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I traded my BMW R1200RS in to the Ducati dealer last November against a Supersport. So it's been a long wait, and of course while size, make, power, appearance etc. were all great it's the ride that defines it. I often thought "what if I don't like it?" It wouldn't be the first time.

My bike is on the way and until today I hadn't ridden one. But today I put that right. I was the first person to take the dealers demo bike out for a couple of hours. It only had 30 miles on the clock so I was always going to treat it with respect. The bike was a Supersport S in Red.....

Whilst you're sitting on a static bike the riding position (to me) was almost identical to the R1200RS once you get on the move however it is subtly different. The bars feel more narrow and a little lower than the BM. So more sport than sport touring, but not uncomfortably so even for an old fart!

But lets start at the beginning, before setting off I set the riding mode on touring to start with. Whilst the power is still maximum the delivery is quite soft, ideal for town riding and ideal for a first feel of the bike. The clutch is quite light, being cable operated not as light as an hydraulic system though. As the cable leaves the lever it goes through a sharp ninety degree bend and disappears into the centre of the bike, so the cable must be quite special, I hope it lasts.

It's the first Ducati L twin I've ridden for some time, the only other one being a DVT Multistrada S. It's very rumbly (if that makes sense) not as smooth or refined as BMW's horizontally opposed twin. But it doesn't spoil the feel of the bike, in fact it has quite a character to it. Bland it isn't. Any one going from an in line four to a supersport is in for a complete culture shock and really ought to try before you buy..

In traffic you cant ride along at low revs or even tickover like you can on some multi cylinder bikes. 2,600 to 2,800 is an absolute minimum, 3,000 rpm probably better. Once out on the open road the bike is just great, the engine pulls strongly in any gear, no need to keep the engine on the red line on this bike. The gear change is light, easy and slick using the clutch, but the clutch-less changes are a delight. Better than my BMW and that was good. There have been a few comments about the engine cut out time being a tad too long on upshifts, perhaps it is for a circuit but it's not noticeable on the road. The auto blipper works a treat on downshifts. For those that have never used either it's worth remembering up shift only when accelerating (the harder the better), do not back off at all and for down shifts do it on a closed throttle. You're in for a treat.

After a few miles I stopped and changed the engine mode to sport, what a difference, much more sensitive but not like a Tracer, MT10 or the Suzuki GSX1000F which can be difficult to modulate. Fuelling is faultless, I used this mode for the rest of my ride, it's sport I'll use all the time when mine turns up (other than rain). The bike seems quick enough, it really accelerates very quickly, another benefit of light weight, and for me it's more than quick enough for public roads.

The bike feels so light and manoeuvrable , it reacts quickly and predictably to every movement of the rider, The Ohlins on factory setting give a plush ride but not soft, with hardly any dive on the front when braking hard. As the bike is so light (compared to many others in this class) the Brembo brakes are tremendous, plenty of feel and good modulation. Pull the lever hard and the effect is outstanding. The stability of the bike and the feel of the brakes are just so confidence inspiring. As for handling, I found I was turning into bends just a little early, you only have to think about a corner and the bike just turns in, sweetly, lightly and rock solid it hols a dead steady line around bemds. I shall have to get used to this, but I doubt that'll take long! I can understand why there's no steering damper fitted as standard.

I did eighty miles without a break and found the riding position comfortable, as was the seat. It needs a long ride to really know what the seat will be like but there is a comfort seat available as an accessory should it be needed.

The screen is too small and on it's low setting there's lots of wind blast to your head and upper chest. Pulling the screen up to its highest setting improves this a little; but I'll probably look at the touring screen, yet another accessory from Ducati, it's tinted so should look good. There's a little weight on your wrists which you feel at slow speeds or in traffic, but once you get moving the weight lifts off.

I purposely didn't wear ear plugs for my ride and I was very surprised just how fruity the exhaust note was, It really is quite loud particularly under acceleration, I wouldn't have believed that it was Euro 4 compliant. I can't imagine what the race system will sound like, I have to think perhaps annoyingly loud both for the rider and others. If you're getting one I do hope you're on good terms with your neighbours.

Overall I got back with a smile on my face, It's not a smooth as cream characterless in line four, it has oodles of character, that you see hear and more importantly feel.

And............ when you park it up it's so difficult to not stop, turn around look at it and smile... It'll do for me.

These are all my ramblings, I'm not a riding god or a bike tester, I'm sure there'll be as many opinions as there are Supersports made, these are my opinions and I hope they help?
 

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I traded my BMW R1200RS in to the Ducati dealer last November against a Supersport.
I'm sure there'll be as many opinions as there are Supersports made, these are my opinions and I hope they help?
Nice report, Steeve! I find it interesting you traded an R1200RS for the Duck, as this is one of its competitors, but I understand why. Looking forward to my first demo ride.
 

