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Sportbike / May 17, 2017

The 2017 Ducati SuperSport is built around the same 937cc Testastretta 11° engine that powers the Ducati Hypermotard 939, only this version gets a redesigned crankcase and cylinder heads, and new 53mm throttle bodies. The generator cover, external coils, and ride-by-wire system are also revised. These changes, as well as revised timing, help smooth throttle response and move the power lower in the rev range, with the SuperSport making 80% of its peak torque at 3, 000 rpm, and 90% of its torque from 5, 000 to 9, 000 rpm.

We obviously haven't had the chance to put the SuperSport on a dyno yet, but Ducati claims a power output of 113 hp at 9, 000 rpm and 71.3 pound-feet of torque at 6, 500 rpm. While this could be slightly different given the tuning changes, the Hyper makes 99.1 hp at 8, 520 rpm and 65.5 pound-feet of torque at 7, 180 rpm on our dyno.

The bike comes with Ducati's Safety Pack, which includes Ducati's eight-level traction control system and Bosch's three-level ABS. The SuperSport S comes with the a Ducati Quick Shifter stock, which works for both up and down shifting, and is available as an option on the standard SuperSport. The bike gets three riding modes: Sport, Touring, and Urban.

The street is where the SuperSport really shines.

The SuperSport was designed to be the ultimate daily rider and to be fairly premium, but also to be versatile enough for a bevy of interests. It has a tubular steel trellis frame that uses the engine as a stressed part of the chassis, and connects to a single-sided swingarm. The standard model has a fully adjustable Marzocchi 43mm fork and a Sachs shock that is adjustable for spring preload and rebound, while the SuperSport S gets a fully adjustable 48mm Ohlins fork and fully adjustable Ohlins shock.

While the SuperSport maintains the same 24 degrees of rake as the Panigale 959, it has 5mm less trail (91mm compared to 96mm) which seems to increase its side-to-side flickability. This, paired with added leverage at the bars, makes for more maneuverability but decreases some of the stability at lean (which is great for the street but a tad twitchy on the track).

To make it more comfortable for daily riding, the SuperSport has raised clip-ons and lowered footpegs, and comes with a windscreen that can be raised or lowered within a two-inch range.

Both bikes get a pair of 320mm brake rotors up front, which are clamped on by radially mounted Brembo M4.32, four-piston calipers. Out back, the SuperSport has a single 245mm disc and two-piston caliper.

The SuperSport comes fit with Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tires, with a 120/70-R17 up front and 180/55-R17 in back.

Seat height comes in at a reasonable 31.9 inches, but Ducati make aftermarket options to raise that by 25mm or lower it by 20mm.

Fully loaded with fuel (4.2 gallons max), the SuperSport tips the scales at a manufacturer claimed 463 pounds. Service intervals are 9, 000 miles for oil and 18, 000 miles for valve adjustments.

The SuperSport is available in red and has an MSRP of $12, 995 while the SuperSport S is available in red or white for $14, 795 and $14, 995 respectively.

We Rode The Thing

For my first experience with the SuperSport, Ducati brought us to Seville, Spain, for a few sessions at the Circuit Monteblanco track, and then a jaunt through some twisty roads to show off the versatile nature of the bike. Our group of American journalists were on track for the first part of the day on the SuperSport S, and then we swapped places with journalists from other countries out in the hills on the standard model for the latter part of the day.

The Circuit Monteblanco is a technical track, with lots of heavy braking followed by tight turning. Initially, my first concern was with the Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tires, which I've had mixed experiences with and don't love as a track tire. The tires, paired with the sharp handling nature of the SuperSport made for a pretty awkward first session as I tried to become acquainted with the near 3-mile-long track.

Fortunately, the ergonomics of the bike make for an incredibly friendly package. Several times, I set up for the long right handed sweeper only to forget I had one more tight left and then right to go before coming up to it, but the SuperSport handles so easily that compensating was drama free enough to keep my heart from jumping through my chest. No, the ergonomics are not sportbike commanding, but at a decent track-day pace, the comfortable layout is actually quite nice.

Ducati had talked about the "friendly feeling brakes" the night before at the press briefing, which made me think it was trying to put a spin on under-powered binders, but I was actually impressed by the front brake's ability to get me slowed when I found myself coming in to a corner with way too much speed. They don't have the bite of those on the Panigale, but stopping power is ample enough for most people's needs.

Nevertheless, the first session was pretty awkward between the sharp handling bike, new track, and my continuing to forget that I was on a Ducati and needed to shift far sooner than I'd normally do on a track. The transmission still isn't that great and downshifts are pretty clunky, even though the quickshifter works pretty well as long as you time it right (it won't let you downshift over 9, 000 rpm).

Source: www.cycleworld.com