Ducati Hypermotard 698 Mono Review: The Best Single-Cylinder Bike?

Ducati’s new Hypermotard 698 is the most powerful single-cylinder on the market, with advanced electronics and top-spec chassis equipment 

 

Hypermotard-689-Mono-RVE-Visordown-Review
Hypermotard-689-Mono-RVE-Visordown-Review
Brand
Category
Engine Capacity
937cc
Price
£10,995.00

Ducati first visited the Hypermotard formula in 2005, with its Pierre Terblanche-designed supermotard, boasting a 937cc engine, around 113bhp and a wholly appropriate hooligan character. 

2024 Ducati Hypermotard 950 RVE
2024 Ducati Hypermotard 950 RVE

The 2024 Hypermotard 950 RVE

That bike lives on in the Ducati range as the Hypermotard 950, 950 SP and 950 RVE. Those bikes differ from each other thanks to equipment level, trim and graphics. They are joined for 2024 by an all-new Hypermotard platform, the Hypermotard 698 Mono and RVE, and it’s a much more authentic take on the supermoto formula thanks to its single-cylinder engine and lighter weight.

To find out how the new bike handles, we booked a two-week test on the 698 RVE, riding it on B-roads, dual carriageways and motorways and managed to cover over 300 miles on it.

Hypermotard 698 RVE UK price

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

The new 698 is priced at £10,995 in the UK and can be specced with either traditional red bodywork or the RVE graphics you can see here which take the price up to £11,895 and adds the otherwise optional £242 quickshifter.

Compared to the competition, the new Ducati is about bang on the money, with the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto and KTM 690 SMC R both coming in at £10,399. The new 698 RVE’s biggest rival though probably comes from another in-house Ducati model, the Hypermotard 950, the Mono’s big sibling. Next to all the single-cylinder motorcycles from outside and within the Ducati brand, the big-bore 950 looks like good value for money, starting at £12,795 meaning it’s just £1,800 more and a slightly more versatile bike for most riders.

What’s it like to ride?

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

Supermotos are always a funny thing to test, and compared to most of the other bikes we review here at Visordown (sports bikes, nakeds and tourers/ADVs), hopping on a lightweight and focused supermoto takes the most time to adjust to. That was no different with the Ducati, and as I’m pulling out from Ducati’s Silverstone HQ I find myself dialling back the riding mode from ‘sport’ to ‘rain’ just to smooth out the transition.

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

My first impressions are that it’s tall, very tall, with a lofty seat height of 904mm. I’m fairly short (five feet seven inches at best) and on the towering 698 if I want both feet on the floor it’s just the very tips of my toes that are touching terra firma! The next thing I’m noticing is the quickshifter, which is one of the upgrades added to the RVE along with its funky graphics. It works superbly well, shifting smoothly and matching the revs without slamming you into the next gear as can happen on some other big single-cylinder bikes. It also allows you to shift down on a trailing throttle, which is a neat touch on any bike.

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

With myself and the little Ducati beginning to gel a little, I move out of rain mode (which softens the throttle and limits power to 58bhp) and into the ‘road’ riding mode. I’m now getting full power from the short-stroke engine, although with a slightly more forgiving throttle response than the all-out ‘sport’ riding mode. I’m glad I worked up the modes in this way, as it gave me a bit of time to get to grips with the featherweight (160kg when fuelled up) single-cylinder machine. The road test route we used for this bike is just what you want for a bike like this, sweeping corners, lots of undulation changes and summer sunshine blessing the Northamptonshire countryside.

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

As you’d expect, the 698 is super quick to turn as it weighs next to nothing for a bike boasting 77.5bhp. The fully adjustable suspension has a hint of initial dive when you brake into a corner, although it’s progressive enough that once you start to push the limits of the bike there’s ample support to be found. 

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

Of all the chassis components, it’s the braking performance and poise on the brakes that are impressing me the most, possibly more so than the hyper-speed handling. You have to do a certain amount of recalibration when it comes to slowing for a corner, as the gnat-like 698 stops on a dime. It’s only a single disc set-up at the front, but the four-pot Brembo M4.32 caliper and 330mm disc provide excellent stopping power, and the lever feel is sublime. The rear brake comprises a 245mm disc Brembo single-piston caliper. 

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

The rear brake gets a funky slide-by-brake function, allowing you to kick the back end out as you enter a corner. This does take some getting used to, although after riding it you can get the same effect from just knocking the bike down two or three ratios into a turn and then releasing the clutch aggressively. It’s a slightly less elegant way of sliding the rear end, but the slipper clutch does a very good job of gobbling up the extra torque while still saving just enough to allow the back end to get a little out of shape! The four levels of slide-by-brake are level 4 - not active, level 3 - for beginners, level 2 - for expert riders, and level 1 - ABS only on the front wheel (no cornering functionality) and only suggested for pro riders.

