Ducati has gone ahead and done something we did not expect in the 2020s—they’ve released an all-new supermoto based around the most powerful single-cylinder production bike engine ever built. And they’ve programmed the electronics to encourage hooligan behaviour!
Sounds mad, right? In the 21st century, most bike electronics will discourage things like massive brake slides and wheelies. But since those are the reasons to buy a supermoto in the first place, Ducati gave the Hypermotard 698 Mono buyers what they wanted.
That’s the name of the new bike—the Hypermotard 698 Mono. It’s powered by the Superquadro Mono engine, which Ducati unveiled a few days previously.
This engine is most interesting, as it uses Ducati’s superbike tech to make a high-revving thumper, something that’s usually not possible in an oversquare engine with a massive piston. In this case, Ducati took the 116 mm piston from the 1200 Panigale and gave it a 62.4 mm stroke, for 659 cc capacity. A desmodromic top end allows this design to rev all the way to a 10,250 rpm redline, which is sky-high for a big-bore thumper. Ducati says the engine makes 77 hp, and 85 hp if you put the non-street-legal Termignoni exhaust on it (and we know that none of you would ever think of running that setup on the streets).
The engine might run sky-high, but max torque of 46 lb-ft comes at 8,000 rpm and most of that grunt kicks in at only 4,250 rpm. This might not be the chugging-tractor torque of an old air-cooled Japanese 650, but it has plenty of kick in the pants.
The engine comes with dual counterbalancers evening out the vibration. A six-speed gearbox is standard, and there is an RVE variant of the bike that includes a quickshifter (it’s optional on the base model). Ducati has been doing a much better job of making its machines affordable to own in recent years, and that is true of this bike as well, with oil changes coming at the 15,000 km mark and valve clearance checks at 30,000 km.
Very cool stuff! The rest of the bike’s hard parts is stuff we’ve seen before—steel trellis frame, fully adjustable Marzocchi fork and Sachs shock, Brembo front brake caliper, and so on. Most of these components are ordered from third-party suppliers, but Ducati did put a lot of work into making sure everything was tidy and light. The machine is built so the rider can move around the pegs and seat at speed, and there seems to be little fat to trim. Ducati says the frame weighs only 15 lb, and other parts are similarly featherweight—even those cast wheels (17-inch rims, for mounting sticky rubber) are supposed to be lightweight.
When you’ve got the 11.3-liter tank fueled up, this bike should weigh about 158 kg.
Take note that this machine gets no fancy-pants TFT dash, just a white-on-black LCD gauge assembly. Most hooligans won’t worry about this one bit, as they’ll be too busy hooning around on their back wheel to pay much attention to the speedo. Get this: This supermoto comes with a leaning-sensitive ABS system that can be configured to allow rear wheel slides, and if you bought that Termignoni exhaust mentioned earlier, you can also unlock a Wheelie Assist feature. This helps you keep that front wheel skyward by regulating engine output to balance you.
Wild stuff indeed! Asking price in Canada is a $15,295 MSRP, and the bike should be here early in 2024. That’s a lot of money for a single-cylinder machine, but if you want the hottest thumper on the market, you’ll have to pay to play. Oh yes, and if you want to buy the RVE version of the bike, add $1,100 to that MSRP.