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  • April 15, 2019
  • Dirck Edge
  • Ben Baker and Kimberly Edge
  • 89 Comments

2019 Ducati SuperSport: MD Long-Term Review, Part 2

Part 1 of this long-term review wasn’t much more than an introduction, but we have now put substantial miliage on the 2019 Ducati SuperSport. This bike was first introduced for the 2017 model year, and the Titanium Grey (matte finish) of our test bike is new for the 2019 model year.

The purpose of our long-term evaluation is to give our readers an understanding of this important member of the “comfortable sportbike” category, testing it both bone stock and with Ducati accessories (including luggage) for uses ranging from hardcore sport to light touring.

As delivered, the Ducati Supersport is the essense of a “comfortable sportbike” with a 937cc Testastretta 11° engine that makes a claimed 110 hp at 9,000 rpm and 69 pound/feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. Expect roughly 98 hp and 63 pound/feet at the rear wheel on a dyno. This is not an “arm ripper” that will compete with superbikes on accelleration, but it is a grunty, flexible powertrain with more than enough performance for most street riders. Of course, you can add to that the typical character and refinement that comes from a modern liquid-cooled Ducati L-twin.

The Ducati “Safety Pack” includes cutting-edge Bosch ABS and traction control that work together with rider-selectable engine modes (Sport, Touring and Urban).

The suspension on our standard SuperSport includes a fully-adjustable Marzocchi fork and a Sachs shock adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping. The 17″ alloy wheels hold Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tires, including a 180 section rear.

Braking is provided by twin 320 mm front discs squeezed by radial-mount Brembo M4-32 four-piston calipers, and a two-piston caliper operating on a 245 mm disc in back. As stated earlier, Bosch ABS is part of the package.

Ducati claims the SuperSport weighs 463 pounds with the 4.2 gallon fuel tank topped off. The all-important ergonomics include handlebars that sit well above the triple clamps and lowered footpegs for a rider triangle vastly more comfortable than a traditional sportbike (the windscreen is height-adjustable by approximately 2″). Seat height is 31.9″.

Riding the SuperSport delivers what you might expect, i.e., smooth and progressive v-twin power. We left the bike in Sport mode for dry riding, which provided very crisp throttle response without any abrupt transitions from closed to open throttle. Overall, the fuel injection mapping is excellent.

The SuperSport feels like a Ducati sportbike with more comfort and flexibility. The suspension is on the firm side, but offers good street damping, and even absorbs small chop relatively well. Straight-line stability is good, and the bike transitions from side-to-side on twisty roads in a predictable manner with relatively low effort. The contact patches under the Pirelli tires communicate well with the rider through the suspension and the trademark steel trellis frame.

The brakes do not provide much initial bite, but decent feel and power – certainly plenty of power for most non-track uses. Changing the front brake pads to a more aggressive compound could change this characteristic, but the brakes, perhaps, offer the correct progressive nature for the varied uses of the SuperSport.

The six-speed transmission shifted predictably, and reliably. Pedal effort for shifts is moderate. An optional quick-shifter (standard on the SuperSport S) would be a welcome addition (it arguably should be standard at this price-point).

The Ducati SuperSport loves tight, twisty roads. The engine torque and flexibility frequently allow the rider to accelerate hard between corners, then enter and exit the corner without changing gears. The Supersport holds a line extremely well mid-corner, even with bumps, but still allows mid-corner line corrections. The handling is simply sublime.

All the while, this is a comfortable motorcycle. Of course, the bar position is not nearly as upright as an adventure tourer, or even most sport tourers, but it fits the character of the SuperSport well. Our 5’11” test rider found adequate leg room. Seat comfort, even on longer rides, is good with firm, but not hard, padding.

Stay tuned for further reports as we add accessories to our test bike. In the meantime, check out Ducati’s web site for additional information. The Ducati SuperSport is priced at $12,999 U.S. MSRP, while the SuperSport S (with quick-shifter, Ohlins suspension, and rear seat cover) is priced at $14,995.


