Ducati has launched its first road-legal single cylinder machine in half a decade, with the latest Hypermotard 698 Mono pumping out over 77bhp in a package weighing just 151kg.
The Hypermotard is powered by a new engine which is essentially half of that found on the old 1299 Panigale superbike, sharing the same 116mm bore piston, combustion chamber and Desmodromic valve train as the legendary superbike.
Ducati trailed the powerplant a week ahead of the unveiling of the bike itself and there’s little doubt the single cylinder unit looks like a real work of art. Producing peak power at 10,250rpm, the big bore motor is full of high level materials, with use of titanium and DLC (diamond like coating) on the internals. Ducati are also offering a Termignoni racing exhaust to take the power up to a staggering 84.5bhp while, at the other end of the scale, a restriction kit is available to make the 698 Mono available to A2 licence riders.
The bike itself, which will cost £10,995 in base trim, continues the high spec. Hypermotards have always been famed for their simplicity and agility, and that trend continues with the new single. It’s minimalist, but what is there is of a very high standard.
The steel trellis frame is a traditional Ducati design, weighing 7.2kg, and weight saving componentry is evident throughout – from the decision to run cast wheels to details like the aluminium flange on the brake discs – the emphasis looks to have been on lightness and simplicity. Components come from the usual recognised Italian brands, with Marzocchi providing the adjustable front forks, braking coming from Brembo and Pirelli’s Diablo Rosso IV tyres coming as original equipment.
Being a Ducati, performance is at the heart of the Hypermotard’s DNA, with even the footpegs being designed to maximise lean angle, while the rubber inserts are removable to provide more grip for riders wearing supermotard racing boots. While not likely to appear in official competition races, expect a to see a few Hypermotards at a track day near you – where they are a good bet to embarrass some more powerful and expensive machines on twisty circuits.
Electronics are another area where the Hypermotard gets the full Ducati treatment, with three power modes and four riding modes utilising a full suite of riding aids including wheelie control, traction control, launch control and engine braking adjustability. The Ducati quickshifter is optional on the base model and standard on the ‘RVE’ version, which costs £900 more and also gains jazzy graffiti style graphics.
It will be interesting to see if the Hypermotard marks the beginning of a new range of single-cylinder machines from Ducati. Although the company is historically renowned for its ‘L’ twin engine, it has recently built its highest performance models around its latest V4 motor.
The company has plenty of heritage with singles, which formed the bulk of the Ducati road bike range from the business’ foundation as a motorcycle manufacturer in 1950, through to the mid 1970s.
The last Ducati single was the much feted Supermono of 1993. The 550cc, race-only, motorcycle won a number of prestigious races, including the 1995 Isle of Man Singles TT, and who wouldn’t love to see a new Ducati paying tribute to that iconic model?
The new Hypermotard also comes at a time when Ducati has announced it will be entering the world of motocross racing, with Italian legend Antonio Cairoli leading the development of a new race bike.