Ducati, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer, officially released its Hypermotard 1100 and 1100S supermoto models in 2008 (preview models had been around since 2005) and carried them over without notable changes for 2009. The last bike created by designer Pierre Terblanche before he left Ducati, the Hypermotard blends the characteristics of a streetfighter, a supermoto, and a sport bike.
Both Hypermotard models have 1078cc, air-cooled longitudinal V-twin four-stroke Desmodromic engines with a single overhead cam and Marelli EFI fuel injection. They have six-speed manual transmissions, with belt final drive, and the dry clutch that Ducati is noted for—not always affectionately. The base model has a Marzocchi inverted fork with adjustable preload and rebound damping—and 6.5 inches of travel—and a Sachs single-sided swing arm with an adjustable spring preload shock and rebound damping. The 1100S comes with a Kabaya inverted fork and an Ohlins swing arm, both fully adjustable. Brembo Monobloc two-piston dual hydraulic discs in front and a substantial single disc in back furnish plenty of stopping power—new riders are always warned to treat these highly effective brakes with respect.
A flat, programmable instrument panel gives you all the information you could need in digital form: speed, time, maintenance schedule, lap time, fuel level, oil temperature, battery level—and if you want more, you can add Ducati’s data analysis system too, all available at your left hand.
Weighing in at 390 pounds without fuel or oil, the Hypermotard 1100S (the base model weighs five pounds more) has a long, 33.3-inch-high seat that puts the rider forward on the fuel tank (which holds a modest 3.3 gallons; given its average 36 miles per gallon, you’ll need to keep an eye on the fuel level warning light). Reviewers note that the narrow seat becomes uncomfortable after an hour or two—though you might be having so much fun speeding through curves and pulling wheelies, you won’t notice for a while.
Now, about those Ducati mirrors. Unlike the mirrors that were grudgingly added to the liter bikes, the Hypermotard has eye-catching flip-out mirrors that beg to be shown off—which means they get loose and need to be adjusted fairly often. Another minor drawback: the lightweight exhaust system is tucked up high, near the seat, and it can get hot in traffic. Compact, stylish, and developed to deliver fun on all kinds of paved surfaces, the Hypermotard will do well on the track as well as winding country roads.