When in 2017 Ducati resurrected the SuperSport model after a hiatus of 10 years needed to heal the scars left by the terrible Pierre Terblanche project of 2004, the name was the only tie that tried to connect the new model to the tradition of the long sequel of very successful Ducati SuperSport models.
The bike was conceived and promoted as a sport-tourer mixing a style strongly inspired to that of the thunderous Panigale 1198 and related derivatives, a mildly tuned 937 cc Testastretta V2 and touring oriented components and accessories, including bags.
The whole wrapped by a relatively softly sprung chassis that was intended to ensure comfortable rides for two.

The response from the public was mild for the very simple reason that a Ducati must be a Ducati, same as a Ferrari. A Ducati must be sport oriented, fast, aggressive, no compromises, or extrovert, Scrambler style. Nothing in between.
When the mighty Panigale V2 1299 was replaced by the Panigale V4 I buckled up tight because I expected that turning away from its tradition of legendary V2s would hurt badly the Borgo Panigale business but I am pleased to say that I was too conservative because the market around the world immediately cheered to the blinding performances of the Panigale V4 because that was the real Ducati tradition the Ducatisti refer to.

Now comes the second edition of the new SuperSport and it is a dramatically new bike, though at the first look it might appear just a neat facelift and a due upgrade to euro 5 emission standards. The engine is the only major element that underwent just the retuning needed to comply with the tightest euro 5 regulations.
This 937cc unit is the evolution of the Testastretta 11° V2 displacing 821cc that was introduced on the 2018 edition of the Monster and that featured a major “revolution”: the original angular contact ball bearings that had served as main end bearing of the crankshaft from the Pantah 500 days were replaced by 44 mm plain bearings.

This radical evolution from the original “hybrid” crankshaft arrangement produced a substantial increase in the crankshaft rigidity and reliability, since crank (40 mm diameter) and main end journals now overlap for a more relevant section, and a drastic reduction in mechanical noises.
The solidly oversquare engine (94 mm bore – 67.5 mm stroke) features an advanced thermodynamic section with a compact and very neatly designed combustion chamber that breathes thru two 53 mm throttle bodies and works at a 12.6:1 compression ratio.
This unit uses a very moderate lap between the inlet and exhaust cam timing phases to further reduce the emission of unburned HC and generate a very fat torque curve in the process. To underline the excellent thermodynamic efficiency of this 937cc V2, the 2021 edition euro 5 complying unit delivers 110 HP at 9,000 RPM, only 3 HP less than the previous euro 4 one, and 69 ft.lb. peak torque at just 6,500 RPM, and the curve is very flat, with 59 ft.lb already available at a mere 3,500 RPM.

To comply with the new euro 5 norms, the auxiliary secondary air circuit has been further improved while the catalytic converter unit has been enlarged to team up with the advanced digital control system and related software.
The new SuperSport 950 powertrain features a very positive mechanical upgrade with the gearbox selector “desmo” drum now turning on needle bearings that ensure a much more precise action: selectin neutral required only one light pat on the shifter lever and there you are. In addition, the clutch is hydraulically actuated by a Brembo self purging master cylinder.

The 2021 Ducati SuperSport makes a big point about its electronics suite, drastically advanced over the one of the previous edition.
The big innovation comes from the adoption of the latest Bosch six axis inertial platform.
This is the real cornerstone on which a much sophisticated electronics suite has been developed in comparison which the much more limited unit adopted on the previous SuperSport edition. Now the electronic suite of SuperSport 950 is in line with the very high standards of the riding and safety digital assistance systems of the top Ducati models.
The electronic suite comes complete on both the SuperSport 950 and SuperSport S versions and includes: Bosch cornering ABS, traction control EVO that modulates its action also on the basis of the lean, wheelie control EVO, Ducati quick shift up and down EVO.

The parameter of intervention of each system interface with the three selectable riding modes, in order to modulate the respective action in direct and constant relationship with the rider’s preferences.
Riding modes are the typical three. Sport mode: full 110 HP power, direct throttle response, with traction control automatically set on level 3 (of 8) and ABS set on level 2 (of 4). Touring mode: full 110 HP power but more progressive throttle response, traction control set on level 4 and ABS set on level 3. Urban mode: power limited to 75 HP, very progressive throttle response, traction control set on level 6, ABS set on level 3.
All functions of the electronic assistance systems are easily selectable via specific switches on le left and the selected functions are clearly displayed on the 4.3” TFT instrumentation display that also acts as command post of the Ducati Multimedia connectivity system that offers a complete interface capability with the personal smartphone for both external and man-to-machine communications.

