2013 Ducati Hyperstrada: The Minimalist, Say Hello to Motard Touring

Text: Florian Neuhauser • Photography: Ducati

This addition to Ducati’s model lineup can be called the younger cousin of the Multistrada or the responsible brother of the Hypermotard. An absolute blast to ride with its light weight, power, and ergonomics, the Hyperstrada is also comfortable for 
a long day in the saddle, and it (surprisingly) has a lot of room 
in the side bags. We tested the new Duc in its natural habitat with tight switchbacks, rolling hills, and open sweepers for the ultimate Tuscany experience.

At first sight, the Hyperstrada looks like a toy—a fun one that you would assault the never-ending switchbacks of the Dolomites on. It’s narrow (36.2 inches wide) and has a 58.6-inch wheelbase, but it also features soft-side bags that say, “Hey, I’m ready for a long road trip, too!” As I walk around the motorcycle, I can’t help judging its looks and questioning its touring capability. After all, it’s basically a Hypermotard whose forte isn’t long-distance touring. Once in the saddle, however, the comfortable wide seat and relaxing position of the hands allow me to leave my judgments behind and head for the open road.

Touring Characteristics

The most important features that allow this model to be worthy of touring are the seat, the windscreen, and the side bags.

The twin-level seat is just wide enough to be comfortable, but it’s on the narrower side of the spectrum. The standard version uses a 2.4-inch thick foam to deliver a 33.5-inch seat height. Ducati also offers a low version (shorter suspension) with a 32.7-inch seat height and in combination with an accessory seat can be reduced to 31.9 inches. The passenger area has been made wider than the Hypermotard as well, but we doubt it provides the same level of comfort as the rider’s. Unfortunately, Ducati did not provide Italian supermodels for us to test this.

A higher windscreen does an astonishingly good job of deflecting wind around my 6-foot-2-inch frame. Although it’s the only part on this motorcycle that could be considered cheap looking, it might also be the most vital. On straight roads riding 90 mph, I felt completely stable and relaxed.

Nylon-laminate side bags are made to look good and weigh almost nothing. The 6.6 
gallon shells aren’t waterproof, but a rain cover is included. The zippers are an easy way to access the bags but for peace of mind can be protected with a small lock. To my amazement, my medium Shoei fit perfectly inside. An 8.2-gallon semi-rigid topcase is available as an accessory and would bring the total luggage capacity to 21.4 gallons. That’s more than enough for a long weekend and plenty for a full week of touring.

Other characteristics include a rubber-mounted, 20mm higher handlebar than the Hypermotard as well as twin 12-volt power outlets. As we accumulate more and more gadgets, it becomes apparent that the ability to juice up is key while on the road

Engine

The 821cc Testastretta 11°, second-gen engine produces 110 hp at 9,250 rpm with 65.8 lb-ft of torque at 7,750 rpm. Yes, it’s a touring bike, but it’s still a Ducati. During the test ride, the engine performed as advertised—always enough power available. The ride-by-wire system enables the use of preprogrammed ECU mappings. The Hyperstrada has three riding modes: urban, touring, and sport. In the morning we got caught in a deluge, a perfect setting to test the urban mode, which cuts power to 75 hp delivered with a low throttle response, traction control (DTC) level 6 out of 8, and ABS 2 for maximum safety.

I spent most of the day in the touring mode, 110 hp, medium throttle response, DTC level 4, and ABS 2. The sport mode also provides 110 hp but has a high throttle response, DTC level 3, and ABS 1. At times, I felt the throttle to be very responsive even in touring mode. The onboard computer is managed by three multi-function buttons on the handlebar controls and allows for customizations that can be saved. For example, I turned off traction control and ABS in sport mode and saved my preference so that the next time I started the engine, it would remember my settings. As it only weighs 450 pounds wet and has 110 horses, the DTC is a crucial safety component. It’s very easy to drift and slide the Hyperstrada through curves.

Suspension and Chassis

The front suspension is a Kayaba 43mm upside-down fork with 5.9 inches of travel for the standard version and 5.1 inches for the low version. The rear wheel is attached via a single-sided, aluminum swingarm and features an adjustable Sachs monoshock with the same travel specs as the front. The touring-oriented setup provides a comfortable ride even when rolling over cobblestone streets. Both front and rear feature 17-inch Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires that deliver the grip you’d expect from a curve-carving beast.

Cast monobloc 4-piston calipers with 320 x 2 mm semi-floating discs up front and a 2-piston caliper with a 245 x 5 mm disc in the rear make up the Brembo brakes, with ABS technology by Bosch.

The iconic trellis frame is made of 34-mm diameter tubular steel and connects to a die-cast subframe while borrowing a techno-polymer midsection similar to the Multistradas. The 25.5° of rake and 4.1 inches of trail give the Hyperstrada its mind-boggling agility. The wheelbase at 58.6 inches is slightly longer than the Hypermotard’s. Add it all up, and you can enjoy a 41.5° lean angle.

Flo’s Lowdown

Ducati just might have started a new category with this crossover between a motard and touring bike. The upgrades, which allow for multiple days on the road and make it comfortable, pair well with the Ducati’s high performance soul and exciting character in the curves. The only thing missing is a fuel gauge. I’m all about a minimalistic design, but I’m sure there could have been a place for this touring necessity. The 4.2-
gallon tank is borderline sufficient, especially since the Hyperstrada beckons the rider to twist the throttle harder. But the ability to bring luggage and be comfortable all day on a fun motorcycle clearly trumps the few shortcomings.

It’s the perfect alternative to a sportbike, makes a great commuter, and it will leave the competition in the dust.