travel: Y shaped, 3-spoke in light alloy 5.50" x 17"/ 5.67 inches
Front tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso III 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: Pirelli Diablo Rosso III 180/55 ZR17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Dry weight: 184 kg (406 lb)
Kerb weight: 210 kg (463 lb)
Seat height: 810 mm (31.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1478 mm (58.2 in)
Fuel tank capacity: 16 l (4.2 US gal)
Number of seats: 2
Details:
Instrumentation: LCD display
Standard Equipment: Riding Modes, Power Modes, Ducati Safety Pack (ABS + DTC), RbW. Ready for anti-theft system (S: also DQS, seat cover)
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Ducati Red (Supersport S: also Star White Silk)
Price:
SuperSport: $12,995
SuperSport S: $14,995

References

Suzuki GSX-S1000

2016 - 2017 Suzuki GSX-S1000 / GSX-S1000F
- image 680846

See our review of the Suzuki GSX-S1000.|

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ducati.com, suzukicycles.com

Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: