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2022 Ducati SuperSport 950 S Review

We go for a ride aboard Ducati’s comfy SuperSport 950 S ($16,395).

We go for a ride aboard Ducati’s comfy SuperSport 950 S ($16,395). (Joey Agustin/)

Not everyone wants, or needs, a 190 hp superbike. Enter Ducati’s SuperSport 950 S. Designed to be an everyday sportbike, this particular Ducati pays homage to the original 900 SuperSport, a simple, practical, and above all else charismatic air-cooled L-twin sportbike. The formula remains the same: trackdays, street riding, backpack day touring, this bike’s good for a little bit of everything. Think Honda’s VFR750 and VFR800.

But the first trip is taken with the eyes. We’ve written about it when reviewing the various Panigales; Ducati aesthetic engineers do a remarkable job. The styling and the sheer presence of this motorcycle is matched by few other bikes on the road. We love the Panigale V4 S-esque front end, the LED running lights, the elemental steel trellis frame prominently visible on the motorcycle’s flanks. This streetbike pays elegant homage to where Ducati has been and where it is now.

Aesthetically, it’s hard to beat the lines of the Ducati SuperSport 950 S.

Aesthetically, it’s hard to beat the lines of the Ducati SuperSport 950 S. (Joey Agustin/)

The SuperSport is powered by Ducati’s 937cc Testastretta L-twin. Testastretta means “narrow head.” If you’re an old-school Ducati person, you’re going to like this powertrain. Compared to bikes like the Panigale V2 and other models with the high-revving Superquadro L-twin engine, the SuperSport’s powerplant is classic Ducati, similar to the engine used in the Hypermotard 939. It has good bottom-end torque, good midrange; don’t have to rev this engine to the moon to get decent acceleration out of it.

We appreciate the more upright clip-on-style controls of Ducati’s SuperSport. The instrument panel, on the other hand, could be larger.

We appreciate the more upright clip-on-style controls of Ducati’s SuperSport. The instrument panel, on the other hand, could be larger. (Joey Agustin/)

The S-specification SuperSport adds an electronic quickshifter, making it easy to go up and down through the six-speed gearbox. Just tap on the shift and it goes into the next cog without having to use the hydraulic clutch; super slick. Other electronics are typical Ducati: adjustable engine power modes, traction control, adjustable ABS modes.

The 2022 Ducati SuperSport 950 S performs well through slow-to-medium-speed turns.

The 2022 Ducati SuperSport 950 S performs well through slow-to-medium-speed turns. (Joey Agustin/)

However, while using all the gadgetry is straightforward enough, the instrument panel could be bigger. It’s great that it’s a color TFT display, but the display area of the panel is too small, as are the fonts. There’s a fuel gauge, which is nice, but menu navigation needs improvement, as does the switch gear; there’s way too much fumbling at the controls to get into and out of menus, too much button pushing. Ducati would do well to invest in its user interface.

The SuperSport offers a nice, comfy saddle that makes miles melt away with ease.

The SuperSport offers a nice, comfy saddle that makes miles melt away with ease. (Joey Agustin/)

Get out of the dash and on the road, though, and there’s little to complain about; we love the way this motorcycle handles. Where Panigales are designed for circuit riding and high-speed corners, this Ducati performs best during the low- to medium-speed stuff most riders see every day. We like how low the rider sits; the bike almost feels like a Suzuki GSX-R, positioning the rider low in the chassis. It all makes for agile, composed handling.

We’re big fans of the S-model SuperSport’s upgraded Öhlins suspension components.

We’re big fans of the S-model SuperSport’s upgraded Öhlins suspension components. (Joey Agustin/)

We also appreciate the up-spec Öhlins suspension. We’re typically not big fans of the Öhlins production suspension on Ducati’s S models, but this is a well-calibrated package. We particularly like its lighter spring rate, which strikes a good balance between around-town comfort and good support when leaning through turns. One gripe: We wish the shock offered remote preload adjustment. If you want to adjust the ride height of the bike, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way, with tools.

The SuperSport impresses with its light and responsive handling.

