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2013 Ducati Hypermotard First Ride

Monday, March 4, 2013

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2013 Ducati Hypermotard First Ride Video
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Watch the 2013 Ducati Hypermotard First Ride Video to see the redesigned Hyper in action on the street and on the track.
Ducati’s Hypermotard is the Italian brand’s poster child for bad behavior, socially unacceptable antics and plain ol’ hooliganism. When it was introduced six years ago, it captured the spazstic attention of those that are drawn to wheelies, tire smoke and cutting skids, but it really wasn’t a motorcycle that most wanted to live with every day. Its flighty front-end, intense ergonomics and limited fuel range made for a ride that was, well, hyper. For 2013, Ducati has given the Hypermotard a dose of Ritalin to make daily life with the most ADHD motorcycle in the line-up a little more appealing to the masses. But did they prescribe the correct dosage?

Ducati began with a clean slate for the 2013, but made sure to not lose the character that is the Hypermotard. Gone is the air-cooled powerplant available in both the 796 and 1100 variants, replaced with a singular 821cc water-cooled Testastretta 11 engine that is shared between the Hypermotard and Hypermotard SP. With a claimed 110 horsepower on tap, the new mill puts out 20 more peak ponies than the outgoing 1100, but has 10 less torque with 68.5 ft-lb. Additionally the service interval for this newest Testatretta engine is 18,500 miles – the longest thus far from Ducati.

An APTC, oil-bathed clutch is a new addition to the final drive, compete with a slipper function. Using a self-servo mechanism to press the plates together under acceleration allows for lighter spring rates, and on decel the servo releases pressure for improved rear wheel control on downshifts. The clutch is cable operated, but the pull is light and smooth.

Forward thrust is now metered by a fly-by-wire twist grip operating individual 52mm throttle bodies, which are controlled by a Magneti Marelli fuel injection system. The FI system draws from a larger 4.2 gallon fuel tank that is 0.9 gallon larger than the previous model. While the Testastretta 11 is a thirstier engine, the fuel range is now increased to an acceptable level. The Ducati Safety Pack is standard and includes three levels of ABS and eight levels of DTC (Ducati Traction Control).

Three riding modes are selectable but differ between the Hypermotard and Hypermotoard SP. The standard model gets Sport, Touring and Urban modes, with the two top tiers pumping out 110 hp. The ABS and DTC settings are low in Sport, while Touring gets a middle of the road treatment for the electronic aides. Urban drops the power to 75 hp and cranks up the ABS and DTC. On the SP Race mode puts out full power and drops the DTC to Level 2 and turns off the ABS to the rear end for supermoto-style slides. Sport mirrors the standard model’s setting by the same name and Wet brings the ABS to Level 3 and DTC to Level 7 and delivers 75 hp.

Wheelie control is determined by the ABS setting. Level 1 allows for as much 12 o’clock action as you desire, Level 2 lets the wheel come up but controls the lift, and Level 3 keeps the front wheel planted.

The team charged with the Hyper’s redesign was charged with not only fitting a new engine, but also softening the hard-edged handling slightly to appeal to the less hardcore rider. That began with a new steel trellis frame and aluminum sub-frame halves. The rake has been increased to 25.5 degrees with 4.1 inches of trail. The wheelbase is now 1.6 inches longer at 59.2. All this is meant to increase the stability while still retaining the Hypermotard’s characteristic agility.

The first generation Hypermotard had a very aggressive seating position that made longer rides a chore. This new model gets more relaxed and comfortable ergonomics. The seat has more room to move rearward while the footpegs have been moved forward easing strain on the nether regions. A more upright feel is enhanced further by the bars being set back closer to the rider than before. Seat height is a tallish 34.2 inches for the standard and a towering 35 inches for the SP. A low seat option is available that knocks almost an inch off that height.

Suspension duties on the standard model is handled by a non-adjustable Kayaba 43mm fork with 6.7 inches of travel and a preload and rebound adjustable Sachs rear shock that strokes the rear wheel through 5.9 inches. The higher spec SP gets a lighter, fully adjustable 50mm Marzocchi fork with 7.3 inches of movement and a Ohins rears shock that supplies 6.9 inches of travel that is also fully adjustable. With the longer stroke suspension comes more ground clearance at 8.3 inches over the base model’s 7.5 inches of clearance.

