First Ride

Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO first ride review

There are two simple, almost foolproof ways to make your bike more fun: make it lighter and give it more power. That’s exactly what Ducati has done with its update to the original Hypermotard 1100, the Hypermotard 1100 EVO.

Click to read: Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO owners reviews, Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO specs and see the Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO image gallery.

Let’s get straight down to it. The Hypermotard 1100 EVO has shed a shed-load of weight. The more compact engine is 5.2kg lighter and the chassis loses 1.2kg. Ducati has also upped the compression ratio from 10.5:1 to 11.3:1. The result? A net gain of 5bhp from the same 1078cc capacity as the previous model. Torque remains the same.

Styling wise, Ducati’s kept the silouhette almost exactly identical to the model they first previewed in 2005 and released in 2007. It’s a strong design no-one else has copied. No big surprise then that Ducati hasn’t felt the need to gamble on a new look. However, the switchgear and digital dash have been passed on directly from the Streetfighter and they’re a welcome improvement. The display is clean and clutter-free, with rising revs tracking left to right. Speed and temperature are the only other display distractions. Other manufacturers please take note.

Climb on a Hypermotard and you feel quite exposed. It’s just you, a narrow seat and some wide bars. You sit high up in an aggressive position, all elbows, no fairing in sight, giving a lithe Supermoto feel – all the better for it.

Heading out of pit-lane, the stomp from the motor starts the moment you let the clutch out. Despite a lighter flywheel from the 848, the Hypermotard retains its slightly slow and lazy build-up of revs – you expect it to rev far more freely. This makes a stark comparison to the more modern water-cooled engines, like the one in Ducati’s Streetfighter – snappier than a hungry croc.

But the Hypermotard doesn’t suffer too much from an air-cooled lump that plods rather than fizzes. Torque is available everywhere, from so low down the range. Once you build up confidence you don’t need to wring every last drop of power by holding onto the revs, you can short-shift and dig your way out of a corner making fast progress disguised by that lack of urgency from the engine.

As is the norm on these launches, you’re let loose on track for a few laps to familiarise yourself with both the circuit layout and the bike before the test really starts. That is of course if you’re not French, or Italian, where it’s enshrined in law that you must go maximum attack from the first corner on. Right in front of me a French journo laid a fat black line from the rear of his bike mid-corner, before it bit back and spat him out of the seat. The EVO may feel docile, but it can be an angry beast if prodded with a sharp stick.

The engine’s good, but the Hypermotard’s trump card is its handling. This isn’t a bike built for track use, but the tight, twisty, torn tarmac of the Mores circuit in Sardinia was easily dealt with by the Hypermotard’s beefy, yet plush and fully-adjustable Marzocchi front-end. Up to a point. The only drawbacks on track were the Pirelli Diablo Rosso tyres. Good on the road, they’re the first things to protest when the pace gets hotter on track. Sure, you can push them, but the front feels vague on turn-in to the faster corners where you’re asking a lot of it. On the road, you’re not looking for this precision and you simply wouldn’t notice.

Heading down the start finish straight – the fastest part of the circuit – where you’re touching 100mph, you get properly battered by the wind. A fishing net would offer more wind protection in a gale. This is not a bike for long distances.

As the sessions progressed, so did my braking points. The twin 305mm discs may be smaller than you’d get on a superbike, but they’re mauled by a pair of angry Brembo 4-piston radially-mounted calipers. You can scrub off speed with precision, even on these tyres, thanks to the control of the Marzocchi forks.

Ducati ought to be pleased with their updated Hypermotard – these minor tweaks have added to its ability to unleash the hooligan inside you, and it’s still an easy bike to plod around on.

With 7500-mile (£277) service intervals it’s geared up for daily use. The only thing that would stop me buying this as an everyday tool would be its total lack of wind protection. If you want a bike to wheel out of the garage on Sunday for an enjoyable blast, get yourself a test ride.

For a fistful of extra dollars there is Ducati Hypermotard EVO SP, read the review to see what comes on top of the EVO version


Price: £8995 (white, matt black); £9195 (red)
Top Speed: 135mph (est) Engine: 1078cc, air-cooled, SOHC, two-valve V-twin
Power: 94bhp @ 7500rpm Torque: 75.9lb ft @ 5750rpm
Front suspension: 50mm Marzocchi usd telescopic
Rear suspension:
Sachs monoshock, adjustment for preload and rebound
Front Brake: Two 305mm discs, four-piston Brembo radial calipers
Rear Brake:
245mm disc, twin-piston Brembo caliper
Dry weight: 172kg (claimed, no battery) Seat Height: 845mm Fuel capacity: 12.4 litres
Colours: White, Matt Black, Red

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