Sunday, November 18, 2012

2013 Hypermotard – more hype than motard?

The ducati community and more specifically the hypermotard crowd are all a buzz about the announcement of three new variants of the ducati motard animal.


While we are at best weeks away from being able to throw a leg over one and possibly months away from being able to test ride one I thought I’d throw together a bit of a desktop review. Take it from a long term Hyper owner who has a love/hate relationship with his bike - a number of things on the humble gen 1 hyper need updating. Do the new models satisfy this or go in another direction? Read on. Lets get the great stuff out of the way first of all.

16 litre fuel tank!!!

No Hyper owner will shy away from more tank range, it’s the greatest downside to owning a gen 1/2 hyper, with intake an exhaust mods my fuel light is on after 150km of hard riding.

Aesthetics

I think the new models look great, they have refreshed the overall shape whilst keeping what makes it a hyper. I’m really digging the matte black panels with red frame on the standard model. The low hung exhaust is great for lowering your COG but easily remedied if not to your tastes. The front beak is more multistradaesque with black plastic down the centre (the first place you see stone chips, another win). The tail section is nice and stubby and matches the front beak proportionally and for me personally aligns the shape and style with how I’ve changed um my own hyper.




Functionality

The flip out mirrors are gone, some will revel in this others may not, I loved my flip outs until I took them off and realised they were just expensive pieces of plastic to bump into cages mirrors. I’m sure you will be able to see out of the new mirrors and they are easily upgraded. Another win is luggage options of the Hyperstrada, while I’d go for a full sized multi if dual sport riding was my thang I can also appreciate that the hyperstradas luggage would easily transfer to the Standard or SE hypers.


Ergonomics

The bars look to be nice and high and the seat appears to be a little smaller (read less comfy) and peg placement seams to be a little more rearward than the air cooled hypers. This comes down to preference and if you like to ride it like a moto or like a sport bike. I noted they are still using the EVO risers which look like they are a spaced out afterthought, its not hard to design bar risers but I guess a parts bin is parts bin.



Technical Wizardry

Including a slipper clutch is a definite in here, I’ve owned and ridden bikes with slippers and this should be standard across the board. The 3 ride modes are a little too fancy for me, I’m a firm believer in “riding accordingly” rather than going for buttons to press when riding conditions sour. I would have preffered to see the electronically adjustable suspension from the from the panigale make its way onto hyper over switchable ride modes and ABS.

Brakes & Suspension

Great to see m4s monoblocks gracing every model now, its my only regret in choosing a standard back in 08. I’m a fan of my standards lower & firmer suspension over Dans softer longer travel, soft seat, zocchi equipped SP so for me in a Side by side choice between 820 standard and SP I’d probably pick the standard based on looks and lack of tech doo dads I’ll never use.

Engine

15,000km intervals between minor services and 30,000km between majors is awesome. Probably a big reason why Ducati has grown in recent years is because they don’t cost the eart to maintain. (We are swaying towards negatives now did you pick it?) Why oh why is there no 1200? The engine is right there Ducati!!!! Its sitting in the multistrada!!! And where did all the torque go?? I’m an existing owner who traded his 180HP litre bike for a hyper based on torque figures (ie fun factor) alone so I did shed a torque tear. Riding the bike might alleviate this but I just couldn’t step from an 1100 down to an 820 even if HP was increased based solely because toque is down on the 1100. Now if the 1200 multi engine graced the new hypers curvy frame I reckon I’d probably trade my 08 in a heartbeat. The choice of engine to me signals a shift in the intended market for the new hyper, I don’t see this as a hooligan machine anymore, I see it as a hyper styled street fighter, something that will commute and do trips well but not turn on the grin like the old 2 valve engines do. I’m keen to do a follow up to this after I ride one (and I will mark my words) but at this stage the 2013 Hypermotard range makes me like my old girl a little more.