Launch: 2013 Ducati Hypermotard, Hypermotard SP

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review
Words: Costa Mouzouris   Photos: Milagro, unless otherwise specified.

HISTORY

Ducati was among the first companies to introduce a twin-cylinder motard, first as a concept in 2005, then with a production model in 2007. Called the Hypermotard it originally had a two-valve, 1,078 cc air-cooled Desmo twin, with the smaller 803 cc Hypermotard 796 following in 2010.

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For 2013, the Ducati Hypermotard gets a complete makeover, including an all-new engine. Ducati invited a bunch of hacks, including yours truly, to Ronda, Spain to ride the latest Hyper bike.

WHAT’S NEW

The new look still retains enough design elements to clearly identify this as a Hypermotard, though from the right-hand side, the biggest (and rather welcome) change is a lower muffler. Gone too are the folding bar-end mirrors, replaced by more traditional and functional rear-views mounted atop the handlebar controls.

Ergonomics have been reshuffled to place the rider more upright and farther back. Footpegs have moved forward 70 mm and the rider’s butt has been moved back 80 mm, while the handlebars have moved rearward to a position that falls between the previous Hypermotard and the Mutlistrada.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP Review
The motor in the 2013 Hypermotard and Hypermotard SP (seen here) has its roots in the four-valve V-twin seen in the Multistrada, but this version has only 821 cc.

The Hypermotard’s new Testastretta 11° four-valve V-twin originated in the Multistrada, but at 821 cc, it’s down from the ’strada’s 1,198 cc. Despite this, it is the most powerful yet to propel a Hypermotard model; at 110 peak horsepower it produces 15 hp more than the 1100 and 29 more than the 796. However, the engine’s smaller displacement gives up a bit of peak torque, now at 65.8 lb-ft versus 75.9 lb-ft for the 1100 (albeit 10 lb-ft up on the 796).

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review
The Hypermotard has 43 mm non-adjustable Kayaba forks; the SP has fully adjustable 50 mm units from Marzocchi.

Some really good news for potential Hypermotard owners is that the fuel tank, which on the previous Hypermotard was among the smallest on a full-sized street bike at 12.4 litres, has grown to 16 litres, meaning you can now make it between Tim Hortons without having to fill up.

The engine is wrapped in a new steel trellis frame and aluminum subframe, and steering geometry has been altered to improve stability,

A heap of new technology is now standard on the Hypermotard, whether you like it or not (I like it), including Ducati Safety Pack (DSP), which includes three ride modes, eight levels of traction control (DTC) and three levels of ABS. If you don’t like the electronic intervention, DTC and ABS can be turned off.

The liquid cooling and techno-gadgetry have added 3 kilos compared to the 1100, now at 175 kg (386 lb) dry for the standard model. The higher-spec Hypermotard SP weighs in at 171 kg (377 lb) dry thanks to some carbon fibre bits and lighter, forged Marchesini wheels.

The SP also gets a fully adjustable 50 mm Marzocchi inverted fork (43 mm non-adjustable Kayaba unit for the standard model), and a fully adjustable Ohlins shock (rebound damping and preload adjustable Sachs shock on the standard bike).

You can now rejoice if you’ve had enough of all this techno-talk because now we’re moving on to …

2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review
Liquid cooling and added electronic gadgets means the new Hypermotard is 175 kg dry, up 3 kg; various carbon-fibre bits puts the SP’s weight down to 171 kg dry.

THE RIDE

Ahhh, sweet Spanish sunshine greets us as we arrive at the Ascari Race Resort, where we begin the morning road portion of our test ride on standard Hypermotards before returning to the track in the afternoon for some hot lapping on SP models. Unfortunately, someone forgot to turn on the heat, and the in-dash thermometers of bikes parked under the sun read 2 degrees Celsius.

2013 Ducati Hypermoto review
The new Hypermotard sits fairly high, and the SP adds more height. Photo: Ducati

Sitting on the new Hypermotard, the first thing you notice is that the bike is tall. Seat height on the standard bike is 870 mm (34.2 in), which is 25 mm taller than the 1100 and 45 mm taller than the 796. The SP adds another 20 mm due to the taller suspension, making it 15 mm taller than the former SP model.

