The sales rep handed me the keys to a new KTM Superduke 990 with a worried look in his eyes as I politely asked him which side of the bike do I use to change gears. Itâ€™s been six weeks since my last ride and test riding two of the best hooligan bike on the planet is probably the best way to get the riding juices flowing again. Me and Bangr just hoped we wouldnâ€™t bring these two thoroughbreds back in little plastic bags with apologetic looks in our faces. We are comparing two of the baddest arsed bikes going around at the moment, the KTM Superduke 990 and the Ducati Hypermotard 1100. These are both the base model versions with KTM having and up-specced, harder core version with a capital R (Racy!!) attached to the name while Ducati choose to add a cooler S (Special!!) to their up-market version. But while only the base models, they still come dripping with quality components. Both run radial Brembo brake set-ups, while Ducati opt for Showa forks for the Motard, KTM tread their own path by choosing WP suspension similar to their dirt bike ranges. These are bikes for bearded manly men, who drink beer and like sport and you can take your retuned-for-midrange-torque-nancy-bikes out for a Chai Latteâ€¦ Both are equipped with muscular V-twin engines but Ducati and KTM take differing routes to creating these corner carving monsters. The KTM has an in-house developed all bells and whistles 75 degree, 4-valve, water-cooled V-twin called the LC-8 that originally started itâ€™s life the 950 Adventure dirt bike. The Ducati treads the well-worn Desmo track using the wonderful new dual spark 2-valve air cooled 1100 cc L-twin. Both are strong down low and have big mid-ranges, but the KTM motors spins up and down much faster than the Ducati version .The KTM feels like it has a very light flywheel and crank and this may be the cause for its very abrupt on/off fuelling at lower revs. This was frankly a pain in the arse to deal with around town. Small gentle pulls on the throttle would see the orange beastâ€™s front wheel jump towards the sky, while trying to ease off a little would get it standing on itâ€™s nose under compression braking. It needed to be ridden fast to sort it out. Out in a back country road keeping the revs above 5 thousand, there would be nothing better, but KTM really need to work on their fuelling down low and it may also be due to the need to pass Euro 3 emissions so they lean it up around 3-5 thousand revs. There is a throttle cam fix for this they can add when you purchase one but pipes and a power commander may be required for a full fix. The Ducati on the other hand is buttery smooth down low with a great mid-range. I thought I would be disappointed by the lower horsepower output of the Ducati, but that wasnâ€™t the case. The engine did exactly what you asked of it. It was wonderfully tractable yet strong. The only downfall was at high speed where the top end got a little wheezy and the rev-limiter kicks in a thousand revs too early, but this was more due to me not being used to the slower revving 2-valve motor rather than it being a weakness of any form. Short shifting is the order here, but 10 more horsepower at the top end would be just about perfect. I have been reliably informed there is some power on tap in the Ducati motor providing you spend the cash on some Termi branded unobtanium bling. The Ducati gearbox was also smoother than the KTM version, which feels notchier, but more precise. Both are also exceptional handling steeds. The KTM feels taught and muscly and really gives great feedback at to whatâ€™s happening under your wheels. The wide bars allow you to flick it into corners with ease but they do waggle in your hands when you hit some decent bumps. This is not a bad thing, but did take me a while to get used to. Also the faster you rode it, the better it seemed to handle and I really wanted to try some fast open country sweepers on it where it would really come into itâ€™s own. The feel from the front forks and brakes was second to none, and I was doing 2 finger crappy stoppies within a minute or two. The Ducati on the other hand is a somewhat different beast. You sit perched atop the fuel tank, and the longer travel suspension cause the bike to pitch fore and aft a little more than I was used to. It took me a while to wrap my head around and itâ€™s not bad, but itâ€™s very different, exciting riding experience. I ended up enjoying it as you can jump off inner city speed humps with a giggle in you helmet. You can also happily run over just about anything and the big Ducati will just wobble right on over it. Front brakes, like the KTM were also second to none, but the rear brake was just about useless. Now down to the little things. The mirrors on the Hypermotard are some of the dumbest bits of design I have ever seen. When they are folded open, the bike is around 3.5 metres wide. This disadvantage was shown to me when splitting up to the very first set of lights, Bangr clipped the mirrors of two cars simultaneously closing the Hypermotard mirrors hard against the bars. I was in hysterics but the car driver not so. The dash is all but unreadable on the KTM. It was just this spinning orange dial staring back at me urging me to try and improve on my crap wheelies. The Hypermotard also has a tiny fuel tank which only allows around 120-140 kays per tank which is actually good, because you could only take around 100 kays of riding the Hypermotard before you just had sooooo much fun that you would explode into a million hilarious pieces. Bangr could also wheelie the Hypermotard far easier and frankly, that is a major selling point to him, except the seat may need strengthening. Both have a MASSIVE range of after-market goodies available ranging from carbon fibre wheels to titanium key rings and coffee cups. Take that credit card!! I started out wanting to love the KTM for itâ€™s ugly orangeness, and hate the Ducati cause they are red and are all ridden by latte sipping wankers, but I ended up loving the Hypermotard. It is stupid bags of fun. Completely irrational and that should be the sole reason why we buy motorbikes in the first place. Long term, you would hate it having to fuel up every second service station, but all would be forgotten come the first bumpy, rutted country hairpinâ€¦ The KTM is a bike I still lust after and would be the better long term purchase, but I would recommend a test ride to anyone and maybe some work to sort the fuelling. I think I needed a weekend out on some country roads one on one, and my love for it would grow. Itâ€™s more of a slow burner that you could really develop a relationship with rather than the exotic one night-stand that makes the Ducati so much fun.