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my main bike is a BMW S1000RR. I currently own an ST4 for a "purist" Ducati experience, but in my eyes, the most beautiful Ducati ever made is the SS 1000DS. I'm also attracted to the air-cooled two-valve, even if it less powerful than the 916 engine I currently have.

How might the Supersport differ from the ST4? It's lighter, and I assume has far superior handling? But how does the handling of the SS compare with various Ducati Superbikes? 996? 999? 848?

Any insights on the Supersport would be greatly appreciated, particularly in the handling department. Thanks!
 

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As they have progressed in time so has the handling. So has the HP/KG.
900ss is 186KG vs 168KG for an 848.

I love the air cooled bikes but sadley not available in a supersport/superbike.
As has been dreamed by many, one of the late big aircooled engines in a superbike frame from the factory would be the Duc's nuts.

A guy on this forum has an old injected 900ss and punts the thing pretty hard, so no problems with handling. The ST as you know is the old Monster frame so no slug either.

I took the easy route and bought the budget superbike an 848, no flaking rockers or dodgy electricals and looks half ok.

Always a difficult decision for me also when buying something as well.
 

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my main bike is a BMW S1000RR. I currently own an ST4 for a "purist" Ducati experience, but in my eyes, the most beautiful Ducati ever made is the SS 1000DS. I'm also attracted to the air-cooled two-valve, even if it less powerful than the 916 engine I currently have.

How might the Supersport differ from the ST4? It's lighter, and I assume has far superior handling? But how does the handling of the SS compare with various Ducati Superbikes? 996? 999? 848?

Any insights on the Supersport would be greatly appreciated, particularly in the handling department. Thanks!
Id say you do sir :) Looking at your sig you have a lot of awesome machines, and as a fan of awesome machines you're going to love owning the 1000DS. My first and only bike at the moment is a '99 900SS and I couldn't be happier. Just went for a joyride on my buddy's Kawi ZX10 and while it was awesome, it didn't make me think any less of my SS. They are truly a one of a kind experience, imo.
 

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If ever the phrase "go slower to go faster" was true it's with the Supersport. Eventually it's all about the rider's skill. A Supersport is enough for the street IMHO. I've owned two SS/SP's and two 998's and, although I absolutely love the 998, the SS1000DS is my keeper. It does everything I need.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm definitely not looking for raw power - the S1000RR delivers that with an almost characterless efficiency.

What attracts me to Ducati are the older machines, and I think switching to air-cooled would complete the checklist - trellis frame, dry clutch, etc.

Supersports look a bit hard to come by however, but it does sound like the ticket for a bike to take on a weekend ride with buddies, where fun and the visceral experience of riding a Ducati is far more important than absolute power.

It may be interesting to assemble one from scratch; the crux being whether the air-cooled 1100 engine will bolt straight into a Supersport frame....
 

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Supersports are great bikes and loads of fun. Ive ridden a S1K. They are nothing like that. SS is definatly slower but they have such a sweet feel. No tc, quickshifters, abs. But they just feel planted in the corners. I think they are harder to ride smoothly and quickly because they require more muscle and finesse. I joke with my buddies that my electronic assists are a push button starter. Its a simple bike to work on compared to superbikes. If you need more than a SS for the street on canyons you are doing something wrong. Hell yea you want a Supersport!
 

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do I want a Supersport?
Based on your question, I would say not. A Supersport owner is generally a man of class and distinction with an innate sense of style and charisma.

A Supersport owner would not ask others if they wanted a Supersport. It's something you know for yourself.

Just kidding mate. You're only going to get biased answers here. You need to ride one and form your opinion based on your experience.

I think they're great, but they're not for everyone as they are a much rawer ride than other modern bikes. Great on the track but not so practical on real roads with crappy surfaces as the shock has no linkage.
 

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I have to disagree with the initial statement about the later SS being a looker. IMHO, the older SS's in the 90's were by far one of the best looking bikes ever. I think one was displayed in the Guggenheim for a bit. I had mine put in a place of honor at a fancy traditional Japanese spa instead of being parked outside. Right in a spotlit space next to the entrance, like a display, and it drew comments from almost everyone who came there. Must have been those luscious curves....
 

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I think they are harder to ride smoothly and quickly because they require more muscle and finesse.
I think they are harder to ride smoothly because they require riders to set up for a corner properly. In other words, if you know how to ride you will be rewarded with rock solid, stable cornering. If you don't and try changing lines mid-corner you will indeed find yourself trying to muscle a bike that doesn't respond well to that kind of riding. The challenge for me is in becoming a better rider so that I can use the bike's capabilities.
 

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I have to disagree with the initial statement about the later SS being a looker. IMHO, the older SS's in the 90's were by far one of the best looking bikes ever.
In 1998 I rushed to buy a '97 SS/SP because I saw the PT designed Supersport and was appalled. About three years ago I bought an '05 SS1000DS just cause I wanted an FI Supersport and at $6K it was a great deal. I have to say that the design and even the gray body with red wheels has grown on me. Although if I had the money there would be a set of black CF wheels on it.
 