See more of MD’s great photography: Instagram

89 Comments

  1. mickey says:

    Functionally this may be a nice motorcycle, but looks wise, especially being a Ducati, it’s looks don’t stand out to me. It looks to me very much like a Ninja 650 with dull paint and red wheels.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No mention of servicing costs or miles per gallon. Long term test part 2 reduced to useless by a short term memory.

  3. Dana Hyatt says:

    Kevin P. was right to say he prefers his V-Stom 650 for all around riding. This Ducati SuperSport is strictly for smooth roads, not Northern California riding. We have riders here that wouldn’t take a Multistrada to these roads. My challenge to these testers: let me choose the roads and stop babying these bikes.

    • Superlight says:

      The Adventure bikes with their long-travel suspensions and upright seating positions are great for most any road surface, but not all of us want that type of bike, just as not everyone wants an SUV in the car world despite their obvious practicality. When I park my SS after a ride I often look back in appreciation of its aesthetic beauty, something the Adventure bikes lack as much as they exude functionality. We’re all different, which is why there are so many models from which to choose.

    • Fred N says:

      What both posters say is correct.
      I suggest that roads across the World are in a worse state than 20 years ago. To make European new model releases in the Canary Islands shows how ar they need to go to find a billiard smooth road that shows their bike to it’s best.
      The Adventure bike type suspension tune would be a better offering to most of us non race riders than track spec just to make it ‘sporty’.
      My DL1000 has a better ride than my GSX-S1000, as it suits the crap road’s we were gifted to us to ride on. I ride just as hard on each, but one is far less tiring than the other.

  4. RCV seavey says:

    100 RWHP LOL

  5. KARO says:

    I think this is a beautiful functional motorcycle. I ride a 2014 VFR with suspension modifications

    that make the handling fantastic. To each his own. I will ride this genre ( sports touring ) as long as I am able.

  6. mickey says:

    On the old MCD, this bike would not even get a second look because it makes less than 100 rwhp.

    In the old days around here, if it didn’t have 110-120 rwhp, and 75 lb ft of torque it was considered a dog. This bike has neither. And only a 4.2 gallon tank tsk tsk

    Good to see people have come to their senses.

    • Jeremy says:

      “Good to see people have come to their senses.”

      I think we just got older. We all clearly still lack sense.

    • VLJ says:

      Weight plays a major role here. If a bike weighs upwards of 600 lbs while claiming to be sporty, it will need more power. Conversely, 98 rwhp and 60-plus lbs of torque on a relatively light bike can make for an exciting, satisfying power delivery.

  7. Kevin P says:

    Great looking sport tourer. My sport touring days are over. If they weren’t this would be a contender. Gorgeous, priced well and not more than you need. Dirck, you did a great review.

    Back in the younger days I had a VFR VTEC that looked great but wasn’t comfy enough for my aging body on very long rides. And I started riding too fast. Finally, the truly beaten up
    roads near me are too harsh to enjoy a sport bike (for me). I’ve had two V-Strom 650s since then and the bumpy road comfort, long distance comfort and light weight are excellent. I do not miss the handling. Of course I miss the power of a sport bike but, perhaps, riding a slow bike fast is enough fun for this geezer.

  8. gpokluda says:

    The SuperSport doesn’t check a single box for me so a test ride is not likely. I will say that as I read the article, I could sense the boredom with the bike.

    • Superlight says:

      OK, just curious what you ride, gpokluda. It had better be a 200 HP superbike.

      • Dirck Edge says:

        A Grom? But with a pipe and a power commander,

      • gpokluda says:

        Okay you two. Don’t get your panties in a wad just because I said the precious Ducati was boring. To each their own. The bike does nothing for me. Also, horsepower does not make the bike, any rider worth their salt knows that. I ride a T120, thank you very much.

        As for a Grom with a pipe and Power Commander, that would be a hoot! Ever ridden anything like that? Try it before you knock it. Kevin Cameron once said, “it is more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.”

        • Dirck Edge says:

          Tested a Grom. Never tried the power-up kit. Seriously, though, thanks for posting your opinion and remaining respectful to those who disagree.

