2017 Ducati Hypermotard 939 SP

Editor Score: 87.5%
Engine 18.5/20
Suspension/Handling 14.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 10.0/10
Instruments/Controls4.0/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.0/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 8.0/10
Value 7.0/10
Overall Score87.5/100

If you’re in the market for a brand new, 100-horsepower, street-legal dirtbike, Ducati’s Hypermotard 939 and Hypermotard 939 SP are pretty much the only game in town (at least, until the updated Aprilia Dorsoduro 900 arrives). Upgraded for 2016 with the 937cc Testastretta 11° L-Twin, compared to last year’s 821cc model, the Hypermotard gains a wee bit more, completely unnecessary, intensity. Like, as if, the outgoing model wasn’t fun enough.

It was a couple years ago when we last rode the SP version of Ducati’s Hypermotard, and it was with the company of MV Agusta’s Rivale (Mega Motard Shootout: 2014 Ducati Hypermotard SP Vs. MV Agusta Rivale). In that shootout the Rivale narrowly defeated the Hypermotard by virtue of its Tre Pistoni engine. “A skilled rider can keep up with his buddy in the tight stuff if you’re on the Hyper and he on the Rivale, but once the MV has a chance to stretch its legs, it’s gone,” said Troy Siahaan in that shootout. So, maybe it’s a good thing Ducati blessed the Hypermotard with a newer, greater-capacity engine.

The higher-compression, larger-displacement engine in the 2016 939 Hypermotard SP offers equal performance for the non-SP model. Valve adjustments come once every 18,000 miles, changing the oil filter is something you can do at home.

The higher-compression, larger-displacement engine in the 2016 939 Hypermotard SP offers equal performance for the non-SP model. Valve adjustments come once every 18,000 miles, changing the oil filter is something you can do at home.

Without an MV Agusta measuring stick for this review, we’re left grading the Hypermotard 939 SP on its own merits, which are exceptional for the rider willing to commit to a motorcycle that only does one thing well – have fun!

Commitment is also very appropriate wording for the Hyper SP. The new engine upgrade costing an additional $600 more than the 2015 SP model ($15,959 vs $14,995). That’s not a terribly huge MSRP bump, but it moves the Hyper SP closer to $16k, and that seems like a lot of moolah for a glorified dirtbike. Yes, there is a performance increase, but there’s also a weight gain (see dyno chart below).

Sadly, we did not dyno the 821 Hypermotard SP, so no direct comparison can be made. According to Ducati’s claimed figures, though, the 939 SP produces three more horsepower and 6.4 more lb.-ft. of torque. However, the 939 SP weighs a claimed 15 pounds more than the 821 SP. Mathematically, using Ducati’s claimed power and weight figures, the 939 enjoys a 0.4-pound advantage in the weight-per-lb.-ft. of torque ratio, but gains nothing in the horsepower-per-pound ratio.

Sadly, we did not dyno the 821 Hypermotard SP, so no direct comparison can be made. According to Ducati’s claimed figures, though, the 939 SP produces three more horsepower and 6.4 more lb.-ft. of torque. However, the 939 SP weighs a claimed 15 pounds more than the 821 SP. Mathematically, using Ducati’s claimed power and weight figures, the 939 enjoys a 0.4-pound advantage in the weight-per-lb.-ft. of torque ratio, but gains nothing in the horsepower-per-pound ratio.

What that $600 also buys you is a Hyper SP outfitted with an Öhlins fork in place of the Marzocchi unit on the 2014 model. Seat height has been reduced from 35 inches to 34.2 inches, which may be worth a couple hundred bucks alone for vertically challenged folks who shied away from the 2014 Hypermotard due to height concerns. Otherwise, the two models are nearly identical.

The new Hyper SP enjoys a 0.3-inch shorter wheelbase, which theoretically should quicken its canyon-road pace, but, considering the advantages of a more powerful engine, coupled with the disadvantages of increased curb weight, it’s impossible to tell what real-world benefits (or handicaps) the 939 SP owns without a back-to-back comparison. What we do know is the Ducati Hypermotard remains the bike of choice for riders looking for nothing but a good time.

Brembo Monoblock brakes are excellent in both feel and stopping power. Working together with the new Öhlins fork provides superior front-end performance when braking, accelerating, and cornering. The SP is equipped with forged wheels, the non-SP model is not.

Brembo Monoblock brakes are excellent in both feel and stopping power. Working together with the new Öhlins fork provides superior front-end performance when braking, accelerating, and cornering. The SP is equipped with forged wheels, the non-SP model is not.

