IMAGINE yourself driving a motorcycle on a silent sunny mountain road somewhere in Italy…….
– I’m pretty sure this imaginary motorcycle is a Ducati Monster…
IT has been the standard for “fun ” for more than two decades now, and Ducati just launched the new 1200 and 1200S version of their bestseller..!! Yes it’s bigger, more refined and increasingly electronic. But, is this the most accessible and best Monster ever..?
THE Monster family of models has lured fresh blood into Ducati dealerships. By default, Monsters have filled an entry-level role at the Bologna-based company. But over the years, even seasoned Ducatisti have embraced flagship versions of this Italian naked, recognizing it as a practical alternative to Ducati’s hard core sportbike offerings.
THE new Monster 1200, a third-generation bike, continues that tradition, especially the S model with its upgraded suspension, brakes, and electronic mapping that unleashes 10 additional peak horsepower. Both new Monsters, though, deliver a fresh take on the model’s iconic styling while delivering a higher level of engine and chassis performance that’s complemented by a refinement that showcases Ducati’s commitment to leveraging the latest technologies.
AT the heart of the new model is the same liquid-cooled 1198cc Testastretta 11-degree dual-spark V-twin used in the current Multistrada. The engine’s 11 degrees of valve overlap (some 30 degrees less than is found in the 1198 superbike from which it’s derived) is key to its street-centric state of tune, which offers much greater low-to-midrange torque and smoother, more linear delivery. The new Monster takes this even a step further via smaller 53mm round throttle bodies and a higher 12.5:1 compression ratio (compared with the Multistrada’s 56mm oval throttle bodies and 11.5:1). Peak output, a claimed 145 hp, is traded for a substantial gain in torque between 5,000 and 7,000 rpm.
THE Monster is physically larger and roomier, allowing you to immediately settle in. The taper-type aluminum handlebar, with a more natural bend, sits 40mm higher and 40mm closer to the rider, further improves comfort. A nicely contoured seat with deep padding (3.1 inches at its thickest point) offers a choice of two height positions that vary by nearly an inch. The view from the Monster’s saddle is predominantly road, barely obstructed by a compact instrument pod featuring a Thin Film Transfer (TFT) color display. Besides sequential shift lights and the usual array of indicator and warning lights, the dash offers three distinct display layouts that present information tailored for each of the bike’s three riding modes: Sport, Touring, and Urban. Sport, for example, features a Panigale-inspired tachometer display while Urban has a larger, more prominent digital speedometer. An option in the setup menu allows the rider to choose a preferred layout to be used globally across the riding modes.
THE engine has linear power delivery, low vibration levels and a feeling of refinement. Engine surge and excessive drivetrain lash are evident only if you hunt for it, by, say, keeping it under 2,500 rpm in top gear. But that’s not a problem because 3,500 rpm nets an indicated 60 mph in sixth gear. You can toggled among modes on the fly several times during your ride, probably finding each mode useful in its own way. Urban mode provides the softest ride-by-wire throttle response and restricts peak power to 100 hp, presumably for safety in the rain or ultra smooth two-up riding. Touring mode offers medium throttle response and unleashes the full claimed 145 hp, while Sport mode further quickens response. Each mode also stores Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and ABS settings. The levels of intervention go down as you step up through the modes.
THE S model’s top-grade 48mm Öhlins fork and shock delivers a ride on the firm side of comfortable. What’s more, with a stubby trellis frame mounted Panigale-style to the cylinder heads and the engine serving as a stressed member. The brakes, snatched from the Panigale parts bin, offer plenty of stopping power, thanks to Brembo Monobloc M50 4-piston front calipers pinching 330mm semi-floating discs. Ducati says the new Monster S, with its 59.5-inch wheelbase and no-compromise brake components, stops in less distance than any other bike in its entire model line.
IT’S this heightened level of performance, together with a more user-friendly nature, that makes the all-new Monster 1200 and Monster 1200 S poised to snare an even broader audience.
FOR more info visit the DUCATI website.
AND to start configurating your own Monster 1200 or Monster 1200S “click here”