Launch: Ducati 939 Hypermotard

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Ducati’s impractical – and hysterically entertaining to ride – Hypermotard range has been given even more potency for 2016 with all three models (Hypermotard, Hypermotard SP and Hyperstrada) gaining a new 937cc version of their liquid-cooled desmo V-twin to bring the model in line with Euro4 requirements whilst suffering no dip in performance – and we’re currently at the world launch to get our first taste of the new model.

Not only do Ducati now boast 111.5bhp, but Ducati claim that torque has also increased by 10% throughout the rev range thanks to the engine’s bigger capacity. And the changes don’t stop there.

In order to add a small degree of restraint to this traditionally barking bike, the Hypermotards come with the latest Ducati Safety Pack as standard. Comprising three-level ABS, eight-level traction control and three-riding models, this advanced electronics package should add some refinement that was lacking before. However, in typical Ducati fashion, should you wish to ride unaided it can all be turned off…

But there is a sticking point, and for the Hypermotards it’s price. The standard bike costs £9995, while the SP with its Öhlins suspension and lightweight wheels is a slightly more salty £12,595. Do they justify their high price tags?

Riding the new Hypermotard 939

After half a day on the road with the Hypermotard 939 and another half on track riding the SP version, I’m left grinning from ear to ear thanks to Ducati’s big supermoto oddball. But is that demonic grin large enough to justify the £9995 price tag for the stock Hypermotard or the even more eyebrow-raising £12,595 for the SP with its Öhlins suspension and lightweight wheels?

Here’s the thing with the Hypermotard family, they are a niche product that in the UK only appeals to a certain section of riders. Maybe it’s because we lack the mountainous hairpin laden roads that these machines thrive on (the sell really well in Austria) or maybe we are just a bit too sensible, whatever the reason they aren’t big sellers. Are the 939 models likely to change rider’s minds?

Thanks to a boost in capacity, the new 937cc V-twin engine does deliver a very welcome increase in midrange torque to the Hypermotards, making them more practical road bikes. The standard model’s suspension responds far more like a traditional naked bike’s in bends, giving it less of a quirky supermoto feel, and on track the SP with its enhanced Öhlins units is surprisingly good. But, when armed with a sticky set of Supercorsa SP tyres, this soon leads to the bike running out of ground clearance. Which kind of adds to the fun in an odd way…

It’s a very tricky call to make. The Hypermotard’s cool look, features such as its single sided swingarm and advanced electronics package go a long way to softening the initial shock when you discover its price. And there is no denying its fun factor. But at the end of the day it remains a bike that sits outside of the mainstream and will only appeal to a select few riders. All of which who will absolutely love the bike as if you are into Hypermotards, these latest versions remain tremendous fun to ride and true to the bike’s core values of sheer enjoyment over dull practicality.

Jon Urry

By Jon Urry

MCN contributor, original 916 & R1-owner, human labrador