DUCATI HYPERMOTARD 796 (2009 - 2012) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £200
Power: 81 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.5 in / 825 mm)
Weight: Low (368 lbs / 167 kg)


New N/A
Used £7,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Ducati’s entry-level 803cc Hypermotard 796 is a stormer of a machine. It’s 12kg lighter and its seat is 20mm lower than the Hypermotard 1100, which makes it easier to ride and in the real world, and every bit as fast from A to B. It’s a deal cheaper too and Ducati says it will return 58.9mph, which makes it the most frugal Ducati you can buy. Best of all its still massive fun and looks the part too.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Town riding is a thoroughly pleasant experience thanks to a seat 20mm lower than the 1100 version, which lets most riders get their feet flat on the floor when stopped at traffic lights. The wide bars and the upright riding position lets you zip your way through the urban sprawl devilishly easy too. The light action of the clutch, throttle and gearbox makes the Hypermotard next to no effort to ride and the seat is super-comfy too. The Hypermotard 796 is a great town bike, light, agile and simple to ride but it loves scratching on B-roads even more. There’s far less front-to-rear weight transfer on and off the throttle than the Hypermotard 1100, so the whole riding experience in and out of the bends is far smoother than its bigger brother. As part of the 796’s weight saving exercise it has non-adjustable 43mm upside forks Marzocchi forks, not fully adjustable 50mm items, but we haven’t found the suspension (the rear Sachs shock only has preload and rebound damping adjustment) to be wanting or the slightly lower spec Brembo radial brakes to lack power. Standard-issue Bridgestone BT-015 tyres are superb too.


Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The fuel-injected, twin-valve air/oil-cooled 90°, Desmodromic, V-twin 803cc engine is based on the Monster 696 lump, but is a massive 1.9kg lighter. It shares the same 88mm bore but has longer 66mm stroke (the Monster 696 has a 57.2mm stroke). It has a redesigned crankshaft, crankcases, pistons and a lighter Ducati 848 style flywheel. Like all modern era Ducatis, service intervals have been stretched and come every 7500-miles. The throttle response is very smooth and there’s a nice spread of power right the way through the revs. The Hypermotard 796 scores over its bigger brother by having an APTC (Alder Power Torque Clutch) slipper clutch as standard, although it’s wet clutch not dry. Most Ducatis don’t have slipper clutches, but we think they should as it smoothes out corner entries beautifully when changing down through the gears. The lighter clutch action and the lack of big V-twin engine braking make the 796 easier to use for the less experienced, and for the brave lets you play at ‘backing it in’.   

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Build quality on the Hypermotard 796 is top-draw and the bad old days of dodgy Ducati reliability are long gone. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The Hypermotard 796 is a relatively affordable way to get your foot on the first rung of the Ducati family ladder. The matt black version is even better value. You get a lot of fun, performance, style and practicability for your money. Find a Ducati Hypermotard 796 for sale.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

You get the distinctive Hypermotard features on the 796 like the twin underseat pipes, a single-sided swingarm and snazzy flip-out bar-end mirrors. It also has Streetfighter-style switchgear and multi-function LCD dash. The display also doubles as a control panel for the Ducati Data Analyser datalogger (if fitted). 17” lightweight aluminium wheels are the same size as the Hypermotard 1100 and are shod with 120/70 (front) and 180/55 (rear) Bridgestone BT-015 tyres. 43mm upside Marzocchi forks are non-adjustable and the single Sachs rear shock is adjustable for preload and rebound damping (the 1100 has fully adjustable suspension all-round). Twin 305mm front discs are gripped by radially mounted four-piston Brembo calipers. Compare and buy parts for the Hypermotard in the MCN Shop.


Engine size 803cc
Engine type Four-stroke, V-twin
Frame type Steel trellis
Fuel capacity 12.4 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 167kg
Front suspension Non-adjustable
Rear suspension Preload and rebound damping only.
Front brake 2 x 305mm disc
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 17 in
Rear tyre size 180/50 17 in

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 51 mpg
Annual road tax £101
Annual service cost £200
New price -
Used price £7,000
Insurance group 15 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 81 bhp
Max torque 55 ft-lb
Top speed 125 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 168 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2009 – Model introduced

Other versions

Ducati Hypermotard 1100
Ducati Hypermotard 1100S

Owners' reviews for the DUCATI HYPERMOTARD 796 (2009 - 2012)

3 owners have reviewed their DUCATI HYPERMOTARD 796 (2009 - 2012) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your DUCATI HYPERMOTARD 796 (2009 - 2012)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Value vs rivals: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Equipment: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £200
5 out of 5 Forget about sports bikes for road use...
07 August 2016 by Conor O Neill

Year: 2012

Annual servicing cost: £200

The Hypermotard 796 is an exceptional road bike and whilst not 100% perfect (the standard exhaust is much too heavy, quiet and restrictive, the front forks could do with some rebound adjustability and the mirrors are a faff), it ticks more boxes than most of it's alternatives and is an absolute hoot to ride. Yes, it has nowhere near the torque of the 1100 but in many ways that's a good thing for road use. It makes the 796 so much more usable and fun. You really can wring it's neck on B road blasts where you'd only really be tickling the 1100 on at 60% of it's capabilities. It handles like a 125 due to it's slender profile due to the fact that it weighs in at a flyweight 167kg. The wet slipper clutch with ultra light lever action is a delight to use and means you can be more aggressive on corner entry downshifts.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

The forks could be doing with preload adjusters but I'm lucky in the sense that they suit my weight (14 stone). Lighter riders may want to dial in a little more sag. The Sachs rear shock is perfectly adequate although is setup quite hard from the factory (most likely with pillion in mind) so if you're riding solo you'll probably want to wind the preload back a little. The Brembo brakes are superb. The are so responsive that I find myself braking with 2 fingers most of the time.

Engine 5 out of 5

A peach. Beautiful power delivery and more punch than you will ever need for public road use. It will most likely be found wanting on track but that's not really this bike's environment anyway.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Usual modern Ducati build quality as you would expect. The air cooled L twin is bulletproof as long as maintenance is adhered to.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Very well equipped with a streetfighter-esque dash. Could do with a fuel gauge instead of (or as a toggleable option of) the oil temp gauge. I was disappointed to find that there was no option in the hidden menu for LED rear indicators so you have to use resistors. Mirrors are a pain as they don't hold their position once folded in and out. These are just minor irks though.

Buying experience: Dealer, £5000

5 out of 5 excellent and different
18 September 2013 by birchie1

22500 miles used daily as an instructor bike never missed a beat nothing gone wrong and 55mpg also.Who said ducati s arnt reliable? ??

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 My first Ducati and what a bike!
02 November 2011 by greenturbobob

I just bought my 796 Hypermotard and currently running it in. I have to say overall it is very very good. For a start i think it looks fabulous. The overall quality is excellent. The ride and handling is excellent and only starts to get "flappy" when you are being very silly on rough roads. The brakes are good but do cause some front end dive when used heavily, but not so it upsets corner entry. The engine has enough for a fun ride and but can feel lacking until you look at the speedo! It is very smooth, good fuelling down to around 2000rpm, and has enough sound to not justify the silly price of after market pipes. Fuel economy is over 50mpg even ride briskly so is good for around 100 miles before the reserve light comes on. The dash is good and has enough info to get me happy, but i did notice the lack of gear indicator. Not really an issue but i have got used to it and now not to have it seems odd. The Pirelli tyre are excellent, i have been out in rain leaf ridden roads the last few days and no issues at all. It washes up nicely and looks the business sat in the garage with a beer! If you are thinking of getting one, do it! you won't regret it.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
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