BIKES ARE AWESOME 4: Hybrids!

BIKES ARE AWESOME 4: Hybrids!

Last updated on August 10th, 2015

Le moto sono Fantastiche

Part 4

Hybrids! Multitasking! Multi-purpose!

 

Hiya guys and lasses. As you probably noticed, the last articles were quite the opposite from one to another. In two of them I talked about racing, in the latest, about touring. But…what happens in between? Is there some sort of  “grey” zone, related to motorcycles? Some sort of…limbo? Or is everything either black or white?


Well, shockingly, that ”grey” zone is actually present! And it’s also quite possibly the biggest portion of the cake that is the world of motorcycles. Nowadays there’s almost every kind of motorcycle imaginable: naked bikes, sport bikes, hypersports, supermotards, motocross bikes,  cruisers, enduro, off roads, trials, superbikes, you name it.

Ducati StreetfighterWhat is really interesting though, is that, even with so many options available, there’s a whole world of ”inbreeding”. That’s because not everyone can afford to have a bike for everything that tickles his interest, so the companies are trying, with some of their models, to offer some ”multi-purpose” models. Example: Look at the Ducati Streetfighter. It’s basically a naked bike, but a very particular one. In fact, it’s basically the same bike as my 1098s, without the fairings, and with a more comfortable handlebar, instead of the semi-handlebars installed on my superbike. The engine is toned down a bit as well, sporting roughly the same amount of horsepower (circa 160hp), but with a much more linear, much less ”explosive” power curve. Still, the chassis, the wheels, and both suspensions are taken straight from the 1098s, so we’re talking about trackday-stuff. The whole point here is that with the StreetFighter, you could easily use it for cruising around (home-work route? Pub with friends?) and, on weekends, you could wear your tracksuit and go have fun on a trackday. Obviously, she will never be as fast as her SBK counterpart, but yet again, it’s not the point. You get what I mean.

This article will focus on the bike I had BEFORE the 1098s, the 2009 Ducati Hypermotard 1100.

Gamer Bikes

The Hypermotard (HYM from now on) was Ducati’s approach to the booming phenomenon of Supermotards, with a twist. Let’s say that a Supermotard is basically a motocross bike, with slick tyres, that instead of racing in the mud, does it on asphalt. That’s the simple explanation. Of course there is a lot of other stuff that changes. Anyway. Ducati tried a different approach. They basically created a mix between a Ducati Monster (Ducati’s iconic naked bike) and a motocross bike. And the result was the white bike you see on the pictures here.

Tell you what, the HYM was fun as hell. A hooligan bike. The powerful V-twin of 1087cc was capable of  only 100hp (give or take), but I can assure you that those were fun as hell to use. Quickly shift down a couple gears, while approaching a corner, and the ”tail” of the HYM will spectacularly slide sideways. Caresse the clutch lever coming out of a corner while in 2nd gear, and the front fender of the bike will start looking at the sky, in a powerwheelie (the HYM was VERY wheelie-sensitive. Good times…).

Theoretically the HYM was a bike capable of everything.

On paper.

  • Trackdays? Check.

    That’s for the quality suspensions (fully adjustable) and Ducati’s 1078cc V-twin.

  • Everyday use? Check.

    The relatively low HP allowed the rider to do basically everything.

  • Touring? Check.

    Because the riding position allowed the rider to be quite comfortable, even for semi-long trips.

See? Reading the points up there, one would think that the HYM was the ultimate bike. Wrong. Because as every other compromise, even the HYM had it’s low points.

First, the riding position was somewhat unnatural. On trackdays, you had to ride her with your knee down (as with superbikes), rather than with your leg out (as with motocross/supermotard bikes). Also, rider pegs were positioned quite low, so you’ll end up touching them in every turn (I sold my bike with the pegs completely scratched…ehm).

As for the touring part, yes, the position was right, but there were drawbacks here as well. First, the tank could only contain 12 litres of fuel, allowing for an autonomy of only 150km with a full tank. That time I went to the Stelvio on the HYM was a nightmare, fuel-speaking. I basically had to refill at every gas station we ran into.

Second, there was NO air protection at all, and this will mean that you get all the air on your torso/head/arms. Very fatiguing in the long run.

Third, the seat. Too soft for trackdays, too hard for touring. My ass is still sore after going to the Stelvio (one of the roads featured in my previous article) riding the HYM.

Gamer BikesThen, lastly, as you can see from the pictures, the physical space for installing luggages, bags, or whatever was very scarce. Just a bag over the fuel tank (official Ducati Performance stuff, so pricy as hell), and a bag or a backpack tied to the passenger seat using the always-necessary ”elastic spider” (an elastic net than can be used to fix almost everything on your bike: Some of the best 10 € I’ve ever spent).

See the point? This bike was meant for doing a lot of things, but as with every other compromise, one must not expect the HYM to excel in anything.

I only had this bike for a year, I honestly had LOADS of fun riding her, she was gorgeous and everything, and I basically did everything I could during that year (trackdays, touring, everyday commute).

In the end, though, I chose to keep the racing and the touring as two different entities for the simple fact that I want to experience the best of both. But hey, that’s just me. I have a couple friends with bikes of the same ”multi-purpose-breed” and they really, really love them.

Again, see?

That’s the wonderful things about bikes.

There’s something for everyone.


Read Part 1 of these series      Read Part 2 of these Series      Read Part 3 of these Series

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Pierre is both a longtime videogames player, as well as a motorsport enthusiast. When he's not riding his Ducati, he's probably either trying the latest VGs released, or complaining about something.

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4 comments on “BIKES ARE AWESOME 4: Hybrids!”

  1. Fex says:

    I really love reading your articles, they have wonderful insight into stuff I don’t know much about and the passion that you have for your hobby comes through so vibrantly!

    I’m looking forward to part 5!

    1. *bows*
      Too kind, madame 🙂

  2. Leet says:

    I’m loving these bike articles. I plan on getting myself a bike in the near future. Most likely a 600RR.

    1. Thanks! I had a 2007 Honda CBR600RR: Nice, nice bike. Very easy to use, as every Honda.
      I only had her for a year, though. Not because she was bad or anything, but…I was starting to get bored of riding 600’s. It was time to step up a notch 😉
      Maybe one day I’ll write about my previous bikes 🙂

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