In a surprising turn of events, Ducati, despite previous statements, appears poised to unveil its smallest motorcycle in the last five years, challenging KTM's popular 690 SMC R in the process. This single-cylinder Hypermotard, recently spotted during testing in Italy, aims to establish itself as the company's small supermoto contender. Let's delve into the details.
Ducati's Hypermotard 659 to Feature an All-New Engine
While the current Hypermotard lineup utilizes Ducati's renowned 937cc twin-cylinder engine, generating 114 horsepower and 71 pound-feet of torque, the latest spy shots reveal a significant departure. The upcoming Hypermotard showcases a distinct engine design with a smaller, more compact configuration. Notably, it lacks a secondary cooler, indicating a considerably smaller engine.
Fortunately, details from certification documents in the United States shed light on this new powerplant. The Hypermotard 659 will boast a 659 cubic centimeter single-cylinder engine with a four-valve setup, liquid cooling, and an expected power output ranging between 75 and 80 horsepower. This output sets it apart from its 937cc sibling and positions it as a potent competitor against the 73-HP KTM 690 SMC R.
A Fresh Swingarm and Subframe for the Hypermotard 659
The spy shots also reveal significant changes in the 659's chassis. The most noticeable difference is the adoption of a conventional double-sided swingarm, departing from the 950's single-sided unit. Additionally, a new aluminum subframe replaces the 950's steel trellis subframe, indicating a comprehensive redesign beyond the engine.
Suspension-wise, the motorcycle features USD forks and a likely fully adjustable Ohlins monoshock with distinctive yellow accents. Notably, the Hypermotard 659 employs single-disc brakes at both ends, a departure from modern Ducati standards. However, it retains the characteristic 17-inch wheels, Pirelli Rosso tires, and Brembo calipers.
Design Elements Inspired by the Hypermotard 950
The Hypermotard 659 maintains the iconic design elements of the Hypermotard lineup. This includes the distinctive front beak, a compact LED headlight, a slender fuel tank, and handguards. Notably, the 659 sports twin under-seat exhausts, a unique feature among single-cylinder motorcycles. Changes include a slimmer front beak and integrated turn signals on the body, departing from the 950's handguard-mounted signals. Expect new color options, likely with Ducati's signature red.
Furthermore, the Hypermotard 659 is likely to offer a range of features, including a TFT instrument cluster, standard across Ducati models, and a suite of rider aids such as traction control, anti-wheelie, switchable ABS, quickshifter, and ride modes. This tech package positions it favorably against the KTM 690 SMC R, which lacks a TFT display.
Anticipated Release Date
Ducati typically unveils its new motorcycles as part of its world premier series. While the exact launch date remains unconfirmed, the Hypermotard 659 is expected to debut in the fifth episode of the series on November 2, 2023. With an estimated price point near $13,000, it aims to compete directly with the KTM 690 SMC R, making the small supermoto segment more exciting than ever.