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Discussion Starter #1
I know this is a topic that's been discussed before in other threads, but in a sort of roundabout way. I know rz33v4 is a big proponent of a new modern Supersport, and, frankly, that's really the only bike that I'd consider replacing my '96 SP with and I'd like to think there are others who feel the same way. A SportClassic-based Supersport does not interest me; I like the SC line but it's not an SS. The SS needs to be a modern motorcycle in every way, not a warmed-over redesign of a classic.

Using the Triumph 675 as a marketplace model is interesting; a new displacement category was created, with no regard for racetrack supremacy as there are currently no classes where the 675 would be considered as a frontrunner. I know there are some being raced in 750 classes and in 'run-what-you-brung' categories but there is no 675cc Superbike class. This is a motorcycle that has won many Bike of the Year awards and seems to be universally praised in the motorcycle press. Imagine a thoroughly modern Supersport created using the same thought process: modern aesthetic design, top shelf suspension and wheels all combined with one of the best motorcycle mills to ever be produced, the 1000ds (or 1100) air-cooled v-twin we all know and love.

I've certainly heard all the arguments against Ducati building this bike, "It'll never sell", "Nobody wants to buy a 95hp $12,000 twin", "Why don't you just get a SportClassic and install modern suspension and wheels" and on and on.

I don't think it'll happen, and I'm not holding my breath while waiting, but I'd like to think that somewhere within the bowels of Ducati there's someone who wants to build the new SuperSport.

Here are some illustrations for consideration from the talented pen of Oberdan Bezzi.
http://www.designerspace.com/pages/3-designerspace/design/a/11157/ntdd/0/m/11/portfolios.html

http://www.docgb.org/photo_gallery/bezzi.htm
 

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Beautiful designs indeed, but of course you're thinking with your heart and not your head. It's all about power. On this forum, we may appreciate an ultralight 2 valve twin that feels like it's part of the rider, but alas nobody else will (unless it has 150+ hp at the rear wheel).

As I've said before, any machine is only as sophisticated as its operator. Close to 0% of amateur motorcyclists can use that kind of power, but close to 100% of those that have it believe they can.
 

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Ditto What He Said

Ditto:

And most of them only go in a straight line and never enjoy how the bike handles in turns! Or on the Track.

Rookie's

On my 750Monster people would think that is was a 900Monster and my 750 was a 5spd and I could smoke the others(box store bikes) out of the hole but high speeds they kill me going straight,Back Roads they be looking at my brake light.
 

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Oh my yes...very pretty drawings indeed.

But in a way conceptually very similar to the DS-1000 powered Bimota DB5, no? Just missing some of the particularly expensive bits, such as the Bimota's Ohlins forks and trellis swingarm.

I agree that such bikes would be fantastic if Ducati wanted to make them. It wouldn't be much of a trick to get 75 ft-lbs and 100 rwhp out of a DS1100 engine, which would be plenty. But I also agree that they would likely sell no more than a few thousand of them. Most sportbike buyers just aren't as sophisticated as us lovers of the 2V air cooled Ducs.

To some extent I buy into the notion that Ducati held back the potential of the SS1000 so that it wouldn't make the 749 look weak in comparison. Waste of a really good concept IMHO. But let's face it - they hit the mark with the SC line. Take the "retro" engine and wrap it in retro styling, so it doesn't have to apologize anymore for its performance. Brilliant from a marketing standpoint....given the current state of the market.
 

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critterdoc said:
Beautiful designs indeed, but of course you're thinking with your heart and not your head. It's all about power. On this forum, we may appreciate an ultralight 2 valve twin that feels like it's part of the rider, but alas nobody else will (unless it has 150+ hp at the rear wheel).

As I've said before, any machine is only as sophisticated as its operator. Close to 0% of amateur motorcyclists can use that kind of power, but close to 100% of those that have it believe they can.
I don't know about the whole 'ultralight' thing (my 800 weighs pretty much the same as a GSXR1000), but I'm with you re: The Quest For Power." I've been fantasizing for years that Yamaha will come out with an R4 400cc bike with all of the technology that goes into the bigger bikes...but it will never happen for the reasons you state above.
 

