In The Real World
Here you can see the wide...
Here you can see the wide Hypermotard wingspan with the mirrors fully extended. What's worse is you can't see anything with them anyway.
Sure both bikes are performers in the twisty bits, but that's only part of the equation. A small part at that. Living with the Ducati is a whole different story. The saddle is wide and square and makes for an agonizing ride after only 30 minutes. Wider-framed riders may actually benefit from this, but our testers weren't big fans. Remember the wide bars mentioned earlier? Well they're made even wider by the side mirrors, making it a bit of a chore to weed through traffic (which may not be as big of a problem if you live anywhere but California). Add to that the fact that the mirrors vibrate so much at speed that they're practically useless and living with the Hyper starts to become frustrating. If there is a saving grace for the Ducati, it's that the engine and transmission work so well together. Power delivery is silky smooth and the six cogs require an effortless flick of the ankle to change over. Our only complaint is that the dry clutch is grabby, which makes launches from a green light particularly cumbersome. The Aprilia, meanwhile, proved to be a more comfortable bike to live with on a daily basis. With mirrors placed in a more conventional location with stalks above the bars, making our way through traffic was less of an issue (the bars are wide on both bikes to be honest). The 750cc engine and its flat torque curve seemed every bit as peppy as the Ducati, and if we didn't know any better we'd have no idea the Dorsoduro was carrying a little extra heft. Not only that, but the Aprilia engine also seems to have a wider powerband as opposed to the Ducati, making it easier to carry a gear longer. That's useful, too, as the gearbox on the black bike is the antithesis of the red one. Shifts always felt notchy and finding neutral at a stop was damn near impossible. But that's really the only gripe we could find about the drivetrain
Highway riding on both bikes puts a bit of a strain on the neck as the lack of wind protection makes itself known above 70 mph. On the Ducati especially, the forward riding position exposes more of the rider to the wind. Despite the fact that the rider basically acts like a sail, both bikes averaged respectable mileage, with the duo averaging just under 40 miles per gallon. You'll need all the miles you can get as the Achilles' Heel for the pair is their extremely limited range-the fuel tanks on both are just over three gallons. But then again, we'd imagine most riders of these bikes aren't looking to traverse the country.
So What'll It Be?
While still wide, the Dorsoduro...
While still wide, the Dorsoduro is a bit more sensible. Mirrors are useful, bar position is more natural, and gauges are easier to read.
To be perfectly honest, both bikes are fun for a very specific purpose: embarrassing sportbikes on tight, twisty roads. In that regard we don't have a favorite-they're both equally as entertaining. Otherwise, the lack of wind protection, wide handlebars and the constant trips to the gas station start to peel away from the overall fun factor. But when you factor in price, suddenly a favorite starts to emerge. The more we rode the Aprilia, the more we were reluctant to give up the keys. It may not match the Ducati on paper, but the real world is an entirely different story. The engine is a winner, the brakes are powerful...and the mirrors are actually useful. When all else are equal it's the details that separate the winners from the losers, and when you factor in one final detail-the price-we fail to see how one can go wrong with the Dorsoduro in the urban-motard market.