The SuperSport impresses with its light and responsive handling. (Joey Agustin/)

The 4.2-gallon fuel tank is fine for general street riding; those who want to go sport-touring will find capacity a touch too small. A 5-gallon fuel tank would be a decent improvement. Also, where’s the cruise control? Still, we like the ability to purchase cleanly integrated Ducati accessory hard luggage ($1,662.41), a no-brainer add-on purchase if it’s our bike.

Riders seeking a relaxed riding sportbike that can do a bit of everything will appreciate the SuperSport 950 S ($16,395).

Riders seeking a relaxed riding sportbike that can do a bit of everything will appreciate the SuperSport 950 S ($16,395). (Joey Agustin/)

Ergonomically, we like the high level of comfort; the handlebars are nice and high, the seat is nice and low. This is a much more comfortable all-day sportbike than a Panigale. For someone who is a little bit older, who is a little bit less flexible, this kind of comfort is added value.

The SuperSport S is certainly a looker when viewed from any angle.

The SuperSport S is certainly a looker when viewed from any angle. (Joey Agustin/)

On the downside of user comfort, there’s a bit of a buzz problem. While we appreciate the old-school Testastretta engine with its abundant delivery of low-end and midrange torque, it also delivers borderline excessive vibration. To be fair, the vibration is almost soothing during some rides, as if the engine is talking to you. The gripe is that it completely clouds the rearview mirrors, which are a blurry mess when riding at freeway speeds.

Considering how touring-friendly the SuperSport is, it should offer a larger-capacity fuel tank and cruise control.

Considering how touring-friendly the SuperSport is, it should offer a larger-capacity fuel tank and cruise control. (Joey Agustin/)

Besides those few gripes, we absolutely enjoyed the Ducati SuperSport 950 S. It looks cool. It’s very comfortable. It has touches of Ducati’s old-school motorcycle manufacturing and engineering practices, yet still offers some touches of its modern technology. It even has a bright LED headlight for riding after dark. If you’re looking for a casual sportbike that encapsulates Ducati style, history, and undeniable charisma, you’re going to like this $16,395 Ducati SuperSport S.

Folks seeking a milder, gentler sportbike that pays homage to Ducati’s roots, will like the 2022 SuperSport 950 S.

Folks seeking a milder, gentler sportbike that pays homage to Ducati’s roots, will like the 2022 SuperSport 950 S. (Joey Agustin/)

2022 Ducati SuperSport 950 S Technical Specifications and Price

Price: $16,395 as tested
Engine: 937cc, liquid-cooled, Testastretta 11° V-twin; 4 valves/cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 94.0 x 67.5mm
Compression Ratio: 12.6:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection w/ 53mm throttle bodies; ride-by-wire
Clutch: Wet, multiplate slipper and servo-assist; hydraulic actuation
Transmission/Final Drive: 6-speed/chain
Frame: Steel trellis
Front Suspension: Fully adjustable 48mm Öhlins inverted fork; 5.1 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Öhlins monoshock, spring preload adjustable; 5.7 in. travel
Front Brakes: Radial-mounted Brembo 4-piston M4.32 calipers, radial master cylinder, dual 320mm semi-floating discs w/ Cornering ABS
Rear Brake: Brembo 2-piston caliper, 245mm disc w/ Cornering ABS
Wheels, Front/Rear: Cast wheels; 17 x 3.5 in. / 17 x 5.5 in.
Tires, Front/Rear: Pirelli Diablo Rosso III; 120/70-17 / 180/55-17
Wheelbase: 58.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 24.0°/3.7 in.
Seat Height: 31.9 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gal.
Claimed Wet Weight: 463 lb.
Warranty: 2 years, unlimited mileage
Contact: ducati.com

Ducati could certainly make some strides in the user interface department. The switch gear and menu navigation are clunky.

Ducati could certainly make some strides in the user interface department. The switch gear and menu navigation are clunky. (Joey Agustin/)

We love the visceral feel and immediate, low-end power of the 939cc L-twin.

We love the visceral feel and immediate, low-end power of the 939cc L-twin. (Joey Agustin/)

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