          • Tommy D says:

            I had a 14 Grom and just sold it and bought the new Monkey. With the Grom I went wild and purchased ever go fast part. At 55yrs old I learned how to balance point wheelie with the thing. It was a bucket list item I had to cross off. It took body English and back brake to wheelie as the tune didn’t really help. The new Monkey won’t even see a slip-on pipe. Stock, stealth and happy to plod along.

            Back to the SuperSport… (It looks better with the bags)

        • mickey says:

          ” Kevin Cameron once said, “it is more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.”

          You can’t ride a slow bike fast..a slow bike by it’s very nature is slow. I get no thrill out of riding slow bikes.

          Kevin should try riding a fast bike fast

          • gpokluda says:

            Except for the simple fact that slow (and fast) are relative. Yes, it is possible for a slow bike to not go as slow which means it is going fast.

          • Grover says:

            Go into a corner too fast and that slow bike becomes very, very fast.

          • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

            Mickey, you mean it’s a half-fast bike? 🙂

          • todd says:

            I beg to differ; I ride my slow bikes very fast. I’m always amazed at how slow everyone else is on their “fast” bikes.

          • TimC says:

            First, I’m sure that that quote is attributable to any number of people, probably didn’t originate with (the great) KC.

            Second, I like what Excellence mag had to say when they road (!) tested a Carrera GT – it’s good to drive a slow car fast but it’s better to drive a fast car fast. Sorry I have to paraphrase instead of digging out the issue but that’s the gist.

          • mickey says:

            I agree fast and slow are relative terms

            Would you rather ride a Suzuki TU 250 for all it’s worth than say a 690 Duke at 75% of it’s capability?

            Would you rather ride a CB 125 or and CB 300? or a Ninja 400?

            A Harley Davidson Sportster or a Ninja 1000?

            An R600 Beemer or an R1200R Beemer?

            Give almost anyone the choice between the same model bike with say a 60 hp engine or the same bike with a 75 hp engine and people will pick the 75 hp model 99% of the time, don’t you agree?.

          • Ralph W. says:

            Marquez is a lucky guy. He gets to ride a bike that is powerful and fast as well as being light and agile. The power of his MotoGP bike gives him awesome acceleration and amazing high speeds, but it is the light weight and agility that allows him to perform the antics which he is famous for. If you want to learn to ride like him you need a light agile bike. Here in the real world that usually means bikes with less than 100hp. To me, there is a lot more to riding a motorcycle than just straight line speed. It doesn’t take any skill to do that.

  9. Crazyjoe says:

    Harley has a liquid cooled 1250 and 950 coming out soon. Indian has a liquid cooled middle weight(?) ready. This could mean war. The only thing is I doubt if any of them would be as good looking as the Ducati. Different but not as good looking.

    • Crazyjoe says:

      My mistake the Indian will be 1770cc. But it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t come out with a new middleweight.

      • Neal says:

        The FTR is Indian’s performance middleweight. With the weird wheel sizes and flat track affectations, I can’t really see them putting out a premium sporty all rounder middleweight like this one.

        I doubt Harley will get closer than the Streetfighter or whatever their calling it, and that will be significantly compromised by the size and weight of the motor. The Supersport is a faired monster, which is a solid starting point for a sporty bike. The Harley platform will also have to wear adventure and cruiser clothes.

  10. Jonny says:

    I don’t even come here for the articles, I just come to read all the haters of Ducati. Its laughable at this point how some of you can just look at a picture of one & it drives you insane with hate.

  11. Pete says:

    Nice looking but I’ll keep my $4000 ’05 Multistrada 1000S The extra suspension travel is a must where I ride

  12. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    MOST wonderful sound on full throttle, and off is the 865cc triple inline T-Bird.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This bike looks like a good contender for the Honda VFR 800. Similar ergos and power, single sided swing arm. The VFR has that wonderful sounding V-4 over the Duc’s twin, though.

