Ducati


14th Pictures

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A very sporty sports tourer or a very touristic super sportsman? "Right in between", Project engineer Giuseppe Caprara smiles.

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A BMW R 1200 RS, a Kawasaki Z 1000 SX or a Suzuki GSX-S 1000 are not seen by Ducati as direct competitors.

Ducati

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In order to be able to install the engine, the technicians had to change the cylinder heads and the crankcase.

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Only in this way could the twin be accommodated as a load-bearing part in the completely differently oriented chassis of the SuperSport.

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The situation is similar with the front tubular space frame. In order to come up with the right geometry for the SuperSport, the part from the Monster offered ideal conditions, …

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… but is not identical. The caster and the steering head angle are a bit sportier.

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The most noticeable difference between the standard model and the S version is, as always with Ducati, the chassis.

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While the S is equipped with Öhlins material, the standard SuperSport has a Marzocchi fork at the front and a Sachs shock absorber at the rear.

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The pane can be manually folded into a higher position.

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On the S version, the SuperSport offers an automatic gearshift as standard for clutch-free upshifts and downshifts.

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The high arms of the handlebars allow a relaxed sitting position. Real athlete stubs can only be attached with a lot of modification.

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The compact display of the SuperSport provides the relevant data.

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The standard model is only available in the typical Ducati red, while the S is also available in bright white combined with a red frame.

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"The current SuperSport has nothing to do with the SS models except for a two-cylinder engine." – Giuseppe Caprara, project engineer

Ducati Supersport / S in the PS driving report

Sporty, manageable, comfortable

Content of

Getting 110 hp out of a 937 cm³ V2 engine was certainly not a particular challenge for the Ducati engineers. The Ducati Supersport / S therefore focuses on other qualities than the pure nominal power.

Sometimes it is desperate. You make a pilgrimage across Europe because winter should actually still rage in our regions and Spain has always offered the best conditions for motorcycle presentations punctually before the start of the season. And then that: The area around Seville threatens to drown in the continuous rain that pulls over from the Atlantic. It is particularly annoying because D.With the Supersport, ucati is rolling out a completely new motorcycle that, even after its premiere at INTERMOT, wasn’t really known what it actually represented: a very sporty sports tourer or a very touristy super sports car? "Right in between", smiles project engineer Giuseppe Caprara, who looked at the frustration with the bad weather and sat down next to me in the box. "We looked at the market and thought about what wasn’t available", he tells, and so a conversation develops about the main features of Ducati Supersport, in which one learns that neither a BMW R 1200 RS, a Kawasaki Z 1000 SX or a Suzuki GSX-S 1000 are seen as direct competition.

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Ducati Supersport / S in the PS driving report
Sporty, manageable, comfortable

"The basis is always a naked bike"

For Giuseppe these are all naked bikes with a fairing: "The basis is always a naked bike." But isn’t that the same with Ducati Supersport? Doesn’t the 937 Testastretta engine come from the latest Hypermotard, the front space frame from the big Monster 1200, which also contributes the single-sided swing arm? "The Hypermotard engine delivers exactly the performance data that fits the concept of Supersport", explains the Ducati developer. But in order to be able to install it in the Supersport, the technicians had to change the cylinder heads and the crankcase. Only in this way could the 110 hp twin be accommodated as a load-bearing part in the completely different chassis of the Supersport. The situation is similar with the front tubular space frame. In order to come up with the right geometry for the Supersport, the part from the Monster offered the ideal prerequisite, but it is not identical. The caster and the steering head angle are a bit sportier, although the fork is the same as that of the Monster 1200 except for the damper components. "The Supersport is more clearly on the front wheel", explains Giuseppe.

What role did the model history play?

The single-sided swing arm is also listed as a special Supersport part because it required a lot of attention during development due to the shorter wheelbase of 1,478 millimeters, but also the requirements of Euro 4. "The rear of the Ducati Supersport should be as light as possible, especially in design, without the motorcycle suffering from its handling characteristics." Giuseppe and his people therefore had to accommodate the exhaust system as extensively as possible in the space behind the stationary cylinder and the rear wheel so as not to spoil the rear end with a voluminous rear silencer and to throw the idea of ​​centralized masses off balance. The shock absorber also had to find space, which is why the independent Supersport swingarm. While the drizzling rain seems to be slowly pausing outside, I still want to know from the Ducati engineer how much the model history played a role in the development, after all, the SS also stood for super sports in the 1990s. "No", he laughs. Their concept was so long ago, the market today is completely different.

Track performance of the Ducati Supersport S.

And then, a little later, the time has finally come. The mechanics put on rain tires, the streams across the track have dried up and the rain is noticeably easing. So out with the Ducati Supersport in the S version on the Monteblanco circuit. As usual with Ducati, the S differs from the standard mainly in the Öhlins chassis. But in the age of electronics there is also the standard automatic switch with blipper. Ducati makes no difference in the drive of the two versions. Ride-by-Wire allows three driving modes. The S and the standard model also have eight-stage traction control. There is also consensus on ergonomics, and that means a very comfortable seating position where actually only the knee angle is very close to that of real super athletes. The high handlebars, on the other hand, allow a posture that is still oriented towards the front, but relaxed for the wrists in particular.

Water games are really fun

On the wet track, we first go to work in touring mode and regulate the traction to level 7. The Ducati Supersport pushes hard on the track. When stepping through the gears, you notice that this is about torque between 4,000 and 9,000 rpm. In addition, the gears slide cleanly, even if that requires conscious impulses from the shift foot. In order to be able to shift down without the clutch, the Ducati people had to reinforce the transmission from the Hypermotard – that costs some shift dynamics, but that’s not a real drawback. When driving round on the slopes, the very gentle response of the twin is also noticeable. When we later switch to sport mode, little of it is lost. With these characteristics, the powerful thrust in the middle of the speed, the almost load change-free gas application and the suspension that is softened for the rain-soaked route, the water games are really fun. Also because the Supersport can be driven very neutrally on Pirelli rain tires.

Certainly not a real super athlete

The chicanes attest that the bike has a very nice balance. We’ll soon set the traction control to level 4 – that’s how good the grip is and that’s how smoothly the electronics intervene. You only notice the control behavior in the tight corners because the V2 releases a little less punch when the throttle is provoked. That Giuseppe is right about the fact that the Ducati Supersport is certainly not a real super sports car can be seen on the long straight. At the top, around 9,000 rpm, there is no more punch. And the higher stub handlebars also underline why real super athletes subjugate their drivers so much: This is the only way to get the feeling of being one with the front wheel. With the Ducati, that’s a bit lost and you might not even believe Giuseppe that she has 52 percent of her total weight in the front.

Conclusion about the Ducati Supersport / S

The way we got to know the Ducati Supersport, it actually closes a gap. To do this you have to open the drawers "Sports Tourer" and "Super athlete" actually don’t even open it. The Supersport from Ducati is what the sporty 600s of the 1990s were: athletes suitable for everyday use, with whom you could really have fun on the country road without having to go into speed nirvana. On which you could sweep through the low mountain range for a Sunday with your girlfriend without having to ignore their complaints at the first traffic light about dead feet. And if you were particularly anxious, you could take a detour to the racetrack without being looked at by the real racing freaks. In other words: The Supersport is what the Honda VFR 800 could have been in the end, but unfortunately it wasn’t. The trip across Europe was worth it for this knowledge. Everything else calls for a horsepower test track, test bench, scales, performance, a few opposing candidates and, above all, good weather – betting?

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