While the presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of our legal system, guilt by association would seem a more apt assumption when caught in the company of the Ducati Hypermotard sport twin. Over the past decade Ducati's supermoto-inspired sport naked has gained the rep of being a hooligan's tool of trade. The new-for-2019 third-generation Hypermotard 950 comes rehabilitated to meet upcoming Euro 5 regulations and also delivers improved civility and versatility. It hasn't lost an ounce of wild 'n' woolly street cred in the process.

Hypermotard 950
New for 2019, the third-generation Hypermotard 950 has been refined but is still a proper hooligan.Courtesy of Ducati

Hypermotard 950

950 SP
The 2019 Ducati Hypermotard 950 SP has an MSRP of $16,695Courtesy of Ducati

Claimed curb weight is nearly 9 pounds less than its 939 predecessor, in part due to the slimmer 950 fuel tank’s reduced capacity, and summed with a host of engine, chassis, and electronic updates equates to a significant boost in overall performance. What hasn’t changed is the Hypermotard’s knack for bringing out a brand of bad behavior that warrants keeping a trial lawyer on retainer.

Fresh styling and a 9-pound weight loss combined with electronic, engine and chassis upgrades improve overall performance.Courtesy of Ducati

Ducati hosted a press test of the Hypermotard 950 and 950 SP models on Gran Canaria, a picturesque volcanic lump located among the Spanish Canary Islands off the African coast. I arrived to the popular vacation destination ill prepared, having left my shorts, flip-flops, and tan at home. Poolside leisure be damned, it’s difficult to imagine any tourist activity topping a Hyper flog of Canaria’s spectacular mountain roads. My hosts came up with one better however; hot laps of the local Circuito de Maspalomas aboard the SP model.

Hypermotard 950 SP
Cycle World sampled the Hypermotard 950 SP on Gran Canaria's Circuito de Maspalomas.Courtesy of Ducati

In typical Ducati fashion, the bike’s numeric model name doesn’t correlate with engine displacement. While utilizing the same basic 937cc Testastretta 11° twin-cylinder engine as its Hypermotard 939 predecessor, the new 950 adopts tuning refinements akin to the Ducati SuperSport. Compression ratio has been bumped from 12.6:1 to 13.3:1 along with a revised exhaust cam profile, larger 53mm throttle bodies, the new exhaust along with revised calibration, and mapping amount to smoother power delivery and a claimed 114 hp, 4 ponies more than the 939. Ducati says this tuning treatment produces 82 percent of peak torque at 3,000 rpm with no less than 88 percent available from 5,000 to 9,500 rpm.

Ducati’s Hypermotard 950
Ducati’s Hypermotard 950 now produces 114 hp, 4 more than the previous 939 model.Courtesy of Ducati

The Hypermotard 950 is also the latest beneficiary of Ducati’s EVO electronic rider aid package. Utilizing a six-axis Bosch IMU, the EVO aids feature improved traction control precision, wheelie control and cornering ABS. The IMU is also implemented in the functionality of Ducati Quick Shift EVO that’s standard equipment on the SP and available as an accessory for the Hypermotard 950.

Following the tech presentation, I leathered up for three 15-minute track sessions aboard the SP. Aside from its flashy graphics scheme, the SP’s $3,400 premium over the solid red $13,295 base model buys fully adjustable Öhlins fork and shock with track-focused calibration and longer travel said to offer a 47-degree bank angle, three degrees more than the base model. It also has Marchesini forged aluminum wheels shod with gummy Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3 radials, carbon-fiber front mud guards, carbon-fiber timing belt cover, and the quickshifter.

Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa Sp V3 tires
Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa Sp V3 tires and Marchesini forged wheels are standard on the Hypermotard 950 SP.Courtesy of Ducati

At 5-foot-10 with a 32-inch inseam, I found the SP’s 35-inch saddle height (0.8 inch taller than the standard 950) had me on the tips of my toes with both feet down. Shifting a butt cheek to the side allowed a firm single foot stance at stops. A Brembo radial pump master cylinder has replaced the 939’s cable actuator and delivers predictable, light-effort engagement of the servo-assist slipper clutch. Once underway the DQS produces slick clutchless upshifts and smooth auto-blip downshift action, both while cruising at a sighting lap pace and better still once on full boil.

