By Mike Espindle
After a recent jaunt through the lush Tuscan countryside aboard Ducati’s remarkable new Hyperstrada sport/touring bike, I can truly say that I have “returned.” This new motorcycle, which brings together some of the comfort and touring aspects of its Multistrada line with the aggressive and nimble nature of its coveted supermoto Hypermotard bikes, is specifically targeted at “returners” like me: Someone who may have taken a few years off from motorcycling, and its looking for an easy-to-master, comfortable two-up tourer that doesn’t sacrifice one whit to the bold, sporty and dynamic performance that defines the Italian manufacturer. Maybe you are a returner, too?
Sporting a liquid-cooled 821cc V-twin engine with long-stroke specs to deliver more civilized low-rev performance, I found the response a bit torque-y out of the gate (but I am admittedly more used to vintage street bikes and cruisers). But once rolling, the Hyperstrada really had a little something for everyone. Strong mid-range performance was a perfect match for the early morning rain I encountered, and when we took the Hyperstrada out onto the sunny Tuscan highways later on, it was as smooth as silk and surprisingly comfortable for long-range, straight-road cruising. But this bike’s sweet spot is really in the curves. The quick, twisting roads outside of Montalcino and Montepulciano (where all the riders on the trip assembled in the town square and were greeted by regional mayors and city councilmen at our lunch break) revealed a nimbleness and cornering affinity that was positively addicting. Even with my protracted absence from the road, this bike drew out what mediocre skills I still possessed and made me look pretty damn good on the wiggles, I must admit. Look for more in the July-August issue of Elite Traveler, but for now, I must thank the company for re-quickening the cycling joy that has always been in my blood into a bright Ducati red.