This is a bike designed not for the gentlemen but rather for the bad boys. The bike in review, the Hypermotard 950, is the third generation of its line-up whose design philosophy is minimalism yet aggressive enveloped in cutting edge technology.
Aesthetically, this bike looks rugged and ready for adventure. This naked looking design bike is definitely not meant for touring rather a perfect bike for daily commute and hard riding on the racetrack. This slim looking machine has a comfortable saddle which angles forward.
The seat is not wide but still has enough space to move around while the legroom is ample. This bike offers an upright sitting position. Thus, the ergonomic geometry of the bike is perfect for anybody who is 170cm and above.
Anyone shorter will have difficulty getting a foot flat on the ground. The Hypermotard 950 is fitted with enough electronic assistance, among them cornering anti-lock braking system (ABS) with slide by brake, traction control, wheelie control plus three riding modes.
The minute I sat on the saddle and thumbed the start button, the first thing that got my attention was the the 4.3-inch thin film transistor (TFT) display. Graphics are reminiscent of the Panigale V4 and offered user-friendly menu navigation and setting adjustments.
Each riding mode is assigned a specific colour for ease of reference. The setting interface provides a clear-cut, comprehensible overview of current changes to the settings with explanatory graphics of the system being set up.
This bike is perfect on any busy road as its slim body allowed me to zig zag through traffic. The bike is light and easy to manoeuvre. Not only that, on few occasions, I went up on the five-foot pavement to avoid the traffic.
This tall bike with wide handle, allowed me to see the traffic in front of me with a clear view. I was in total control of the bike and felt like a stunt man. A must mention here is that the Hypermotard 950 can run on low revs without being clumsy.
On the highway, the bike performed well. The true colour of the bike is exposed once I reached 3,200 rpm and above.
Every time, I twist the throttle, the Hypermotard 950 surges immediately without any lag. The gearing is smooth and effortless be it upwards or downwards. Once I reached 130kph, wind blast became hard to control and my head began to bobble.
Although this bike was not designed for touring, I don’t see a reason why it could not be fitted with removable panniers or a windshield to reduce the high speed wind blast. On two occasions on the North South Expressway, I encountered strong cross winds while riding at about 120kph.
The bike felt planted like a rock then as it had a strong steel trellis frame. The Hypermotard 950 comes with a 114hp twin cylinder engine also gets three riding modes – sport, urban and touring. On the highway, I decided to switch to sport.
The minute I twisted the throttle hard, I felt the sudden surge of power which was too much for me to handle safely. I am more comfortable with urban and touring modes as power delivery was smoother and more pleasant.
Meanwhile on a trip to Genting Highlands, I decided to push the bike hard. I was awed by its performance and the bike ticked all the boxes. I was able to flick the bike at every corner without hesitation. The Hypermotard 950 was so natural at this.
The nimbleness of the bike with the great suspension made my riding flawless. Without me realising, I was sitting at the front of the bike as opposed to the middle which is my normal sitting position. This was pointed out to me by my riding mates and must had been a case of excitement taking over me.
The Hypermotard 950 is equipped with a Marzocchi fork with fully adjustable 45mm aluminium tubes and stanchions, and 170mm wheel travel that are able to soak up any shocks from rough roads.
On few short stretches, I decided to ride on the sport mode and the torquey engine made riding up the highlands effortless. I was on the fourth gear during sport mode and there was no need to upshift or down shift to find the bike's sweet spot.
The sport mode reduces the activation of the traction control and ABS, thus giving me ample room to push the bike. I could have personalised the ABS and traction control but I was happy with the factory setting.
The sport mode is the best mode to tackle any corners, be it wide, sharp, hairpin and short straight stretches like the ones you find on any highland or mountain roads. The brakes are from Brembo and the front bites very hard compared to the rear.
The front brake is two 320mm discs squeezed by four-piston radial monobloc callipers and the rear is a single 245mm disc gripped by a single calliper. In my first two stops, I was nearly thrown off because I pulled too hard.
The best way to engage the brake on this machine is to pull the brake lever progressively and release. It took me few tries to get the hang of this braking style.
My verdict - the RM71,346 (before SST) Hypermotard 950 is only suitable for those looking to have serious riding fun.
Ducati Hypermotard 950
Engine: 937cc, L-twin cylinder, 4 valves, liquid cooled
Maximum power: 114hp at 9,000rpm
Maximum torque: 96Nm at 7,250rpm
Front suspension: Fully adjustable 45mm inverted Marzocchi fork; 6.7 inches travel
Rear suspension: Linkage-assisted fully adjustable Sachs shock; 5.9 inches travel
Front brake: 320mm semi-floating discs with radially mounted Brembo monoblock, 4-piston calipers, ABS
Rear brake: 245mm disc with 2-piston caliper, ABS
Features: Bosch Cornering ABS, Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Wheelie Control, three Riding Mode and USB power socket
Dry Weight: 178kg
Fuel tank: 14.5 litres
Price (before SST): RM71,346