Despite its peculiar skillset and prohibitively high MSRP, I have lusted after Ducati's Hypermotard 1100 since I saw 20 of these naked hybrids in a Ducati demo at the famous Cook's Corner "biker bar" in Orange County, California, last year.
Introduced to the US market in 2007, The 1100 Hypermotard and its more aggressively spec'ed 1100S stablemate raised heart rates among Ducati tifosi even higher than it raised the eyebrows of jaded moto journalists. Less all-terrain capable than its "motard" moniker implies, this air-cooled L-twin generates 90 horsepower and is capable of 125 mph, plenty fast enough for the canyons Ducati says its hand-built urban assault bike is designed to attack.
The 2009 Ducati 1100
With the "S" model fetching nearly $15,000, this 1100cc Duck slides neatly between two other curious Euro machines: BMW's R1200R ($13,000) and KTM's 990 Super Duke R ($16,000.)
This month Ducati announced a smaller sibling in their Hypermotard arsenal: The 796. Boasting a 20mm lower seat height and $9,900 pricetag, the 370-pound machine eschews the hydraulically actuated dry clutch found on the 1100 for a cable-operated wet clutch for "smoother power delivery" from its all-new L-twin. Eight-hundred cc's, a 31-inch seat height and a sub-10k pricetag? Looks like a cocky Italian we know is itching to kick some Wisconsin ass.
Now available: the 2010 Ducati Hypermotard 796. Sportster, indeed
If I didn't currently owe BMW three large for my G650 X-Challenge, I'd give this diminutive Duck a serious gander. This swoopy exotic is certainly potent enough for my timid nature. If anyone on ChopCult has test ridden this hot little Italian, please share the experience with your friends and our readers.