Ducati Hypermotard 939
‘Fun, more practical and cheaper’
While the SP commands the showroom attention, the majority of UK sales will be the lower-spec standard model. Although calling it lower-spec is somewhat unfair.
The 939 comes with the same engine as the SP, but where the sportier model is trackfocused, the base one is more road targeted. What this means is a non-adjustable fork, a 20mm lower seat height and slightly less aggressive brakes. Does it detract from the fun? Not at all, it makes it more practical and you get to keep nearly £2500 in your pocket compared to the SP.
On the road the fork strikes at a balance between firm and compliant, taking the bounce out of supermoto-style long-travel suspension and giving a more secure ride. When you roll into bends the Hypermotard gives much the same feedback as a naked bike, and it’s only when you hit a bump mid-corner that you feel the extra travel. It’s not as plush as the SP’S Öhlins, but that’s exactly what you would expect.
The fuel maps are also slightly softer, a subtle change that makes the throttle a touch less aggressive. Select Sport mode and it still leaps forward, but Touring mode (which has the same power but a gentler throttle) is a nice balance between the abruptness you expect, and the refinement you secretly hope for. Urban mode cuts power to 75bhp and is best saved for the wet.
Looking at the Hypermotard, you’d assume it will be lacking in road niceties, but this isn’t the case. While the mirrors are designed for aesthetics rather than vision, they don’t vibrate, so you can clearly see the small window of what’s behind. The seat and riding position are comfortable for medium journeys (the pillion peg hangers interfere slightly with the rider’s feet) and with a 16-litre tank it should be good for over 150 miles between fill-ups. But if you want to cover distance, the new Hyperstrada could be the one for you.