If you’re buying a Hyperstrada 821, then either a) ensure that these Ducati Hyperstrada 821 mods have been done, or b) absolutely plan on them to happen.
I bought a second-hand Ducati Hyperstrada 821 early in 2020 from a dealer in Brisbane. I since sold it when I realised my 1098S was the only bike I ride.
I was excited to get a motorcycle that was relatively cheap and yet came with an 821cc Testastretta engine and a full electronics package, including traction control and programmable ride modes. On top of which it was good for blasting around, and could do highway time. What a steal!
Unfortunately, I realised that the Hyperstrada 821 (in base form) is really just a work-in-progress motorcycle. It has a few things that have to be done to make it properly rideable.
Without these modifications, out of the factory, the Hyperstrada (or Hypermotard) 821 is just bad to ride. Or worst case — you might have to get towed home.
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Ducati Hyperstrada 821 Mods — In a nutshell
If you’re considering buying a Hyperstrada 821 (or Hypermotard 821) and want to know what to check on a Hyperstrada — check that these modifications have been done. They’re essential. Otherwise, plan on doing them yourself.
In this guide… the things you have to modify on any Hyperstrada/Hypermotard 821:
- Add a fuel controller: Early Hyperstradas and Hypermotards with the 821 motor have bad low-RPM fuelling that results in surging and harsh engine braking when you have the throttle closed or near-closed
- Add an anti-judder clutch kit: The 2013-14 Hyperstrada and Hypermotard has a jerky clutch that either makes you bunny-hop, wheelie, or stall unless you launch really slowly (and who wants to launch slowly??)
- Replace the starter motor: The 2013-14 Hyperstrada and Hypermotard has a weak starter motor that’s prone to fail — it needs to be replaced
- Get the CAN-BUS recall done: This is a recall that hasn’t been done to all Hyperstradas and Hypermotards. Without it, spikes from your coils will eventually fry your ECU.
- Suspension (not as critical) — The Hyper has mushy and non-adjustable forks.
Try to buy a Hyperstrada 821 (or Hypermotard 821) that has already had these modifications made. Otherwise — budget to get them done yourself.
Not all these mods are applicable to every year of Hyperstrada or Hypermotard. Check below for details.
Note: Some of the links here earn me a very small sales commission from eBay or Amazon. It pays for me to write each article, which currently takes me wayyy too long.
Add a fuel controller
Symptom: Many Hypermotards/Hyperstradas suffer from poor fuelling in the low RPM range.
This often feels like “surging” when the throttle is near closed, or a very “on/off”-type throttle.
When you’re riding at low RPM in constant throttle, the bike will lurge forwards and then go slower, repeatedly. It’s very unsettling. Riders will say things like “these bikes don’t like low RPM” — and that’s true, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Everything in the engine is fine with low RPM except for the fuel map.
Cause: Tightening emissions regulations mean that many modern fuel-injection systems always err on the side of keeping emissions low. This means they’re pretty aggressive in switching to closed-circuit mode, feeding off the o2 sensors rather than running wild with a fuel map.
Sometimes, like with the 821 Hyperstrada and Hypermotard, the switch to closed-circuit mode is too aggressive, and it results in a bike that’s unpleasant to ride.
See my article on how closed and open loop fuel injection works.
Solution: Add a fuel controller so you can remap the fuelling.
Adding a fuel controller is one of the easiest and cheapest Ducati Hyperstrada 821 mods. So, get to it!
There are many places you can turn to for a fuel controller. Common options with the Hypermotard/Hyperstrada for better fuelling are
- Dynojet Power Commander — usually about US$3-500
- Rapid Bike Evo — an alternative full-system fuel-controller that’s quite popular
- Rapid Bike Easy — This is what I installed with mine (it’s the cheapest and easiest to install). It mostly takes care of surging without allowing you to create a full map
- BoosterPlug — this is the most basic kind of controller to eliminate surging. You can’t adjust them, and they definitely cost you extra fuel (about 10%). They’re cheap, though.
Add a clutch anti-judder kit (or replace the whole clutch pack)
Symptom: You struggle to launch the Hypermotard/Hyperstrada without stalling it, bunny-hopping, or outright wheelie-ing.
Again, not all Hypers had this. But it was really common on 2013-2014 Hyperstradas and Hypermotards — google it.
