Road Test

Ducati Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP | Real world review

Details
Manufacturer:
Ducati
Category:
Supermoto
Price:
£ 14295
Overall
4.5
Average: 4.5 (1 vote)
It’s a smile factory on two wheels. 
Impeccable handling
Hard seat

The Ducati Hypermotard first entered the scene in 2005 at EICMA, Milan, finally entering service in 2007 as the Hypermotard 1100 and the 1100S. Twelve years later, the latest breed of Hypermotard comes in the form of the 950 and 950 SP, which has a 937cc motor, similar to that in the 950 Multistrada and Supersport  - with a different cam profile, exhaust layout, and higher compression pistons. 

The 950 SP shares much in common with the standard model apart from a few trick components: 

  • Ohlins suspension (front and rear)

  • Quick shifter up/down

  • Marchesini forged light-alloy rims (reduces curb weight by 2kg) 

  • Carbon fibre mudguards and engine covers

  • Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tyres

History and differences aside, we took the 950 SP all over the UK, from short congested London blips, boring motorway runs, and on the backroad roads of Brighton. 

The Hyper SP, although a Supermoto on steroids, is extremely rewarding to ride at speeds of 10-70mph where it has plenty of finesse and playability. Plus, with all the creature comforts of a modern-day sports bike (e.g. traction control, cornering ABS and engine modes) you can ride the SP knowing that it’s quietly working away to keep everything in check and shiny side up - despite how much of a hooligan you are… 

Price

You can pick up a standard Hypermotard 950 for £10,995 while the SP is £14,295. Not cheap, but can you put a price on happiness? 

Engine

A large amount of that happiness arises from the 936cc Testatretta 11° V-Twin motor. It’s kicking out 113bhp and peak torque of 71 lb-ft (96 Nm) at 7250rpm.

The punchy motor has epic low to mid-end grunt - as all V-Twins should - offering 80% of peak torque at just 3000rpm and 88% of it between 5000 – 9000rpm. Anything above 9k is just noise as all the smiles come from low down on the rev counter. Which is great for your license. 

The gearbox isn’t the tightest in the world, as you have to be quite firm and purposeful with upshifts to avoid a false neutral. Also, first gear is quite short and requires a little clutch lever slippage if you're going around a tight bend, otherwise the fly-by-wire throttle is a tad jerky to use initially. 

Pitfalls aside, the character of this motor translates well to road conditions and the spanky low-end power feels awesome. 

Suspension

If you don’t like ostentatious things look away now. The SP is equipped with gold 48mm Ohlins front forks with 185mm of travel (fully adjustable).  The rear of the bike has much the same treatment with a fully adjustable Ohlins mono-shock, linking up to a sleek single-side swingarm. 

Out of the box, the suspension is very firm, something which caught me by surprise as many Supermotos aren’t as stiff. Granted the SP is the racer model, but for the road, the set up could lose a bit of preload and still handle just as well. Despite the firm set up, the SP handles rough road surfaces well and gives you loads of confidence chucking it into a corner dragging a bit of front brake on smoother roads. There’s no unsettling front dive from the forks and the rear doesn’t get wobbly when you crack on the power on corner exit - everything feels controlled and progressive. Very sweet indeed. 

Brakes

The brakes on the Hyper Motard are some of the best and most balanced I’ve experienced on any road bike. The front has two Brembo M4 calipers gripping onto 320mm disks and the rear has a single-piston Brembo and a large 245mm disk setup. 

Honestly, these anchors are brilliant as they have the perfect amount of braking power for the 198kg SP. 

Handling

Now, I knew it would be good but didn’t know it would be better than initially envisioned. It’s a cornering monster. You can carry a silly amount of speed into a B-road bend and chuck it in without any drama - trail braking like a boss. The long 1498mm wheelbase, tall 890mm seat height, and wide flat bars created a very nimble, planted and playable package. You can take the absolute piss with the thing yet it loves it like a young puppy going on walkies. 

Around London and more congested areas the fun doesn’t stop, it becomes an empowering brute with plenty of presence - perfect for navigating heavy traffic. 

In short, the SP ticks all the handling boxes: it’s fun as heck, responsive but not twitchy and has grippy Pirelli Diablo Supercoursa SP tyres from the factory. Touche Ducati, touche.

Equipment

Somewhat going astray from the barebones SM ethos the 2019 Hypermotard SP comes with some serious superbike-like tech, mainly a Bosch 6 axis IMU and all the other related rider assists which are customizable through the lovely looking TFT dash: 

  • 3 customizable riding modes (sports, touring and urban)

  • Traction control

  • Wheelie control 

  • ABS

  • Cornering ABS (3 levels)

  • Quick shifter

To modify the settings within the riding modes is a breeze as everything is adjusted with two buttons on the left-hand switchgear. Not faffy or overly complex, and if a simpleton like moi can figure it out you’ll have no problems. 

Comfort

Perhaps not the greatest at higher speeds, but this is to be expected as there’s nowhere to hide from the elements. Keep it below 70 and it’s all gravy. 

After about an hour and a half in the saddle, I did feel my butt cheeks starting to get slightly numb. It’s not that the saddle is rock hard, it’s more to do with the thin shape and I have my suspicions that the standard 950 seat is more comfortable. And whilst I’m nitpicking the mirrors are mediocre. 

Besides these niggles, the cockpit is very spacious and the natural seating position gives a great feeling of control and comfort. Plus, the standing position isn’t too shabby either. 

We like

  • Punchy lowdown torque

  • Superb handling

  • Oh so Italian good looks

We don’t like 

  • The seat is too firm 

  • No fuel gauge 

  • Tiny mirrors 

Verdict

Despite some minor practical niggles, the Hypermotard SP is an absolute gem to live with, and so it should be for fourteen and a bit grand. It’s a smile factory on two wheels. 

The Hypermotard SP would be a great fit for someone who is a bit taller and perhaps a little tired of being hunched over a crouch rocket doing a million miles per hour. All the fun comes at low speeds on this puppy and if you're not a speed freak you’ll fall in love with the Hyper.

As always don’t just take my word for it, book a test ride go for a blip and feel the rush - you won’t be disappointed.   

P.s. Does it wheelie? Yes. (tested in controlled conditions by a professional...) 

Click here to book a test ride.

Impeccable handling
Hard seat

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