2024 Ducati Hypermotard 698 Mono Review – First Ride

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

Watch out KTM – Ducati’s coming for you

Photo: Alex Photo

KTM, consider yourself on watch because Ducati is coming for you, and it’s coming for you with this: the 2024 Hypermotard 698 Mono. One look and you can tell the Hyper Mono is aimed squarely at the KTM 690 SMC R, the supermoto inspiration is obvious to all, and now there’s suddenly an arms race in a category that’s been one-sided for years. Sure, the street-legal supermoto scene may be a small niche, but we all know it’s a recipe for getting your license taken away in no time – all with a giant smile on your face.

2024 Ducati Hypermotard 698 Mono

The first model to house Ducati's all-new Single, the Hypermotard 698 Mono is aimed squarely at the KTM 690 SMC R and younger Ducati hopefuls. While fun, we're not sure if the bike is right for the US market.

Editor's Score: 85.0%




















  • Very impressive engine
  • Light makes right
  • Very cool to make hooligan antics more accessible through electronics


  • LCD screen is so small it’s hard to navigate
  • Suspension will need help if serious track riding is your goal
  • Taking advantage of the electronics involves a steep learning curve

How did we get here in the first place? When Ducati first announced it was developing a single-cylinder engine, the industry went crazy. Ducati made its name with the V-Twin engine, and for the longest time it was ridiculous to imagine Ducati building anything else. But times have changed, interests have changed, and emission regulations haven’t made building a powerful V-Twin engine any easier. Hence, the V4 was introduced. A pleasant surprise to many, even Ducati had admitted they had taken V-Twin development as far as they were willing to go. So, the V4 made sense. But a Single? That was more a move out of left field.

Small and compact, the Ducati Superquadro Mono engine is a powerhouse of a single-cylinder.

Dubbed the Superquadro Mono, click the link to read all the spec details about Ducati’s latest engine. In short, it really is one half of the 1299 Superquadro engine – the last V-Twin to power a Ducati superbike. It uses the same piston, connecting rod, and cylinder head as the 1299, and even uses the same aluminum cylinder liner as the 1299 Superleggera, which was only made in limited quantities. And of course, the valves are actuated by Ducati’s signature desmodromic system. All in, we’re looking at 77.5 hp – 3.5 more than its orange competitor.

Ducati Reveals 659cc Superquadro Mono Engine

KTM still wins the torque battle, as its 693cc Single makes a claimed 54 lb-ft versus the Ducati’s 46 lb-ft. But the Ducati impresses with a lofty 10,250 rpm redline. Here’s the kicker: the Superquadro Mono is not, in fact, a 698 as you might think based on the sticker on the side of the bike. Its 116 mm bore and 62.4 mm stroke makes an actual displacement of 659cc. As the laws of thermodynamics will tell you, in order to make more power from a given displacement, the engine needs to spin faster, which the Superquadro mono does compared to the LC4. The Ducati also has a slightly higher compression ratio: 13.1:1 vs the KTM’s 12.7:1. No matter how you slice it, the little Ducati’s performance numbers are impressive.

Reaching a new crowd

While the tech specs are there for anyone to see, the Superquadro Mono’s origin story – and in fact the Hypermotard 698 Mono’s as well – are very interesting. Rumor has it that the idea for the Superquadro Mono engine came about during a meeting where an engineer voiced how cool it would be to take the 1299 Superquadro V-Twin and slice off one of the cylinders to make a super Single. After passing the idea around, it got the green light.

The 1299 Panigale was the last of Ducati’s big V-Twin superbikes, but its legacy lives on in the Hypermotard 698 Mono, and all future models Ducati decide to put this engine into (undoubtedly a Supermono someday).

According to Francesco Milicia, the VP of Global Sales and After Sales (effectively the number two at Ducati), this new Hypermotard Mono wasn’t born from market studies or analysis, but is one of the rare times when Ducati decided to build a bike because it sounded cool and fun. Ducati being a business after all, Milicia’s explanation seems hard to believe. Especially when we were told later that this new Hypermotard was not only aimed at taking on the KTM brigade, but also to attract new, younger riders to the Ducati family in a way the Hypermotard 950 can’t.