As expected Brembos handle the braking duties on both models. M4-32 cast Monbloc calipers clamp down on 320mm front rotors. A Brembo twin-piston caliper is mated to a 245mm rotor at the back wheel. The SP model gets a larger Brembo radial master cylinder than the standard axial component.

The base model sits on Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tires wrapped around cast aluminum 10-spoke wheels. On the SP lighter forged Panigale S style Marchesini wheels get the oh-so-sticky Pirelli Supercorsa SP tires.

Finally the SP gets the carbon fiber treatment to the cam-belt covers, front fender and fork guards along with magnesium cam covers. A textured seat with horizontal stitching increases grip, and a special Ducati Corse livery completes the SP’s racier look.

On the Road - Hypermotard

The morning of the press ride, the temps around Ronda, Spain dropped to the freezing mark. Not the best situation to be shredding unfamiliar and shaded backcountry roads, and we were instructed to keep the DTC and ABS on throughout the ride. I decided to give the Urban setting a try first as the roads would be cold and slippery. For this morning jaunt we would be riding only the standard model, as the SP units were waiting for the afternoon track session.

Power output from the Urban setting was less than inspiring and mellow to say the least. It was, however, safe when the traction is less than optimal. The ABS kicks in early and would keep a less than experienced rider in line if and when a handful of stoppers and diminished road surfaces collide. Quickly, I turned my attention to Touring Mode.

In Touring the power is much more in line with the Hyper’s outward and extreme personality. Throttle response is smooth and meters perfectly. The ABS was still present and intervened regularly when hard on the binders. Even with such cold conditions the DTC was not noticeable. Getting on the gas hard gets the rear Rosso II to squirm but it never steps out or loses traction unexpectedly. Front end feel on the less than warm asphalt was vague, especially on turn in. Most likely this was a combination of the conditions, the tires and lack of speed.

Finally clicking into Sport for photos, the true character of the Hypermotard became apparent. Throttle response was crisp and immediate. The front tire rose from the pavement with ease in first and second gear and would occasionally lift off in third with a bounce on the front end at the right time. The ABS is less intrusive in this mode, but I would still prefer to go without. The Urban and Touring modes have their place without question, but Sport mode is what the Hyper is all about.

It was tough to ascertain any real impressions of the Hypermotards handling characteristics with the frosty conditions. So I turned my attention to comfort and everyday life with the Hyper. While the ergos leave you hanging out in the wind with the wide bars and upright seating, the Duc is surprisingly comfortable. If you have a dirt bike or adventure bike background you’ll feel right at home. I could ride this thing all day. Less hardened individuals, maybe ¾ of a day.

My only complaint on the morning would be with the smallish mirrors that have been relocated from the hand guards on the OG Hyper to conventional stalks. Anytime I wheelied or hit a rough patch, the mirrors would sag and I’d have to readjust them. Not a big deal, but it could be a daily annoyance that would get old quick.

On the Track – Hypermotard SP

After lunch the track had warmed sufficiently to give the SP the business. Not that I was worried as the Pirelli Supercorsa SP tires have a considerable amount of grip for street tires.

For the first session, Sport would be the setting to learn the track and have the safety blanket of the Ducati Safety Pack, mainly the DTC. Even with the most ham-fisted throttle application; the Pirellis negated the need for traction control. I cursed the ABS every lap in the tightest section of the circuit, it feels so much more unnecessary on the track than on the street.

Finally getting to dip the Hypermotard into a corner with aggression, it was amazing how planted the tall and skinny chassis really is. Just as in the street ride, the level of front-end feel was vague on turn in and the words communicative could never be used to describe it. That said, as the pace was quickened, the lean angle was increased and hard parts began to drag it was obvious the grip is there. Just trust the front will stick and it will.

For the second and third session Race mode was the only option for me. I would settle for no less and, to be honest, it should be the de facto choice for racetrack work. Finally I could spike the rear brake, down shift two gears and step the rear end out. The APTC clutch worked as advertised and kept the rear end under control as tried my best to back the SP into a hard right. This is how I imagined and hoped my time on the Hypermotard would be.