The new TFT instrumentation is highly appreciable for its very clear graphics. The chassis remains basically unchanged in the steel tubing trellis structure of the frame and in its main geometrical factors.
The engine acts as a stressed element of the very solid structure that offers good seating for two thanks to the wheelbase spanning 58.2 in. The seat is set at a relatively moderate 32 in height above the ground and the weight “ready to ride” is announced in 463 lb.
The steering geometry is state of the art at 24 degrees steering axis rake and 3.6 in. trail. The SuperSport rolls on cast aluminum wheels shod with 120/70-17 and 180/55-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso 3 radials, front and rear respectively. Generous the braking system by Brembo featuring twin 320 mm rotors with four piston monoblock 4-32 calipers front disc brake and 245 mm rear single rotor with two piston caliper disc brake.
Both versions are fully equipped as described. The differences come into play in the suspensions, with SuperSport 950 S equipped with no less than a full set of Ohlins units: 48 mm male slider fork at the front and a cantilevered gas charged monoshock teamed to the single side rear swingarm. Both the front and the rear units are fully tunable.

SuperSport 950 uses a front Marzocchi 43 mm male slider fork and a gas charged Sachs monoshock, both adjustable. Ducati SuperSport 950 is a fully dressed sports bike and here the styling department worked in combination with the aerodynamics department to refine the look, but, most important, improve the riding comfort.
The styling is racier, sharing the general inspiration that today characterizes all sports and race bike by Ducati. Compared to the previous edition, the new fairing features accurately aimed air vents that are intended to organize the airflow coming in and exiting the fairing so that hot air from the engine compartment will be diverted away from the rider who will be refreshed by smartly aimed by fresh air vents.
The very effective job is not immediately visible because the smartly aimed deflectors are set inside the vents and air scoops and are in black, but they do work.

The same must be said for the adjustable windshield at the top of the fairing, not a big thing, but can be lifted for about 2 in. to deflect the airblast away from the top of your chest and your helmet. Add the availability of heated hand grips and a new seat with memory padding and you know that finally Ducati is caring for you riding comfort, even on a real sports bike.

And at the Pirelli Test Track at Vizzola Ticino the new SuperSport S proved that it is a very capable and accurately conceived racer for every day use, with great pleasure.
Ducati Product Communication Manager and very good friend Giulio Fabbri handed me the bike warning me that the Ohilins suspension were set on the “solid” side and given the uneven surface of the track section we were allowed to use I might find the bike a little rough.
No problem and indeed it was not. I felt immediately at home with the bike.

The clip-ons are set at the right height for comfort, but also ensuring a very rationally sporty riding allure, compact and duly tense, with plenty of load biased to the front. The relatively long wheelbase helps at that so that the bike felt both very stable around full blast 100 mph corners and super agile at low speed, even in very tight maneuvers at walking speed.
Like no other Ducati I can remember.
Steering response is always very precise, neat and neutral and lean angles can easily exceed 45 degrees even at relatively low speed because the bike feels very safe to balance, with plenty of torque to keep it there.
The engine is strong, 120 mph were easily reached even with the relatively short straight I had at disposal, but flexibility and density of torque available at low RPM makes so easy to dominate and fully exploit.

Sport mode settings are perfect for everyday use on dry surfaces. For a final check on the flexibility of this 937 cc 11° Testastretta I went the full lap, which included rather tight loops, using 6th speed only and even when the engine was down to barely 2000 RPM the torque available was adequate to progress with no shudder.
The day at the track with the Ducati SuperSport 950 S was a total blast with no joints and muscles aching at the end of the day to underline that the riding posture is super-ergonomic.

Going back to what Ducati SuperSport meant in the past to the Ducatisti who could not afford an 851 8 Valve Desmo, a look at the price is de rigueur. In the USA Ducati SuperSport 950 is priced at $ 13,495 and SuperSport 950 S at $ 15,795.
For an immediate comparison I checked also the Panigale V2 US price: $ 16,495. Pricewise the two almost overlap in what might turn into a fratricidal feud. The Ducati SuperSport 950 S and Panigale V2 are similar in style and size. Panigale V2 is lighter, 45 HP stronger, racier in all aspects and immensely faster and more aggressive.
A pure Ferrari on two wheels. But SuperSport 950 S is immensely more versatile, more comfortable, more practical.

SuperSport 950 S is a joy to ride and its execution is very rich, including even Ohlins suspension units, and that explains the price. Ducati SuperSport 950 is a typical case of very “intelligent bike”.
In the old days we used to say the for some mysterious reason intelligent bikes never sold.
But times have changed and Ducati SuperSport 950 and 950 S might stir a lot of attention from both diehard Ducatisti and newcomers.

Still I believe then the original mission of the Ducati SuperSport is lost. Maybe it is time for a third version, real cheap, powered by the eternal, 86 HP strong SOHC aircooled V 2 of the Scrambler 1100 PRO.
In the old days an 86 HP strong Ducati SuperSport was a dream. And in these depressed days, price is a major factor.

courtesy of webmatter.de