I, unfortunately, know one kind of girl all too well: the kind that’s no good for me but looks, moves, and squeals in ways that keep me coming back again and again. But I’d never known a motorcycle with the same traits until I rode the 2015 DucatiHypermotardSP.
The $14,995 Ducati Hypermotard SP is a well-rounded performance motorcycle with unflinching confidence that’s off-putting at first but becomes endearing as you learn to love the wicked minx with no time for the mundane and an insatiable appetite for excitement.
Of the Ducs in the Hyper family (the regular Hypermotard and the touring-friendly Hyperstrada are the other two) the SP is the sportiest. It’s an edgy, high-performance supermoto with lightweight Marzocchi front forks, forged aluminum wheels, a fully adjustable Öhlins rear suspension damper, and a three-mode electronic riding assist system plucked from the 1199 Panigale superbike. T
he SP’s 821-cc, 110-hp, two-cylinder L-twin engine comes from the Monster 821 but has been retooled for better midrange grunt rather than peak horsepower, making it more at ease at low speeds.
The Hypermotard SP is supermodel pretty, which is to say it’s tall, thin, and has tiny waistline and a strange mix of physical features that shouldn’t work together but do. It looks like a sci-fi dirt bike with a minimalist design that lets you appreciate all the odds and ends squeezed inside the steel-tube trellis frame.
With 8.3 inches of ground clearance, the 2015 Ducati Hypermotard SP sits up high. Very high. (If you have trouble throwing your leg over the long, black seat, which is 35 inches from the pavement, an optional seat is available and sits 0.75 inch lower.) Start the SP, and the gruff engine barks like an old guard dog before settling into a soft but angry rumble. It’s a bike that looks and sounds like it could do just about anything—and, well, it can.
The SP’s upright stance gives it more than 45 degrees of lean angle, which means you can carry ludicrous speed into a sharp corner, slide sideways off the banana seat, and lean with the Duc as its Pirelli tires slip on the pavement and scream bloody murder. Then, when you come to a dip or divot in the road, you don’t swerve but rather hit it head-on, letting the long-travel suspension compress as you yank on the aluminum handlebars and bunny hop the bike into the air. And then there’s the SP’s lift-up prevention system, which will let you do a wheelie but keep you from going so far back that you fall off the bike.
Sitting at a stoplight, I felt like a young, naïve virgin about to bed a more worldly woman, whispering, “It’s OK, honey, you let me take care of everything.” When the light turned green, I popped the clutch and did the longest, most controlled, flawless wheelie I’ll likely ever do.
The Ducati Hypermotard SP is troublesome, coaxing you to make one bad decision after another, but also absolutely captivating. It shakes the dust off your bones, seduces you to smile, and sets you free from life’s petty binds for a little while. It looks, moves, and squeals in ways that will keep you coming back again and again. The Ducati Hypermotard SP is the kind of bike I don’t want to love but do.
Photos by Ducati