The new TFT instrument display (patterned after the Panigale V4 dash) has an analog-style tachometer encircling a gear position indicator. Tachometer color changes as revs sweep past 6,000 rpm and flashes when approaching the 10,500-rpm rev limit. A redundant red shift light located top center brackets a yellow traction/wheelie control intervention indicator light. There’s zero harm should you miss all the signals or purposely stretch a gear out a bit long to reach the next braking zone. The Hyper has one of the softest rev limiters I can recall, feeling reminiscent of a two-stroke falling off the pipe. Heck, this artificial over-rev actually softens wheelie touchdown if you neglect to shift mid-flight.

TFT dash with an analog-style tachometer
Similar to the Panigale V4, the Hypermotard 950 features a TFT dash with an analog-style tachometer.Courtesy of Ducati

Its wide motard-style handlebar and cat-like agility made mincemeat of the track’s tightest hairpin turns and clawed through chicane sections with peg-scratching aplomb. The communicative suspension copes well with quick side-to-side flicks and its added travel instills an invincible feeling over bumps, yet provides very good hard braking support.

SP model
The SP model of the Hypermotard 950 has a 47-degree bank angle, three more than the standard model.Courtesy of Ducati

The EVO suite offers eight-level adjustment (plus off) for both traction and wheelie control and a choice of three cornering ABS settings. These parameters can each be altered while at a stop within a trio of ride modes labeled Sport, Touring, and Urban. Modes can be switched on the fly, and while the mode names reflect respective default settings, you can set each mode to Full power and Dynamic response. You can then select unique TC or WC settings in those modes, allowing rider aid changes by switching modes without coming to a stop.

ABS level 1 introduces an interesting “slide by brake” feature that allows up to 10 degrees of rear slip angle before rear brake antilock intervention. Although I imagined AI-assisted supermoto hacks made easy, putting it to practice will require a deal of practice.

2019 Hypermotard 950
The 2019 Hypermotard 950 has an MSRP of $13,295.Courtesy of Ducati

A post-lunch road ride aboard the Hypermotard 950 incorporated a mix of surface street, highway, and twisty mountain road. Much of the SP’s spirited character directly translates to the standard model. Wheelies are at the ready with a twist of throttle or clutch dip, and the Pirelli Diablo Rosso III radials deliver cat-on-carpet cornering grip. On the street you note its smooth on-throttle response and minimal vibration felt through the bars at freeway speed. The tangible difference from the SP comes from the base model’s reduced seat height and plusher-riding Marzocchi fork and Sachs shock. Working up and down the slick-shifting six-speed gearbox without DQS offers a fulfilling sense of participatory gratification and the same EVO aids and slipper clutch have your back.

Hypermotard cruising
A reduced seat height, plusher Marzocchi fork, and more complaint Sachs shock is the main differences between the standard Hyper 950 and the SP model.Courtesy of Ducati

Whichever Hypermotard 950 version you might choose to buy, the presumption of innocence is not part of the package. Sure, Ducati has improved the Hyper’s manners in a good way. Tell it to the judge.

Keep legal counsel on speed-dial
Legal counsel on speed-dial is advised for Hypermotard 950 owners.Courtesy of Ducati

Technical Specifications

PRICE: $13,295 (SP: $16,695)
ENGINE: 937cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90-deg. V-twin
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER: 114 hp @ 9,000 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE: 71 lb.-ft. @ 7,250 rpm
FRAME: Tubular-steel trellis
FRONT SUSPENSION: 45mm Marzocchi fork (SP: Öhlins), adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 6.7-in. travel (SP: 7.3 in.)
REAR SUSPENSION: Sachs monoshock adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping; 6.0-in. travel (SP: Fully adjustable Öhlins shock; 7.0-in. travel)
FRONT BRAKE: Brembo 4-piston calipers, 320mm twin discs w/ cornering ABS
REAR BRAKE: Brembo 2-piston caliper, 245mm disc w/ cornering ABS
RAKE/TRAIL: 25.0°/4.1 in.
WHEELBASE: 58.8 in. (SP: 59.0 in.)
SEAT HEIGHT: 34.2 in. (SP: 35.0 in.)
CLAIMED DRY WEIGHT: 440 lb. (SP: 436 lb.)
CONTACT: ducati.com