I've almost reached the apex of a turn when suddenly a loud, high-pitched screech cuts through the rumble of the Ducati Hypermotard's V-twin engine. The Ducati Hypermotard is the brainchild of Ducati designer Pierre Terblanche, who saw the potential for the Bologna firm to join the supermoto set with a leaner, racier bike based on the versatile Multistrada.
At the heart of the Ducati Hypermotard is the familiar 1078cc, air-cooled Desmo engine, with its SOHC, two valves and two plugs per cylinder. The motor's top end is mechanically unchanged but the Hypermotard also comes with a new high-level exhaust system. Twin aluminum-tipped silencers just from beneath the high seat of a tall, sharply styled and imaginatively detailed machine whose swooping bodywork is cut back to show off the engine and the trellis frame, from which hangs a single-sided swingarm and a bolt-on rear sub-frame. Though Ducati decided to use the 90 horsepower air-cooled V-twin, they didn't hold back on the spec. The Ducati Hypermotard was developed alongside the Ducati 1098, using much shared technology, including a lighter, lower-effort clutch plus the exhaust system, which saves weight by by being just 1mm thick. The result is a bike that scales just 179kg dry in standard form; the upmarket Hypermotard 1100 S weighs 2kg less, complete with forged wheels, uprated suspension, Brembo Monobloc calipers and sprinkling of carbon fiber.
ou know you're aboard a very different Ducati when you throw a leg over the Ducati Hypermotard's seat, which at 845mm is tall but not tall enough to pose problems for average height riders. Ahead is a slim dummy tank and a minimalist digital instrument panel similar to that of the Ducati 1098. By contrast the wide, slightly raised, black-anodized, rubber-mounted one-piece handlebar incorporates hand-protectors that hold the indicators, plus a unique pair of bar-end mirrors that can be folded back at 90 degree when not required.
Given the Ducati Hypermotard's racy look I'd expected it to feel sporty, but the wide bars and fairly low-set footrests gave a relaxed, almost upright riding position similar to that of the Ducati Multistrada. The standard Ducati Hypermotard is fully 18kg lighter, though, which helped make it feel very responsive as we headed off in the morning's traffic.
This air-cooled Hypermotard might have only 90 horsepower at its disposal, but it's still respectable rapid. On a short stretch of main road it shot up to a smooth indicated 200km/h, with more to come before a true top speed of about 225km/h. Though the under-seat tank holds only 12.5 liters fuel the average range should be about 160km, probably an acceptable compromise for most riders.