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I knew it was only a matter of time until someone brings up Ducati. I bought the SuperSport 950 this summer and having tons of fun with it. The first two weeks I just couldn’t stop grinning. Still riding it now in near and below freezing temps; fairing survived a drop after a slow speed crush with a Benz pulling illegal u-turn. Gosh, whole bike is rideable, picked it up, bent the shifter back and kept riding on. Insurance practically totaled it and I got a free bike ( well almost minus fees and taxes ). Small invisible crack in fairing and few metal bits. 4000 miles, not a single issue.
 

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And how many of us remember the grins we had riding the Trail 90's around the farm and neighborhoods? Or the high-pipe 125 enduro that your older neighbor had, who'd let you ride it around to show off to the girls?
I remember! My two best friends each had Honda Trail 70s. I had a Yamaha 100. I took my first "girlfriend" for a ride down a NJ forest fire trail. We were 13, I was in love, so yeah, it was kinda awkward, lol.
 
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Buy what makes you happy.
Absolutely! I've owned every mainstream marque apart from Moto Guzzi and Triumph, spread over 19 motorcycles and 36 years including two trouble-free Ducati's haha. I've never understood riders who get polarized on one marque. They all make good and perhaps not so good models within their range of product. The trick is to pick out the top models from whatever manufacturer it may be and buy those ones.
Regarding manufacturer bashing: They all produce the odd lemon model from time to time or maybe an owner unfortunately gets one of those friday afternoon bikes that just gives on going grief. It happens, no need to run a smear campaign over it lol.
 

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Judging from your riding experience, your use case, and your preferences, my answer for your next bike is easy:
Hayabusa!

Just kidding. But you seem to just have gotten comfortable going fast in a straight line on your highway commute and wish for a more sporty feel. The SV is not the best bike for that scenario. Neither is the XSR, albeit slightly better.

What you want is a sports touring bike.

With good weather protection, highway stability, options for luggage, and possibly direct drive those are excellent highway commuters.
Super sports bikes like the GSX-R 750, R6, R1 or the ZX10R are probably the worst bikes you can get to learn on. They need to be ridden on track, that's what they were designed for. And that's why they're nearly double in price as you have noticed. The money is in the premium suspension, brakes, and weight reduction. Improvements that are overkill for street riding.
Don't join the masses of weekend squids who can't ride anything but straight with their show bikes.

There are plenty of options on the used market and since these bikes are usually ridden by more mature riders I wouldn't worry about any issues as long as there is a good maintenance record available. Get a well ridden Japanese model from the late naughts. Examples are the Honda VFR800, Kawasaki Concourse 1000, Honda ST1300, Yamaha FJR1300, or Triumph Sprint ST. These bikes are made for long distances and are virtually indestructible. With their larger displacement engines tuned for torque not peak power, they have plenty of torque down low, so unlike super sports bikes you can ride them in a relaxed fashion.

These are not the most popular bikes on the used market and there's tons of them around, so they can be had for less than $5k. Remember, mileage doesn't matter nearly as much as maintenance.

You may even keep your SV for weekend rides on the twisties, because that's where it'll shine and where it'll be able to serve as your learner bike for years to come. A heavier, more powerful bike won't be nearly as easy to make progress on. Actually in hindsight, learning to ride corners on a sub 50hp bike would be my advice. The SV is not the best beginner bike either.
I hope you are aware that you're still a beginner with lots to learn.

If you want a new bike look at the 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT. Probably the cheapest of the large sport tourers.
 

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I knew it was only a matter of time until someone brings up Ducati. I bought the SuperSport 950 this summer and having tons of fun with it. The first two weeks I just couldn’t stop grinning. Still riding it now in near and below freezing temps; fairing survived a drop after a slow speed crush with a Benz pulling illegal u-turn. Gosh, whole bike is rideable, picked it up, bent the shifter back and kept riding on. Insurance practically totaled it and I got a free bike ( well almost minus fees and taxes ). Small invisible crack in fairing and few metal bits. 4000 miles, not a single issue.
Those are great bikes, on my short list.
I've ridden a couple of them, and it really fits the definition of a usable sport bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thank you everyone for the input. I have definitely been on the other side of this type of question, grinning as a noobie asks "which fins will make me dive the deepest or what caliber is best for big deer",,, there are no right answers but ya'll have definitely helped me narrow my scope and consider some things I hadn't. Thanks again for the suggestions and those of you who put effort into explaining the logic behind them. I will be rereading this thread & looking into the suggestions many times before making any decisions.
P.S if anyone is in the South Florida area and wants to ride feel free to message.
 

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Here's another couple of thoughts:

My friends and I ride spiritedly on the weekends. On my SV I get around 50 mpg riding whether I'm riding with them or commuting. They get 30 mpg. The SV takes 87, their bikes take 93. And except for those rare long open straights where they leave me in the dust, I keep up with them well.

Thought number two is that what feels comfortable for a minute on the showroom floor may be very uncomfortable after 15 minutes of riding. So find a quiet day to go sit on bikes and stay put for a while.

A sportbike might not be so extreme a difference compared to your current bike, but it might be enough difference that commuting is suddenly uncomfortable.
 
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