The already naughty Ducati Hypermotard receives a little more evil for 2010 in the shape of the 1100 Evo and 1100 Evo SP.
By all accounts there was nothing inherently wrong with the existing Ducati Hypermotard -- especially when there isn't much of a benchmark to compare it to. Heck, even the few that do exist haven't received much of an update lately. But inevitably people will complain about something (including us magazine hacks) and over time the same folks who designed the bike in the first place will look back and see things that could have been done differently. Because in essence, the Hypermotard is a stripped down Multistrada with a narrow seat, wider bars, and stiffer suspension. Not to mention technological advances in just the short few years since the bike's debut in 2007 have meant that in some ways the Hypermotard is already obsolete.
The boys in Bologna new it was time for an evolution of the breed and that's just what they delivered: the Hypermotard 1100 Evo and Evo SP (one guess as to what Evo is short for). With the release of the little Hypermotard 796 not too long ago the 1100 bikes have raised the bar and distinguished themselves as motorcycles for more experienced riders. As with most model evolutions, emphasis was placed on shedding weight and adding power.
So what's the difference between the two bikes? Well, the SP is a leaner, meaner, hard-edged version of the Hypermotard with taller handlebars, and 30mm more ride height for the truly experienced rider looking to back'er in and cause chaos wherever they go. The standard Evo doesn't have a raised ride height, nor the harsh suspension, but engine modifications are the same (all of which will be covered in the May issue of the magazine).
During our brief outing on the roads surrounding Scottsdale, Arizona, it was clear the new bikes were definitely evolutions of its predecessor. Both models felt more refined, with a larger spread of torque throughout the powerband. Well, at least according to the butt dyno. For normal riding the standard Evo model was actually the preferred bike as its softer ride absorbed road imperfections better than its top-spec sibling. In the twisty bits the Evo held its own compared to the SP especially on this particularly chilly day. Pirelli Diablo Rosso tires on the Evo get to working temperatures much quicker than the Diablo Supercorsa SP tires fitted on the SP (if they even got warm at all), which made for a much more confident ride, despite its perceived shortcomings. For this ride the SP models were fitted with optional Termignoni exhaust systems which broadened the torque curve noticeably and brought the front end up with ease. The taller ride height and handlebars actually played a part in leveraging the bike from side to side, especially on the gravel-filled roads we encountered.
Of course, that's just a short taste of what it's like to ride the Hypermotard 1100 Evo and Evo SP. Be sure to read the May 2010 issue of Sport Rider to see what's new on both bikes, along with my complete first ride impressions.