I’ve just come back from Barcelona and now I’m pissed off with Ducati. I’ve been trying my damned hardest to save up my cash this year for sensible things, and then they go and release a bike like the Hypermotard 939. A bike that has me written all over it. A bike that’s likely to convince me that paying off my mortgage is less important than pulling wheelies on a big Italian supermoto.
I spent a couple of days out there, on the road, with a few track sessions at Parc Motor circuit thrown in. Wheelies were had, tyres were skidded and throttles were blipped. But most importantly, an absolute tonne of fun was had - and that is what the Hypermotard is all about.
With its 16-litre tank and the option to fit a touring screen to the front, the Hyper is now capable of doing a good 150 miles between fill-ups in relative comfort. But comfort and range are clearly not what the bike was designed for; the Hypermotard is the Caterham of the motorcycle world: lightweight, stripped back and above all, raw.
There’s a £2,600 difference between the base model and the SP version and that money gets you the expected goodies like: an upgraded master cylinder for stronger brakes, fully adjustable Ohlins suspension, different riding modes, lightweight wheels, track-biased tyres, that SP colour scheme and a few bits of carbon fibre thrown in too. Is the standard bike lacking in performance on the road? No. Can you feel the upgrades of the SP? Certainly. Would I sell my sweet tush for cash to afford the SP? I’m considering it.
There aren’t really any bad motorcycles these days, just boring ones. Some of the new models I’ve ridden - particularly Hondas (save the Crossrunner and Africa Twin) - do the job of being a motorcycle in nothing more than an acceptable manner and totally lack flare. The Hypermotard is the cure to that. It’s a line of Columbian’s finest, to the Honda’s Night Nurse.
On the road and track it feels amazingly precise for a big supermoto, especially the SP, thanks to the ‘Race’ throttle map and the full Termignoni exhaust kits that were fitted to our bikes (these are not standard and cost £1,800 for the system, which includes a Performance ECU + Performance airbox). At 113hp, 3hp more than the old 821, power is never overwhelming and the chassis and tyres are more than capable of finding grip to put that power down without constantly needing to rely on the 8-stage traction control system. Only 3hp extra over the 821 may sound disappointing but the 939 has 18% more torque at 6,000rpm and 10% more peak torque. They’ve managed that by swapping out the pistons, rods and crankshaft to make the engine one of the defining changes over the old bike. That newfound torque IS the nuts, it means you can run 3rd gear everywhere instead of 2nd and means wheelies are just a flick of the wrist away.
The fun police are bound to be up in arms with a bike like the Hyper, I can almost hear it now: “That’s totally impractical” or “You’ll get bored of that”. Yes it is impractical but if you get bored of riding the Hyper then you’re probably the type of person who'll get bored of anything (and you probably have a Ritalin prescription too).
For such a focused machine the Hyper is also extremely accomplished with great handling, strong brakes, grippy tyres, an advanced electronics package and a lovely quality of finish that you simply don’t find on so many other bikes. At £9,995 for the base model and £12,595 for the SP version, it’s not cheap and requires a bit of a leap of faith that the fun the Hyper can offer is worth the cash.
If you’re willing to accept the obvious drawbacks of the 939 then take that leap of faith because, as a wise young rapper once said: ‘YOLO’.
Life’s too short to be sensible.
Engine: 937cc liquid-cooled L-twin
Wet weight: 201kg for SP, 204kg for base model
Fuel tank: 16L
Tyres: Rosso II for base model, Supercorsa SP for SP
Seat height: 870mm for base model, 890mm for Supercorsa