Even at six feet tall, I can’t get the heels of my feet flat on the ground on the standard bike unless I stretch my legs straight. The bike seems wider in the midsection than the previous model, probably due to the larger fuel tank, which is an elongated item that stretches from ahead of you, between your legs, to under the seat.

Another change when seated is that you can actually see the bike below you. On the original bike, you were perched so far forward that the bike would disappear from your view, hidden beneath the chin portion of your full-face helmet. Now, the fender peak, handlebar and tiny LCD gauge cluster are fully in view.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review
The Hypermotard is a quick-steering machine, ideal for urban environments or twisties.

The seat is deeply sculpted and locks you into one position, though at least it’s not an excruciatingly painful supersport crouch. The riding position is quite relaxed and upright but I can’t really comment on how comfy the seat is because our road test lasts just 75 km, though we do ride a combination of both smooth, open stretches and super-tight twisty bits that were quite bumpy at times. My butt doesn’t complain, though I suspect that on a longer ride it might cry foul.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP
For the test, the SP model came with an aftermarket Termignoni exhaust that’s much louder than stock. It’s one of three accessory exhausts available from Ducati.

Ducati has three accessory exhaust systems, from a full race system to a slip-on muffler, but fortunately you won’t have to spend the extra dough to buy one if you want a rich, throaty sound; the Hypermotard’s standard exhaust emits a surprisingly pleasant and pleasantly audible rumble.

Clutch effort is light (a new APTC wet slipper clutch hides behind the right-hand engine cover) and gearbox action is precise. First gear is tall, so some clutch slippage is needed to get going from a stop.

One thing that’s gone on the new bike is the ground-quaking shudder of the 1100 when cruising in top gear at legal highway speeds (the 796 was smoother). The “wet” Hyper just chugs along smoothly, unless you deliberately lug the engine, in which case it still doesn’t shake as much as the older bike.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review
Costa says the deeply sculpted seat locks you into an upright riding position.

The Hypermotard may have lost the bottom-end grunt of the 1100, and although it’s still a torquey machine, tall overall gearing means a downshift or two is needed if you want to make a quick pass. The engine spins freely and readily, and if kept in the upper revs, is rewardingly fast.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review
The SP model is taller than the standard Hypermotard, and has stiffer suspension.

The new Hypermotard is less twitchy than the older one, though the tall, wide handlebar is sensitive to rider input and a death grip and sloppy commands still result in exaggerated chassis movement.

But this means that it is also a quick-steering machine and really shines in an urban environment and in the twisties; it’s highly flickable and (mostly) stable through high-speed sweepers, though mid-turn bumps will cause a rider-induced twitch. Suspension is on the firm side and choppy over sharp bumps, though this can also be attributed to the cold temperatures and short ride time.

I sample the three ride modes – Sport, Touring and Urban. Sport and Touring modes offer maximum horsepower with respectively aggressive and more subtle throttle mapping, while Urban provides the softest throttle response and limits power to 75 hp.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review
Costa reckons the Hypermotard is better suited to tighter tracks like Shannonville or Calabogie than high-speed circuits like Mt. Tremblant and Mosport.

Throttle response is too abrupt in Sport mode, exaggerated by an overly light return spring in the ride-by-wire throttle, so I settle on Touring mode. In town, I’d choose Urban mode readily – you don’t really need more than 75 hp to get to 50 km/h and the soft throttle will make negotiating tight traffic that much easier.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review
Traction control and ABS can be tailored to suit the rider, then saved, or turned off. Photo: Ducati

DTC and ABS settings are also preset in each ride mode, though each can be custom tailored or turned off, and entered into memory.

The temperature slowly creeps up and by the time we return to Ascari the digital dashboard display reads a more clement 8 degrees C. We swap our standard Hypermotards for SP models equipped with full Termignoni exhaust systems for what turns out to be some cool lapping.

The SP is taller and stiffer than the standard model, and with the accessory exhaust, a hell of a lot louder – but the sound is oh, so sweet.

