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Meta Review: Riding the 2017 Ducati SuperSport, ‘A Ducati sport bike for the road’

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Can Ducati’s ‘comfortable’ sports tourer live up to its promise?

Before we start, full disclosure: This is the bike that Steve is most excited about from either the EICMA or INTERMOT shows, so he’ll be paying more attention to this than most.

The launch is happening in Spain – on both the road and track – and we’ll finally get to see if the new, 937cc V-Twin from Bologna delivers on its promise. It’s already been voted ‘most beautiful bike‘ at the Milan motorcycle show, but now we’ll see if it rides as well as it looks.

At £11,495 for the ‘regular’ model and £12,795 for the SuperSport ‘S’, it’s already making the case to be set apart into a class all of its own – with perhaps only Suzuki’s GSX-S1000F or Honda’s latest VFR’s for any kind of company.

We’ll be checking out (and updating you on) everybody’s social media and websites during the day – Valentine’s day no less – to see if Steve’s promise of undying love for the new SuperSport stays true…

Even if it has lost its twin-tone looks that we first saw.


Latest Updates:

Tuesday 14th February

17:12
Michael Neeves has sent out another update over on MCN after the road ride this afternoon,

“I was expecting it to be a comfortable sports bike, as Ducati themselves say, but the reality is it’s actually very sporty… “The most impressive thing about it, in true Ducati style, is how well it handles. It’s a very stable, swift, sweet handling sportsbike”

15:02
‘Good all-round sports bike’ – we’ll take that.

 

13:13
MCN have just posted a video of onboard action from a drying track. It gives a great impression of the rider view and – perhaps more interestingly – the sound of the new SuperSport S.

 

11:37
And now for the initial results from the MCN jury,

“The riding position feels really natural – you’re sat in the bike – and it really feels like it will work well on the road”.

(This is good news for Steve, who likes to be able to rest his considerable belly on the tank).

“There’s a broad, flat spread of power which makes riding easy, but on a track as big as this it feels a little breathless and doesn’t highlight the strengths of the engine. It should fit nicely on the road.”

(This is slightly disappointing but perhaps to be expected, especially considering that yesterday the majority of these same riders were on track with the very-focused Triumph Street Triple RS).

“Overall it’s a very easy bike to ride, and anyone should be able to enjoy it straight away.”

(Steve likes easy bikes. This makes him happy).

11:21
Prices for the SuperSport S have been released, and it’s looking that it’ll require a good, couple of grand premium over the standard model at £12,295 in red, £12,495 in white.

The regular SuperSport is set to retail at £10,995.

 

10:56
As they were with the Triumph Street Triple 765cc launch yesterday, Insurance company Bennetts are first off the blocks with a quick, paragraph of first thoughts after an hour or so of wet riding at the Monteblanco circuit this morning,

“The bike is incredibly agile and easy to handle and what the wet conditions really demonstrate are the brakes, which were very powerful in hauling us down from an indicated 225 kph at the end of the straight. Suspension is from Ohlins, and it feels very plush. Ducati have set the bike up slightly softer for the wet conditions, so it feels more like you would ride on the road. It feels like a Ducati sport bike for the road, one that you can ride every day.”

There’s always a slight bit of concern when you learn of intervention on behalf of the company personnel on hand – who sound like they’ve done their best to alter and edit the set-up specifically for the rain and the track – but that’s probably to be expected. What is pleasing to hear is that it would seem to have ticked the ‘everyday sportsbike’ box nicely.

We’ll find out later if that translates to the roads.

10:52
Here’s the Ducati SuperSport, at full twist and with the optional, Akrapovic exhausts,

09:31
It looks to be raining fairly constantly at the launch of the SuperSport in Spain,

 

Much to the disappointment of the journalists on track (and Steve who was hoping to get some quick feedback and footage of the bike in motion so that he could prove to Ian that he was wrong).

 


08:31
A nice comparison of two of the different ‘pack’ upgrades that we learned about last night,

Monday 13th

20:59 GMT
Lots of accessories as you would expect from Ducati. These additional exhausts from Akrapovic look particularly good…

…but there is also an interesting set of ‘packs’ from Ducati. We’ve already seen the touring pack (panniers, heated grips, smoked, taller screen) but it’s looking like there are going to be ‘Urban’ and ‘Sports’ ones too.

The Sports pack has a carbon mudguard, a tankpad, some upgraded, LED rear indicators, racier brake levers and fancy, aluminium reservoir caps.

Not really sporty, more ‘blingy’ we’d say, but still nice to have options eh?
18:55
The press briefing is underway now. Looks like Ducati paid the money for a big, shiny, screen. Which means that lots of nice and useful information is coming down the wires (is that still a saying?).

