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Ducati Hypermotard

Rubén Xaus rides the Hypermotard 1100

When Ducati launched the Hypermotard 1100 in 2007 it was a radical change from the norm. Producing 90bhp from its 1078cc twin-cylinder engine, the bike combined all the fun of a conventional supermoto with a degree of practicality thanks to a comfy seat and roomy position.

With two booming Coke can sized pipes exiting under the pillion seat, a neat single-sided swingarm and jagged, aggressive styling, the bike was a purposeful, engaging wheelie monster that bucked the Ducati trend for the better.

The original bike lasted just five years, however created a platform for a flurry of other Hypermotards of varied capacities and performance. Alongside this, it also formed the basis for the Ducati Hyperstrada 821 and 939, which took the raucous supermoto stance and transformed it into an exciting, credible sports tourer.

The quirky nature of the upright, yet aggressive Duke means its popularity spreads far beyond the thoroughbred supermoto hooligan. Hypermotards have been known to frequent daily commutes, nadgery B-roads and even the odd trackday. Although it won’t win you any Iron Butt contests, this is a versatile machine developed solely around the art of having fun. Just stay away from the motorways…


Thinking outside the box: Ducati Hypermotard 1100 (2007-2012)

In action on the Ducati Hypermotard 1100

When the original 1100 Hypermotard hit the streets in 2007, it was a radically different machine to anything else in Ducati’s range. The bike was available in both a standard and 1100S guise and tapped into a previously untouched market for the Italian firm.

The more expensive ‘S’ model features uprated Marzocchi forks, an Öhlins rear shock, Marchesini wheels, and powerful radial Brembos from the Ducati 1098 superbike. There is also a data recording facility for lap times, throttle and gear position.

Despite the extra bolt-on toys, the more expensive model was largely unnecessary for the vast majority of riders; with the standard bike providing plenty of thrills and superb value for money during road riding.

Beautifully finished and minimalist in design, the full-fat Hyper uses the same air-cooled, twin-spark, V-twin lump as the Ducati Multistrada 1100 but has a dry clutch to save weight. The 90bhp motor can feel breathless when riding on fast open roads but on smaller, tighter stuff there’s more than enough oomph to keep things interesting and hoist the front wheel skyward.

  • Engine: 1078cc 4-valve V-twin
  • Max power: 90bhp
  • Torque: 76ftlb
  • Weight: 179kg
  • Seat height: 845mm
  • MPG: 38


The baby one: Ducati Hypermotard 796 (2009-2012)

Cornering on the Ducati Hypermotard 796

Produced between 2009 and 2012, the 796 uses an 803cc V-twin engine, based on the motor from the Monster 696, however is a whole 1.9kg lighter.

Being 12kg lighter and lower than the bigger Hypermotard 1100, the 796 is easier to ride and in the real world is every bit as fast from A to B along your favourite backroad. What’s more, Ducati claimed a fuel economy of 58.9mpg, which made it the most frugal Ducati on sale at the time.

Still every bit as fun as its bigger brother, the lower seat height makes it more manageable around town, with the upright narrow posture means it can still be squeezed through even the tightest of gaps. 

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. There’s also far less front-to-rear weight transfer on and off the throttle than the 1100, making thumping in and out of bends far smoother.  

  • Engine: 803cc, V-twin
  • Max power: 81bhp
  • Torque: 55ftlb
  • Weight: 167kg
  • Seat height: 825mm
  • MPG: 51


A chunkier middleweight: Ducati Hypermotard 821 (2013-2016)

Popping a wheelie on the Hypermotard 821

Released in 2013, the 821 replaced both the air-cooled 1100 and 796 ‘Motards and uses an 8v liquid-cooled twin alongside a more forgiving riding position. There’s also ABS, traction control and electronic riding modes, too.

A larger 16-litre fuel tank and touring accessories made it more accessible for longer rides, however it was still the same fun-centric one-trick-pony underneath.

