2013 Ducati Hyperstrada – Launch and First Ride

When I heard rumors about the Ducati Hyperstrada, a touring  version of the revised Hypermotard line, I thought of it as a great fun machine. I had ridden the Ducati Hypermotard before, and I knew how nimble it was, a truly hooligan machine, the essence of motard, and on steroids in the case of the 1100 Evo SP version I rode. Lots of fun but it missed travel manners.  There is nothing wrong with the bike if you want a perfect urban machine which is also excellent for short bursts of extreme fun on the country side and the curvy roads on the hills around town.

The Ducati Hypermotard. September 2011

The Ducati Hypermotard 1100 Evo SP that I took for a spin in September 2011

But if you wanted something more versatile that offered that wicked fun but also allowed you to take it on trips, you probably looked elsewhere. Until now, that is.  With the Hyperstrada, Ducati is offering another side to its Hypermotard line. It is part of a trend in the Ducati’s line, where some bikes get the “strada” treatment, subtle but important changes to their design and equipment making these bikes more touring oriented.  It started with the Multistrada years ago, from the ground up a completely different beast than traditional Ducati motorcycles. Ducati has now added a GT (Gran Turismo) version to its Multistrada line, taking touring yet to another level in that line. The Hyperstrada confirms the trend. Next in line will be the Diavel, with its Diavel Strada version.

Scott and Madelyn of the European Motorcycles of Western Oregon invited me to attend the Hyperstrada’s launch party. It took place last Friday, April 26th, at their shop on West 11th Ave., here in Eugene.

Unveiling of the Hyperstrada at the EMCWOR - April 26th, 2013

Unveiling of the Hyperstrada at the EMCWOR – April 26th, 2013

My work schedule has never collaborated with Ducati’s launch parties calendar. I missed the launch for the Multistrada 1200, the Diavel, and the list goes on. But this time I was in town and I made a point to be there. And I was not disappointed.

Ducati Girls... Bike? What bike?

Ducati Girls… Bike? What bike?

Hey, I’m talking about the bike.  But besides the bike there was something to eat, drink, and well, there were the girls, Ducati girls, giving that special Italian flavor to the launch party.  Since I have an Italian passport, I felt right at home. In reality I see it as the youth and excitement, that upbeat feeling we experience (well, I do) when riding Ducatis. EMCWOR added an Eugene touch to it, promoting local businesses in the process.  The beer being offered was from Claim 52 Brewing one of the local up and coming breweries.  The nice and friendly girls are from the Ballet Fantastique here in town. If you are a local rider and would like to be part of a next Ducati launch party, the Diavel Strada being next in line, contact EMCWOR and ask to be included in their mailing list.

The 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada

The 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada

So, what about the Hyperstrada?  What are these revisions to the Hypermotard line for 2013?  This bike comes in three versions: Hypermotard, Hypermotard SP, and the HyperStrada. All of them with a new V-twin motor, an 820 cc water-cooled 11 degree Testatretta motor:

  • Motor: Testastretta 11°, L-Twin cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid cooled
  • Displacement: 821.1cc
  • Bore x Stroke: 88 x 67,5 mm
  • Compression ratio: 12,8:1
  • Power: 110hp (81kW) @ 9250rpm
  • Torque: 89 Nm (65.8 lb-ft) @ 7750 rpm

For more technical specifications on this bike, check the Ducati USA site.

The three bikes in this family come with three riding modes (Urban, Touring and Sport), the Ducati Safety Pack (ABS, and Ducati Traction Control) and Ride by Wire as standard equipment. The Hypermotard is the base model.  The Hypermotard SP comes with Marchesini forged wheels, fully adjustable suspensions with Marzocchi forks and Öhlins rear shock, besides the SP colors (the nice red, white and black color scheme). Also, the riding modes are different in the SP, it follows a more aggressive set up.

Photo from Ducati USA Site of 2013 Hypermotard SP

Photo from Ducati USA Site of 2013 Hypermotard SP

The Hyperstrada is the touring version, equipped with 50 liter semi-rigid side panniers with the incorporated supports, touring windshield, touring seat, passenger grab handle, center stand, larger front and rear mudguards, engine sump guard, and two 12 V power outlets.

The 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada

The 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada

While at the launch party I organized with Scott to be at the shop the next day, first thing in the morning, to take it out for a spin. So the next day I took my Triumph, which needs to be ridden, and went to the shop.

The Triumph need to be ridden!

The Triumph need to be ridden!

