The 2015 Ducati Hypermotard is put through it’s paces in a BIKER47 test ride…
My love affair with V-Twins all started pretty much directly after my driving test when, flushed with exuberance and cash, I bought a Honda VT600. Moving on later to another Honda (my beloved VTR 1000), I was hooked for life; the rumble of the twin cyclinders, the impeccable balance and the low down, almost lazily quick acceleration kept me more than happy for 10 years until I finally sold it on, with 100,104 miles on the clock (all mine), to get my current Suzuki SV1000S. This affair was re-energised with a three day stint in sunny California last year when I tried to get to Yosemite via a Multistrada 1200S. Yes. I do love twins… So I understand you might see me be biased with these musings…
An opportunity presented itself and despite the usual bundle of other stuff to do; I tried to ‘Ummm and Arrr’, but I knew deep down that that was just mental chatter; I was going to take up the offer. No doubt. Anything else was nonsense.
Let’s spin through what’s changed:
The new 821cc is now liquid cooled and produces 110HP. The foot rests are further forward and the new angle on the bars bring you back a bit, so it’s all a rather less aggressive position.
With a single sided swing arm that is also a touch longer to address the reputation for ‘slapping’ and the new 2015 model now has ride-by-wire throttle; you get to choose between Urban, Touring and Sports. Dependent on selection, the onboard computer adjusts the throttle response, traction control and intervention from the ABS. Add a larger 16 litre tank, and Ducati now have, on paper, a bike to be uber proud of.
Build quality is superb. The old fears about dodgy electrics and suspect welding are long gone, I simply couldn’t fault anything and attention to detail is now a Ducati watch word.
So, I’m onboard and not short at 6 foot tall, but only the balls of my feet are on the floor. Heyho, that’s the style – you’re ‘high up’ and it really feels like the front wheel is almost directly underneath you. The clutch is light and easy to ease out and off I go (in Touring mode just ’till I get the feel of the engine). Now, you must remember something about Ducati fuelling (and it appears to be absolutely deliberate), and that is from dead stop as you let out the clutch in first gear, you must keep rolling the throttle onwards – otherwise you’ll be heading for a stall. This ‘feature’ is unlike pretty much any other bike, particularly Japanese. It’s something you get used to…
Out on the High Street I’m burbling along at 20-30 mph. And what a burble! The standard exhaust is loud without being overly noisy – I liked it instantly.
This is second gear territory, again the fuelling at low revs, that’s sub 2500 rpm, is what some people describe as “lumpy”. Again, it’s deliberate according to those in the know, Ducati set their fuelling aimed at power not low end useability. So there we are. You either can learn to live with it or not. Frankly I’m undecided; but looking back at all those hours in city traffic, I think that it might just grate a little bit after a while.
Weaving my way out of the town, into third for the roundabout and head out to the countryside. My lean is a little hesitant, whilst the Hypermotard is very happy to tilt over the tyres weren’t anywhere close to being warm and coupled with it wasn’t my bike, I wasn’t going to push it too early in the day, plenty of time for all that…
The seat is wide and padded enough to set you at your ease instantly and hooking a right out into a faster looking A road I checked the mirrors for any spoilers for my anticipated fun. What a disappointment. Style over function here; a chunk of mirror taken out at the bottom edge that removes what I would consider a really rather important piece of space. Guess Ducati don’t think you’ll be worried about what’s behind you too much?!
However, It’s all clear behind and in front so I roll her on. It feels gentle to about 5000 revs then the beast starts to wake… There’s a definite change in the heart of the bike as the Testastretta stirs and starts to bark. Rolling the throttle on further and it’s still well mannered in it’s response; you’re more likely to run out of road before it runs out of willingness, that was plain to see. This was a warning of what sits underneath me. The warning shot had been fired.
“Oi!… you behave yourself and show some respect please…”
Relax. Slow down. The landscape comes back into focus and we’re friends again. Wow-whee. This engine is awesome!
The next few miles are just enjoying what is an effortless ride. More torque and horsepower than you’ll ever need off the track and a slick gearbox that changes smoothly and cleanly. No heavy handed tactics to get her to lean over, she was always obedient and true to what you asked. Superb stuff.
Whilst I speak of the gearbox, it would be worth mentioning that finding neutral when stationary is a frustrating affair, worth remembering to snick it into place just before the stop. My old VTR was similar when new and grew out of it, whether the Hyperstrada will, only time would tell.
The brief tests with the other computer options were tried. Urban mode certainly slowed down the response to throttle control and indeed helped a fair way starting off from a standstill. Unlike Sports mode. This was truly awesome and frankly bordering on scary in places. The slightest twist of the throttle was like poking a growling dog with a pointed stick – quick to snap, bark, lunge! So be aware and make sure you’re fully awake!
Plainly the engine and the engineering would see the Hypermotard easily beyond a hundred miles an hour, and in short order; the saving grace from that hedgerow is that with no screen and spread out arms, your whole body is a solid sail and the wind blast is straight at your chest and head. So 80 mph is about as quick as you can actually go… but the speed at which you get to 80, that’s the jaw dropper.
It is certainly noteworthy that the new monobloc Brembo brakes were faultless. Despite the fact that the bike only had a few miles on the clock, they were very, very reassuring; I never felt that I had asked too much.
Overall then, this is superb motorcycle. The engineering tweaks/additions are inspired. The styling is ‘to die for’. It is an easy and agile ride with ‘Touring’ being my personal favoured mode; an excellent mix between friendliness and ‘scariness’.
It isn’t the cheapest though. Prices are circa £9700 OTR but you get what you pay for. And with the 2015 Ducati Hypermotard you get a beautiful looking, well engineered and well behaved motorcycle that could take your head off if you are foolish enough not to show respect.