For the common streetbike rider the long-travel suspension (7.3 inches/front, 6.9 inches/rear) of the Hypermotard is going to feel foreign at first. After only a few miles, it becomes apparent that wheelie landings (which happen often) are softened, and an aspect I really enjoy, an extra amount of suspension travel is still available when entering a corner hard on the brakes. Happen across an unforeseen pothole and there’s always enough fork travel to absorb a road encumbrance, whereas street-specific sportbikes and their ilk will have used up most all of their travel with nothing more to give but a harsh bottoming-out when stumbling across such a hazard.

Also unfamiliar to the average street rider will be the Hyper’s seating position, which is very upright and dirt-able, with a very narrow seat and seat/tank juncture, yet still comfortable. Together with the wide handlebars the Hypermotard is fun to flick around in town or in the country, possibly even up a dirt road or down a flight of stairs. When compared to the Rivale, the old Hypermotard exhibited more lethargy when it came to quick transitioning, but by itself the Hypermotard gets from one corner to the next in what seems like hyper fashion.

I ride the Hypermotard like I do any street/sport bike. Feel free to go all foot out if you prefer. The Hyper’s happy to oblige either style.

I ride the Hypermotard like I do any street/sport bike. Feel free to go all foot out if you prefer. The Hyper’s happy to oblige either style.

Like most of Ducati’s higher-end wares, the Hypermotard is outfitted with an array of adjustable electronics. There are three ride modes: Wet, Sport, Race. Each of these come preset for ABS, TC and engine output, but you can also adjust them to personal preferences. When it comes to the Hypermotard’s engine performance make no mistake, it’s race bred. Riding at anything less than 100% is akin to making a thoroughbred dance dressage – it’ll do it but it’s silly.

Engine output can be dialed between Low, Medium, High. When riding aggressively either High or Medium is enjoyable because the snap out of corners is ferocious. Both provide progressive delivery of the engine’s full power, with Medium coming on in more mild fashion. Around town, or when lane splitting through heavy LA traffic I found those two settings to be a little abrupt when smoothness is most warranted. The Low setting dials back engine horsepower to a claimed 75 hp, and further smooths the delivery. I found myself switching to this mode in the two scenarios mentioned above, or when I was getting tired.

111616-2017-Ducati-Hypermotard-3185

2017 Ducati Hypermotard 939 SP
+ Highs

  • Fun, like motorcycling should be
  • Lower seat height
  • Öhlins fork
– Sighs

  • There are many more versatile bikes you can buy for $16k
  • Got heavier
  • No real performance gain

If the Hypermotard 939 SP gets your heart pounding but the $16k price is hard to swallow, the standard model Hyper, at $12,695, will save you $3,300, and it’s largely the same bike, only wheels and suspension components separating them. Or, for a more versatile Hyper that splits the difference, the Hyperstrada 939, at $14,295, might provide a more viable option. The strada version of the Hypers comes outfitted with semi-rigid saddlebags, a touring windshield, touring seat, centerstand, larger fenders, and a engine guard.

Regardless which Hyper model you choose, good times are sure to result. There just aren’t many other motorcycles like it, and the fun factor for any of the three is off the charts. And while we can’t say the new 937cc engine is hugely beneficial over last year’s 821, a few more ponies and foot-pounds never hurt. For more information check out Ducati.com.

Under the seat of the Hypermotard 939 SP you’ll find straps for attaching a bungee net, a cable for locking a helmet to the bike, and a minimalist toolkit.

Under the seat of the Hypermotard 939 SP you’ll find straps for attaching a bungee net, a cable for locking a helmet to the bike, and a minimalist toolkit.

2017 Ducati Hypermotard 939 SP Specifications
MSRP $15,595
Horsepower 101.2 hp @ 8,700 rpm
Torque 67.3 lb.-ft. @ 7,200 rpm
Engine Capacity 937cc
Engine Type Testastretta 11°, L-Twin cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid cooled, magnesium valve covers
Bore x Stroke 94 x 67,5 mm
Compression 13.1:1
Fuel System Magneti Marelli electronic fuel injection system
Transmission 6-speed
Clutch Slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch mechanically operated
Final Drive Chain
Frame Tubular steel trellis
Front Suspension Öhlins fully adjustable 48mm fork
Rear Suspension Fully adjustable Öhlins monoshock. Aluminum single-sided swingarm
Front Brakes Dual 320mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo monobloc calipers, 4-piston 2-pad, radial pump with adjustable lever, with Bosch ABS as standard
Rear Brakes Single 245mm disc, 2-piston caliper, with Bosch ABS as standard
Front Tire 120/70-17
Rear Tire 180/55-17
Seat Height 34.2 inches
Wheelbase 59.0 inches
Rake/Trail 25.5°/4.1 inches
Curb Weight 448 pounds
Fuel Capacity 4.2 gal.
Electronics Riding Modes, Power Modes, Ducati Safety Pack (ABS + DTC), RbW. Marchesini forged rims, tapered aluminum handlebars, carbon fiber components: front mudguard, cam belt covers. Ready for anti-theft system, heated grips, sat-nav
Warranty 24 months unlimited mileage

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Ducati Communities

  • HazardtoMyself

    Another one to add to the “when money is no object” list.

