2010 Ducati Hypermotard 796

Moderately Hyperactive

Architectural Digest subscribers call Bologna La Rossa because of the red tile roofs around the Piazza Maggiore. Political scientists say the color comes from 50-something years of left-leaning government. But most motorheads know two things. Ferrari is right up the road in Maranello, but the bikes from Via Cavalieri Ducati 3 paint this town red. Really doesn't matter how many times you've been. Walking up to the house that Ing. Fabio Taglioni built feels like a bigger deal than anywhere else motorcycles are made.
We were invited over for a quick spin on the 2010 Hypermotard 796: a more accessible take on the 08 1100. So? It's lighter than big brother, sitting closer to the pavement thanks to a lower seat – no less cornering clearance – on price-point suspension that does a decent job for anyone under 180 lbs. Shaving that seat height down to 825mm is a better deal for shorter people than tall ones, but the 1100 seat fits if you need it. As tight-road weapon of the first order, most of the new 803cc twin's muscle lives in the midrange. Revs build more enthusiastically than the average stock Desmodue twin, but you won't need a whole lot of em. Just surf the 6250-rpm torque peak and grab another gear 500 revs later. Regardless, it's a whole lot stronger than the Monster 696 mill, but significantly less steamy than the 1100. Like I said: pretty much what you'd expect.

I’ll sort out my notes and tell you more after the jet lag/culture shock wears off, but aside from gearing that's too tall for the tight bits - especially when a torrential downpour puts a damper on your cornering speed - there isn't a whole lot to complain about here. Let’s just say the APTC slipper-clutch saved my prosciutto more than once. Any motorcycle that can deliver a grin or three in the sort of weather that keeps most local bikes in the garage is a bargain at less than $10,000. When I can roll through those hallowed factory gates all damp and happy after a day like this? It's priceless.