Away from practicality (who cares about that…) the 821 also benefits from a single side-mounted exhaust to reduce weight and improve handling. A longer swingarm also reduces slapping over bumpy terrain and 43mm Kayaba forks and a Sachs rear shock give a plusher ride.

New cast aluminium monobloc Brembo calipers were a big improvement, too and the whole bike is more agile and flickable, offering greater feedback to the rider in the process. 

Impressively, this bike weighs just 3kg more than the older bikes, despite now needing a radiator and hoses and gizmos like ABS, which is then offset by the increased punch from the engine.

  • Engine: 821cc, 8v V-twin
  • Max power: 110bhp
  • Torque: 65.8ftlb
  • Weight: 175kg
  • Seat height: 870mm
  • MPG: 41


Bored out: Ducati Hypermotard 939 (2016-2018)

On track on the Ducati Hypermotard 939

The Hypermotard 939 was largely based on its predecessor; the 821 and features an increased bore to 937cc and a new crank and pistons. These tweaks gave the bike more torque, 18% more punch in the midrange and 10% overall.

Although slightly flat in power delivery, it is deceptively fast through corners however can struggle for ground clearance. This is especially an issue on the SP version, as it prevents you from extracting everything from its delicious booming twin-cylinder thumper.

The bike was priced at a fiver short of £10,000 in 2016 and unless you were a diehard big supermoto fan, this was a very bitter pill to swallow. The bike is tremendous fun, however fun alone doesn’t always justify a near-superbike-spec asking price.

One saving grace from this though is Ducati’s currently impeccable reliability. The build quality is very high and the electronics are robust. What’s more, the service intervals are also quite reasonable; every year or 9000 miles for a minor service and the valve clearances checked at 18,000 miles. 

  • Engine: 937cc liquid-cooled V-twin
  • Max power: 111.5bhp
  • Torque: 72.2ftlb
  • Weight: 203kg
  • Seat height: 870mm
  • MPG: 45 


More oomph, less weight: Ducati Hypermotard 950 (2019-on)

A Ducati Hypermotard 950 wheelie

Introduced to the world at the 2018 motorcycle trade shows, the 2019-onwards machine is now almost 4bhp more powerful, with one more foot-pound of torque on tap, too. The engine alone is 1.5kg lighter and a new tubular steel trellis frame shaves an extra kilogram. What’s more, the cast rims are also 800g lighter, meaning a total 4kg weight loss for 2019.

Although boasting similar looks to the previous incarnation, there’s a greater emphasis on angular, aggressive lines and the side-mounted pipe has been ditched in favour of slash-cut underslung units. The bike will be available in both a standard and SP format.

Alongside this a Bosch 6-axis IMU delivers EVO versions of their Cornering ABS, slide control, traction control and anti-wheelie, while there’s the option of a bi-directional quickshifter on the stocker.

All of this is then controlled via the switchgear and full-colour 4.3in TFT dash, through which you can also select from three rider modes. For an extra £3300, you get the SP version, with increased travel Öhlins suspension with improved ground clearance, forged Marchesini rims, a flat seat and the EVO quickshifter/blipper as standard.

  • Engine: 937cc liquid-cooled V-twin
  • Max power: 112 bhp
  • Torque: 71ftlb
  • Weight: 200kg
  • Seat height: 870mm
  • MPG: 55.3


Ducati Hypermotard rivals

Classifying the Hypermotard has always been difficult; is it a pure big supermoto, or does it more acquire the characteristics of a supernaked. Sitting somewhere in no man’s land, the Ducati’s rivals can be found in both camps.

These range from the likes of the KTM 690SM and SMCR to Ducati’s own Hyperstrada, which uses the Hypermotard as a base to form a less extreme touring-biased supermoto - much like the KTM 990SMT.

Other bikes to consider could also be the Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 and 1200, as well as smaller bikes like the Suzuki DR-Z400SM, which provides a more manageable 39bhp from its 398cc single-cylinder.

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