RideApart Review: 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the all-new Ducati Hypermotard SP (an upgraded version of the new Ducati Hypermotard) became my favorite bike. My only problem with it was taking it out of its element and trying to do long stints on the freeway. The new Ducati Hyperstrada is aimed at solving just that problem, by taking the Ducati Hypermotard package and adding a windscreen, side bags, and a slightly different seat. So how does it stack up?

Photos: Vincent Knakal/Mad Media

What’s New
Ok, so I already went over how the Ducati Hypermotard platform is all-new at length in my review of the Ducati Hypermotard SP. So take a sec, go read that first, then come back. Pretty much everything is the same including the riding modes, DSP, and all-new 821cc engine.

So where were we? Ah yes, the Strada treatment.

The Hyper Strada gets a new seat. The seat is now wider, with additional padding for both the rider and the pillion, and sits a little flatter, sloping less into the tank. In addition to the seat, they’ve also included pillion grab handles should someone be brave enough to hop on the back.

The Hyper Strada also receives a small touring windscreen, as well as two quickly detachable side bags. They will hold 50 liters of your precious cargo and, should that not be enough, you can purchase an additional 31-liter top case.

The handlebars have been raised by 0.78 inches to further increase rider comfort, and Ducati has included a center stand, as well as extended mud guards and a sump guard.

As with the other Stradas, Ducati has included two auxiliary 12volt power outlets for all of your onboard charging needs.

The Ride
I have a confession to make. I had a Ducati ________ Strada and was not able to take it on a trip. I know, it’s terribly embarrassing to admit but, despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t make it happen. Before you freak out on me, this doesn’t mean I didn’t take it on long rides, it just means I don’t have the epic adventure you were all expecting to read about.

I did, however, ride the bike all over southern California, as is the life of a motorcycle journalist. Meetings in Los Angeles and then Orange County, and carting my girlfriend around to 4th of July parties from Balboa Island to Malibu to Los Feliz kept me plenty busy. I used the panniers more than a few times to carry everything from just my laptop to a few days’ clothes and my forever-present battery chargers.

The seat is absolutely fantastic. It slopes toward the tank less which means it doesn’t squish your manly bits all the time, and it’s a tad wider so it spreads your weight more evenly through your butt so you can sit longer. It felt like it fit better from the second I sat on it and, after having problems with numerous Ducati seats, I was relieved to know either A) they were working on it or B) maybe I just got lucky, but at least I didn’t have to write off all Ducatis as being horrendously inhumane on your posterior.

The windscreen, as well, is fantastic. It’s actually quite small and unobtrusive in person, yet seems to deflect just enough air away from your chest that it doesn’t create the same fatigue I had from riding the Hypermotard SP on the freeway. I did notice that it affected different helmets differently, creating some buffeting with my new Schuberth C3 Pro, while having no issues at all with my Bell RS-1. For the life of me, I can’t come up with why it affected the one and not the other, especially since the Schuberth is better on most bikes.

The side bags are good for carrying a few things, but their awkward shape and size keep them from being very useful for any real touring. When I loaded the bike down with all my camping gear, I filled the side bags with clothes and random odds and ends, and then used the wider footprint created by the seat and bags to strap my camping gear to. For those of you remembering I said I didn’t take the Hyper Strada on any epic adventures, I got a text about 6 minutes after loading down bike that the last of the guys had bailed from the camping trip we had planned to make up for a different friend bailing on the trip we planned the week prior.

The Good
As with the entire Hypermotard line, this bike is incredibly good. It’s light, it’s nimble, the fueling is good, the engine is wonderful, the gas mileage is great, and the bike is absolutely beautiful.

The changes Ducati have made really help make this bike more comfortable at higher speeds. The slight rise in the bars paired with the wider, flatter, and thicker seat and windscreen give you just the advantage you need in combating the wind normally felt on big super moto/naked/street destroyer thingies.

