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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Road test: 2018 Ducati SuperSport S

The track-inspired Ducati is a bike that is a dream to drive

As somebody who has spent most of her time on a motocross bike riding in the desert, it is always a thrill to hop on a bike with a bit more power, and the Ducati SuperSport S certainly doesn’t disappoint. It is a brilliant bike, with plenty of torque when you grab a handful, but it’s still a comfortable ride.

The SuperSport S is marketed as perfect for road riding without compromising its sporting spirit, to paraphrase Ducati. The subsequent lack of any soreness after riding definitely backs up that statement. The seating position makes for a pleasant commuter ride, while the handlebar set-up allows you to sit high, and the soft, wide – but not quite Honda Gold Wing wide – leather seat is perfect for stylish road riding.

Ducati has included three riding modes: Sport, Touring and Urban. Each mode adjusts the ABS, traction control and horsepower to fit the terrain you are riding on. Get the lowdown on how to switch between modes before setting off, though, because it isn’t very intuitive.

My favourite modification to the stock set-up is the full Akrapovic exhaust system that Ducati UAE has seen fit to put on my test model in place of the original pipes. It gives the bike a slick look and beautiful purr. Having seen the stock pipes, the alternatives are worth the investment.

Let’s face it, in the UAE, you need some pretty reliable brakes – and the radial brake system is a regular set-up for grand prix racing bikes that allows you to feel the feedback in your fingers. Another helpful feature on our roads is the position of the indicators, which sit nice and high in the front, increasing visibility for other motorists on busy roads.

Depending on your height, you might encounter an annoying knob digging into your knees: the top rear-cylinder mounting point to the frame protrudes a little bit.

Ducati has thought ahead and added rubber mounts, although this might affect your riding position to a small extent.

And while I understand that vibrating side-view mirrors are somewhat unavoidable on a powerful beast such as this, while riding at night, I wasn’t too sure if there were cars behind me or a long-exposure light photograph had replaced my mirrors, rendering them almost useless. A user manual would also be helpful – I feel a bit silly trying to adjust the fixed mirror holders until I realise you just need to poke around with your fingers to get the mirrors themselves at the right angle, avoiding smearing your fingerprints across them if possible.

But these are just minor details on an otherwise very impressive bike, and one that definitely catches the eye. I thought it might be because I’m a woman on a Ducati that I attracted some stares rolling into my favourite burger joint one evening, but I couldn’t take all the credit. Once I hopped off, various phone cameras were pointed toward the bike and I got all sorts of questions about it, even from the burger joint staff.

I can’t guarantee that this will happen every time, but it is some measure of the effect that the SuperSport S has on onlookers.

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The specs: 2018 Ducati SuperSport S

Price, base / as tested: Dh74,900 / Dh85,900

Engine: 937cc

Transmission: Six-speed gearbox

Power: 110hp @ 9,000rpm

Torque: 93Nm @ 6,500rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 5.9L / 100km