So what's all the hype for 2010?
The original Hypermotard was built to thrill, with its dirtbike stance, empowering, asphalt-attacking riding position and enough torque on tap to elicit a smile with each twist of the throttle. But what could really be changed to make it better? Ducati applied their usual engineering process of evolution to an already successful model by improving it in the two most effective ways possible: Less weight and more power.
Hot on the heels of its early model year 2010 launch in October, the lightweight 796 is now joined by an evolution of the 1100 model that rolls out at an incredible 7kg (15.5lb) lighter and 5hp more powerful than the original.
And if further weight reduction and more punch wasn't already enough on a bike that was built to thrill, the Hypermotard 1100EVO SP pushes the limits even further with a model intended to perform on the track as well as the street.
Lighter Trellis frame
The quick and precise handling that the Hypermotard provides is down to the construction and geometry of its famous Trellis frame. Its ability to handle the abundant torque from the L-Twin engine and its rigidity under powerful Brembo braking are just a few reasons why Ducati's chassis department would never want to change it. But it could be made lighter. They realised that almost all of the heavy forged sections of the construction could be completely removed without reducing its strength or its performance, so they applied it to the entire family.
Lighter, more powerful engines
While the chassis department were busy reducing the weight of the frame, the engine department went back to the drawing board for the 796 and started with a clean sheet of paper. Their complete redesign of the crankcases rewarded them with an incredible saving of 1.2kg (2.64lb) compared to the 696 castings, and the new 796 crankshaft with 848-style flywheel further reduced the overall engine weight to an impressive 1.9kg (4.2lb) savings over the 696 power unit. And with 81hp (59.6kW) of smooth and flexible power, the 796 is a very credible package.
The 1100 air-cooled Desmodue Evoluzione engine truly is an 'evolution' ? both in power and weight ? and is responsible for the model name extension 1100 EVO. Engineers used the same Vacural? technology employed for the lightweight Superbike engines when they vacuum die-cast the Hypermotard 1100 crankcases, a process that achieves a significant weight saving and ensures consistent wall thickness and increased strength. This process ? combined with the lightweight crankshaft assembly that uses an 848-style flywheel and use of lighter rare-earth magnets in the alternator ? reduced the 1100 power unit's weight by a staggering 5.2kg (11.5lb). Couple those savings with a 5hp boost to 95hp (69.9kW) and it becomes clear why there's all the hype.
Compact and efficient, the Desmodue engine's hyper-lightweight and narrow L-Twin layout, no wider than a single cylinder, ensures that all Hypermotards remain lean and agile. The air-cooled design eliminates the need for water radiators, hoses, reservoirs and pumps, keeping the motorcycle's weight down to a minimum and its lines clean and race-like.
New controls and instrumentation
The entire Hypermotard family now inherits the electronic advances made in the compact and user-friendly switchgear and instrumentation first created for the Streetfighter.
The slim-line switch bodies house easy-to-use switches and buttons, and feature a unique weapons-like 'trigger catch' that slides down to cover the starter button when the kill-switch is activated. Their minimalist design fits perfectly in the clean and essential lines of the Hypermotard's sporting image.
Looking clean and purposeful, the display provides an extensive amount of data including speed, revs, time, oil temperature, battery voltage, A & B trips, fuel reserve trip and scheduled maintenance, while the warning lights illuminate for neutral, turn signals, high-beam, rev-limit, oil pressure and fuel reserve. In addition, it can list recorded lap times by using the high-beam flash button as a stopwatch. Both the 1100EVO and 1100EVO SP use a white back-lighting while the 796 uses an orange back-lighting.
The instrument display also doubles as a control panel for the activation of the Ducati Data Analyser (DDA) system, which is available as an accessory from Ducati Performance for the 'system-ready' Hypermotard 796 and 1100EVO and supplied as standard equipment on the 1100EVO SP. The DDA-intended USB connection port under all of the Hypermotard seats doubles as a charging point for a handy new battery charger, which is available as an accessory from Ducati Performance.
Ducati pushed motorcycle design limits to find an innovative solution for the original Hypermotard mirrors and these are now used throughout the family. The challenge of maintaining a clean, racing look around the handlebar area motivated the design of the folding mirror concept which is based on the handguards typically found on off-road bikes. Flipped out for high visibility street mode and easily folded in for a quick change to 'Hypermode', the mirror handguard assemblies also integrate the LED directional indicators for an even cleaner front-end.
Lighting and indicators
The headlamp uses a highly compact lighting shape which blends with the single piece nose fairing and front fender moulding, while the rear light employs a specially designed strip of LEDs enhanced by a high diffusion lens shaped into the sleek lines of the tailpiece. The same LEDs are intensified under braking. The front directional indicators also employ the latest in LED technology for illumination, and are ingeniously integrated into the handguards which support the foldable rear view mirrors.
The high intensity LED rear light assembly is moulded into a unique tailpiece positioned high behind the seat. The supporting structure has been designed so that the under tray of the tailpiece is formed perfectly to offer a sturdy pair of pillion grab-handles. This ingenious solution not only helps to merge the rear light into the Hypermotard styling but also provides a safe grip for the passenger.
Rider footpegs on all of the Hypermotard models have removable rubber inserts to expose the serrated metal edge and increase boot grip on the peg during extreme riding. The 1100EVO and 1100EVO SP provide a further minimalist and no-compromise feature by having removable passenger footpegs. This attention to detail enables a clean 'monoposto' look when on the track, while allowing a fast and easy change to 'biposto' for the street.