Engine characteristics are identical between the standard model and the SP, though the ride modes are different. It has Race, Sport and Wet modes, the biggest difference being in Race mode, where the ABS only acts on the front wheel at a low level of intervention. This allows a rider to lock the rear wheel for backing it in to a turn or other such shenanigans. Rain mode also limits power to 75 hp.

Just the bike for urban brawling. Photo: Ducati
Just the bike for urban brawling. Photo: Ducati

It is also equipped with sticky Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP radials (Diablo Rosso II on the standard bike), which provide enough grip in the cold temperatures to grind footpegs and the side stand foot despite the bike’s added cornering clearance due to the taller suspension.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review.
Radial-mount, four-piston Brembos work with 320 mm front discs. The brakes are supersport-level.

I select Sport mode for the first session, which offers softer throttle response, and more ABS and DTC intervention (levels 2 and 3 respectively) than Race mode. The bike pulls hard enough to make lapping exciting, turning in quickly and transitioning through the track’s two chicanes effortlessly.

On the track, a 110-hp bike doesn’t really need traction control unless it’s wet, and the throttle could be almost whacked wide open at corner exit without much fear of losing the rear end.

It’s a long way up then down into a full lean through the esses, but the bike manages them with relative poise as long as I don’t manhandle the handlebar like a rodeo clown grabbing a bull by the horns. The wide handlebar means it requires a delicate hand or it’ll weave around a bit.

The footpegs have moved forward and the rider's seating position has been moved back on the Hypermotard this year.
The footpegs have moved forward and the rider’s seating position has been moved back on the Hypermotard this year.

The front end also returned a slightly vague feeling when trail braking, though this would have been remedied if I’d bothered to dial in some rear preload.

ABS will cut down on this sort of action, but it is a big aid for riders who are a bit ham-fisted on the brakes. Photo: Ducati
Race mode allows this sort of action, but ABS is a big aid for riders who are a bit ham-fisted on the brakes. Photo: Ducati

This bike is better suited to tighter tracks like Shannonville or Calabogie than high-speed circuits like Mt. Tremblant and Mosport, though I suspect it will give full-on sport bikes a tough time even at those circuits.

Radial-mount, four-piston Brembos now grip larger 320 mm front discs and braking power is supersport-level, though initial bite is quite strong, demanding an experienced set of fingertips. Feedback is precise, however, and if a novice inadvertently hammers the brakes, ABS is there to save his ass. No discernible fade is felt after 15 minutes of hard lapping.

CONCLUSION

The new Hypermotard is an improvement over the old in almost all respects. It gets added performance for a negligible amount of added weight, and the new, larger gas tank resolves one of the biggest complaints riders had about the old model: limited range. Of course, if you resist technological advances and electronic rider intervention, you won’t like this bike.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review
The new Hypermotard is an improvement over the old model in almost every respect, Costa thinks. Photo: Ducati

Throttle response is a bit abrupt in the most aggressive ride modes, whether on the standard or SP models, but the beauty of Ducati’s ride modes is that you can custom tailor each one to suit your requirements. If I had the SP for example, I’d select Sport mode and program ABS and DTC to Race mode levels. Or maybe I’d just shut them off, since I can.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review
Pricing remains competitive at $12,995 for the base model. Photo: Ducati

Despite the added performance and technology, pricing remains respectably competitive. The standard Hypermotard retails for $12,995, which is $1,500 more than the 796, however, it offers performance levels comparable to the 1100. The SP is $15,695, which represents a reduction of $1,800 over the outgoing 1100Evo SP, improving on its handling and top-end power, but losing some bottom-end torque.

No matter how you look at it, though, the new Hypermotard kicks ass, and is a fitting tribute to the machines that started the motard craze more than three decades ago.


Gallery

Check out all the pics that go with this story! Click on the main sized pic to transition to the next or just press play to show in a slideshow.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review.