As on the 1,200cc Diavel, Multistrada and 821cc Hypermotard, the Testastretta 11 motor’s 15,000 service intervals make these Ducatis you can actually live with.

The Bad
The Ducati Hyperstrada doesn’t feel like it has the same athletic prowess as the Hypermotard SP we just rode. Part of this is due to the Hyper Strada not receiving the same upgraded components as the SP, but another part is because of the slight changes to the bars and seat. The riding position is still good, but it’s just lot that bit of edge that screamed “push me harder.”

The Price
The Ducati Hyperstrada retails for $13,295, placing it $1,400 under the Hypermotard SP and $1,300 over the regular Hypermotard. By themselves, the additional parts would cost you $2,000, so assuming you want all of them it’s a good deal. The seat, windscreen, panniers, and grab handles are all accessories available for the Hypermotard and Hypermotard SP.

The Verdict
I have really struggled with this section of my review. The Ducati Hyperstrada did everything I asked it to, but somehow something is still missing. It’s not that razor sharp scalpel anymore, this alteration just a great all around motorcycle equally good at a weekend away as a fun day in the canyons. Personally, if I’m going to spend this kind of money, I’m going to spend the extra money and do it right and get the Hypermotard SP and then purchase the touring seat and windscreen and put those on when the adventure requires it. The SP is just so good that I’d rather have its full potential and deal with it not touring as well, than buy the more applicable but less athletic motorcycle.

Regardless of which side you come down on, if you buy either of these two bikes, you’re guaranteed to have an absolute blast.

RideApart Rating: 9/10

  • RT Moto

    I’ve been following this Hyper line for a bit now just to gather opinions and input from owners. Seems like the SP is crazy good and gets even better when you throw that touring seat on it (unless you prefer the stock seat because you like discomfort in that area. I don’t judge). If you can get all the accessories slapped on the SP that already come on the Strada then the decision just comes down to how much you want to spend. Beautiful bikes that perform well, from what I’ve heard, regardless of what you get. I want to get on a demo but I’m afraid of what will follow.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      i wish i could have gotten away with just typing your comment as my review.

      • MotoEnthusiast

        What’s the riding range on both bikes?

        • http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_SgRlM0sDWJI/R4Zrki-3osI/AAAAAAAAAW8/WOaLxbOOLws/s400/zoolander.jpg Sean MacDonald

          I was getting about 150 before I didn’t want to push my luck any further. One of the commenters said the light comes on at a half tank, so maybe there was more in there.

    • Damo Von Vinland

      I took a similar approach and bought the base model (Stealth Black makes it go faster, obviously) and threw the “strada” seat on it. The SP was the hotness but just didn’t make me want to spend the extra cheese after checking them both out.

  • John Stady

    Great photos and setting! Planning on making my annual ride from Calgary to Laguna Seca and on to LA. Would definitely consider this little champ as a next bike. Even has a decent size tanks for long jaunts.

  • Kr Tong

    God your new cameramen are phenomenal.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Wait till you see Arto’s photos from his Alaska trip.

    • Mike Bell

      +1 on the photos. Good gravy.

  • Mark Vizcarra

    Was it set in Awesome Mode? So when the heck are you guys going to review the 690 Duke?

    Here in the Bay Area, One dealer demands 16381 OTD with a crackpipe blowing 995.00 for freight and 495.00 for setup.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Wait, $16k for a 690 Duke?!!!

      • Mark Vizcarra

        No for the Ducati Hyperstrada

        • enzomedici

          Hyperstrada is $13,295. The Multistrada is $16k.

    • Braden

      I second that query, any news on a review for the 690 Duke? I’ve been seriously looking at it for a few months but would like to hear what you guys think.

      • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

        Working on it

  • Motorcycle Extremist

    The main thing that keeps me from buying a Ducati is the fact that I can’t reasonably do my own valve services.

    • Damo Von Vinland

      The new Hyper doesn’t require a valve clearance check until 18,000 miles.

