The first Ducati Monster rolled out of Borgo Panigale in 1993—a 904 cc air-cooled motor derived from the 900SS, combined with a steel trellis frame based around the 888. The perfect package for a daily rider.
Since the M900, the Monster family has grown, and their flagship models have edged closer to the super naked class—first with the S4R, and recently with the Monster 1200. Monsters were getting more powerful, but at the same time, heavier.
For 2021 Ducati have gone back to their roots with an all-new Monster—replacing the 821 Monster in spectacular fashion. The new Monster promises to be faster and lighter, with more tech and more emphasis on fun.
There’s a lot of the original Monster’s DNA in the new design, but it’s been integrated with sharper lines, to give the new Monster a modern, minimalistic look. The side profile reveals a more aggressive ‘head down, bum up’ look, with a pointy rear seat and slightly pitched front end. Although aggressively styled, the bars have been brought closer to the rider and the foot pegs are in a more relaxed position.
Sadly there is no flamboyant single-sided swingarm (like on the Monster 1200), but rather a traditional double-sided swingarm—reminiscent of the original M900 look.
The new circular LED headlight is a nice touch, cleverly lit with an outer DRL halo (which reminds me of the MV Agusta Brutale’s light). The nasty floating indicators have been banished on the new Monster, replaced by integrated self-cancelling indicators.
Ducati have transplanted their well know Testastretta 11” 937 cc L-twin, similar to that found in their Supersport and Hypermotard, into the new Monster. That gives you 111 hp at 9 250 rpm, with maximum torque of 95 Nm delivered at just 6 500 rpm. It’s an increase in power, torque and ride-ability, and a 2.4 kg decrease in weight. Ducati have also thrown in an up and down quick shifter as standard equipment, and reliability and running costs also look good; oil services at every 15 000 km and valve inspections at every 30 000 km.
The biggest change for the Monster is the new Panigale-esque aluminium front frame. Purists might miss the traditional trellis frame, but this new design has given the bike a sleeker look, and has decreased weight by 4.5 kg compared to the Monster 821.
The new Monster is all about weight saving and Ducati have saved 18 kg’s in total over the 821: the rims lost 1.7 kg, swingarm 1.6 kg, rear subframe 1.9 kg and the rest of the bike has gone on a diet thanks to GFRP (Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer) technology. The M900 weighs a svelte 166 kg dry—making it one of the lightest in its class.
Cornering ABS, along with dual Brembo monobloc four-piston front brake callipers and sintered brake pads assure maximum stopping performance. From the imagery, it seems the new Monster rolls on a set of non-adjustable 43 mm upside-down forks, plus a preload-adjustable rear shock. For all-round performance, Ducati have slapped on some Pirelli Rosso 3 tyres.
The new six-axis IMU controls the cornering ABS, lean-sensitive traction control, wheelie control, launch control and the three riding modes (Sport, Urban, Touring) which can all be controlled via a new 4.3″ TFT dash.
The M900 has a very approachable seat height of 820 mm, combined with a narrowly edged side-saddle, making it easier to get your feet to the ground. For shorter riders Ducati has two options; an accessory seat that reduces the height to 800 mm, while still maintaining good padding, or a spring kit for the suspension, which reduces the seat height to 775 mm.
The new Monster is available in three unique colours: Ducati Red, Dark Stealth with black wheels and Aviator Gray with GP Red wheels. It’s also available in a Plus version, with an aerodynamic windshield and a cover for the passenger seat as standard. And if that is not enough, Ducati has another option for the ‘Monsterista’: unique sticker kits. With all these colour variants, graphics and performance accessories, there’s endless potential for customisation.
Ducati have made a bold move by reintroducing their original Monster recipe into their latest Monster platform. Ducati are focusing on pure riding pleasure in the middleweight naked segment with the Monster, as the Streetfighter V4 grabs the baton from the 1200 Monster in the ‘super naked’ segment. Well done Ducati: I’m looking forward to riding the all-new Monster.