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Very nice artistic renderings, but that exhaust would never work routed through the swing arm like that - the swing arm moves through an arc, remember?

I'll take issue with the assumption that no one would buy this bike (styling like a DB5, truly light weight (how about 375# full of all fluids?), a DS1000 or 1100 motor, up-to-date chassis hardware.

From a marketing standpoint, it always helps to have a unique selling proposition and this concept does - lightweight and torquey. What other bike has specs like this? Not one (except the NCR Milona and Bimota DB5, both unaffordable).

If Ducati can cater to the 'Motard niche, why not this one? And this speaks to their historical past/racing victories. All it would take is unique bodywork and the same attention to mass reduction shown on the 1098. Investment, yes, but not an all-new machine.
 

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rz33v4 said:
From a marketing standpoint, it always helps to have a unique selling proposition and this concept does - lightweight and torquey. What other bike has specs like this? Not one (except the NCR Milona and Bimota DB5, both unaffordable).

If Ducati can cater to the 'Motard niche, why not this one? And this speaks to their historical past/racing victories. All it would take is unique bodywork and the same attention to mass reduction shown on the 1098. Investment, yes, but not an all-new machine.
I'm with you. Italian bikes have proved that it's not all about horsepower. Many times. If they just make buyers realise this, and the handling, styling and weight is right.
 

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The thing I like about this proposal is that it is akin to the Triumph 675; when the big guys zig, you zag!

With the Japanese so focused on 600 supersport performance/sales, there is a hole in the marketplace for a sporty, light and torquey streetbike just waiting for a manufacturer to pounce.
 

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PSsssp said:
The SS needs to be a modern motorcycle in every way, not a warmed-over redesign of a classic.
I don't quite agree that the current SS is really modern, unless you were implying it could be updated without losing its character. 2V/cylinder, air/oil cooled and linkageless rear shock aren't cutting edge, but the bike is still great with what most sportbike owners would consider archaic technology. ABS isn't necessary for most SS owners, but exhaust catalysts, closed loop feedback, and variable geometry for exhaust or intake would be necessary to call it modern. In fact, rider swappable maps and variable traction control will probably be standard on lots of sportbikes in the next 2 or 3 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
markmakeitso said:
I don't quite agree that the current SS is really modern...

...exhaust catalysts, closed loop feedback, and variable geometry for exhaust or intake would be necessary to call it modern...
My comments are not meant to imply that the current (and canceled) SS is a modern bike, in fact I meant the opposite. I believe the SS suffered from a serious lack of attention from Ducati, leading to the precipitous decline in sales and ultimate model cancellation.

I agree completely with your comments on what a modern SS should include.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
YellowDuck said:
... conceptually very similar to the DS-1000 powered Bimota DB5....
And, I might add, not entirely dissimilar from the 1098. I've had these images saved on my computer for almost two years, predating the 1098 revealing by at least a year. Interesting...

YellowDuck said:
...Most sportbike buyers just aren't as sophisticated as us lovers of the 2V air cooled Ducs..
The truth is spoken here.

YellowDuck said:
...To some extent I buy into the notion that Ducati held back the potential of the SS1000 so that it wouldn't make the 749 look weak in comparison. Waste of a really good concept....
Interesting, probably true, and slightly disturbing. To a potential new Ducati owner, walking into a showroom and seeing a $12,000 2-v, air-cooled, 95 hp sportbike compared to an $11,000 Superbike would be confusing. I suppose on some level it would be a case of preaching to the (already converted) choir.

YellowDuck said:
...But let's face it - they hit the mark with the SC line. Take the "retro" engine and wrap it in retro styling, so it doesn't have to apologize anymore for its performance. Brilliant from a marketing standpoint....given the current state of the market.
They did hit the bullseye with the SC line, but that's not the bike I'm proposing here. The current marketing is brilliant, but I worry about the market falling off for these bikes. Haven't we already seen a decline in the sales of the SC line, meaning the market is somewhat saturated?