    • Superlight says:

      Given the VFR’s popularity in years past, Ducati surely looked closely at that bike before creating this Supersport. Yes, the V4 has a nice sound, but it’s also much more complex and the bike is some 50 lbs heavier than this Duck V-twin. Plus, Honda doesn’t seem to care much about motorcycles these days and the minor update on the VFR a couple of years ago is proof – not much was done.

      • Dave says:

        The last VFR update was pretty significant. It was a return to something more like the legendary 5th gen (have one, love it). It was exactly what the VFR faithful asked for. And then they didn’t buy it.

        This seems like a fantastic steet sport bike, but not as versatile as a VFR.

        • Superlight says:

          From I’ve read the VFR faithful asked for more displacement/power, but didn’t get it in the update. As for versatility, I’m not so sure the VFR has more – it’s just focused more on “touring” than “sport” and the Supersport does the opposite. Both great bikes.

          • Dave says:

            I recall mostly the ire of the V-tec system and bloat. There were certainly some who wanted 1.000cc’s and some more scoot.

            Agree, both excellent bikes that could probably stand in ably for each other. I have a friend who as a Super Sport and he loves it.

          • Jeremy says:

            There were a few VFR fanatics that used to ride with our sport touring group. Their palpable disappointment with the latest VFR had to do with the weight and the fact that VTEC was still part of the package. But mostly the weight.

            Apparently, what they really wanted was something like this Ducati with a V4 and a Honda badge. (Actually, one of those guys now owns this bike.)

    • Grover says:

      Or you could say, “That Duc has that wonderful sounding twin over the VFR’s V-4, though.

  14. Neal says:

    You can get something like a Z900 and put a screen on it and have a bike with the same ergos, same quality of brakes/suspension, same weight, and more revs and more power for ~$5k less. The Ducati looks prettier though and you’ll to go to the aftermarket for luggage and heated grips.

    • Superlight says:

      Now we’re getting into personal preferences. A naked bike like the Z900 with a plexiglass windshield may work functionally, but aesthetically it’s a disaster. The Supersport was designed to be a comfortable, attractive sport bike from the outset and it shows IMO.
      I agree the Z900 ergos and weight would be similar to the Supersport, but disagree on brakes/suspension quality on the Kawi – not of the same quality as the Ducati, especially compared to the Ohlins equipped version. I won’t argue about horsepower, except that the Ducati torque peak is at 6500 RPMs, where you can readily access it on the street.
      Ducati does offer factory saddlebags and heated grips for this bike if that’s your thing, though I think the bags are overpriced.

  15. John Paul Bell says:

    🤣👍

  16. Tommy D says:

    This is one bike that begs to have the touring bags added and left on. I think it actually looks complete and more pleasing to the eye with the bags on. That motor though… Wheezy at highway speeds. I’d rather have the 959 motor and lose a little bottom end torque for the more exciting higher rev/bhp. Put a blipper on it and it would be much more entertaining.

    • Superlight says:

      If you think top-end power is paramount you need a Panigale, not the Supersport. What Ducati has done is put the power where you use it on the street, in the midrange, rather than at the top-end. Makes sense to me, coming from a pure sport bike (MV F3).

  17. Marc says:

    I have owned the Supersport S version for almost 2 years. Suspension is excellent, seat is quite cushy compared to other sport bikes or even compared to naked bikes. It’s not as quick in the twisties as my 790 Duke, but certainly outhandles my Triumph Speed Twin. I am imfamous for,getting rid of bikes that don’t handle well. The Superspoert S is a keeper.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Looks extremely uncomfortable. Crushed nads, check. Bootheels under yer butt, check. Handlebars positioned for the PPP, check. 30 miles and get off. SMH.

    • Dave says:

      I’ve sat on one and it has a really neutral, comfortable sport riding position. In the photos, Dirk has the pegs under the balls of his feet (like a skilled rider does). That probably makes the peg position look more aggressive than it is.

      • TimC says:

        “skilled”/tangent: He’s leaning his upper body the wrong way in the corner….

        • Jeremy says:

          For all we know, he might be picking it back up, in which case he’s leaning the right way.

          • LIM says:

            If you observe the position of the bike in relation to the road, it had passed the apex of the corner.