Even with the towering seat height and massive ground clearance, in no time I was grinding footpegs and shaving knee pucks in every corner. The wide bars gave plenty of input to the front and gave loads of room to move about. The rear end was planted and controlled even on the bumpier sections of the fairly smooth Ascari Race Resort. The front suspension action was composed and did not dive excessively on braking.

In Race mode the lack of ABS at the rear is just what the Hyper needs. The ability to lock the rear brake while modulating the front has a very natural feel, and with this setup I never got into the ABS in the front. The Brembo Monoblocs mated to the radial master cylinder have excellent bite and wonderful feel, even routed through the Bosch controller.

At $14,695 for the SP, is the increased price worth it? Absolutely. If not for the suspension, do it for the brakes, wheels, tires and sweet paint scheme. Some may argue why not just go for the Ducati 848 EVO Corse SE for nearly the same price. To that I say, because the Hyper is more fun.

Ducati has successfully built a better Hypermotard. It’s a more capable machine for everyday usage, but it still has a wild streak that will keep the most hardcore rider entertained. With the option to temper the personality via riding modes, Ducati has left it up to the rider to write the prescription.
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2013 Ducati Hypermotard Technical Specs
2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP
Engine: 821cc liquid-cooled L-Twin, 8-valve
Bore x Stroke: 88.0 x 67.5mm
Compression Ratio: 12.8:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel-injection
Clutch: APTC wet multi-plate with slipper-action, cable actuation
Transmission: 6-speed; chain final drive
Frame: Tubular steel trellis 
Front Suspension: KYB 43mm usd forks, 6.7 in. travel (standard); Marzocchi 50mm, fully-adjustable, 7.3 in. travel (SP Model) 
Rear Suspension: Sachs shock absorber, preload adjustment only p, 5.9 in. travel (standard); Ohlins shock absorber, fully-adjustable, 6.9 in. travel (SP Model)
Front Brakes: 320mm disc with 4-piston Brembo radial-mount caliper; ABS
Rear Brake: 245mm disc with Brembo twin piston caliper; ABS 
Wheels: Cast aluminum 10-spoke 3.5 x 17 front, 5.5 x 17 rear (standard); Marchesini 3-poke forged (SP Model)
Tires: Pirelli Diablo Rosso II 120/70-17, 180/55-17(standard); Pirelli Supercorsa SP (SP Model) 
Curb Weight: 436.5 lbs(Standard); 427.7 lbs(SP Model)
Wheelbase: 59 in.
Length: 82.7 in.
Rake: 25.5 deg.
Trail: 4.1in.
Seat Height: 34.2 in. (Standard), 35 in. (SP Model)
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gallon
MSRP: $11,995(Standard), $14,695(SP Model)Colors: Ducati Red, Dark Stealth (Standard); SP Livery (SP Model) 
Warranty: Two year, unlimited mileage

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aerozeta   March 19, 2015 06:21 AM
I own both Duke 690 R and Hypermotard 821. This is my 2nd Hypermotard. Although both bikes are in the same category, but way different. Duke 690 has its own flaws, with its low rev, low HP but lighter weight. Hypermotard has more torque, HP, and its heavier due to its components and advanced electronics that Duke does not have. I enjoy riding my 3rd Ducati and the maintainence intervals are actually further apart than most other manufactures on the newer Ducs. I maintain just about everything on my own bikes and I arely work on my Hypermotards. I actually do more maintainence on the KTM.
mightymotoman   June 27, 2014 12:09 AM
Reality check for some of you critics complaining about the new liquid cool Testastretta engine, and the added weight, blah, blah, blah, "I won't buy this bike..." Ducati doesn't have you in mind as a customer anyway. Have you guys seen who owns Ducati now? It's Audi, under their Lamborghini subsidiary. They're not interested in selling a few bikes to track racers. They would go broke doing that. They want to increase their profits by selling to the masses -- People who buy the bling, and want a reliable product with low maintenance; hence the new liquid cooled engine with longer maintenance intervals. The regular consumer, to whom this bike is targeted, is not necessarily those people that are interested in a serious, 300 lb, track winning supermoto to race at the track. Geez, c'mon, get real! Go buy a KTM SX and do a supermoto conversion if you're that serious about having a hardcore, air cooled, supermoto racing bike and enjoy your Saturdays doing maintenance.
larrymb   June 16, 2013 03:27 PM
The KTM 690 duke weighs 330 pounds without gas it holds about 3.8 gallons which would bring its weight up to about 355 pounds vs 426 for the hypermotard full of gas.428 divided by 110 hp =3.9 pounds per hp.355 pounds divided by 69 hp = 5.1pounds per hp
buzzdsm   March 15, 2013 12:13 PM
Why would someone buy a Hypermotard for $15K when you can buy an Aprilia Tuono for $2K less? This bike is about $5k over priced.
Troll5000   March 7, 2013 05:45 AM
Mr. Dawes, I was obviously NOT comparing the DRZ400SM directly to the Duc! I was just stating that a dated Supermoto design was available in the sub-350lb range. Maybe, Ducati shouldn't classify this bike as a Supermoto/Supermotard type of cycle. It's definitely a cool motorcycle. I have a 2003 R1 that weighs in at 426lbs full of fluids. It makes 150hp. This "motard" is 10 lbs heavier and makes 110hp. Seems like after a decade of development and 12,000 cabbages you shouldn't be taking 10 steps backwards. Point is, instead of meandering down the middle of the road, why not make it light and right like a true supermotard OR give it some more juice to haul it's fat-ass around.