I arrived at 9:00am as the staff were still cleaning up after the party. We quickly processed the paperwork and I was out.  I took off towards the south hills of Eugene on a picture perfect spring day in the Willamette valley.

A picture perfect spring day in the valley and a nice motorcycle to put me in it

A picture perfect spring day in the valley and a nice motorcycle to put me in it

The first thing you will notice when mounting the bike is how you seat on the bike, not in it. And despite the small wind screen, from where you seat you have the impression there is nothing in front of you, just the road beyond the handlebars. It feels very compact, with the handlebars being tall providing the rider with an upright riding position. The ergonomics feel very similar to what I get on my WR250R.  But that is as far as I would go when comparing my little 28hp WR to the Hyperstrada.

Not a Streetighter, but not bad looking at all! Great job on the minor changes.

Not a Streetighter, but not bad looking at all! Great job on the minor and subtle changes.

I selected the Urban mode (modes are selected the same way as in the Multistrada), it is always nice to start in the tamest mode as you get to learn about the motorcycle.  As soon as I reached the open roads, not more than 3-4 miles from the shop, I switched to Touring mode.

Touring defaults to DTC at level 4 and ABS 2.  Sport defaults to DTC 3 and ABS 1. You can customize these settings.

Touring defaults to DTC at level 4 and ABS 2. Sport defaults to DTC 3 and ABS 1. You can customize these settings.

In each mode you can adjust ABS and Traction Control levels. And you can customize a few host of other variables in the display.  The one thing I have an issue with Ducati is their information systems. Except for the Panigale and the Diavel, they are all monochrome, digital sets. And for the case of the Hyperstrada (and the Hypemotard line), Streetfighter and Monster, I wish they provided more information as well. A fuel gauge is one critical information missing on these bikes’ information cluster.  Gear selector is another information missing on these bikes, this last one is not so critical, but it is nice to have it.

Pressing "R.MODE" on the settings menu allows you to reconfigure DTC and ABS settings within the riding modes

Pressing “R.MODE” on the settings menu allows you to reconfigure DTC and ABS settings within the riding modes

Because I did not spend much time on the Urban mode, I can’t quite say what is the difference between Urban and Touring.  But I can say this bike is a lot of fun, the motor is very smooth and very responsive. Similarly to what Ducati has done with the Multistrada 1200 motor, the Hyperstrada’s 820 cc motor was born with dual spark plugs and the other recent refinements delivering smooth power with no hesitations or surges. It is brilliant.

The 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada

The 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada, perfect for the country roads

The wind screen did not create any turbulence. I just got a very clean rush of air from the chest and up.

No turbulence, just nice clear wind flow.

No turbulence, just nice clear wind flow.

The bike is narrow and feels extremely light, with a very fast turn in, but very stable as well. Not different from the Hypermotard I tested a couple of years ago. And I could not tell there were two bags attached to it.  The bags appear to be very light, but I wondered how the bike would feel without having them installed, after all they must offer some wind resistance.

The bags are symmetric, courtesy of a lower exhaust.

The bags are symmetric, courtesy of a lower exhaust.

I kept riding this bike and I was really getting inspired by its smooth power delivery, its immediate turn in, enjoying the crisp air on that sunny spring morning with the beautiful vistas of fields and hills outside of Eugene. Something was missing, however. I had flashbacks of my Yellow 848 Streetfighter, the motors are similar in terms of displacement, but this bike was not quite telling me the same story.  Then I looked at the dash… I was on Touring mode. Let’s try Sport mode! I checked my mirrors, no one behind, brought the clutch in, switched to Sport mode. Holly desmodromics, Batman! That’s what was missing from this ride! What a transformation. Now I could experience the soul of my Streetfighter, but with a much smoother power delivery and a nice and comfortable riding position.  Ducati should call it “Hooligan” mode instead of Sport, it would go a lot better with the theme of the Hypermotard line.

Horses and horses

Horses and horses

Talking about horses, the Hyperstrada’s motor is rated at 110 hp to the Streetfighter’s 848 132 hp.  The 820 motor  in the Hyperstrada has a smaller bore and longer stroke than the 849. This is what gives the 820 cc motor a better power delivery, more torque down low, and perhaps a more useable gearbox (it could be only the torque issue here).  The result is that you can actually use 6th gear without breaking the speed limit (too much). It seems either the torque is really useful, the motor really smooth, or the gear ratios are closer.  What I can tell you is that it delivers a lot more fun charging the hills and its curvy roads than I remember by 848 could deliver.

The horse could surprised when I said: 110 horses!

