With the Ducati Hypermotard 796 I once again found myself questioning its effects, only this time as I was motorcycling around rural Thailand on the new, smaller sibling of Ducati's Hypermotard range, the Hypermotard 796.
I've ridden a few Hypermotard 1100s since they were launched in Thailand and they extremely satisfy me. You only have to take a look at those amazing machines to understand what I mean, test riding one and you're checking your financial capability several times.
To be frankly the Ducati Hypermotard 1100s are a bit hard to handle, especial if you're a reasonable new rider, so the somewhat less powerful Ducati Hypermotard 796 has been produced as a less intimidating welcome to the Ducati family.
When manufacturers start talking of an entry-level version of an existing model, the word dull is usually used to describe it. While the Ducati Hyermotard 796 looks anything but dull from any angle, I must admit I was expecting the Hypermotard 796 to be somewhat dull riding it.
For the Hypermotard 796, Ducati designed an all-new power plant. Rather than an evolution of the 696, the Hypermotard 796 engine 90 degree V-twin engine is an all-new Desmodue design. The Ducati Hypermotard 796 has a longer 66mm stroke which results in claimed peak power of 80 horsepower at 8000rpm and claimed peak torque of 75.5Nm at 6250rpm.
The crankshaft uses a lightweight flywheel something you can also find in the Ducati 848 and the redesigned crankcases save 1.2kg compared to the old 696 engine engine. Overall, the new Ducati Hypermotard 796 engine is almost 2kg lighter than its predecessor.
The Hypermotard 796 engine breathes through a new airbox intake duct fed through 45mm throttle bodies. The 803cc swept volume is compressed to a ratio of 11:1 before being injected and ignited with Siemens controlled electronics.
The Ducati Hypermotard 796 has a wet clutch, similar to the Ducati 848, that's claimed to give a slipper-type action to prevent destabilizing under aggressive downshifting. The clutch is a 21-plate oil-bath clutch, 11 friction and 10 steel plates, that's lighter than the dry clutch system and also quieter in its operation and requires less maintenance. Another advantage of the wet clutch is its lighter action – a great benefit in stop-start city traffic.
The Ducati Hypermotard 796 with a claimed 167kg dry weight, and a low center of gravity and the extra leverage that the wide handlebars offer, give a feeling of confidence for low-speed manoeuvres. And a 20mm lower, than its predecessor, seat height helps the shorter of us get our feet flat on the ground.