The 2014 Ducati Hyperstrada
Ducati has managed to keep up with changing times very successfully by coming out with updated models, often using legacy power plants and platforms.
However the Ducati Hyperstrada is something out of the box. It comes hot on the heels of the latest-generation Ducati Hypermotard, which already was well-received by critics in the world of motorcycling.
Ducati said that the new model is 'a unique and innovative motorcycle, which represents a kind of crossover between the Motard world and that of Touring.'
Sure it utilises a similar power platform, perfectly morphing the 821cc liquid cooled engine into a new and improved second generation Ducati Hyperstrada 11 degree plant. It manages to keep the eight level Ducati Traction Control and three independent riding modes, which were all the rave in previous reviews. The DTC is highly intelligent, constantly detecting wheel spin and intervening with a range of pre-programmed sensitivity settings. The new model also utilises the steel-tube trellis frame featuring a single-sided swing arm and adjustable ABS.
More apparent changes have been to do with the ergonomics that bring the bike into a touring camp without compromising on the features of the previous models. The handlebars have been raised by 20mm. The seat height has not been changed but it is more supportive and flatter, providing extra comfort for longer rides.
Other touring-oriented accessories also come as standard on the Hyperstrada, such as a fly screen that sits on top of the headlight assembly to reduce wind blast at head height.
Two 12-volt accessory outlets are in place and touring saddlebags are also added. These have 50 liters of capacity each, are semi-hard d and are attached to the rear sub frame. They open and close by way of a double zipper and are shaped such that they hold more inside than they look on the outside. It is not easy to detach the saddlebags, but with a little practice it can be achieved. They are not particularly in the way anyway and although you may catch your foot on one when mounting the bike, they are more useful on the machine than off it.
There is a larger grab rail for the rear passenger, providing comfort for pillion riding. A centre stand has also been added.
To re-enforce the touring theme, tyres have been changed with the Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres on the previous model being swapped out for Pirelli Scorpion Trail tyres on the Hyperstrada.
With suspension in mind, the inverted Showa fork has had its travel reduced by 20mm, which gives a slightly shorter wheelbase to the new bike.
The overall design is quite unique. The seating, although slightly sloping down, especially for the rear passenger, molds seamlessly with the fairings and fuel tank in a kind of jigsaw puzzle fashion. Acute angles are the name of the game and even the front fairing comes to a point and then extends to the front fender. There is good clearance between the wheels and the sub frame and the power plant is nicely balanced to give the bike a low enough center of gravity for touring. With the bike running, the clutch and throttle controls are very light. It takes some getting used to when starting from a standing position but in touring mode there should be less reason to use the clutch from a
The engine emits a familiar rumbling sound from the single exhaust that is slightly muted but still throaty. It provides excellent mid--range torque that one would not expect for a power plant of its size. Torque at the low end is a little less than desirable, but it fits in well with the touring theme. The engine does have a sports mode and this enables it to become livelier in the mid range, though the control of the engine in sports mode can be a little bit edgy. Throttle response tightens up and can be abrupt at times. In contrast the touring mode is smoother and more predictable. The engine can reach up to 9,500 rpm providing a good ratio of power before it smooths out.
With smooth in mind, the Ducati Hyperstrada certainly provides a smooth ride even without adjustable suspension on the front end. The rear end does have spring pre-load and spring rebound adjustment that helps to keep the unit dampening well on normal road conditions. For handling when turning, the design of the frame gives a comfortable and intuitive ride in these regards. On twisty roads, the wide handlebars make steering a breeze and the unit handles well under stress. The lightweight steering front end can be held up as a successful implementation on a bike that can tour on both straight roads and those with a good number of narrow or wide curves in them.
For braking, 320mm discs with Brembo monoblock radial mounted calipers are in place and made for smooth and responsive braking whether at low or high speeds. With ABS as standard, safety has been achieved with an optimum combination in place. When set at level-one, a good reduction of speed is possible without the ABS kicking in. The action of the brakes is almost intuitive and so at low speeds it doesn’t feel too aggressive. Once the ABS does come into play, it is has an effortless and transparent feel to it.
The choice of the Pirelli Scorpion Trail tyres is a sensible one, giving not too much grip but still the required amount of traction for touring. Ground clearance is limited and so these tyres have hit the limits of what they can do. It was a smart decision to change the tyres on the Hyperstrada as this key component of handling merges well with the other subtle changes that the bike has been given.
As a touring bike, the fuel tank holds a reasonable 16 liters of fuel which can give up to 140 miles of journey length per fill up.
With pricing expected to be at around 550,000 baht, this is a solid bike from Ducati, that any owner can be proud of.