            The rider was picking the bike up to exit the corner.

        • Dirck Edge says:

          Sorry TimC, but you’re leaning the “wrong way” comment is just ignorant. We wrote an article about this a while ago.

          • TimC says:

            Yep, I recall, as well as IIRC arguments between you and Ets-Hokin on the topic. Afraid I’m gonna still go with a) Parks/Ienatsch and b) physics on this one.

          • Dirck Edge says:

            TimC, I’m afraid it’s not so simple. Here is the old article on the topic: http://www.motorcycledaily.com/2015/08/shifting-your-weight-to-the-outside-in-a-corner-why/ . I have ridden with Kevin Scwantz on the road and he sat bolt upright in corners. Freddie Spencer told me many years ago that he doesn’t lean to the inside while cornering on the street. He keeps his weight centered. You have to think about it a bit more carefully. You are effectively saying Jeff Ward (9 time AMA champ, including multiple supermoto titles … where the typical track is 85% asphalt), who leans his body to the OUTSIDE of the bike in road corners, doesn’t know how to ride.

            Experienced riders vary their body position as circumstances vary. When ground clearance becomes an issue, you have to shift your weight to the inside of the bike. The same applies when the lean angle of the bike risks rolling off the edge of the tire – you have to shift your weight/lean off to the inside to keep the bike up on the grippy part of the tire. An extreme example is a MotoGP rider dragging his elbow on the inside of the corner.

            If neither of these circumstances exist (restricted ground clearance or rolling-off the edge of the tire) leaning to/hanging off to the inside of the bike in turns is an unnecessary exercise and a waste of energy. This was Freddie Spencer’s point, and I agree. Some inexperienced riders have an exaggerated body position when it isn’t necessary and they look stupid, frankly. They read somewhere that they should ride that way, apparently, and they don’t have the feel/experience to realize it is wasted energy.

            The pictures of Jeff Ward and Kevin Scwantz dipping the bike and shifting their body weight to the OUTSIDE of the bike on road surfaces doesn’t mean they lack skill or experience. This can be the best technique on the road, and the fastest way around. Again, these riders can feel when it is the right technique because of their experience. Basically, when ground clearance/tire roll-off are not concerns, you can typically change the motorcycles direction, and lean angle, more quickly and easily by “pushing it down” on corner entry. If you think about it, counter-steering illustrates this principle.

            Years ago, Gabe would exaggerate his body position in corners even when the bike was relatively upright (not close to dragging the pegs or rolling off the tire) and I told him it looked foolish in photos appearing in MD. He disagreed, and you are entitled to disagree.

          • todd says:

            Here’s a little more reading on the matter. Source: the internet…
            http://www.ridesmart.info/index.php?page=motorcycle%20body%20position

    • What motorcycle do you find comfortable?

      • PatrickD says:

        He’s never been on one, but his mother told him they were nasty things.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well sonny, I’m in my 70’s and currently have six motorcycles in my garage. I’ve owned in excess of 80 motorcycles since the sixties. To answer Mr. Kahn, I find any motorcycle with a standard riding position to be comfortable although there have been exceptions.

          • Superlight says:

            Well, I just turned 70 and find the Supersport riding position quite comfortable. Sitting bolt-upright, like on many naked bikes, makes the rider a kite in the wind.

          • Mid-60’s and down to six bikes out of 70+ myself. Most with what used to be called “S” bars for awhile around the time of the R90S.

    • TimC says:

      I sat on one (didn’t ride, didn’t want to con the dealer on something I’m def not getting atm) and found the peg position to be UNDER aggressive for this style of bike. I didn’t think it matched the upper body cant, hence felt odd.

  19. azicat says:

    Dirck do you think the higher spec suspension on the S model is worth the upgrade? How did you find the standard suspension perform on the street for your weight?

    • Superlight says:

      I bought the S model with the Ohlins suspension and I can tell you it works great on Michigan’s crumbling roads.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Haven’t tested the “S”, but the standard model’s suspension will satisfy most riders of a bike that isn’t targeting hard core sport riders. Like anything else, it is somewhat dependent on your budget constraints.