The baby Hypermotard does this by being slimmer, lighter, and more accessible to this younger demographic thanks, in part, to the single cylinder engine. Of course, it’s also priced towards this audience too, at $12,995 for the standard version which comes in the familiar Ducati red, and $14,495 for the RVE, which is styled in the “Graffiti” livery and also comes standard with the bi-directional Ducati quickshifter (it’s an option for the standard model). Otherwise, the two bikes are the same. The Scrambler remains the brand’s least expensive model, but the Hyper Mono and Monster are the least expensive bikes to wear the Ducati name on its side.

It’s common for Ducati to release multiple trim levels of a model, but the difference between the standard Hypermotard Mono and the RVE version seem a little slim to justify. If it were us, unless you absolutely love the look of the graffiti livery, don’t spend the extra $1500 and just buy the optional bi-directional quickshifter for the standard bike.

When you look around Europe you’ll see a lot of young people riding motards, so it makes sense for Ducati to want to attract this group into the family. Ducati ownership is an aspirational goal for many, and if that dream can be easier to achieve with a style of motorcycle young riders are more likely to ride, then why not tap into that market? Of course, Ducati is all about performance and the Hyper Mono has to satisfy experienced riders, too. Read our First Look post to see how they did it.

2024 Ducati Hypermotard 698 Mono – First Look

Studying the Competition

When benchmarking its orange, white, and red rivals, Ducati noted a relative lack of front end feel as one of its primary drawbacks. Steering geometry is partly to blame, but so is the bike’s weight. Specifically, where it’s distributed. Ducati determined the Hypermotard Mono would achieve proper front end feel through sportbike-like geometry and a forward-biased weight distribution.

The main chassis is a steel-trellis frame of varying thickness to provide the proper stiffness to give feedback to the rider while riding supermoto. The subframe is also a steel trellis type with wall thickness measuring a thin 1.6 mm. Down below, the double-sided swingarm is a cast aluminum piece. All in, the frame weighs 15.9 lbs and the swingarm is 8.6 lbs. More importantly, the swingarm is a short 22.5 in (572 mm), giving the bike a shortest-in-class wheelbase of 56.8 in (1,443 mm) compared to the KTM’s 57.9 inches, for greater agility. As far as front end geometry goes, the Hyper’s 26.1º rake angle is slightly steeper than the KTM’s 26.4º, but both share the same 4.2 inches of trail.

On the suspension side, both the standard and RVE models get the same Marzocchi fork and Sachs shock. Up front is a 45 mm inverted fork weighing 17.8 lbs. You get full adjustability, with preload adjusters on both forks, compression on the left, and rebound on the right. Physical twist knobs allow you to make changes without tools, and with five total revolutions of the adjuster, one click is enough to make an appreciable difference. Front suspension travel is 8.5 inches. The back of the bike is suspended via linkage with a fully adjustable shock offering 9.4 in of travel. Maybe it’s a coincidence or maybe it’s not, but both the Ducati and KTM have the same amount of suspension travel.

Ducati teamed up with Marzocchi for the fork and Sachs for the shock. While they provide a comfortable ride for the street, they’re a little too soft for serious track work – especially so if you also take your supermoto in the dirt. The big, wide bars let you flick the bike easily, knee down or foot out, and are adjustable to different positions. The 3-gallon fuel tank in its traditional spot places more weight over the front compared to the KTM.

Another difference between the Austrian supermoto and the Italian is the latter’s choice of five-spoke aluminum cast wheels instead of wire-spoke wheels on the SMC R. In an apparent passive aggressive flex, Ducati says these cast wheels weigh 0.5 kg less than a similar spoked wheel. A 120/70-17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV sits up front, a 160/60-17 is out back. These typical sizes mean tire selection, including both roadrace and supermoto slicks, are plentiful. Lastly, speaking of lightness, the Hyper is equipped with a lithium-ion battery stock, neatly tucked away under the passenger area of the seat.