BTRDAYZ   March 6, 2013 02:23 PM
I think visually, the new H'Tard is a step backwards from the original. One of the attractive elements of Ducati's are the steel trellis frames, and beginning with the latest revision of the Monster, they've added this molded aluminum piece to support the seating area, and to my eye, it looks less attractive than the steel piping. Same with the H'Tard. What remains of the steel trellis frame is uninspired. Another very attractive element of the original was how the exhaust pipe followed the frame contours, leading up to the underseat exhausts. The view of the single sided rear wheel was completely unobstructed from view and looks like it simply floated back there unattached. The pipes on the new bike look like an afterthought. And the trick folding mirrors have been retired! Yes, I prefer the old HyperMotard or the new MV Brutale 800. Hell, or even the new KTM Duke 690!
Justin Dawes   March 6, 2013 01:16 PM
The 1100 EVO weighs in at 432 lbs wet, the standard 2013 Hyper is only 4.5 lbs heavier and the SP is 4.5 lbs less than the 1100 EVO. That is still a chunk more than the 796, but not worth whining about in comparison to the Hyper 1100. As for the comparison to a DR400? Apples and Oranges. Or more like Tangerines and Oranges.
moto-pat   March 6, 2013 12:42 PM
I just put my 2008 1100S for sale on consignment at my local Duc dealer this week. Nearly everyone working at the dealership would like to buy it due to much of what is stated below. Duc-ist don't want a heavy, water cooled motard. It defeats to original intent of the bike.
Now if the dealership only paid their folks better it would be sold.
mugwump   March 5, 2013 05:21 AM
'Strada test please
Troll5000   March 5, 2013 05:14 AM
$12K for a supermoto and it weights 436lbs ??? That is unacceptable. This is 2013 and this is Ducati. No reason this bike shouldn't weigh 336lbs. Look at the dated DRZ400SM. It's 313 or so and the new KTM Duke is supposed to be in the 330 range. The whole point of a supermoto is to ride a bike with motocross-style handling, weight, etc. If you would truly build a bike that weighed under 300lbs, you wouldn't have to use a 821cc boat anchor as an engine. What am I missing? Check the specs on a Husky 510smr. 260lbs and 60hp !!!

Piglet2010   March 4, 2013 11:48 PM
Not a bike anyone really needs, but one that would be really fun to have.
Piglet2010   March 4, 2013 11:47 PM
Hopefully Ducati will have the US press intro at a proper SuperMoto track with some jumps. Also, in the US, expect to pay $700-$1000 in delivery charge on top of the MSRP.
Justin Dawes   March 4, 2013 07:45 PM
nieseba - good catch! That should be $11,995, not $16,995. Thanks!
nieseba   March 4, 2013 04:36 PM
Just to clarify, I wish the SP models were cheaper than standard models, not that the standard model be $16,995 instead of $11,995 :P
nieseba   March 4, 2013 04:32 PM
The standard model ($16,995) is more expensive than the SP model($14,695)? I wish Ducati really priced them that way!