Ducati Hypermotard: Not exactly affordable.

The Ducati Hypermotard has always had a considerable fan following across the world, and is considered a fun, hooligan motorcycle from Ducati. The Hypermotard is a supermoto, with ergonomics and chassis of a dirt bike, but with the performance and soul of a sportbike. In Nepal though, the Ducati Hypermotard hasn't enjoyed the popularity and success of its siblings, like the Ducati ScramblerDucati Monster 821 and even the Multistrada range. For 2019, the Ducati Hypermotard 950 replaces the Hypermotard 939, and is in fact, an all-new motorcycle, with a new engine, new chassis and suspension and updated electronics package. 

The Hypermotard 950 isn't just a revised or upgraded 939, with an all-new 937 cc Testastretta L-twin engine which gets new pistons with a higher compression ratio, new exhaust cam profile, new 53 mm throttle bodies and new engine mapping. The magnesium cylinder heads reduces weight by 1.5 kg, and the L-twin puts out 114 bhp at 9,000 rpm and 96 Nm of peak torque kicking in at 7,250 rpm. But it's more about how the torque is spread out - 82 per cent of the torque is available at 3,000 rpm and 88 per cent of torque is available from 5,000 to 9,500 revs. The result is that it's got a lot of pulling power, right from small throttle inputs and all the way to the redline.

The Hypermotard has an upright riding position, and is available in two variants - the standard Hypermotard 950 and the top-shelf Hypermotard 950 SP with Ohlins suspension, lighter Marchesini forged wheels and a standard up/down quickshifter. The Hypermotard 950 tips the scales with 200 kg kerb weight and also gets a fully adjustable Marzocchi front fork and Sachs rear monoshock. The SP variant gets a taller seat height, more suspension travel, and is lighter by 2 kg at 198 kg kerb weight. There's also a completely new set of electronics, with a six-axis IMU that offers cornering ABS, slide by brake, as well as wheelie control.

The main difference between the standard Hypermotard 950 and the 950 SP is in the suspension, wheels, tyres and seat height. The Ohlins front fork is fully adjustable and has 15 mm more travel than the Marzocchi fork on the standard Hypermotard 950. The Marchesini forged wheels are lighter and are shod with sticky Pirelli Super Corsa rubber, just the right grip for track use. The Ducati Hypermotard is known for its hooligan personality and experienced riders explored its full potential on the track - sliding around corners, carrying wheelies over the straight sections and sometimes even across the chicanes on the tight, technical track.

  Just to put things in perspective - the Triumph Tiger 800 XCx has a seat height of 860 mm on its tallest setting, and the Hypermotard 950 SP has a seat height of 890 mm. Both the Hypermotard 950 and 950 SP share the same electronics package, so there's a good enough safety net - cornering ABS (with slide by brake), traction control, and wheelie control, all powered by a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU). The SP also gets a standard up/down quickshifter, which works like a dream, and makes you forget about the clutch lever in no time.

The Hypermotard 950 is no touring machine and unlike the 2015 Hyperstrada, the touring variant with panniers and all, there are no optional panniers available for the 2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950. So, the new Hypermotard is primarily a dedicated street and track bike, for daily use and the occasional weekend ride. Yes, you can certainly go some distance with it, and on the highway section, but staying at high triple digit speeds will be a task with the wind blast getting to you. And on particularly windy sections in the canyons, the strong cross winds from the Atlantic also made it slightly uncomfortable.

The 2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 has a focussed purpose. It's meant to be ridden by the rider with more experience, and to have fun on two wheels, sometimes bordering on the dangerous, but definitely on the thrilling side of motorcycling. If that's the kind of riding you do, and want a primarily city oriented motorcycle, the Hypermotard 950 can be a lot of fun, even as an everyday bike. But from an Nepalese perspective, it's best to have the Hypermotard 950 as a secondary motorcycle, rather than use it as a do-it-all motorbike. The tall seat height may be a sore point while tackling bumper to bumper traffic on the daily commute as well. But most of all, the Ducati Hypermotard 950 is a niche motorcycle, with a very specific purpose and intent.

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