Ducati Hyperstrada

DUCATI bills its Hypermotard as a supermoto on steroids. I guess you could say to a degree it is, but I think it’s a much better bike than that.

The new Hypermotard uses an 821cc engine which is essentially a reworked smaller capacity Testastretta, with long-stroke dimensions to give better low-end stomp and make the engine feel more refined than say the Ducati 848.

This is the first liquid-cooled Hypermotard model. But wait you say, why are we talking about the Hypermotard, and not the Hyperstrada? Well, that’s because both bikes share most parts, with the ’Strada using travel accessories to make it better for longer distance riding.

Hard core In some ways it seems odd to try and turn a very aggressive hoon bike into a tourer but I think Ducati is on the money. Take a look back to the previous Hypermotard with the 1100cc air/oil-cooled engine. It really was a supermoto on steroids, with a ridiculously small fuel tank and a riding position which had you perched right on top of the bike.

This package made the bike massive fun to ride but I think it was overlooked by a decent amount of buyers because it wasn’t perceived the bike could handle anything more than a short ride, or more to the point, the rider couldn’t handle it.

True, it wasn’t the most comfortable of machines, but put a long range tank on it, some factory accessory throw-over tank bags and a gel seat and you were in business. I did 1000 kays in a day on one with a similar set-up.

Ducati has obviously picked up on this and realised there is room in the stable for a bike which can satisfy the primordial urges of a rider who wants their machine to be sharp and ultra aggressive, but wants it to be around so long after most riders of that ilk have put the cover over such a machine in their shed.

What differences?
It’s easy to look at both bikes side-by-side and come to the conclusion the only differences are a taller screen and a set of panniers but it does go deeper than that.
43mm forks are fitted to both machines but the Hyperstrada has 20mm less travel to suit its more road focussed niche. That said, not many people will want to take the Hypermotard too far off-road I would think

At the rear the wheel travel is the same 150mm on both machines, whereas the Hyperstrada’s rear shock preload can be adjusted via a remote hydraulic set-up. Perfect for the touring maniac, ah, motorcyclist.

But wait, there’s more. The Hyperstrada also has taller handlebars, a wider and lower adjustable seat (due to the shorter travel forks), longer guards, a centrestand, and a couple of 12v power sockets.

As you would expect from a machine of this calibre it has some kick-arse brakes, with radially-mounted four-piston monobloc Brembo calipers doing the shimmy and shake with 320mm rotors. Yes friends, this thing pulls up with alarming ease.

Now both bikes even share the same 10 spoke wheels but the Hyperstrada gets Pirelli Scorpion tyres, the same as you will see on the Multistrada 1200, while the Hypermotard gets the sticky Diablo Rosso IIs. Yes you can put those on your Hyperstrada if you so wish.

Lastly the Hyperstrada is 204 kilos ready to rock-n-roll, some six kg more than the ’Motard.

The ride
There’s no denying the heritage of this bike when you get on it. You are still perched up high, and forward enough to feel like you are straddling the fuel tank.

The handlebars are not much of a reach, and while first time Mulitstrada/Hyperstrada/Hypermotard riders will feel maybe slightly cramped by the whole riding position I can confirm you do get over this quite quickly where it all feels quite normal.

About the fuel tank. It now has 16 litres which can realistically give you a range of around 250 kilometres if you aren’t trying to turn the throttle to the stop all the time.

This is much, much better than the old air/oil-cooled model, and really does negate the need for after market accessory long range tanks. Ducati must have been listening extra hard to the punters who previously complained of poor fuel range.

The engine is a real beauty, with a very smooth nature down low. It feels quite strong but it does run out of puff earlier than an 848 due to the lesser capacity and longer stroke. That’s OK though, I never felt like I needed more horsepower.

There are three power modes to choose from, with Sport and Touring modes giving you the full 110 ponies, but Touring just doesn’t have quite the snappy response as Sport.
I preferred Touring mode due to the less frenetic initial throttle response. Urban mode has 75 horsepower and still feels a hoot around town anyway.

The gearbox is a sweety too, with smooth changes, and combined with the final drive gearing feels great on the road. Not too tall. Not too low. Just right.

I found the suspension overall very good, with the ability to soak up the bumps and still work well when I was ‘having a go’ as it were.

I really do like bikes like this, with the handlebars giving you plenty of leverage, a riding position which isn’t over the top, and suspension which can cope with both good and poor surfaces, and be pretty good at either end of the riding spectrums. Ride like a daisy and it’s fine. Ride like a daredevil and it’s fine too.

The only time you might not like the riding position is on lengthy freeway stints but this is only if you feel the need to do said freeway miles at speeds above 120 km/h or so.

I was a big fan of the original Hypermotard and like the new liquid-cooled Hyper family as much so. The Hyperstrada wears a coat of many colours, and while it can tour easily it doesn’t pretend to be one. That suits me, especially at $17,990.

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