First came the heart, now comes the body. Ducati debuted its new single-cylinder Superquadro Mono engine a few days ago, and here is that engine’s first application, the 2024 Hypermotard 698 Mono. Compared to the 114-horsepower L-twin in the Hypermotard 950, the 698 Mono pushes out a still-stout 77.5 horsepower. Far more important, losing a cylinder and taking other weight-saving measures drops the 698’s ready-to-ride weight from to roughly 350 pounds versus the 950’s 440 pounds. The 698’s trellis frame, for instance, is said to weigh 15.9 pounds. Bolting the most powerful single-cylinder engine in the world in a bike that’s 20% lighter will mean a far more lively riding experience — and the 950 is already lauded for its ability to thrill.
Cast aluminum, five-spoke, 17-inch wheels in Pirelli Rosso Diablo IV tires bookend the Hypermotard’s 56.8-inch wheelbase. At front, the 3.8-inch display and adjustable handlebars are bolted to a 45-mm Marzocchi adjustable fork. In back, a Sachs monoshock supports the rear over the dual-sided swingarm. Plenty of ground clearance put the thin, flat saddle a touch high at 35.6 inches, but the seat can be lowered with an optional accessory. A Brembo M4.32 caliper grabs a single-side 330-mm front rotor with aluminum flanges on the front hub, and a 245-mm rear rotor with aluminum flanges slides through a single-piston floating caliper, the setup chosen for light weight as much as performance.
Ducati’s software suite of riding aids enables a huge range of responses on road and track. The usual bits found across the Italian lineup include four riding modes, three engine power modes, launch and wheelie control, and cornering ABS. On this bike, two of the ABS modes contain a Slide-by-Brake function that can turn ABS off for the rear wheel, allowing a rider to rotate the bike through a corner sliding the rear wheel, and the extra-long first gear provides a more ideal shift point when exiting tight bends. Also at the track, and only available with the optional Termignoni exhaust, a wheelie assist mode does the opposite of the wheelie control system, adjusting torque to help a rider hold a wheelie.
The Hypermotard 698 Mono is expected in dealers next February. The base model in Ducati Red starts at $12,995, while the RVE trim in street art with a black frame, graffiti-inspired graphics, and the standard Ducati quick-shift for the six-speed gearbox starts at $14,495.
We will not be surprised to find some form of the Superquadro served in Ducati’s coming line of motocross and knobby-tire bikes. Hopefully, before that, Ducati puts this engine in a Scrambler.