Love at first site

The difference between Touring and Sport? On Touring mode you can actually use this bike to engage yourself on and in the scenery. On sport mode the bike engages the hooligan in you. Be careful!

The revised beak, a welcome modification in my opinion

The revised beak, a welcome upgrade in my opinion

And the Hyperstrada may not be a looker as much as the Streetfighter is. But it is not too bad.  I liked the revised nose, the subtle changes to the tank fairings to accommodate the radiator.  Actually, Ducati did a great job with the plumbing on this bike, something the Streefighter does not have in its favor, with a few coolant hoses looking out of place on that bike.

Not too bad.

Not too bad.

And the bags, 50 liter each,  since the exhaust is low enough they can mirror each other without cutouts. Not too bad looking. The bags open and close with a zipper. I wonder about the durability of this system. But these bags certainly make this bike capable of touring for several days. Specially if you add a top box.

Plenty of space. Even more if you add a top box

Plenty of space. Even more if you add a top box

The bags are very light, semi-rigid plastic and come with dry bags, which makes me think they are not water proof.

Dry bag inside each pannier

Dry bag inside each pannier

All in all, this is quite a nice machine. I was really impressed by its road manners, its power delivery, the smooth gear box, the gear ratios (or torque or both), the power itself, and its capacity to move from Touring to Hooligan modes with the touch of a button. If I could have four bikes I would get this bike right away.

What a nice and sweet, hooligan machine

What a nice and sweet, hooligan machine

But let me think of excuses to get this bike… A “Terra Mostro” thought crossed my mind, what if I could transform it into a gravel ready beast?  And does it come in yellow? These bikes come in red or white. Or the SP version, with the nice three color scheme.

The open curvy roads and this bike, nice combination

The open curvy roads and this bike, nice combination

I’m really glad I had a chance to ride this fine machine. This bike was perfect for that Sunny Spring day, a perfect day to ride it in Touring mode, in open air, see the new green and the blooming flowers. And then let the bike engage me in Sport mode for a well composed multicolor blur, with the hooligan in me enjoying the machine and what it can do.

Be careful out there!  This is one engaging machine.

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17 Responses to 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada – Launch and First Ride

  1. bob skoot says:

    Cesar:

    I got stuck on photo 3 and couldn’t help but stare at those 3 red balloons on the left which formed a “Heart” shape. and then it took a while to notice that there was actually a bike there. I can’t imagine a bike without a fuel gauge either

    I like the idea that you can adjust the ABS and Traction Control Levels. Mine are only On or Off

    Let me think, there must be a way for you to bring it home. Remember that it’s a multi-function bike, you could eliminate one somehow, or change the idea of only having 4

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

    • cesardagord says:

      Good one on the balloons Bob. I thought about sending a letter to Ducati, thanking them for persevering with, should we say, traditional elements to a new motorcycle launch.

  2. Johnny says:

    Thx for your color on the 2013 vs 2012 multi – so I dove in and bought a multi 2013 last week :), So far I love it. Only couple of gripes – the 2013 is stiffer than the 2012 I rented, when i corner on the 12 I could feel the suspension compress and felt more connected to the street. Perhaps this can be addressedv by changing the settings of the suspension – very curious if you ride on the default settings or if you have customized? Also imagine the bike will be a bit grabby during the break in period? Man it is a sweet bike. I live in Chicago – not quite the Oregon vistas.

    • cesardagord says:

      Hey Johnny,
      Yes the semi-active suspension is different. It seems stiffer, but it is not. However, it has less of the pogo effect longer travel suspensions have. So when you are riding at speed on relatively flat surfaces, it feels like a sports bike suspension. When you encounter potholes or other major road imperfections, it will go over them with less drama. You definitely won’t get the jarring on your arms you would get with the 12 or other bikes with passive suspension systems. Now, about the compression as you set up for a curve. A compressed suspension perhaps feels more connected to the road. But is it really? Remember, despite the semi-active suspension preventing nose diving, weight transfer is still taking place. But most important, it still has room to move up or down, it is ready to react to road imperfections, keeping your front wheel on the ground on the curve, while a compressed suspension may have hit its end of travel. I’ve kept sport mode on default. In Touring I moved one notch towards soft. In Urban mode I moved all the way to softest setting.
      This is an awesome machine! Congratulations on your purchase!
      Cesar

      • Johnny says:

        Thanks Cesar,

        I took the bike for a 500 mile spin this weekend and it is fantastic. Got to some curves roads and had a blast, your points are very valid. What kind of oil and weight do you like to use for your multi? Thx again

        Johnny

      • cesardagord says:

        I’m glad you are enjoying this bike, it really is a fantastic machine. Oil? Synthetic. The specifics I left for the chief mechanic at the Ducati shop to pick. I can ask. Cesar

    • Wez says:

      Which do you think would be a good bike for daily commute and weekend fun, the new Hyper or Tiger 800.

