Test rides are rare when it comes to motorcycles, so when I found out Ducati was giving free test rides nearby I jumped at the chance. I test rode the original Hypermotard several years ago and have been eager to test the newer and better 2017 version.
First, let me be clear that this is a terrible bike for a beginner:
1. It’s really tall with a 34.2″ seat height. I’m a very average 5’9″ but could barely get both of my feet down, and by feet I mean the toes of my boots. It’s unnerving for me to handle on an uneven parking lot or a hilly stop. I could see a beginner dropping this bike with regularity.
2. The 113 HP and 72 lb-ft of torque will help a beginner make all kinds of mistakes. It’s too much power for an unfamiliar rider.
3. It’s expensive with a $13,495 MSRP. A good beginner bike is inexpensive and preferably used, because you’ll probably sell it after you’re ready to move onto the next bike.
With that out of the way, this is a very fun bike to ride on a coastal or mountain road. Since you’re sitting bolt upright and very close to the front, you don’t see the dash when you’re looking straight ahead — it feels like you’re flying. Despite its height it flicks easily from side to side and hustles nicely through twisty parts. The flat, wide bars give you easy leverage when transitioning through the turns. It’s also surprisingly comfortable.
The less than enjoyable part of riding this bike is being on the freeway. Barreling down the interstate at 75+ MPH isn’t so great on a naked bike with no windshield; in a headwind you feel like you’re holding on to save your life. This makes for a tiring ride, so distance riding can be a little iffy depending on your route.
The question to ask oneself is, “Would I spend my hard-earned money on this bike?” For me, the answer is a big fat maybe. I wouldn’t make this my only bike, but it would be great to ride sometimes. I’d have to be having a pretty good year to buy one.