The Monster line soldiers on, benefiting greatly from the type of attention and development the SS line should also have received. I am curious how much market overlap the SC and Monster models have. How would a salesman explain the differences between a SC and a Monster to a potential customer? I suppose on some level it would boil down to aesthetics and performance potential. Neither is a 'sportbike' (even though we know the difference), and have solid naked bike styling.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
rz33v4 said:
The thing I like about this proposal is that it is akin to the Triumph 675; when the big guys zig, you zag!
YES! Do something different and in this market it might just work.

rz33v4 said:
With the Japanese so focused on 600 supersport performance/sales, there is a hole in the marketplace for a sporty, light and torquey streetbike just waiting for a manufacturer to pounce.
If Ducati sees the light and produces a new modern SS it should not be marketed as a viable alternative to Japanese 600cc sportbikes. The remarkable success of Suzuki's SV650 seems to have created solid customer base. Those SV owners ready to move upmarket have few alternatives and a modern SS might just fit the bill.
 

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Being the proud owner of both a ss1000ds and a Paul Smart 1000LE, I can comment from my experience. The SS is fantastic for what it is, lightweight simple, great handling, fast enough for ME and it's a Ducati !

The PS1000LE is all of the above and BETTER. The ability to add lower fairings to the PS makes it very much a direct replacement to the SS. I do not see any benefit over my SS compared to the PS.
 

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mark,

I'm not understanding your point about the SS and technology. The emissions stuff you cite will be required to meet international requirements, not something Ducati would do on their own.

Much of this other stuff, like traction control, is only needed when you have a surfeit of HP/torque, like the Japanese 1000s. Variable intakes - why? If the motor is tuned for street duty a variable intake is overkill.

Try thinking about this SS proposal as the Lotus Elise/Exige versus everyone else's Corvette/911/Vantage. Simpler can be better.
 

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SScowboy,

OK, in the interest of discussion, name something better on your PS versus the SS, besides appearance, which is totally subjective. You know I already called out the tube tires as a retograde move on the PS.

I'm waiting.
 

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I think the current 1000ss is a thoroughly modern design and I don't think there's much wrong with it.

The chassis is arguably as modern and as sophisticated as most other Ducati sportsbikes (Ohlins/Showa etc), the rear suspension performs as well as anything else (my 800ss has little trouble staying with anything on the road and stays with most things on the track), it has a dual spark modern 2vlv engine, excellent fuel injection, modern instruments with an immobiliser and a frame not far removed from any other Ducati superbike.

What is wrong with it is: lack of big power numbers, price and poor marketing.

It could do with a bit of weight loss, a small hike to 100bhp, making the clutch lighter and the whole bike a bit more user-friendly. It would make the ideal basis of a very very pure and simple sportsbike. Lean and mean. The NCR Milona is a perfect example of what could be achieved - a bike like that would have truly superb usable performance that would challenge most things Japanese.

As has been said before - people do buy on numbers and that is where the SS loses out. Having said that many of my riding mates are quite astonished at how my 800 can leave their big 4's for dead.
 

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I can understand why you would want a new SS. It is really a great all purpose bike, IMHO. I was looking for a DS1000SS when I fell into a '02 998 w/ 4K mi. for only $8500. So, I jumped on it and truly love the thing. But, back to the SS. I can't imagine Ducati will build a new one. Post '98 the SS was considered too underpowered, too expensive and then came the PT design, which was pretty alienating. The final nail in the coffin. If I didn't have my 998 I'd just go find a DS 1000 SS (and change the body) or the very underrated Aprilia Falco.
 

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The reason Ducati should bring back the SS is because the market offers nothing like the proposed bike that is affordable. I wasn't suggesting that this bike go up against the Japanese 600s (apples/oranges), but that the oriental focus on racing 600s has left a market chasm the rejuvenated SS could capitalize upon.

The '99 and newer SSs up-to-date technically? In some areas, yes, but they lack a current rear suspension design, the de rigeur radial-mount front brakes, a removeable alloy rear subframe and a "current" bodywork design, to name a few.

A new SS as a step-up for SV650 owners? Sure, that makes sense to me.

I still want to know what about the SportClassics should cause me to want one over my 7-year-old SS, since I don't love the retro-look design? Actually, I did think of one thing - the Ohlins suspension is a good idea.
 
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