Because the bike is so minimal and weighs 333 lbs minus fuel according to Ducati (compared to the KTM’s 324-pound dry weight), a giant brake setup wasn’t necessary. Instead, the Hyper gets a single 330mm disc on the left side (compared to 320mm for the KTM) mated to a Brembo M4.32 caliper, fed fluid from a Brembo 15/19 master cylinder. The aluminum brake disc carrier is 17% lighter than a similar steel piece, further reducing unsprung weight.

The single 330mm disc is 10mm larger than its orange rival, and the cast wheel is supposed to be slightly lighter, too.

Electronics Designed To Make Us All Supermoto Riders

Anyone who’s seen a supermoto video has seen bikes getting completely crossed up sideways backing into a corner, followed by massive wheelies coming out of it. The reality is most of us can’t do those things – or at least not very well. This is where modern day electronics, centered around the now ubiquitous IMU (inertial measurement unit) have become a game changer. Ducati is tapping into the power of the IMU with the full suite of electronics available on the Hypermotard 698 Mono. You get the usual things like cornering-sensitive traction control and adjustable engine braking, and you also get Ducati’s Power Launch for fast race starts.

When it comes to supermoto fun, however, Ducati’s tailored the ABS and wheelie control to bring out your inner hooligan. Both ABS and wheelie control are adjustable to different levels, with the Hyper Mono becoming the first Ducati with the ability to change the sensitivity of the ABS. At level 4, the ABS works like your traditional ABS. Level 3 introduces the slide-by-brake function, where you can get a small slide from the rear if you jam your foot on the rear brake (technically speaking, the slide is limited to a yaw rate of 12º and roll rate of 35º).

Ducati’s electronics suite will try to make you look like a hero. It’s up to you to trust it.

Go down to Level 2 and you can get a more impressive slide by jamming the rear brake (15º yaw, 52º roll). The key here is to apply the front brake first to pitch the weight to the front, downshift if necessary (without the clutch thanks to the quickshifter!), add the smallest amount of lean angle, and then slam your foot on the rear brake. The key is to keep your hand off the clutch (assuming you have the quickshifter) and keep your foot on the brake. The slide function will make sure you don’t slide out, or conversely, launch yourself into orbit. If that sounds completely counter to everything we know about riding bikes – that’s because it is. Typically, you don’t slide the rear on a supermoto by jamming on the rear brake. It’s a combination of rear brake pressure and managing engine compression during downshifts. If you’re the rare breed who can actually manage a slide on your own, ABS level 1 only activates the front, leaving you free to control the rear. You can also turn it all off if you want total control.

Wheelie control works in a similar way. Of the four levels, the last three (4, 3, 2) prioritize acceleration and really limit any lift in 3 and 4. Level 1 gives the front wheel freedom to come up for a power wheelie, but will stop it from going too high. Opt for the optional Termignoni race exhaust and part of the package includes an ECU flash to reprogram the air/fuel ratio. In addition, it also enables the performance version of wheelie control, allowing you to hold prolonged wheelies and shift through gears using the quickshifter without flipping over.

With so many different modes, and options within those modes, this matrix lays it all out for you. With minimal time on the bike, we left it in Sport power mode.

Riding Impressions

All of this sounds pretty cool, right? I thought so too. As it turns out, you still need a basic understanding of how to ride like a hoon to take advantage of these features. Apparently, I need more practice. Ducati held its press introduction of the Hypermotard 698 Mono at the Kartodromo Lucas Guerrero, a kart track near Valencia, Spain. While it’s a bummer we didn’t get to ride the bike on the street at all, there’s no denying riding a bike like this on a proper kart track is a ton of fun. It also provides a controlled setting to sample the new Ducati’s hooligan features. Before we go any further – sorry, supermoto diehards, there wasn’t a dirt section.