      Weekdays daily commute is roughly 45km each way just for work, or about 100km daily. I am currently riding the hyper 1100s with a smaller tank capacity and thirstier engine. Tks.

      • cesardagord says:

        What a difficult question to answer. But I have an unambiguous answer for you. Although I really like my Tiger and it is one of the smoothest motorcycles ever, the Ducati Hyperstrada beats it in the fun factor. And considering you have a daily commute, and I assume there will be traffic during this commute, the Hyperstrada will be more agile, both on waving in and out of traffic and in acceleration, should you need it. The Hyperstrada feels very light! Now, if you want to go on longer distance trips, then the Tiger would be my choice. Or a Multistrada, of course. But since the commute comes first, the Hyperstrada would be my choice, no doubt.

  3. Wez says:

    Thank you so much for the sharing…

  4. Gary says:

    I really hoped you’d compare the Multi to the Hyper… If you could only have one or the other is the choice really clear?

    • cesardagord says:

      Hey Gary
      If I wanted a bike for short runs, weekend trips with no passenger, some urban riding, and lots of fun in close to town twisties, I would get the Hyperstrada. If I want some long distance travel, a thirst for power, comfort, high performance, and two-up travel, I would take the Multistrada. Other than that, I would strongly recommend test riding both bikes. It is the only way to decide. By the way, the Hyperstrada is light, the Multistrada is heavy, the Hyperstrada has tight ergos, you sit on it, handlebars come closer to you. The Multistrada offers more room. Test ride them and you will make your mind, I’m sure.

      • Miguel says:

        Hi Cesar! Thanks a lot for your review.
        I’ve got the same question than Gary but making it in a different way: since new Hyper prize is more or less the same than 2012 Multi, and providing that I wanna do everything (commuting, fun, city, solo and duo and be able of riding 500-800km trips) I ask myself which one is worst… Hyper two-up travelling or Multi (2012) in the city? I do like my G650GS, but I miss a bit of fun and be able to brake without worries when giving a ride to a beautiful lady :-)

      • cesardagord says:

        I think how tall and heavy you are and how light your lady is, should help you find an answer. The taller and the more is the combined weight of the two of you, then the Multistrada would get the nod. If you are both light, then the Hyperstrada should take care of it well. Whatever you do on your G650GS, you will do a lot better on the Hyperstrada. The motor is smooth, the acceleration is awesome, and it is a lot of fun! I took my Multistrada for a 220 mile (350 km) ride last Sunday and this machine is brilliant on the open roads. But yes, I could had possibly done it on a Hyperstrada and still have had loads of fun.

        And no, I did not take the Hyperstrada on the dirt. But I’ve seen a video of someone who did just that. It worked but it didn’t look like an ideal situation. So I will make an addendum to my previous comment: whatever you do on your G650GS, except for dirt riding, you will do it better on the Hyperstrada.

        Keep me posted on what choice you make. And enjoy the ride, whatever your choice is.

      • Miguel says:

        First of all, Cesar, Thanks a lot for your reply.
        I am 5,9ft (180cm) and 171lb (78kg), my girlfriend about 5,6ft and 127lb (58kg). In some circumstances a bit of an effort for my GS.
        The thing is I must use the bike every day in the urban traffic of Madrid and do not really know if the multi would be too big.
        It is clear that the hyper is too underprotected for highways but I can manage to buid up a new bigger screen custom made. Also, for the dirt I am sure that choosing the right tyres a lot of things may be done with the hyper (and a few more with the multi). I am not an RR type of driver at all.
        One of the handicaps with the Hyper that I observe is the lack of off road accesories and aftermarket manufacturers for the bike, apart for the
        Of course i will try to ride both bikes before making any choice….
        Maybe you know this off road video with the Hypermotard:

        Thanks again

      • cesardagord says:

        Miguel, I’m leaning towards the Hyperstrada. It is the ultimate urban machine, with a great capability to travel on the road, and it will be better than your G650GS. A lot better. The Multistrada would, however, be perfect for a long tour… Yes, ride both bikes and it will be clear which one you will want. And yes, that is the video I was talking about.

      • Miguel says:

        And…sorry Cesar.. a final question: did you test the Hyper off road?
        thanks a lot

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