Useful information like the fact that it will come with 44 litres of luggage capacity – assuming you buy the full pannier set (which won’t be out for a few months until after the bike hits the streets).


17:07

The privileged journalists and writers are just starting to arrive for the launch. There’ll most probably be a press briefing tonight with the riding taking place tomorrow.

Expect lots of tweets and updates of people stood in front of static bikes and possible shots of menus and/or beer.


 Walkround Video


Galleries:

Show Photographs

 

Studio Shots


Specifications:

Ducati SuperSport

Colours:

Two-tone fairing, Ducati Red and Saturn Grey, with Ducati Red frame and Matt Black wheels

Main equipment:

  • 937 cm³ Testastretta 11° engine with 113 hp and 96.7 Nm at 6,500 rpm
  • Euro 4 emissions o 2-1-2 exhaust system with lower pre-silencer and lateral silencer with stacked pipes
  • Trellis frame with load-bearing engine
  • Height-adjustable 2-position Plexiglas screen with 50 mm of travel
  • 3-spoke wheels with Y-shaped spokes
  • Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres, 120/70 ZR17 front and 180/55 ZR17 rear
  • Fully adjustable 41 mm Marzocchi forks
  • Sachs shock with adjustable spring pre-load and rebound damping
  • Brembo front braking system with two 320 mm discs and M4.32 calipers
  • Brembo PR18/19 front radial brake pump o 3 Riding Modes (Sport, Touring, Urban)
  • Ducati Safety Pack (ABS Bosch + Ducati Traction Control)
  • Ready for Ducati Quick Shift (up/down)
  • Headlight with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
  • Full-LCD instrumentation
  • Under-seat waterproof USB port
  • Ready to incorporate Ducati Multimedia System (DMS)

Ducati SuperSport S

Colours:

  • Ducati Red fairing with Ducati Red frame and Matt Black wheels
  • Star White Silk fairing with Ducati Red frame and Glossy Red wheels

Main equipment

  • 937 cm³ Testastretta 11° engine with 113 hp and 96.7 Nm at 6,500 rpm
  • Euro 4 emissions o 2-1-2 exhaust system with lower pre-silencer and lateral silencer with stacked pipes
  • Trellis frame with load-bearing engine
  • Height-adjustable 2-position Plexiglas screen with 50 mm of travel
  • 3-spoke wheels with Y-shaped spokes
  • Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres, 120/70 ZR17 front and 180/55 ZR17 rear
  • Fully adjustable 48 mm Öhlins TiN-treated fork (specific “S” version content)
  • Fully adjustable Öhlins shock absorber (specific “S” version content)
  • Brembo front braking system with two 320 mm discs and M4.32 calipers
  • Brembo PR18/19 front radial brake pump o 3 Riding Modes (Sport, Touring, Urban)
  • Ducati Safety Pack (ABS Bosch + Ducati Traction Control)
  • Ducati Quick Shift up/down (specific “S” version content)
  • Headlight with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
  • Full-LCD instrumentation o Under-seat waterproof USB port
  • Colour-coordinated rear seat cover (specific “S” version content)
  • Ready for Ducati Multimedia System (DMS)

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REVIEWS

Ride Review: The Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 hits the bullseye!

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WE’VE WAITED SO LONG, and it’s finally here.

It was over three years ago, in November 2014, when Husqvarna revealed the Vitpilen 401 concept at the huge EICMA show in Italy. It marked Husqvarna’s return to the street motorcycle segment, and the attention it received was massive.

The angular, fresh design helped: for many, it was a welcome respite from the endless focus on the retro scene. Then a year later, the bigger 701 concept was unveiled: another clean and modern design, built around the 690 Duke engine from sister company KTM.

Husqvarna Vitpilen designer: ‘We want to offer an alternative to the motorcycle market’.

Fortunately, the production Vitpilen 701 is very close to the concept, and the design is stunning in the metal. The tank is a piece of modern art, and so is the tail unit. It’s all very clean and sleek—very Swedish, pure and simple.

This is the DNA of the bike, and its vision too. It was not developed for a specific target group, and there is no stereotype that matches its philosophy. The Vitpilen 701 defines its own segment.

The new Husqvarna is a serious and ‘grown up’ motorcycle, and not just a style item.

It’s tempting to underestimate single cylinder bikes, but one shouldn’t. Especially not when the engine is the most powerful street single you can get nowadays. It’s derived from the KTM Duke 690 and delivers 75 hp at 8,500 rpm from 693 cc. It’s also worth noting the Vitpilen’s wet weight of only 166 kilograms, which is easy meat for this engine.