      • Motorcycle Extremist

        Yes, I know that, about like everyone else out there finally, but my point remains, so it’s a no go for me.

        • Damo Von Vinland

          I guess I don’t understand why you can’t do your own valve services?

          Is it a tools and/or don’t have the space thing?

          • Motorcycle Extremist

            No, it’s the huge PITA doing valve adjustments on Ducati compared to pretty much any other bike out there. You do understand that, right? Desmo?

            • Damo Von Vinland

              Yeah it isn’t fun, but I am a cheap SOB, so I shoulder through my own maintenance. Anything that doesn’t require a software update anyway.

            • Benjamin Reynolds

              I understand that it’s a PITA, but I mean the mechanics at Ducati are only human. They’re not aliens or something, no reason you can’t lean to do the valves. Now if you said your too lazy to take the extra time to do Desmo valves I would understand, but a lack of knowledge is never an excuse.

  • Damo Von Vinland

    I just picked up my brand new 2013 Stealth Black Hypermotard right before the 4th of July.

    Truth be told I actually didn’t care for the SP over the base model. On paper it looks like the SP would be a no-brainer, but checking them out back to back I went with the base model (But then again I prefer to do all my own custom parts specing) I did buy the Hyperstrada seat for it though (the wife is 5’11″ and needed a better perch)

    So far I love the bike to death and I have been racking up tons of miles. Honestly the only complaint I have so far is that the fuel light comes on when the bike still has half a tank.

    • ClassB4Ass

      How does your wife like the bike ? any long trips 2 up ? any gripes ?

      • Damo Von Vinland

        She likes it quite well. I drop the it into Touring mode with her on the back so the throttle response doesn’t throw her all over the place.

        The Hyperstrada seat made all the difference in the world. The seat is not only more comfortable, but has a non-slip texture on it so your pillion wont move around during heavy braking and acceleration.

        So far the longest she has been on the back in one stint is just shy of three hours and she hasn’t had any complaints yet. We are both very comfortable. (I am 6’1″ 188lbs and she is 5’11″ and thin)

  • fred g

    I’ve got 600mi. on my Sp. I came from a 2001 monster S4. This bike is
    soooooo easy to ride fast it’s a real challenge to be civil ! HATE the
    SEAT…. what were they thinking…………. I put the hand rail and
    bags on it. I call it my Ferrari station wagon.

    • Matt C

      I had a 2001 S4 as well (gray and red, which was the best combo imo). The Hyper seems to provide what I felt the S4 never did… more comfort, sharper handling, more fun? What do you think having had both?

      • http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=858688 fred g

        That’s what I had too. I put some lighter forged wheels on it. It help
        liven the handling. That bike got me through some pretty wild
        adventures, but, I freaked OUT when I rode the Hyper. Made the S4 feel
        like a tank!

        Look here ; http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=858688.

        Actually I got the Hyper to go back and do it again!

  • motorock

    I’ve always loved the HP but it does only one role best which, as unfair as it is, is a point against it. How does it stack up to the king of all-rounders, the KTM SMT? The Katoom lacks all the fancy electronics, engine maps and gadgetry but is a hoot and a million to ride!

  • Scooter C

    Got the Strada as an all rounder back in May but I have yet to technically tour on it. So far it’s a late evening / weekend / city commuter that lives up to all its expectations. I do though, occasionally find myself having impure thoughts of sitting atop the upgraded SP instead.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      you really, really should.

  • Tuscan Foodie

    All good, but I have to ask: why cancel a moto camping trip if someone is not coming?

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      camping alone is worth it if it is somewhere new and cool. we had planned to go to big bear and climb and hike, which didn’t sound all that appealing or worth it alone.

      sorry, im not a manly man.

      • Tuscan Foodie

        Fair enough!

  • alex

    I wonder if they added the correct gauge of wiring so the lights and other things wouldn’t fail, correctly mounted the shifter so the engine didn’t grenade and fixed the 25 mile from range the small gas tank and constant oil leaks would guarantee. :P