    • azicat says:

      Thanks Dirck and Superlight. Both variants sound like great bikes for the sporty street rider. I can’t think of any other comparable bike on the market. Only the Street Triple R/RS and MV Turismo Veloce come to mind.

      • Superlight says:

        BMW had the R1250RS in their lineup as another sport touring possibility, but I looked yesterday and it no longer shows on their website as an available model. I demo’d that bike a couple of years ago and was impressed with it.

    • matt says:

      The OE incarnation of Ohlins on the “cheap” bikes is generally sub-par. If you want good suspension go Nitron, Penske, or K-Tech. Otherwise stump for the full-zoot Ohlins. Is the ‘S’ better than the stock pars? Sure. But for the same/similar price premium you could have had the good stuff.

      The only “comfortable” yet sporty Ducati is the Monster lineup IMO and even then the pegs are way too high for ‘average’ American proportions. If you have short legs like it seems Ducati has on their ergonomics team, then you won’t mind. I was forced to drop the pegs over an inch for the Monster 1200s to be useful for more than 20 minutes of normal riding. If you’re blitzing apexes non-stop, then sure the pegs don’t bother so much.

      The SS I rode is definitely not a 916 but I would hardly categorize it as comfortable. Not remotely like the ST3/4 or a VFR or similar.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    Seems like a lot of bike for $13000-$15000.

    Give us an idea of what it feels like on consecutive 750 mile days.

    • bmbktmracer says:

      Seriously?

    • Rapier says:

      750 mile days with those pegs?

      Anyway I conclude the opposite on the price. That is a premium price for the performance it offers. Nice bike I’m sure.

      • todd says:

        In the 4th photo it looks like his leg is bent at a 90 while on the ball of his foot. I’d say that’s pretty neutral.

        • Stuki Moi says:

          A bit of forward lean also makes higher pegs more tolerable. The stretch it provides for the posterior chain, balances out tension across the front of the knee much better than sitting bolt upright with a similarly bent knee would. At least as long as the pegs aren’t too far back. Aside from straight up rolling couches, there are few bikes more comfortable for big miles than ZX14s and their ilk, despite of how “extreme” they may look to the uninitiated.

    • motowarrior says:

      I imagine it feels like you should have bought an adventure touring bike, if you don’t want the mass of a full touring bike.

    • Dave says:

      “consecutive 750 mile days.”

      Who does that, and what for? Buy a plane ticket and ride a rental when you get wherever you’re going.

      • Bob K says:

        Who does that? Me. And Lots of people like me who really ride their bikes. Go hang out on AdvRider and see. It’s not a weekend, sunny day toy to everyone. If you’ve never taken long trips on a bike, you’re missing a lot between point A and point B.
        .
        I’ve made it from Houston, TX to Anchorage, AK 3 times in 6 days each on a HD Super Glide Sport, A Buell X1 and an BMW R1100S. Big deal. A 4th trip and the Buell to Yellowknife in 6 days. And Ft. Good Hope in the Northwest Territories in 7 days on a GS.
        .
        The point being, if your doing a review of a supersport/sport-standard, do more than an hour on it in broad daylight on a nice day. Get wet, ride at night and at least do an overnighter somewhere carrying a few things for an honest review.

      • Mikey says:

        Well, for one, some people just like riding.

      • TimC says:

        I have a saying. “No matter who you are, no matter what you are doing, always ask yourself: ‘Am I in the tool shed?’.”

      • Dino says:

        I find 750 mile days to be a great way to get to where you want to go, then you have your own bike, at your own pace, no airport crowds, rental bikes or cars… I just like to drive, and to ride.

        Sometimes you need to slow down and check out the scenery in those 750 miles. If you have limited vacation days, and you are going to the Rockies, you could be forgiven for just blasting through parts of the midwest that are a bit more flat.

        I could probably put bags on this bike, maybe a bump in the windscreen (not too much) and small bar risers, and that might be all I need to tour on this. Though I clearly understand I am not normal!

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