But first, the engine. Without a 690 SMC R to truly compare, it’s hard to make back-to-back comparisons, but my initial impressions of the Superquadro Mono engine are very high. First gear is tall, so you need to slip the clutch a little to get moving, but once you do the little 659cc Thumper revs freely all the way to its ridiculous 10,250 rpm redline. You’re only using second and third gears around the Lucas Guerrero track, but coming out of some very tight hairpin corners, the engine surprised me at times with its ability to still pull a tiny wheelie as I hammered the throttle while banking the bike over to the other side. Then I remembered the engine produces 70% of its torque at 3,000 rpm and 80% just a thousand revs later. This huge 7,250 rpm powerband makes this a very usable Single with the flexibility to meet the demands of everyday riding with ease. And it does it with a smoothness not befitting a big Single. Credit Ducati’s twin counterbalancers located in the crankcase for doing a fine job offsetting the natural vibes inherent in a Single.

Get the little Single singing into the upper ranges and there’s still power there to greet you, courtesy of the desmo valves. Its 77.5 peak horses are available at 9,750 rpm, so it wants you to rev it out. All of the bikes we tested were already equipped with the quickshifter, and there were no issues with the shifts in either direction. The RVE models came additionally loaded with the Termignoni exhausts, providing a cooler soundtrack, eight more horses, three more lb-ft, and three less pounds. But the coolest part? Each time you nailed an upshift with the quickshifter, the bikes with the Termi pipes would let out a pop. That never gets old.

Now, back to the electronics. With coaching from Giulio Fabbri, Ducati’s Head of Product Communications, and former supermoto racer himself, he gave me all the tips for backing it into a corner with slide mode set to 2. By coaching, he not only guided me on what to do on the bike, but also what to do on the dash. A departure from Ducati’s usual huge TFT displays on nearly all of its models, the lack of real estate on a supermoto means the Hyper Mono uses a small LCD to display and navigate all of the bike’s functions.

Granted, not everything is lit up during normal use, but here you can plainly see how much information is packed into a tiny screen. The bar graph tachometer is practically impossible to see at speed. I ended up looking at the gear indicator and/or the green shift light in the upper right of the screen.

While I understand the packaging conundrum, ultimately the LCD is hard to navigate. Because the display is so small, the names for different functions are abbreviated, making them less obvious when you’re trying to quickly change something. Huge TFT displays have the space to spell out what the rider should do to make a change. This tiny LCD only has small indicators, symbols, and short words to bring you where you need to be. In short, it’s not enough. Would you eventually learn what all the button presses are if this were your bike? Sure. But there’s a steep learning curve to get there.

Still, it’s way harder than it looks. It takes a lot of willpower to shut off every safety switch in your brain and just trust the electronics, but I still managed to just jam the rear brake with my right foot. My problem was getting the timing right between front brake, downshifting, lean angle, and rear brake. All in the span of a second or two. I’d inevitably end up slowing down like normal, with no slide. On the few occasions where I did successfully get a slide, I didn’t feel as though I did anything different, and I surely didn’t carry hero-like lean angles. But with only six sessions of 10 minutes, there was a lot to learn and not much time to learn it in.

Some people prefer to ride supermoto with their knee down, others prefer foot out. I don’t see why I have to choose one over the other. Joking aside, the seat is tall at 35.6 inches, which is partially why my 30-inch inseam sometimes struggled keeping both feet on the (knurled) pegs. Since the bike is so narrow, throwing a leg over and touching the ground isn’t hard.

As for the rest of the bike, we started the ride on the standard models with suspension settings tailored more for the street. That is, rebound and compression damping were nearly full open and there was minimal preload in the shock. Those settings make for a comfortable ride on the street – but we weren’t on the street. At the kart track the Hyper Mono felt like it had a rearward weight bias – exactly the feeling Ducati were trying to avoid – and I couldn’t trust the front end.

