Ducati Hypermotard Super Moto (2007 - ) review
This supermoto-style V-twin funster was originally launched in 2007 as an 1100, evolving into 796 and then 821 forms in 2013, before being replaced by the Euro4 compliant 939 in March 2016. Fortunately, the bike’s loony spirit has survived
Interested in buying a Ducati Hypermotard?
There’s nothing quite like the Hypermotard. Originally launched in 2007, it came out of nowhere as a supermoto-inspired fun bike based around Ducati’s proven V-twin platform. Always very niche (many owners buy them as a second or even third bike) it has nevertheless established itself in Ducati’s line-up, evolving into a striking, unique, refined but still fairly single-minded proposition. If all that’s not enough, the even more extreme SP version, complete with top-notch Öhlins suspension and other performance goodies, or alternatively, the slightly more practical Hyperstrada version, are available.
Typically pseudo-motocross style with wide bars, slim saddle and upright ergonomics to give maximum visibility and leverage. This makes the Hypermoto great at stunts, mucking about and zapping through twisty turns, but less so in delivering long distance comfort, providing for pillions or giving any kind of weather protection. It also means its saddle is fairly tall and, for raw novices, can be quite awkward at first.
Practically is not something the 821 (or any hypermoto) was designed to deliver. Instead, it’s all about no-compromise fun. There’s no weather protection, little attention to comfort or pillion provision, zero luggage capacity, and the tank – although bigger than previous Hypermotards – has a limited range. It’s also fairly tall and the riding position more exposed to the elements than many more conventional roadsters. The upside to all that, though, means it’s pretty nimble around town.
Performance & braking
Proof that brisk, lively, nimble dynamics are not the sole preserve of sportsbikes and supernakeds. The 821 replaced both the previous air-cooled 796 and 1100 Hypermotards and is distinguished by its ride-by-wire, eight-valve, liquid-cooled motor. The resultant 110bhp may not be earth-shattering, but it’s accessible, tractable and fully usable. It now features traction control and three riding modes, making it more usable than ever. Braking, meanwhile, is taken care of by new cast aluminium Brembo Monobloc calipers and is more than up to the job.
Ride & handling
Although slightly less extreme, ergonomically, than the previous Hypermotards, the 821 is still a fairly aggressive bike. Attack a series of corners, and it comes into its own: sharp, planted, incredibly nimble, and more than capable of showing a few sports bikes a clean pair of heels. That aggression comes through in the ride, too. Don’t expect stable, plush comfort. Instead, it’s firm, twitchy and flighty.
Ducati ownership never comes cheap and the Hypermotard (particularly the SP version) can seem expensive for what is basically a Sunday toy. The 821 also has a sports bike’s hunger for consumables such as sticky tyres and brake pads. On the upside, its 110bhp motor is more gentle than a full-on sports weapon, but drive trains still tend to get thrashed, so watch out.
The days of ‘fragile Ducatis’ have long gone, with modern offerings on the whole being refined, durable, well-built and now with extended service intervals. As a result, there are no major reliability concerns with the Hypermotard, and they tend to not do that many miles. However, they also get ridden hard, so inspect carefully and check it’s been properly serviced.
Warranty & servicing
Ducati service intervals have improved hugely in recent years – as pioneered with the original 2010 Multistrada 1200 which came with expanded 15,000-mile major service intervals. Accordingly, the 821 version of the Hypermotard benefits from similarly extended service intervals with valve adjustment only every 15,000miles, and more minor checks at 8000. Like other Ducatis of the era, the Hypermotard 821 comes with a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
New ride-by-wire, Testastretta 11º engine (the same as the then Monster) enabled the adoption of electronic rider aids for the first time. As such, the 821 Hypermotard has eight-stage traction control plus three different rider modes, which vary the level of power, throttle response and traction control. The 821’s tank was also usefully increased from 12- to 16-litres, while the mirrors were finally changed from the over-wide, bar-end versions to conventional stalks.
As a sunny Sunday toy, especially if you live on the doorstep of a series of mountain hairpins or switchbacks (which is the Hypermotard’s most natural playground). Raw, motorcycling thrills don’t get much better – which is why they’re so popular as second bikes in Alpine countries. Elsewhere, they don’t make as much sense, though. If you love the style and understand its limitations, you won’t be disappointed. But they’re really only for a select few.