An anti-judder kit contains just one replacement pair of plates for the clutch pack, and an “anti-judder” spring (looks like a big washer) that goes inside them.
The anti-judder spring smooths engagement and makes your motorcycle very enjoyable to ride.
The anti-judder spring should be one of the first Ducati Hyperstrada 821 mods you make. I only mention it second because it’s also a lot harder than a fuel controller to do.
Once I had mine installed, launching became a breeze. It was like a normal motorcycle!!
My own Hyperstrada already had an Adige clutch pack in there, but no anti-judder springs. So I bought a kit online and installed it. See here for where to get them online, and how to install them — pretty comprehensive instructions.
The kit itself isn’t expensive, but also bank on 2 hours of mechanic time, or 2 days of your own time, in my case.
Replace the starter motor before it fails
Symptom: Your starter motor is on its way out when you notice the starter motor cranks slowwwwwly. Ca-junk. Ca-junk. Cajunk. Then it suddenly springs to life, and you’re a bit surprised every time. You think you might just have a flat battery.
This doesn’t happen to all bikes, but it happens to a lot — see this thread on Hyperstrada.com.
Cause: The standard starter motor pre-2015 Ducati Hypermotard/Hyperstrada is weak. Not only that, it will fail, and when it does it might take out your starter solenoid, the battery, and not even let you push-start (this is what happened to me).
Note: Your mechanic might think your battery is flat. They might also tell you not to use high-octane fuel. Both these are wrong. Again, this happened to me.
This is one of those Ducati Hyperstrada 821 mods you might gloss over because yours hasn’t failed yet. Mine failing was super annoying, though.
Solution: Replace that terrible starter motor!
There are two options for starter motors that you can buy online:
- The Arrowhead starter motor — about $250 on eBay. These are aftermarket, but much more reliable — Ducati mechanics I know say they’ve installed them on lots of Ducatis and they last ages.
- The Denso starter motor — this is the starter motor installed on later Ducati motorcycles. You might get one from a local swap meet, or you can buy one online as well. They’re super expensive new.
Installing the starter motor is of similar difficulty to the clutch pack… but unfortunately, it’s on the other side of the engine! I had hoped to do them at the same time, but the mechanic said “sorry, no go”.
I asked the mechanic to do this one. Took 2.5 hours labour.
Get the CAN-Bus recall done
Symptom: Hyperstradas are known for eventually having failing electrical systems. The entire ECU fries. Your bike won’t start.
Cause: Voltage spikes from the coils destroy the ECU.
Solution: You need to get a certain recall done to ensure that the voltage spikes do not occur.
The recall involves sticking filters in line with the bus lines to ensure spikes don’t reach the ECU
The bulletin is SRV-TSB-16-006 — take this to your nearest Ducati dealer, ask if it has been done.
You can also check if the filters have been installed on your motorbike by removing the headlight.
Upgrade the front forks (non-SP models)
Symptom: Squishy forks. Sometimes even harsh forks. When you brake, it dives in. When you go fast through corners, it feels uncertain.
Cause: Squishy (or harsh) forks. Unless you have a Hypermotard SP with adjustable forks… you don’t have adjustable forks.
Solution: Upgrade your forks with Andreani cartridges… or just change the oil.
Some people have success with simpler mods, like 5wt oil and taking some length off the spring spacers. (People don’t change fork oil.)
If you’re looking for Ducati Hyperstrada 821 mods that you can do easily, then changing the oil is a great start!
But for a big upgrade (as well as a big expense… think US$700 installed), get a set of Andreani cartridges.
Note, you don’t have to do this mod. The motorcycle is rideable without it. But if you’re really committed to the 821, it’s a marked upgrade.
Here’s what people say about the Andreani cartridges:
“Cost a bit over A$1,000 in parts and labour overall, and had to be done by a specialist, but rides much nicer now. No more brake diving and much better feeling through corners.” — a friend Matthias in Australia (author of mattdownunder.com)
“… a crazy better ride that you can adjust to meet your needs. Even without properly tuning the adjustments, you can tell right away that the stock forks were terrible! Do the upgrade — it’s totally worth the money!” — HyperDog on Ducati.ms (I edited slightly for clarity)
There are other less quotable comments around. It’s clear that a suspension upgrade is worth it if you’re keeping the bike for life.