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thanks for the report

I enjoyed your summary, and am looking forward to when these show up on my side of the pond.
Interesting that you find the exhaust nice and loud--I'm planning on adding Akrapovic as a partial system for a little more grunt.

Cheers,

JK
 

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Nice report, Steeve! I find it interesting you traded an R1200RS for the Duck, as this is one of its competitors, but I understand why. Looking forward to my first demo ride.
Cant wait...im much more excited now
 

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Discussion Starter #5
BMW was a really nice bike, I enjoyed riding it, but never had that deep connection I'm not only looking for but needing.

I feel confident now (after having ridden it) that its special, if there's nothing on the box, I'll take a stool down the garage and just sit and look at it. AND I'll always stop and turn round and look at it as I walk away and think, "**** that's one good looking machine and it's mine"

Yes the std pipe is loud, even the salesman commented on how loud it was yet supposed to be EU compliant. I seriously considered the race pipes, but I know how annoying and tiring it is riding a bike with a droning exhaust. Mine will be fitted with the Akrapovic slip on. I'm betting Akra or some one else will produce a set of Ti cat free headers.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sorry, realised I forgot to add in my review the one major gripe I had with the bike during my test ride.

The mirrors are next to useless. They are too narrow, so you get a great view of your elbows. But when you tuck them out of the way you wont see anything behind if you're travelling at speeds over forty mph. At higher speeds you can even see if there's anything behind you at all. They don't have to be this bad, other manufacturers seem to be able to sort it. This bike does encourage you to, shall we say, "press on" so for your licences sake you need to be wary of what's behind you.

Not acceptable, are their other bikes as bad as this?
 

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The thing that annoyes med the most about the mirrors is that they vibrates alot. Also, and I know this is a subjective thing, my akrapovic slip on isn't close to loud and when idleing it's real quiet. Maybe when I can revv it over 6000 rpm, I get a different sound.
 

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Thanks for the info re the mirrors. That has been my one area of concern based on my experiences with my evo and 1200R. Both bikes had mirrors which were incapable of being adjusted to make them even moderately useful. I ended up replacing the evo mirrors with CRG Lane Splitters and the ones on the R with CRG Arrows. Hope I do not have to that route again mainly due to the turn signals. If the mirrors do need to be swapped out, Ducati lists a block off plate in their catalog. A better alternative would be a suitable Rizoma product with built in signals.

Oh well, nothing is perfect.
 

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Excellent ride report. Thanks for taking the time to write and post it.
 

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Great write up Steeve.

Its pretty much what I had expected and hoped for. Been on a v-twin for some time now and you forget how different / boring the v4's can be. Part of the charm/character of the vTwin is the way it grunts/rumbles/ bucks at very low rpms/speeds. I have seen a few videos on youTube talking about "How to ride a Ducati" Lol. This is a trait of all vTwins.

All in all.....sounds like Ducati has a winner here.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The thing that annoyes med the most about the mirrors is that they vibrates alot. Also, and I know this is a subjective thing, my akrapovic slip on isn't close to loud and when idleing it's real quiet. Maybe when I can revv it over 6000 rpm, I get a different sound.
I purposely didnt ride with ear plugs as I wanted to get more of the actual sound of the bike, do you ride with plugs in? Under hard acceleration it was really quite loud.
 

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I never ride with ear plugs. I like to hear the sound of the engine and what's going on around me. How far up in the rev range did you go? As I wrote earlier, I'm limited to 6000 rpm during break-in.
 

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Steve, what rpm range did you reach on the demo bike?

Was the stock SS exhaust as loud as a Panigale?
 

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Thanks for the write up! Im guessing its still a bit chilly in the UK but did you notice any uncomfortable heat from the bike? Also where the fairing joins the tank does it hinder grabbing the tank between your knees while riding on the balls of your feet? I appreciate any info you can share, thanks in advance.
Cheers,
Bane.
 

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I haven't noticed any heating problems what som ever, but it's not that warm weather in Sweden either. On my hypermotard 821, I never experienced any heating problems.
 

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Its pretty much what I had expected and hoped for. Been on a v-twin for some time now and you forget how different / boring the v4's can be. Part of the charm/character of the vTwin is the way it grunts/rumbles/ bucks at very low rpms/speeds.
I've ridden a Ducati Multi with DVT and that bike doesn't rumble/buck until you're under 2000 RPMs versus 3000 RPMs on other Ducatis.
 

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That was a most thoughtful and informative review. Better than many of the motojournalists ... Addresses what streetriders would be interested to know. How is ti day-to-day? There's nothing like that rumbling v2 ... except maybe the howl of a V4 ... can' t wait for my test on the SS S.
 
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