Practical all round motorbike? Or just an expensive boys (or girls) toy?
To be fair any bike can be an all round bike, there’s Nick Saunders for instance who took an R1 sports bike around the world. However for most of us a practical bike is a bike that does what the rider requires for most situations, all the time. So is the 950SP Hypermotard a practical bike for most occasions?
What do we look for in a practical everyday bike? Again this depends on the person, however few could argue about these considerations. Is it comfortable, easy to ride, affordable (this varies on each persons budget I guess but the SP isn’t cheap) got the right equipment, can it be upgraded with accessories/luggage and is it frugal – not many want a practical bike with poor MPG and short range for that matter is it easy to move around. I honestly can’t see a Honda Goldwing being practical (shall we mention Nick Saunders again, each to their own), but on the whole manoeuvrability and weight do play a part in a practical bike
Shall we look at the evidence. Firstly the Hypermotard can cover all the bases mentioned above to a certain extent, however it’s not designed as a friendly practical bike, Ducati makes the Monster and Scrambler for that role, so why not just buy one of those? Well Some people want something different, a bit individual, something away from the norm, that can still cut it in the everyday world.
So let’s look in depth at what makes the Hypermotard practical or impractical. Firstly, if you are vertically challenged, then the Hypermotard is out as it’s very tall, saying that I know a lady who rides one who’s 5ft 4” so nothing’s impossible, but it’ll be impractical for most small riders. However, as it is a high bike, it makes it practical for good vision both for the rider and fellow road users in seeing it/you.
Is it manoeuvrable. It has very wide bars which make it easy to manoeuvre at all speeds. However, having wide bars does limit you on tight gaps when filtering. But the bike is very slim , so if the bars pass you have no worries with the rest of the bike. They are like a bit like a cats whiskers.
How about slow control and feel. Well, generally Ducati-twin engines are very vibrating by nature, however compared to the previous 939 model the vibrations are better. It would never be as smooth as say an 4 cylinder engine, but it’s easy enough to live with and no Harley Davison shaking to worry about.
Is it comfortable, riding position, leg room, seat softness etc. As it has a very upright riding position and being a very tall bike, there’s plenty of room to move about, and plenty of leg room. Seat comfort is OK, average from what I’ve experienced on other bikes and like all manufacturers nowadays, there seems to be a comfy seat option. Why you can’t choose your seat from the off is beyond me. All the switchgear is easy to reach and solid in feel. suspension is fully adjustable Öhlins with plenty of adjustment-ability to match your requirements. As it’s a naked (unfaired) bike, wind protection is zero, which could be a problem for some and may put people off the bike.
You can have factory options like heated grips, luggage and even screens to help reduce wind blast, and there’s plenty of after-market parts available to make the bike “more” practical or more suited to your individual needs. The bike has more than enough oomph!! With over 100bhp on tap, to drive it’s light weight at under 200 Kg. More than enough to get you in trouble, but don’t worry it has top notch Brembo brakes to help you keep it all in check.
As far as safety goes, it has all the usual electronic safety gizmo’s: traction control, corning ABS etc, and as with most bikes nowadays riding modes, including one which cuts the power so handy if it’s wet and greasy out, or if you just jumped up to a big bike and are a bit nervous.
The main downside to this being a practical everyday bike is the tyres, no they are not OEM rubbish a lot of manufacturers use to keep the cost down. They are super sticky Pirelli Supercorsa SP, which are fantastic tyres, however you’ll be lucky to get 2k miles out of a rear. MPG and tank range are OK, I’ve experienced 120+ mile tank range and mid 40mpg on average, it obviously depends on how you ride the bike, but isn’t that most bikes. This however is the problem, the bike likes to ridden hard and fast, in fact the harder and faster you ride, the better the bike feels.
Basically, it has been built for going round corners and going round them fast. Riding the bike feels like one of those cartoons where you have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. However, the devil normally wins LOL!
So the answer to the question “is it a everyday practical bike”? In true ELAM speak: “It depends…”