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

The slide-by-brake function isn’t the only electronic goodie you have to play with, as just like its track-focused Panigale’s, the little Hyper’ is dripping with toys. Probably the standout feature is the wheelie control, whichlets you select how many degrees you want to let the front wheel pivot around the rear axle. Slot this into level 1 and the system will allow the front to lift, and instead of chopping the throttle and ruining your fun, the Ducati electronics will actually help you keep the front wheel aloft, holding it up for as long as the little single-cylinder can manage - which is quite a long time. 

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

On top of the supermoto braking assistance and wheelie control you also get engine braking control, traction control (which is separate from wheelie control), launch control and Bluetooth connectivity. Managing all the electronics is a little tricky given the small reverse LCD you have to work with, but once you get your head around where all the options are it’s surprisingly easy, and some of the options can be changed on the fly.

Is this the best single-cylinder engine on the market?

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

Forget the electronics, or the chassis for a moment, some credit has to go to Ducati for creating what I believe is the best single-cylinder engine I’ve encountered. Its piston, combustion chamber Desmodromic timing system, exhaust valves and Titanium intake valves all come from the 1,285cc Panigale Superquadro engine, meaning it's a short-stroke beast of a single, that punches way above its station. 

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

It might be down on torque when compared to the competition from KTM and Husqvarna (which boast around 53lb ft compared to the Ducati’s 46.5lb ft) but you get a 70 per cent (33lb ft) of twist available from 3,000rpm, and 80 per cent (37 lb ft) on hand from 4,500rpm right the way to the 10,250rpm red-line. I’d also happily trade off the drop in low-end grunt for the way the Hypermotard rushes to the redline. It’s frenetic, addictive and more than anything, highly entertaining, it’s also backed up by a soundtrack you don’t get from any other large-capacity single-cylinder engine I’ve ever encountered.

Is it comfortable?

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

Weirdly, yes, it is. The seat comfort is, for a bike of this type, fairly good. I’ve spent around three hours solidly in the saddle of it and by the end of the day was relatively comfortable. The bars get a bit of vibe through them between three and five thousand RPM, but at motorway cruising speeds the bars and pegs are surprisingly vibe-free. It’s never really going to be a massive issue, though, as with only a 12-litre fuel tank to play with, most rides are going to be short, sharp and under 100 miles - they will though be filled with adrenaline and copious amounts of smiling!

Should I buy the Ducati Hypermotard 698 Mono

Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE
Hypermotard 689 Mono RVE

It’s easy to see the new Hypermotard as a bit of a one-trick pony, and granted, when it comes to touring and hacking out big miles, this is not the bike you’d choose. It’s also arguably a bit too ‘special’ to be doing continuous commuting. Trackdays would be a lot of fun, but you’d need to be selective about which tracks you ride to prevent you from becoming a rolling roadblock on the straights. 

Looking at it this way, new Hypermotard 698 Mono is a bit of a toy, a highly entertaining, supremely capable and high-spec plaything. Look at it another way, though, and it’s one of the most entertaining and adrenaline-fuelled bikes to take out on a sunny afternoon on your favourite B-road. Making it quite possibly the ideal second bike for the selfish motorcycle owner.

Hypermotard 698 Mono specs

The Ducati Hypermotard 689 RVE
The Ducati Hypermotard 689 RVE

Engine

Superquadro Mono, single-cylinder, 4 valves per cylinder, Desmodromic timing, 2-balance countershafts, liquid-cooled

Capacity

659cc

Power

77.5bhp @ 9,750rpm

Torque

46.5lb ft @ 8,000 rpm

Comp’ ratio

13.1:1

Bore x stroke

116 x 62.4 mm 

Fuel system

Electronic fuel injection system, Ø 62 mm throttle body - RBW

Exhaust

1-2 exhaust system, double aluminium mufflers

Gearbox

6 speed - with Ducati Quick Shift Up/Down (standard on RVE)

Clutch

Slip assist with hydraulic master cylinder

Frame

Tubular steel Trellis frame

Suspension (F)

Ø 45 mm Marzocchi fully adjustable aluminium fork

Suspension (R)

Sachs fully adjustable monoshock

Brake (F)

Brembo M4.32 calliper and 330 mm disc

Brake (R)

Brembo single piston floating calliper and 245 mm disc

Weight (no fuel)

151 kg

Seat height

904mm

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