I think it was the lacerating punk rock music I listened to growing up, or perhaps the repression and rebellion spawned from a torturous Catholic high school education.
Whatever the root cause may be, I have always had an incessant desire to feed the more menacing side of my motorcycle-psyche.
It is the little Devil floating above my throttle hand, cleverly convincing me to twist my wrist, loft up a wheelie, and carve through a slippery chicane with indecent levels of bravado.
But, love it or hate it, I cannot deny this side of my core being, nor can I deny that it just may have met its perfect companion-the Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP. The EVO SP is the top of Ducati’s three-bike Hypermotard line (the others being the standard EVO and the 796).
Compared to the plainwrap EVO, the SP enjoys more ground clearance, an Öhlins rear shock (rather than Sachs), upgraded and longer-travel 50mm Marzocchi forks, red-pinstriped Marchesini wheels, taller bars, carbon fiber bits, special graphics, and a couple fewer pounds.
Not your average hackneyed commuter ride, but masterfully crafted, the EVO SP is a purposefully built wraith of the street and track.
The anticipation of riding the new high-end Hypermotard through a menagerie of twisty mountain roads makes riding the speed limit in a straight line on the highway feel like some sort of cruel joke.
Rumbling north on the Apache Trail highway in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest, the throaty exhaust note from the optional single canister Termignoni exhaust system is a fitting soundtrack to the electrical storm flashing above Flatiron summit.
The stance of the EVO SP is designed to knife through turns with a longer Öhlins shock in the rear matched to blacked-out 50mm Marzocchis up front.
The taller shock allows the rider to easily transfer the load forward in a turn and lighten the rear, while the progressive spring rate in the forks predictably release the stored energy without upsetting the pitch of the bike.
With the extreme ease of handling on the EVO, the extra leverage provided by the wide handlebar is seldom needed. Still, three-quarter inch handlebar risers do allow for aggressive rider input and the application of downward force while turning.
There are two ways to ride the Hypermotard, but on the street I mostly stick with the traditional knee-out method rather than the track-preferred method of backing it in. Available lean angles are extreme, so the only limiting factor is your bravery.
On the road, the irrational exuberance provoked by my demons does have boundaries. Having said that, with gravel strewn throughout the winding mountain passes, sliding the Hyper EVO through the turns is a foregone conclusion, and Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires, once at temperature, inspire confidence.
The near planetary pull of the new Desmodue EVO motor is absolutely addicting, and with a peak torque of 77 ft/lbs at a mere 5750 rpm, the L-twin begs to be wheelied over every rise in the road.
The totally redesigned 1078cc power plant pumps out a full 95 horsepower (five more than the original Hypermotard 1100), and uses the lightweight flywheel from the 848 Superbike (the new motor weighs 11.5 pounds less than its predecessor).
This allows the new Hyper to be short shifted through the six-speed gearbox and dry clutch to the point where gripping the handlebars to avoid being sucked in its wake begins to take precedence.
But just as exciting as the blistering acceleration is the astonishing power and precision of the twin 1198 Superbike-sourced Brembo Monobloc calipers, which make the most extreme braking situations a one-finger experience.
They may initially be seen as overkill for the 376-pound Hypermotard SP, but, once experienced, they become essential hardware.
Taking a break at touristy Tortilla Flat-an old stagecoach stop turned cheeky tourist spot along the Apache Trail-I reluctantly dismount the bike, but quickly seize the opportunity to check the tire condition and admire the beautiful aesthetics of the new Hyper.
The cockpit is adorned with elegant-yet-utilitarian switchgear borrowed from the Streetfighter. The LCD instrument panel displays data metrics from the SP’s new Siemens ECU electronics system, and includes a lap-timer function with a press of the high-beam button, as well as a dataport for use with the Ducati Data Analyzer software.
The handlebars are bookended by composite hand guards with integrated turn signals and hatchet-head sized mirrors that can be folded in whenever the rider deems that vehicles behind him are no longer of consequence.
A shiny black carbon fiber rear hugger and matching side panels embellish the svelte steel trellis motorcycle frame, and complement the minimalist appeal of the single-sided rear swingarm.
Nearly overcome with visual infatuation, my devilish alter ego reminds me that the tires are cooling and that the true sex appeal of the Hypermotard EVO SP is manifested at speed.
Blitzing down darkened mountain passes, I cannot imagine a more fitting machine for the narrow, and now wet and sandy, tarmac. With the dirt-bike ergonomics, the EVO helps me continue to push, as it retains its composure and provides constant feedback.
I can feel the road through the grips and dirt-bike inspired pegs as I expand my personal performance horizon.
For me, the Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP is my weapon of choice for pure, unbridled, throttling with near-reckless abandon. It is absolutely purpose-built for aggressive riding on the race track, as well as the street.
And, with the race-bred braking package capable of stopping a spacecraft on atmospheric reentry, my menacing moto-psyche is content.
Motorcycle Specifications – 2010 Ducati Hypermotard EVO SP
Engine TypeL-Twin cylinder, 2 valve per cylinder Desmodromic,
air cooled.Displacement1078ccBore x Stroke98x71.5mmCompression Ratio11.3:1Power95hp (69.9kW) @ 7500rpmTorque75.9lb-ft – 10.5kgm @ 5750rpmFuel injectionSiemens electronic fuel injection, 45mm throttle
bodyExhaustLightweight 2-1-2 system with catalytic converter
with twin lambda probes.EmissionsEuro 3Transmission Gearbox6 speedRatio1=37/15
2=30/17 3=27/20 4=24/22 5=23/24
6=24/28Primary driveStraight cut gears, Ratio 1.84:1Final driveChain, Front sprocket 15, Rear sprocket 41ClutchDry multiplate with hydraulic controlChassis FrameTubular steel Trellis frameWheelbase1465mmRake24°Total steering lock70°Front suspensionMarzocchi 50mm fully adjustable usd forks with DLCFront wheel travel195mm (7.7in)Front wheel5-spoke in forged light alloy 3.50x17Front tyre120/70 ZR17Rear suspensionProgressive linkage with fully adjustable Öhlins
monoshock. Aluminium single-sided swingarmRear wheel travel141mm (5.6in)Rear wheel5-spoke forged light alloy 5,50x17Rear tyre180/55 ZR17Front brake2 x 305mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted
Brembo Monobloc callipers 4-piston, 2-pad.Rear brake245mm disc, 2-piston calliperFuel tank capacity12,4l – 3.3 gallon (US)Dry weight171kg (377lb)Seat height875mmMax height1185mmMax length2130mmInstrumentsDigital unit with displays for: Speedometer, rev
counter, lap times, time, oil temp, battery voltage, A & B trips, fuel
reserve trip, scheduled maintenance. Warning lights for: Neutral, turn
signals, high-beam, rev-limit, oil pressure, fuel reserve. Plus: Immobilizer
system and management of DDA system.Warranty2 years unlimited mileageVersionsDual seat