    Come on hillbilly retirement…… Gotta hit those winning numbers someday right???

    • Gabriel Owens

      Lottery is a self imposed tax on the poor Along with cigarettes, beer, and chocolate milk.

      • therr850

        We all got our goals. Just be happy for him.

      • HazardtoMyself

        What lottery? I have been trying to guess the numbers on my rich neighbors safe for months. Figure I will hit the right combination at some point.

        • Gabriel Owens

          I didn’t know you was a savage

  • JMDonald

    Even at a 448lb. curb weight it’s not too shabby. It is in my top ten.

  • Gabriel Owens

    Jesus , who will buy this?

    • Born to Ride

      I see em around. People with more money than sense.

      • Gabriel Owens

        Friends don’t let friends buy ducati

        • Born to Ride

          I must have terrible friends.

    • JuanFrancisco

      Last year I picked up a lightly used 821 (2k miles, non SP) for 8k. I put some touring bits on it. Windscreen, touring seat, heated grips, rear rack and Avon Trail Riders. I’ve put over 11k miles on it. It’s actually very versatile and comfortable. Keep in mind I’m only 5″6 1/2 so the bike fits very well, except for the fact that I’m on my toes at stop lights. It handles everything I throw at it, gravel roads, twisties and highways (80mph). It’s not super smooth above that on the highway, but getting there it’s a ton of fun. It also has a big appetite for rear tires..

  • Old MOron

    Like a big dirt bike, huh? Can we have a shootout against Husky’s 701 Supermoto, please?

  • Craig Hoffman

    As an avid off roader, fooling around and doing wheelies is a favorite pastime. It is a pity that the authorities view doing a wheelie on the street is only one step away from committing a violent crime. In reality, it is just a mono, a careful balancing act, just some harmless fun.

    Alas, life does not work that way, and this motorcycle would land me beaten to a pulp and in jail. I could not behave on an ’83 XL600 (an awesome wheelie machine if there ever was one) so there is no way I would behave on these Hypermotards.

    The first thing one must do when confronting a problem is admitting they have a problem. I have a problem keeping my front wheel on the ground when riding dirt bikes or anything resembling dirt bikes, on the street. I also have a problem on such motorcycles in empty business parks and large parking lots on weekends. All this is not the bike’s fault of course. It is a personal failing, one that can’t be fixed.

    So, where do I sign? LMAO 😉

    • The signature line on all tickets I’ve received has been at the bottom… Surely it’s been the same for you.

      • Craig Hoffman

        Thanks for the laugh 😛

  • freewaystreak

    My 1st Gen 1100 Hyper is a pain in the a**! Lol but oh so fun! I have toured on it, embarrassed Super Sport 1000’s on twisty roads! My biggest complaint! I can run out of fuel at 90 miles. after 40,000 miles it still brings out the beast. This new one is better in every way! Just get one and and smile!

    • Born to Ride

      You should look into the California cycle works fuel tank for the old hypers. I think it’s 5 gallons and it doesn’t expand.

  • JuanFrancisco

    Ducati’s website has the seat height at 35in.. Deal breaker for us with Corgi legs.

    • Copy editing error. The correct seat height should be 34.2 inches. Thanks for pointing out the mistake, the correction has been made. So, not as low as 32 inches, but 0.8 inches shorter than 35.

      • Brett Lewis

        The Hyper SP is 35.0, the standard Hyper is 34.2

  • ducatirdr

    Bought one and it was fun for about 30 minutes. Things that got on my nerves – Seat(s), tranny, wheezy power, harsh Ohlins and step ladder height (choose which side to put a foot down and get it right or else…) Traded it for bike at same price point Aprilia Tuono 1100 Factory. Complete satisfaction. Sorry but I found the Hyper to be (wait for it) all hype.

    • Born to Ride

      I haven’t ridden the 821, but the old 1100S was an absolute riot. Foot out, sliding through corners, steering with the throttle, wheelies out of every second and first gear corner, what’s not to love? But yeah if you go into it expecting sport bike top end power and front end feel, you’re gonna realize that you are riding completely the wrong bike. Also, the hyper loves tight twisty roads that allow you to tap that abundant torque rather than fast sweepers that remind you it has less than 100hp.

  • Josh

    Yeah for that money I’d get the new Tuono factory. Now with cruise control and full color tft!

  • cdj

    Neat bike, however give me a Tuono and I’m good!