It’s a good setup and it’ll put a bright smile on your face. In Swedish Vitpilen means “white arrow” and the moniker fits well.

The urban playgrounds of Barcelona and the Catalonian backcountry are a good area to test performance, in both city traffic and on twisty roads. The chassis is quite firm, but it’s a dynamic and precise riding experience.

It’s super easy to bank the bike quickly from one side to the other, from curve to curve. The 43mm USD forks and monoshock—both from sister company WP Performance Systems—deliver exact feedback. You know exactly what’s going on, but the setup is also stable at speeds of up 160 kph (100 mph) on the highway.

For a single, the sound through the standard exhaust system is pretty good, especially if you’re accelerating at full throttle. If it’s not loud enough for you, you can improve it with a stunning titanium/carbon muffler from Akrapovič—which adds to the looks of the bike and doesn’t require a remap.

The seating position is comfortable and feels ‘just right’—even though it’s higher than you’d expect at 830mm. Everything else is where it needs to be, and gives you a good feeling of control.

The headlight is well made and looks very sharp, but the dashboard could have been finished a little better. It’s also not always easy to read the key information fast.

To sum up: the Vitpilen 701 is a fun and easy bike to ride. It’s not cheap, but it’s not expensive either. For US$11,999 (or £8,899 or €10,195) you can get one of the most desirable and stylish motorcycles on the market.

It’s a progressive design that fits the modern zeitgeist, with state-of-the-art componentry and engineering—and a dynamic riding experience. Well done Husqvarna. Your white arrow has hit the bullseye.


The full version of this review first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here with explicit permission.

For the full review by Christoph Blumberg of CRAFTRAD and more photographs head on over to BikeExif.com

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Ride Review: We’d buy a Triumph Tiger 800 XC in an instant – If we had the money!

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We often speak about riding into the ‘middle of nowhere’ – that place where we’ve lost GPS signal, there’s no bars on the mobile phone reception and there isn’t a petrol station for miles around – but it’s usually a metaphor and doesn’t really exist.

Yet somehow, Triumph found us that place for the Tiger 800 launch and we can”t wait to return.

Our ‘middle of nowhere’ for the Triumph Tiger 800 test is in and around the wasteland of lake Lalla Takerkoust in Morocco. It’s a fitting location for the smaller bike in the Tiger range that Triumph hope is to become synonymous with adventure.

What kind of adventure chosen is up to the individual of course and everyone has to decide for themselves – it could just be a ride through the centre of the city at rush hour, or a trip through the African savannah. Regardless of your pursuits, Triumph say that they now have a very clear Tiger 800 range that should offer something for everyone. But even after speaking with Triumph’s Chief Engineer Stuart Woods it took us longer than we would like to fully comprehend the difference between the Tiger XR, XRx, XRxlrh, XRt, XCx and XCA.

For those who are of a similar mindset, the closest we could come to was this… The XR is for asphalt use and is available in a basic version (XR), the same bike but slightly more richer equipped (XRx with LED daytime running lights, handle heating, TFT color dashboard, etc) or as a luxury model (XRt with heated seat, full LED, extra driving modes, fully adjustable Showa suspension, etc).

The lrh version, or Low Ride Height, is considered a completely separate model because the engine not only receives a lower saddle, but also a lower suspension. It’s nice that Triumph takes into account a slightly shorter riders!

This logic is then extended out from the XR series to the more off-road orientated XC range. However, there isn’t a ‘basic’ XC version, just the XCx which is already reasonably well equipped and then the XCa which has all of the bells and whistles thrown at it.

Anyway, enough letters and versioning, as motorcycle journalists we get to feed our egos with only the best models, so the XRt and XCa are presented to us and the heated seats are immediately welcomed as we set off towards the Atlas Mountains.

The addition of new toys and electronics make an already good ride even better

The first few kilometres are enough for us to determine the marked differences between this and the previous Tiger 800. Of course the most immediately visible from a rider’s view is the new colour TFT dashboard screen and handily adjustable windshield. From an aural perspective the new 800 has a narrower exhaust damper that sounds a lot deeper in low revs and roars louder as you open the throttle. It’s the perfect amplifier for that wonderful, triple engine.

The Triumph engineers will say that there are more than 200 improvements made to this new Tiger 800, but whilst the changes made may be many, the bike still feels comfortably familiar. This is no bad thing either, as the Tiger 800 was always a relatively light and fun bike that didn’t shy away from the task of tackling heavier roads.

