This spotting comes a year after Ducati filed documents with the US NHTSA for a new 659cc single-cylinder engine.
Multiple spy shots have emerged of a test mule on Italian roads that appear very similar to a single-cylinder Ducati Hypermotard. This is likely to be one of Ducati’s more affordable models once it debuts, which could happen in 2024.
- Engine likely to displace 659cc
- Upside-down fork, linked monoshock
- Could be unveiled in 2024
Up until recently, Ducati’s line-up consisted entirely of L-twin motorcycles. But with the arrival of the V4 motor in the Panigale, Streetfighter and Multistrada models, buyers have shown that they are willing to accept other engine configurations in a Ducati. The Italian brand now seems to be on path to divert in the other direction, working on a new single-cylinder engine.
Single-cylinder Ducati Hypermotard engine
It has been spotted for the very first time in a Hypermotard test mule on Italian roads, but the signs for this engine have been around for a while. Last year, Ducati filed documents with the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for an upcoming liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine displacing 659cc and featuring 4-valve architecture.
It’s very likely that this is the motor at the heart of this Hypermotard test mule. That would place this new single-cylinder Hypermotard squarely against the likes of the KTM SMC 690 SMC R. The KTM produces 75hp, and you can expect similar numbers from the Ducati as well. And while this is the only bike we know of so far to feature this engine, it’s possible that Ducati will remain true to form and use this motor as a basis for different models in the future.
Single-cylinder Ducati Hypermotard underpinnings
As for the test mule itself, we see styling that’s very reminiscent of the larger Hypermotard 950, with a sharp front beak, dirtbike-like bodywork and even a pair of large underseat exhaust cans. Holding everything together is a tubular steel frame, suspended on an upside-down fork and linked monoshock setup, with a double-sided swingarm at the rear. Like the Ducati Scrambler models, this bike features a single brake disc at both ends, hinting that it will sit at the lower end of the Ducati line-up.
That said, it’s highly unlikely that this will be a ‘budget’ motorcycle. Ducati has long maintained that it will not make budget bikes, and the exclusion of one cylinder should not imply that this will be a cheap as chips machine. We see a neat golden finish on the fork tubes and the engine covers, as well as a hydraulic clutch. There also appears to be a quickshifter present, so overall, equipment levels should be typically Ducati, which is quite high.
Single-cylinder Ducati Hypermotard: unveil, India launch
As for an official unveil, the test mule seems to be fairly close to finished, but it is more likely that a debut will happen sometime in 2024. As for an India launch, this bike will probably have a very tall seat and cost Rs 8 lakh-10 lakh – if not more – if Ducati were to bring it here. Ducati generally sells its entire international range here, but it remains to be seen if they believe that there is a market for such a bike in India.