With such little weight to carry around, tossing the bike from side to side wasn’t an issue. The bars give you plenty of leverage. My bigger issue, and one that was shared among nearly every other tester I talked to, was arm pump. With such a slim mid-section, as you’d expect from a supermoto, there wasn’t anywhere for the legs to latch onto when riding roadrace style. Combine that with the brake and clutch levers being angled too high and the arms were left dealing with supporting the bulk of my bodyweight during braking and cornering. Arm pump set in within the first two laps. Lowering the angle of the levers helped, but it never fully went away.

Switching to the RVE for the second half of the day, Ducati changed the suspension settings to better suit the track (both bikes have the same suspension components, remember). Now, both rebound and compression circuits were one turn away from being fully closed and more preload was added to both ends, but especially the rear. Now there was considerably more forward weight bias. Not surprisingly, overall feel, especially at the front, was much better. Now I could trail brake with more confidence knowing what the front tire was doing. I still couldn’t back it in very well, but I never could in the first place. The single 330mm disc and M4.32 caliper have plenty of power to slow the bike down, and I liked the feedback the 15/19 master cylinder gave to me. With a bike this light, I think Ducati was right not putting two discs up front.

Is This The One?

As much as I may stink at riding supermoto like the pros, I’m glad the Hypermotard 698 Mono exists. Overall, it’s a fun motorcycle in a way the Hypermotard 950 could never be. It doesn’t feel like a big bike the way the 950 does, but it still provides all the fun sensations the bigger Hypermotards have always delivered. With the advanced electronics designed to bring out the inner idiot in you, one could even argue the little Hyper delivers more of the fun sensations than its bigger brother – you’ll just have to figure out how best to use those electronics first.

Speaking of gripes, I could see the suspension being one – sorta. For the target audience of young road riders, the stock components are probably fine, and the short range of adjustments will be better for them to learn on. However, there will be a subset of people who will inevitably want to take the Hyper to the track and play. These folks could run into the limits of the stock suspension very quickly, especially if they’re on either side of weight extremes. The dampers were nearly closed off just with me riding it. If you’re really light or really heavy, there won’t be a suitable setting for you. Then again, if serious track riding on a Hypermotard is on your mind, then you’ve likely already looked into suspension upgrades.

As far as engines go, Ducati nailed it on the first try with the Superquadro Mono. Granted, much of the development work already went into the original Superquadro V-Twin, but a new engine is a new engine, and this one packs quite a punch for its class with extremely broad, usable power, delivered smoothly with clean fuel delivery, too. Not bad for a bike with only one fuel injector.

I want the Hypermotard 698 Mono to succeed. If it brings in new riders, whether from other brands or those who’ve never ridden before, then the sport wins. But I wonder how it will perform in the US market. I see it performing much better on European roads that are smaller and with shorter distances between commutes for young people (an A2 version is also available, btw). But in the US, where riders are in the saddle for longer periods of time just to get to the fun roads, I don’t know if it’ll strike the same chord.

First there’s the Hypermotard. Could a Supermono be next? One can only hope.

This leads to the question: What’s Ducati going to put this engine into next? There are a ton of possibilities, but I’d be disappointed if Claudio Domenicali – current Ducati CEO and formerly one of the architects of the original modern Ducati Single in 1993 – doesn’t green light a return of a street-legal Supermono. It just makes too much sense.

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Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at Motorcycle.com in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

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5 of 20 comments
  • BTRDAYZ BTRDAYZ on Feb 21, 2024

    Cafe Racer, please! Named after the engine:

    The Ducati SuperMono! Bring back some visible red frame tubing. Small bikini fairing. Clips on, but comfortably placed. Nice round TFT dash. Maybe a single-sided swingarm too? Adjustable shocks? $10,000? Please?

  • Abhi Abhi on Feb 23, 2024

    Troy - can you explain why Ducati calls this a Hypermotard 698 if it actually displaces 659cc? Thanks!