The Monster has been Ducati's most successful bike and is one of the most instantly recognisable motorcycles in the world. At the pre-EICMA Ducati World Premier conference at Milan, the company took the wraps off two new Monsters for 2017. While one of the bikes is a fairly comprehensive update, the other is an all-new machine.
Monster 1200 and 1200S
For 2017, Ducati updated the design of its big Monster, the 1200, to make it feel more compact than before. It's shorter in overall length by about 20mm as compared to the outgoing model, and it also gets a slimmer fuel tank that is lesser by 1 litre. Even the passenger seat and rear have been slimmed down to make this brute feel more manageable. And to improve the bikes flickability, the wheelbase has been shortened by 26mm. In terms of design, there's a new headlight and an updated TFT display that now gets a gear indicator and fuel gauge. One big complaint from the previous Monsters has been addressed by mounting the passenger foot pegs on a separate bracket, so as not to interfere with the rider's feet. And the seat itself is adjustable from a height of 795mm to 820mm.
Powering this bike is the latest evolution of Ducati's 1,200cc Testastretta 11-degree V-twin motor that now makes 150hp of peak power – that's about 15hp more than the previous Monster 1200 and 5hp more than the outgoing Monster 1200S. Even torque is now up by 8.8Nm, peaking at a maximum of 126.2Nm. But in order to improve rideability, there's more than 98Nm of torque available between 3,000 and 10,000rpm. Unlike the previous generation of this bike, there is no engine spec difference between the standard 1200 and 1200S anymore, which Ducati is choosing to differentiate between the two with upgraded suspension components for the S.
Speaking of suspension, the S model gets fully adjustable Ohlins 48mm upside down forks up front (over the standard bikes 43mm Kayaba forks) as well as a fully adjustable Ohlins monoshock at the back (in place of the standard model's Sachs shock). It also ditches the base brakes (dual 320mm discs with Brembo M4.32 calipers) for 330mm discs with the better M50 calipers. The S also gets new wheels with 'Y'-shaped spokes and different graphics, which are 1kg lighter than the standard ones. The Monster's signature single-sided swingarm has been redesigned as well.
The electronics package has been completely overhauled and is now derived from the company's experience in the WSBK championship. The bike gets an IMU, or inertial measurement unit, which is a complex sensor that tracks the bikes attitude over various axes. Data from this sensor can be then used by the various safety aids to maintain optimal levels of grip and control. Because of this, the Monster gets cornering ABS for the first time. The Ducati Quickshifter, or DQS, is now available as standard on the 1200S (optional on the standard 1200) and can provide fast, smooth, clutch less upshifts and downshifts. Ducati wheelie control is standard on both variants.
Since it was launched in 2008 and eventually discontinued in 2015, the Monster 696 was the entry point for many riders into the world of Ducati motorcycles. Now, however, the company has sought to replace this venerable bike with a new entry-level Monster, the 797. Ducati's CEO, Claudio Domenicali insisted that this new bike was designed as a "first Ducati" for younger riders, and yet is unmistakably a Monster in every regard, offering a properly sporty riding experience.
Under the bikes distinct red steel-tubular trellis frame rests an air-cooled 803cc V-twin motor from the Scrambler that makes 75hp of peak power and 68.6Nm of peak torque. The motor sends drive to the rear wheel through a six-speed gearbox with an APTC slipper-style clutch. Ducati claims a wet weight (without fuel) of 182kg, which combined with a wheelbase measuring 1,435mm, should make this baby Monster a nifty handler. Even the 805mm seat height should be fairly comfortable for riders of various sizes. Ducati's aim with this bike was to make a Monster that wasn't too aggressive or intimidating to ride. To assist the bike's handling, it gets 43mm upside down forks up front as well as a preload and rebound adjustable monoshock at the back. The 17-inch alloy wheels are shod with Pirelli Rosso Diablo II tyres at both ends – 120/70 at the front and 180/55 at the rear. Braking duties are handled by twin 320mm discs with Brembo M4.32 monobloc calipers on the front wheel while the rear gets a single 245mm disc.
On the design front, this bike gets the same headlight and 16.5-litre fuel tank as its larger sibling. The headlight gets LED position lights and the tail-light is also equipped with LEDs. The instrument cluster is a full-LCD unit, but doesn't get the full-colour TFT treatment like the Monster 1200. However, it is compatible with the Ducati Multimedia System (DMS). For convenience sake, there is also a USB charger located under the seat. Ducati is also going to offer the Monster 797 in a "Plus" version that will get a micro windshield and a rear seat cowl.