The Ducati Hypermotard. A motorcycle that deserves to be locked down. A machine that will warp time with the slightest nudge of the the throttle. There's no in-between with this bike - just fast or slow, alive or dead, yes or no.
The concept of a motard is a lithe dirt bike, but sporting sticky street tyres and road-friendly taut suspension. Keeping that in mind, the styling of the Hypermotard suddenly fits in. The SP variant is replete with carbon fibre bits, but the offroad lineage (although the Hypermotard really has none) shows with the front beak and the minimal panels.
A motorcycle as extreme and mental as this requires only the most seasoned and mature hands to leash it in, else, there's only pain coming your way. That 1078 cc, 95 bhp, 10.5 kgm motor loves being on the boil, and absolutely abhors low revs and early upshifts. It's a masochist, this engine, for it will jump up with delight when you belt the thing raw. The slightest twitch of your right hand will cause the front end to give you a standing ovation, and that too, in the third cog within the 6-speed gearbox.
Speaking of gearbox, this Ducati is no sissy. Gently nudge the shifter upward from first towards second, and you will only manage to achieve neutral. You need to slap it up with a heavy foot, only then will it clunk into place.
But when you do, there's no other way than all the way. The first gear is incredibly short, making the traffic crawl a half clutch affair. Torque comes in at taller revs, making the top gear redundant at any speed below 80 kph.
Around corners, the Hypermotard seems top heavy. But those arty Ohlins suspension bits compensate for the higher CG, and coupled with some grippy rubber, the Ducati will go around the kinks with great aplomb.
Riders short in the inseam will find it a task to get both feet on the ground while sitting astride. So make sure you try it out for size before you plonk the near 15 lakhs for base 1100 variant. The SP will set you back by almost 18 lakhs, however.
Read the full riding impression of the Ducati Hypermotard in the forthcoming December issue of Business Standard Motoring