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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 wind screen did not create any turbulence. I just got a very clean rush of air from the chest and up.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
The bags are very light, semi-rigid plastic and come with dry bags, which makes me think they are not water proof.
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.
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.
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.