Radial-mount, four-piston Brembos work with 320 mm front discs. The brakes are supersport-level.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review

Liquid cooling and added electronic gadgets means the new Hypermotard is 174 kg dry, up 3 kg; various carbon-fibre bits puts the SP's weight down to 171 kg dry.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review

The fuel tank capacity has increased to 16 litres, up from 12.4 litres. That's hardly ideal for touring, but it's a step in the right direction.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review

Costa reckons the Hypermotard is better suited to tighter tracks like Shannonville or Calabogie than high-speed circuits like Mt. Tremblant and Mosport.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review

A tall, wide handlebar means you can really manhandle the Hypermotard, if you want to.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review

Here's what the underside of the Hypermotard looks like.

01_ HYPERMOTARD_SP_Ducati_Performance
2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP Review

The motor in the 2013 Hypermotard and Hypermotard SP (seen here) has its roots in the four-valve V-twin seen in the Multistrada, but this version has only 821 cc.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review

The SP model is taller than the standard Hypermotard, and has stiffer suspension.

05_HYPERMOTARD Ducati Performance
2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP

The SP model comes with an aftermarket Termignoni exhaust that's much louder than stock.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review

The Hypermotard's revised front end.

21_HYPERMOTARD Ducati Performance
2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review

That's a set of Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP radials on the SP; the standard Hypermotard gets Diablo Rosso II rubber).

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review

Traction control and ABS can be tailored to suit the rider, then saved, or turned off.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review

Costa says the deeply sculpted seat locks you into an upright riding position.

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review

Costa found the new Hypermotard had plenty of torque, even though it lost some of the previous model's low-end grunt.

2013 Ducati Hypermoto review

The new Hypermotard sits fairly high, and the SP adds more height. Photo: Ducati

Ducati shot 2

ABS will cut down on this sort of action, but it is a big aid for riders who are a bit ham-fisted on the brakes. Photo: Ducati

ducati shot 3

The footpegs have moved forward and the rider's seating position has been moved back on the Hypermotard this year.

ducati shot 4
ducati shot 5

Just the bike for urban brawling. Photo: Ducati

ducati shot 6
2013 Ducati Hypermotard review

The new Hypermotard is an improvement over the old model in almost every respect, Costa thinks. Photo: Ducati

2013 Ducati Hypermotard review

Pricing remains competitive at $12,995 for the base model.

ducati shot 9
2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review.2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review2013 Ducati Hypermotard review2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review2013 Ducati Hypermotard review01_ HYPERMOTARD_SP_Ducati_Performance2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP Review2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review05_HYPERMOTARD Ducati Performance2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP2013 Ducati Hypermotard review21_HYPERMOTARD Ducati Performance2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP review2013 Ducati Hypermotard review2013 Ducati Hypermotard review2013 Ducati Hypermotard review2013 Ducati Hypermoto reviewABS will cut down on this sort of action, but it is a big aid for riders who are a bit ham-fisted on the brakes. Photo: DucatiThe footpegs have moved forward and the rider's seating position has been moved back on the Hypermotard this year.ducati shot 4Just the bike for urban brawling. Photo: Ducatiducati shot 62013 Ducati Hypermotard review2013 Ducati Hypermotard reviewducati shot 9


SPECIFICATIONS

Bike 2013 Ducati Hypermotard, Hypermotard SP
MSRP $12,995    SP: $15,695
Displacement 821 cc
Engine type liquid-cooled Desmodronic V-twin, six-speed transmission
Power (crank)* 110hp (81kW) @ 9250rpm
Torque* 89 Nm (65.8 lb-ft) @ 7750 rpm
Tank Capacity 16 litres – 4.2 gallon
Carburetion Magneti Marelli electronic fuel injection system
Final drive chain drive
Tires, front Pirelli Diablo Rosso II, 120/70 ZR17   SP: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 120/70 ZR17
Tires, rear Pirelli Diablo Rosso II, 180/55 ZR17   SP: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 180/55 ZR17
B:rakes, front dual 320 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Monobloc Brembo four-piston calipers, ABS
Brakes, rear 245 mm disc, 2-piston caliper, ABS
Seat height 870mm (34.2in)     SP: 890mm (35.0in)
Wheelbase 1.500 mm (59.1 in)
Wet weight* 198 kg (436 lb)    SP: 194 kg (428 lb)
Colours black, red    SP: white
Warranty 2 years unlimited mileage
* claimed

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