Ride Review: Ducati 939 Hypermotard

We can’t deny that Ducati have been the movers and shakers of 2016. Four new models entered South African shores in early March – and were launched very successfully – but it was the new 939 Hypermotard that really captured my eye and imagination. So when the opportunity came my way I jumped at the chance to see what the V-twin sports bike was all about.

The Hypermotard has really come a long way since it won the award in its drawing stage for best design at the Eicma Show in Milan in 2005. The current version is the 3rd generation Hypermotard to hit SA roads, but would it live up to the hype created by Ducati and carry on the legacy of predecessors?

The Italians never disappoint! The design is filled with passion straight from the heart – it is still considered the most eye-catching motard on the road. Just look at that trellis frame and you will see what I mean. The new Hypermotard comes either in Ducati Red and Black or alternatively in Silk White/Red and Black. No matter what you choose there is Ducati red splashed onto the bike, which is critical because everyone knows that if it is a Ducati it has to be RED! The overall finish is really neat and there are a few elements on the bike that catch your eye, like the super-cool integrated indicators on the hand guards. To keep up the Ducati tradition they have stuck to the single sided swingarm that exposes the beautiful 8 spoke rims – one side for show and the other for go…

Hyper4

In the engine department the Hypermotard is now powered by the larger 937cc Testastretta 11 degree V-twin motor, which has seen a 10% increase in torque. Updates include an increase in compression ratio from 12.8.1 to 13.1:1, and a redesigned 2-into-1 exhaust system that doesn’t look bad at all for a standard pipe – but it just doesn’t give you the signature Ducati drone that you expect when rolling on the throttle. The Ducati also has three more horses than its predecessor’s 110. To be honest, 113 hp didn’t sound like much to me but I have to admit that I had to eat a nice slice of humble pie – the roll on is rapid, and will leave you smiling in any gear. There is plenty of Ducati V-twin torque to drive you out of corners, a subtle reminder of why we love riding motorcycles. Dry weight on the 939 Hypermotard is 181 kg, which is surprising as the bike feels really light at slower speeds filtering through traffic, and quick direction changes are an absolute pleasure.

Hyper8

Keeping it connected to the floor, the 939 Hypermotard is equipped with a 43mm diameter upside down Kayaba fork, with 170mm travel, and a Sachs shock absorber with adjustable rebound damping, providing a 150mm wheel travel. This does the job with ease and gives the rider good feedback and confidence when aiming and shooting through the bends.

Making up probably the most important part of the Ducati is a Bosch ABS 90MP controlled Brembo braking system (all Hypermotards are kitted out with this standard ‘Safety Pack”). This duo delivers huge stopping power, with maximum stability in short distances and with the riding mode integration takes climbing on the anchors to the next level. The bike uses a 3-level system: Level 1 with the track in mind and 3 for most braking stability with minimum rear end lift. On the front wheel you will find twin radially mounted Brembo 4 piston mono bloc calipers grabbing 320mm discs. The master cylinder has a 4-point adjustable lever, which leaves it all up to the rider as to what type of braking he prefers. The rear end has a 245mm disc hiding inside the rim with a single caliper. All Hypermotards are fitted with ABS System as a standard but riders have the option to disable it if they so choose.

Hyper7

On the dash the LCD screen displays the selected riding mode (Sport, Touring or Urban), including the associated ABS and DTC (Ducati Traction Control) level programmed. The riding modes can be changed on the go by simply scrolling through the displayed modes using the indicator cancel button. The DSP (Ducati Safety Pack) technology incorporates a 3-level ABS and 8-level DTC to combine safety and performance. The Ducati riding modes gives the Hypermotard three different personalities, which gives the rider the opportunity to set the bike up according to his mood or riding conditions.

Hyper9

In Sport Mode the full 113 hp is unleashed with high RBW throttle response, level 3 DTC and level 1 ABS with sport orientated braking mode, with rear end lift up prevention.

In Touring Mode you still get full power, but with medium RBW throttle response, level 4 DTC and level 2 ABS and increased rear end lift up prevention.

The Urban riding mode cuts the power down to only 75 horses with low RBW throttle response, maximum safety and braking stability and increased rear lift up which is a perfect setting if you are caught in a sudden downpour.

The DTC (Ducati Traction Control) is a really intelligent system which filters between the riders hand and the rear tyre, detecting wheel spin and making the adjustment accordingly without giving the rider a nasty surprise. The Hypermotard is equipped with the very latest software, optimized with seamless intervention ignition timing. The DTC system offers up to 8 levels of sensitivity each setting with a level of wheel spin tolerance, option 1 offering the least and 8 the most electronic assistance. DTC settings are initially setup as pre-programmed riding modes on all the Hypermotards and are preset but you can customize the rider modes to whatever tickles your fancy, just click save and you are ready to go. If at any stage you want to revert back to the factory settings just hit default and everything is restored, which takes out the anxiety of setting up a monstrosity and being stuck with a couch until your trade-in day.

Hyper5

I initially found the seating position to be very far forward, almost as if I was sitting on the handle bars. But once you roll on the throttle and the RBW throttle response wakes up all 113 horses, it all makes perfect sense, especially if you want to try and keep the front wheel on the ground. The forward seating position also really sharpens up the steering and makes quick steering and tipping the bike in an absolute pleasure. The high ride on the Ducati is perfect for the rider looking for a best-of-both experience: when filtering through the traffic you are high enough to look over the cars, but not too high to get your knee down at the local track day. The only issue I had with the bike was lack of wind protection. When you start to make the V-twin sing you tend to be buffeted around quite a bit, which can be exhausting over long distances.

When you’re at the Ducati showroom for your test ride, keep an eye out for the Hypermotard SP which offers upgrades such as:

• fully adjustable upside-down Ohlins forks and rear shock with 175 mm of travel
• taller stance: 890mm as opposed to the 850mm on the Hypermotard
• addtional power modes (Race, Sport and Wet )
• 5-point adjustable lever on the master brake cylinder
• 3 kg weight reduction, largely thanks to the Marchesini Forged rims and some few carbon bits and pieces

If that still doesn’t float your boat, enquire about accessory options available for all Hypermotard models. There are some really awesome accessories if you looking to customize your new bike.

Hyper3

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend on the Hypermotard 939cc. The Hypermotard will do the daily commute comfortably and get you to your destination with a smile on your face but it will as easily mix it up with the guys on a breakfast run or on the track. Just set up your riding mode and away you rrroar!

The “racing bug bit” when I rode an old Russian bike on the back roads many years ago. Dues paid, I now take on the Sub 10 and Thunderbike field on my sleek Ducati Panigale with the number 95 emblazoned on the front, in the tank and tattooed proudly on my arm. To quote the great Ricky Bobby, “I wanna go fast”. Looking to go fast on whatever comes my way whether on a pit-bike or Big horse powered Superbike it’s all fair game! Lights on….. Lights off……join the racing fraternity and I on our exciting adrenaline rush season.