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Do you want a Supersport????

Hello kismetcapitan, I can only talk based on my personal experience and I hope you don't get me wrong! The toys you have are wonderful toys that you hop-on, start and go and show and enjoy!!! Which is fine!!! If you ask me, the earlier (90's) Supersports are on a class by themselves!!! It is a bike that most probably you will have to "tinker" with eventually... but that's ok and fine with me since I am mechanically inclined and certainly prefer to do the maintenance/upgrades on my vehicles (that way I know it was done correctly);). To me owning a twenty-one year old Supersport that can run with bikes with the 2012 latest technology and big horsepower engines while still looking good and TOTALLY different is very satisfying to me!!!

Although I don't do track days I do ride my "Duc" within all ranges from cruising to full throttle straights and some hard turns while going very fast!!! I know that the bike is more capable than me and that if it wasn't an all original 21 yr. old factory paint and bodywork in mint condition I would certainly be doing "track-days" with her!!! ;)

Bottom line is... you either like them or you don't!!!

I LOVE MINE!!! If I were you I would go for one that is in very good condition, well maintained, preferably with records and give it a try for at least a year. The good thing is that there will always be someone looking to buy a good one!!! I have sold every other bike I've owned except my 1991 Ducati 900ss!!!

Good Luck,

Vickon:abduct:
 

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I have to disagree with the initial statement about the later SS being a looker. IMHO, the older SS's in the 90's were by far one of the best looking bikes ever.....
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Actually, I'd look even farther back to the '70s S and SS Ducatis for the very best looking machines IMHO.

To the original poster, I know looks are subjective but the 1000DS as the most beautiful Ducati ever made? Ouch, and if you actually bought an ST4 on looks, I can't help you.

As far as being happy with a '90s SS, I'd say the handling can be made to be more than acceptable with some suspension work and ride height adjustments. Since your stable implies no budget, throw in some BST Carbon wheels too. It is rock stable stock and really only the turn in needs to be quickened.

There are a number of "gotchas" with the '90s SSs so go with a '97 or '98 if a more reliable older one is important to you. Mind you, if you've survived a modded C5 RS6, maybe reliability isn't a factor.

I think the biggest lunch bag let down will be in the power dept. You say HP is not a factor but given the grunt in your stable, you really will find that the stock power is modest. Lots of HP mod potential but that takes time and again hurts reliability. Good luck with your decision.
 

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I'd suggest that a carbed SS would be a good bike as long as the OP wants to add a nice, good handling sport bike to the stable and not a race bike. There is something about the 90s SS's that is just 'right' - light weight, good torque and stable handling is the essence of it. Plus looks and Cagiva detail quality. And the fact that the performance is created by a super simple machine no more complicated than a '60s Triumph! After '97 I think this essential rightness was eroded until the model died as a result.

In comparison with the ST4 I'd say that the ST actually has slightly better steering feel but as the pace rises its handicapped by its weight. Working on the SS is much, much easier too - it's a elemental bike while the ST works to be an Italian VFR (and succeeds).

I have seven motorcycles, six of them Italian, four Ducatis including an ST2 and '97 900SS. I believe the belt SS is my overall favorite of the bunch.
 

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Recently purchased a 2005 SS. Great looking bike, some would argue as a FI it's not as "proper" to the original intent of the SS line. Out of the bikes available to me I found the SS the most comfortable and was the most aesthetically pleasing.
 

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I have a 2002 900S and it's all that I could want. I've toyed with buying another bike, but realize that this is all I need. I've done many upgrades to it: Superbike suspension, light flywheel, aluminum swingarm, custom exhaust, etc. It sounds and behaves like a wild animal when I ride it. It spits and crackles, roars and purrs, just like a good Italian hot rod should sound.
 

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What I like most about the 2V engines is the power that comes out real early. Instant fun :)
So you don't need to go 100mph+ to be enjoying yourself. Although you can :D

Oh, and the sound is just gorgeous! The mix you get from intake, clutch and exhaust is like a symphony.

I do get the feeling they are more difficult to ride under 3k RPM than the 4V engines and vibrate more.
 

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We had a thread a while back about whether these bikes are collectible or not. I think you can see the answer right here. No matter what else these guys ride or have ridden, they all love their SS ! I love mine ,too. One of my all time favorite bikes, and I've had quite a few. Mine is old and beat up, and still gets more attention than any bike I've ever owned. Like Sophia Loren, my Italian beauty is aging very well no matter what else I ride, she will remain in my stable.
 

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I have a 99 900ss which is the first non jap bike for me. Its harder to live with than past bikes but just a whole lot more fun. Power is not great but theres the challenge. Keep it between 4000 and 6500 and take advantage of the great handling and its surprising how rapid it is, far better than the power would have you think. I am suprised how little effort riding takes. Set it up for a corner and it just does it with little further input (interferance) from me.

Yes, I have replaced the voltage regulator and clutch, but both were easy jobs and Ducati parts are cheap. Vibration below 4000 is just too high to bother, but the engine is really nice above that.
 
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