The latest Ducati claims to have clubbed a superbike and a sports tourer in one. Does it succeed or does the SuperSport S fall in no man’s land?
Story: Sarmad Kadiri
Photography: Saurabh Botre
Here we are riding the latest Ducati to have reached our shores. There’s something about these Italian designs that evokes one’s deepest emotions. Their bikes can be spotted pretty much everywhere — proudly displayed on bedroom walls, as desktop wallpapers or on smartphone covers. The new SuperSport’s design is no exception to this either. Bearing close resemblance to its exotic sibling, the Panigale, it naturally attracts a second glance.
Trust me, it looks even better and sleeker in the flesh than in the picture. Its beautifully crafted full front fairing neatly conceals all bolts and hinges, creating a seamless profile. Distinct LED daytime running lights imitate frowning eyebrows and, with the sharp-looking halogen headlights, create a visual x-shaped cross.
On the side the bold shoulder-lines blend smoothly into the edgy fuel tank and a narrow rear end gives it a front-heavy appearance. On the left is a single-sided swingarm and with no intrusion on the right side, the double-barrel exhaust looks twice as appealing. Having said that, the exposed section near the fairing, with the visible engine parts and lines of hoses, looks cluttered.
As I get on to the bike, I recollect that during its Indian launch I sat on the SuperSport and then on the Panigale which was parked next to it to understand the difference. And it was pretty evident. The new bike isn’t just more affordable than the Panigale but also is more road-friendly. You sit comparatively upright, on a wider seat which is far more comfortable than the ducked-down, committed seating of the Panigale.
The clip-on handlebars are relatively higher and the foot-pegs are high as well but aren’t too rear-set. This makes the riding position comfortable for commuting and sports touring. Staying true to that cause, the front screen can be manually raised to improve wind protection and there’s ample knee-room even for taller riders to aid fatigue-free long jaunts. The fuel tank capacity of 16 litres seems fairly adequate for touring and there are welcome gaps between the rear panels to install panniers as well. Surprisingly, when locking the handle while taking a U-turn, there’s just about enough room for the fingers between the clip-on and the fuel tank. Probably this can be sorted by adjusting the position of the clip-ons.
Facing the rider is a digital instrument console with a simple and easy-to-read layout which gives out all the info you need on the go. There are small bits that make the Ducati special, such as a body-coloured extension to beautify the usually bare area around the console. The layout of the buttons and switches is a typical Ducati affair and the same can be said about the overall fit and finish. Top-notch, to say the least.