Certainly during the first test drive on the road with the XRt it is noticeable how smoothly the three-cylinder picks up from the bottom and still pulls hard up to the red zone at 10,500 rpm. The sports mode with it’s 95hp isn’t the most potent of machines on the market, but this just means it’s a machine that we reckon everyone would be able to handle. In this respect the gearing has been tweaked too – enabling a shorter first gear that means that riders should now benefit from better control of immediate torque when compared to the previous version – especially when off-road.

Where the Tiger 800 really shines through is with it’s balance of components, comfort and riding characteristics. The wide handlebars offer a solid lever, the tank is well-formed and offers a lot of ‘grip’ and it’s interesting to note that the larger 21″ front wheel on the XCa is almost as neutral and familiar as the XR.

Who ever thinks that an 800cc three-cylinder is too heavy to play in loose sand, between the rocks or on jumps, must revise this opinion immediately

All of the Tiger 800s (with the exception of the base model XR) come with Brembo front brakes too, and these do a fantastic job of offering balanced bite in well-managed doses. And of course there is the adjustable ABS that really handles itself well in even the most treacherous of circumstances.

After a whole day of touring, we become convinced that the new Tiger 800 isn’t so much a revolution of the previous machine as opposed to a measured and balanced evolution of it. The engine was already great – it still is – and the addition of new toys and electronics make an already good ride even better.

The next day sees us on the XCa’s equipped with Pirelli Scorpion Rally studs and playing some more on the Moroccan trails.

Even more so than on the road, it strikes us just how well balanced the XCa is and how smoothly this engine comes out to play.

Who ever thinks that an 800cc three-cylinder is too heavy to play in loose sand, between the rocks or on jumps, must revise this opinion immediately. Admittedly, it doesn’t take long before the bottom plate has claps,the soil underneath, but that’s what it’s for!

We do wonder if the plastic hand caps and tank parts would survive a slight crash just as quickly though.

After just a short ride in the sand, it dawns on us that this is the real, natural habitat for for the Tiger 800. The XRt is undoubtedly the more thoughtful option for the busy road traffic, but given a choice we would buy an XC in an instant, slip on the off-road studs and drift, slip and jump my way along any dirt I could find, powered by that sumptuous three-cylinder soundtrack.

If we had the £12,500 to spend on such a machine that is! And that’s before we’ve even added the cost of the panniers.

The Tiger 800 is a beautiful machine and the equipment is as top-level as a rider can get, but secretly we dream of a Tiger 800 XC with as little bling and glamour as possible. Forget the iPad like dashboard, the 27 rider modes, electronic aids, heated grips or Brembo brakes and give us a basic XC package for around £9,500.

Sure the ride won’t be quite as pleasurable, but then the tent we would have strapped to the back wouldn’t come with air-conditioning either and we’d be ok with that!

Specifications

Triumph Tiger 800 XRt
Engine:
  800cc, 4 kl./cil., Water-cooled 3-in-line  
Max. power:
 95 hp / 9,500 rpm 
Max. torque:
    79 Nm / 8.050 rpm 
Transmission:
  zesbak, chain 
Frame:
  steel trellis frame 
Front suspension:
  43 mm Showa fully adjustable suspension 180 mm 
Rear suspension:
  Showa monoshock, fully adjustable, suspension 170 mm 
Front brake:
  305 mm discs with Brembo radially mounted four-piston calipers, ABS 
Rear brake :
  255 mm disc with Nissin twin piston caliper, ABS Front 
/ rear tires: 
 100 / 90-19 / 150 / 70-17  
Dry weight:
 199-208kg, depending on model 
Seat height:
  810 – 830 mm 
Tank capacity:
      19 l. 
Colours:
  Silver Ice, Crystal White, Matt Cobalt Blue

 

Triumph Tiger 800 XCa
Engine:
  800cc, 4 kl./cil., Water-cooled 3-in-line  
Max. power:
 95 hp / 9,500 rpm 
Max. torque:
    79 Nm / 8.050 rpm 
Transmission:
  zesbak, chain 
Frame:
  steel trellis frame 
Front suspension:
  43 mm WP fully adjustable travel 220 mm 
Rear suspension:
  WP monoshock, fully adjustable, travel 215 mm 
Front brake:
  305 mm discs with Brembo radially mounted four-piston calipers, ABS 
Rear brake :
  255 mm disc with Nissin twin piston caliper, ABS Front 
/ rear tires:
 90 / 90-21 / 150 / 70-17  
Dry weight:
  199-208kg, depending on model
Seat height:
  840 – 860 mm 
Tank capacity:
      19 l. 
Colours:
  Korosi Red, Crystal White, Marine


This review was first featured on MaxxMoto. It’s translated and republished here with permission.

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