It’s a given the Italians have a knack for creating masterpieces. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael were all great artists, and this trait seems to have followed in the way the Italians design their ‘veicoli’ as well. Be it cars or motorcycles, they are all somehow very smart, very fast and of course, often very red as well.
Ducati, for example makes motorcycles that are the stuff of bedroom posters. Even the recently launched, manic-on-paper Monster 1200R is stunning to look at. However, today we’ve taken its younger sibling out on Indian streets to find out how it goes.
The Ducati Monster 821 looks like it was well thought-out when it was still on the drawing board. The headlamp looks good, above a short, sporty front mudguard. There’s a smart instrument cluster that means business, and displays all relevant information when riding, easy to read even under the harsh North Indian sun.
The handlebars are flat, and easy to reach. Not just flat, but reasonably broad too. You sit in a sporty, yet comfortably upright posture. At the ends, well finished switchgear and easy-to-grip palm grips are the norm.
The Monster 821 tank is large, and looks a treat, with the inimitable hunch of a Monster. The Ducati’s red trellis frame making an appearance under the tank is a nice touch. The low-set seat is comfortable too, and lets you amble around for long in traffic, with heat from the engine or exhaust pipes never a problem. The Monster 821's rear cowl is removable, and reveals a seat for the pillion. The seat height is adjustable by 20mm, accommodating changes after removing two small panels on the bike sides.
The exhaust pipes have a bronze-gold finish, and look nice and thick, to end in fused dual cans.
The Monster 821’s engine sounds angry, impatient, just waiting to be let loose after you fire it up. It’s an 821cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, L-twin powerplant, that uses Ducati trademark Desmodromic valves, actuated positively by lever arms instead of springs. Maximum power of 110.5bhp comes in at 9,250rpm, and the peak torque is 9.1kgm, available at 7,750rpm.
Torque kicks in nice and early on the Monster 821, as it pulls hard from off the starting blocks, catapulting you forward with urgency once revs climb over 5,000rpm. The powerband is nice and wide, and meaty too, allowing the Monster 821 to pull rapidly all the way up to 9,000rpm. Once the shift indicator lights up, the instrument cluster glows like a Christmas tree, urging you to up-shift. In simple terms, the Monster 821 is a proper hooligan , that loves being ridden with its throttle pinned open.
To keep the front wheel from hopping skywards accidently, the Ducati Monster 821 is equipped with riding modes, for city riding, touring and a no holds barred, Sport mode. As you cycle the modes, engine mapping stays a constant, but rider inputs at the ride-by-wire throttle are electronically regulated, as other safety aids modulate to make the 821 safer, and more exciting to pilot. Although the three modes come with factory settings for the traction control (8-stage) and ABS (3-stage) braking systems, either can be custom set to suit your individual tastes. There’s also a slipper clutch system to keep you in control when braking hard.
The Monster 821 exhaust outputs an intoxicating burble and pop audio, that you hear each time the engine revs down, making for pure L-twin music! Gears shift smoothly on the new Ducati.
I’m six-feet-nothing, and found it easy to find a comfortable riding position on the Monster 821, be this while ambling around in city traffic or when making a quick dash to high speeds on open roads. The Monster 821 seat is quite broad, and kept me comfortable even after a full day in the hot seat. The Ducati Monster 821 is happy to be flicked around. The bike feels stiffly sprung, sporty and follows rider inputs accurately, with a confidence inspiring feel.
The 43mm upside-down forks up front and a monoshock at rear work well together.
The Ducati Monster 821 gets a 120/70 x 17 tyre up front and 180/60 x 17-inch rear rubber, top-of-the-line Diablo Rosso II from Pirelli, that do a good job of keeping the powerful motorcycle glued to the ground all the time. ABS-enabled Brembo brakes bring the 821 to a stop effectively when required, with confident feel at the levers. The motorcycle gets 320mm dual disc brakes in front, with a 245mm disc at rear.
At Rs 9.81 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Monster 821 brings a fair deal to the table. The riding modes, multi-stage traction and ABS control and slipper clutch are all fast becoming more essential than luxury with today’s discerning buyers. Often in India, owning a big bike is also about the style statement you make rather than purely about your riding experience, this being where the Ducati Monster 821 offers plenty of punch, with ample show to match all its go.