Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP first ride review

The SP version costs £10300 and that’s before you throw the really good stuff at it. It’s expensive, but more is more

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Ducati’s Hypermotard EVO SP costs over £1200 more than the Hypermotard EVO, but you don’t get any more power and you only save 1kg in weight. So what exactly do you get for your money?

The mission for Ducati with the Hypermotard EVO SP was to produce a bike far more capable on track. So by increasing rear ride height and using longer travel Marzocchi forks, they’ve generously

provided 30mm more ground clearance. They’ve also raised the bars by 20mm, aimed at giving the rider more leverage ‘under extreme riding conditions’ (it says here). Further performance assistance comes in the form of lighter Marchesini 5-spoke wheels and grippy Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tyres.

Now for the confusing part. See that gorgeous pipework and single Termignoni silencer? Well that’s not actually standard on the EVO SP. What you also can’t see is the race ECU and modified airbox that go with it. None of these are standard on the EVO SP and they’ll cost you an extra £1500.

So the model we tested is £2700 more than the standard EVO meaning it’ll cost you £11,800. That’s 1500 quid’s worth more than the stock EVO SP – a serious amount of money, and as far as I’m concerned it’s going to have to work hard to justify that.

Aside from the white paintwork, when sat next to the ‘standard’ Hypermotard EVO, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. I’m a smidge under 6-foot and could sit comfortably on the EVO and the EVO SP’s extra 30mm hardly makes a difference. It’s tall but not awkward.

Just firing up the EVO SP you can feel where that extra cash has gone. The Termignoni pipe is not subtle, sounding like someone’s fired a shotgun into an oil drum when the engine first fires off the starter. It revs with more aggression, more willingly, exactly how I thought the standard model would feel with that lighter flywheel.

Heading out of pitlane, tyres pre-warmed from the sighting laps, the EVO SP sharply hoists the front in 1st gear. I put it down, hook 2nd and it does it again. This motor’s keen.

What stands out most about the EVO SP isn’t the £1500 of extra parts to help the old air-cooled motor stay interesting, even though with that free-flowing exhaust and race ECU, the fuelling is absolutely crisp.

It’s the EVO SP’s willingness to change direction that impresses most. Tyres can be the life or death of a bike and in this case, the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tyres extract more from the EVO SP’s potential where the Pirelli Diablo Rosso tyres on the standard EVO give up when the going gets tough.

The lighter Marchesini wheels make standard wheels feel like they’ve been hewn from a slab of granite. In this case the Marchesinis make the front-end of the EVO SP feel nimble, allowing you to turn-in later and sharper and carry more corner speed with less nervous feedback.

Driving out of the last corner onto the main straight for the first time, the SP held its line much tighter and with less protest than the EVO. At the top of 3rd gear with decent lean on, you’d be happier seeing a traction control light flashing, but instead you’re relying on that sixth sense and a bit of luck to ensure you’re not flicked into the gravel. The SP felt like it was bolted to the ground and not hiding any airborne surprises.

At the end of the straight, you’re braking from 5th gear to 2nd for a tight left-hand hairpin, and those monoblock radial Brembo callipers from the 1198 almost had me straight over the handlebars the first time I used them to scrub off triple-figure speed.

It’s not that they felt any stronger than the Brembo radial brakes on the EVO, but the initial bite was surprising, you go from no brakes to almost full braking force the moment the pads grasp the discs, like an on/off switch. It took some getting used to. There’s no doubt you’d have a lot of fun bothering sportsbikes on a trackday – these brakes coupled with the wide bars give you huge confidence.

We were out on the SP in sessions with the standard EVO and that was the most obvious indication of how much more track-focused the SP is. Try as they might, riders on the EVO were squirming away, hanging off like chimps swinging from branches with their EVOs visibly in knots. On the SP you could pick them off where you liked; around the outside on the exits or on the brakes into turns, the SP gelled with the track where the EVO wouldn’t stick.

And in a lot of ways, that’s where the real fun’s to be had on the EVO SP. It was almost impossible to string together a fast lap because there’s so much opportunity to mess around, slide it into corners, miss the apex but wheelie out and catch up with the guy in front two corners later. If you’re after a bike that’s the grown up equivalent of a BMX, then the EVO SP is about as close as it gets. It’s limited in scope, it’s expensive, but for out and out fun, it’s hard to beat.

Looking to save money, then drop the SP and take a look at the Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO


Price: £10300 (white, matt black); £10500 (red)
Top Speed: 135mph (est) Engine: 1078cc, air-cooled, SOHC, two-valve V-twin
Power: 94bhp @ 8000rpm Torque: 75.9lb ft @ 5000rpm
Front suspension: 50mm Marzocchi usd telescopic
Rear suspension:
Öhlins 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: 171kg (claimed, no battery) Seat Height: 875mm Fuel capacity: 12.4 lIitres
Colours: White, Matt Black, Red