There are many good motorcycles but only a few of them go on to become iconic. The first Ducati Monster came out in 1993 and took the world by storm with its street-naked styling. Currently, in its third generation, the Monster is available with two engine options – 1198 cc and 821 cc.
We tested the Monster 821 as it is priced more competitively of the two being the smaller motorcycle at Rs 10.25 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Does it deliver on the hype? Let’s find out.
It has all the signature Monster elements to it like the large muscular 17-litre fuel tank, the Trellis frame, minimal styling and that gorgeous stance.
The stance looks sporty thanks to the large Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres and the muscular rear end. The instrument cluster is an LCD unit and displays almost everything that you might need to know. Although it misses out on a fuel gauge, gear indicator and gear shift indicator. Luckily, the bike has a low-oil indicator which lights up when there's around 30-40 kilometres of range left, depending on how you ride it.
The front headlamps look neat and the sound from the exhausts will definitely bring a smile to your face whenever you crack the throttle open. That’s not it, as when you downshift and are riding the bike at low RPMs, the exhaust note has enough pops and crackles to give an inferiority complex to cruisers.
Ducati has fitted the Monster with the Ducati Safety pack, which means that the bike gets ABS as standard along with traction control.
The 821 cc Testastretta L-Twin engine delivers 112 horsepower and 89.4 Nm of torque, and comes connected to a slick 6-speed transmission. Interestingly, the engine delivers over 85% of power at as low as 5500 RPM. The bike also has the Ride-by-Wire system and a slipper clutch, which in simple words, means that the bike goes like its name.
It has three riding modes too – Sport, Touring and Urban. In Sport, you have all the 112 fire-breathing adrenaline-filled Ducati horses at your service for the quick sprints, whereas, in Urban mode, power output is reduced to 85 horsepower for easy city riding. The Touring mode does provide full power output but reduces throttle sensitivity for comfortable riding on highways. When it comes to stopping, the radially-mounted Brembo Monobloc brakes do an excellent job.
The Chassis is absolutely wonderful and the bike feels as if you are riding a 600 cc middleweight sports tourer as it is agile and nimble. Being a street-naked, the ergonomics are also relatively more comfortable than an all-out sportbike. Although, riding for long durations might put some strain on your wrists.
What impressed us the most was the bike’s accessibility and practicality. When asked, Ducati said the service intervals for the Monster 821 is every 12,000 kilometres and the first service is required after a 1,000 kilometres or six months. The seat height is adjustable by 25 mm as standard and even lower and higher seats are available as accessories so that riders can have the seat according to their height and can plant both their feet on the ground comfortably.
There’s a seat for a pillion rider too which can be accessed by removing the seat cowl.
What’s Not So Cool?
The suspension setup is fairly good for all types of roads although the front ones are not adjustable. Given how the bike feels to ride and sounds, chances are that you might be revving it to the moon, but you won’t be able to do it for long as the vibrations on the handlebar do get quite strong at higher RPMs. Keep it in the reasonable rev band and vibrations won’t be a problem.
The bike’s biggest competitor would be the Kawasaki Z800 which is also a very popular offering in the 800 cc street-naked motorcycle segment and is priced lower than the Monster, but then it won’t be giving you the ‘Ducatisti’ tag and a lot of opportunities to make ‘Monster’ puns.
There’s another variant available called the ‘Monster 821 Dark’ which sports an all-black paint scheme and misses out on the seat cowl. It is priced at Rs 9.75 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Yes, the bike is a little bit expensive but it is a proper Italian icon and is packed with all the goodies that will make you smile and enjoy the pure riding experience that comes along with it and at the end of the day, it is a complete motorcycle in every single sense and gives testimony to the cult that started way back in 1993.