The Ducati Monster 1200S didn’t do so great against most of the other players in last year’s Super Naked Street Brawl, but mostly because two of the other four were our Motorcycle of the Year KTM Super Duke R and the BMW S1000R, which came within a whisker of overcoming the incredible SDR. The Monster suffered more in the track portion of that test than on the street, though, mainly let down by a lack of ground clearance when leaned into Chuckwalla’s endless high speed turns – a non-issue on the road. Back on the street, il Mostro was a highly pleasant thing to ride – as nearly all motorcycles are that deliver 84 pound-feet of torque. The 132 horses up top are like having your burrito wet.

Yeah, well, the Super Duke R made 96 pound-feet and 156 hp. So we decided the Monster S is less of a streetfighter and more of a hot-rod roadster, and therefore the perfect excuse for T. Roderick and yours truly to compare it to BMW’s new R1200R, an awesome do-it-all “big Twin” motorcycle we’ve been looking for an excuse to spend more time upon. All we need now is a hook to hang this thing on! A theme! How about Germany vs Italy!? Why not, since it’s the most obvious? Tubular meats vs. fine red wines! It was on like WWII, with the exception that Germany and Italy were allies in that affair, up to a point.

2015 BMW R1200R First Ride

EiC Duke tasked us with coming up with a couple of waypoints to honor the respective engineering heritages of the two storied brands without breaking the MO bank by leaving SoCal: As always, we rose to the occasion. And then some…

Storied German heritage in LA? No problem: The Weinerschnitzel on PCH in Wilmington is the very first one, dating all the way back to the mid-20th century (1961). As you can see, this one adheres to the classic Boxer engine architecture, with its drive-thru bisecting the two horizontally-opposed halves of the structure. Coincidence? There are no coincidences in Deutschland, mein Herr. Tom went with the grilled bratwurst; Evans and I with the bacon chili cheese dog. Sadly, this Oktoberfest is beer-free. Just as well, as we have a long day’s ride ahead of us...

Storied German heritage in LA? No problem: The Weinerschnitzel on PCH in Wilmington is the very first one, dating all the way back to the mid-20th century (1961). As you can see, this one adheres to the classic Boxer engine architecture, with its drive-thru bisecting the two horizontally-opposed halves of the structure. Coincidence? There are no coincidences in Deutschland, mein Herr. Tom went with the grilled bratwurst; Evans and I with the bacon chili cheese dog. Sadly, this Oktoberfest is beer-free. Just as well, as we have a long day’s ride ahead of us…

What started out as a perfectly legit excuse to go for a nice day’s ride turned into a better “comparison” than we expected, really, the Ducati Monster 1200 S proving itself quite a bit less monstrous when in more refined company. And with the the addition of BMW’s new liquid-cooled Boxer motor, the new R1200R’s sporty factor is greatly increased – the two bikes meeting somewhere in the Alps.

Other tubular-meat German heritage sites in LA include Torrance’s Alpine Village, which puts on its own Oktoberfest every year. Very authentic…

Other tubular-meat German heritage sites in LA include Torrance’s Alpine Village, which puts on its own Oktoberfest every year. Very authentic…

… or is it? Willkommen to SoCal!

… or is it? Willkommen to SoCal!

The Beatles did play a lot in Hamburg when they were getting started, so why not?

The Beatles did play a lot in Hamburg when they were getting started, so why not?

As a matter of fact, bombing around L.A., the Monster is a ridiculously sweet ride. Our “S” doesn’t have electronic suspension, but it does have fully adjustable Öhlins pieces at both ends, with nearly six inches of rear-wheel travel (5.1 in. in front). You can soften up compression and rebound out back with your hands (you need a 3mm hex to diddle the fork), and make it the plushest Monster ever. The seat is really quite cush also, the ergos not quite so upright as the BMW’s but close – and the thing makes just about enough racket to save your life without being obnoxious. Duke reckons its popping on overrun is “the most deliciously wicked cackle I’ve heard from a production exhaust.” There’s also a reasonably good passenger seat under the plastic cover. The one annoying thing about the Monster in town is its monstrous turning radius.

Thumb it over to Touring mode, and my only other complaint is that the Monster’s too powerful. What? After we’d adjusted to the Desmodromic Variable Timing in the new Multistrada we rode last month, which greatly broadens this engine’s powerband, the Monster’s 11-degree Testastretta without it suddenly feels a little peaky. The big Twin hunts and pecks a bit till the tach on the hard-to-read TFT display gets past about 3000 rpm, then takes off like Usain Bolt! Maybe I’m getting old, but it feels like the Monster wants to wheelie over backwards any time you open the throttle more than about halfway in any of the lower three gears. It’s a $16,000 motorcycle; I think it would be just as swell with about $12k worth of power.

093015-Culture Clash-BMW-R1200R-Ducati-Monster-1200S-1782

Really, the Monster just wants to be off its leash. “The Duc incessantly pleads to be wrung out. Switching the engine mode from Sport to Touring helps, but the Monster still compels you to ride faster,” says TR. Luckily, the rest of the bike is up for it, with that excellent suspension, quickish reflexes and state-of-the-art brakes with ABS, of course.

Meanwhile, the BMW is right on the Monster’s tail. It’s nowhere near matching the Monster’s peak horsepower, but it more than matches both its hp and torque below 6000 rpm – which happily happens to be where big-inch tachometer needles live most of their lives on the street (not that either bike has one). The BMW spots the Ducati a 61-pound weight advantage, but doesn’t seem to suffer from it thanks to its really impressive lunge: While the Monster’s spritzing its vocal cords and clearing its 53mm throats at 3000 rpm, the BMW’s been making over 60 pound-feet of torque since 2000 rpm.

093015-Culture Clash-BMW-R1200R-Ducati-Monster-1200S-8923

It’s a linear, flat, easily-modulated plateau of torque, too, made all the more useable safe in the knowledge that the R’s traction control is on the job exiting greasy drive-thrus and intersections. Simply thwap it open; the big BMW’s phwooOOART! is almost as much fun as the Ducati’s higher-pitched snarl.

There’s really not much in it at all up till past 7000 rpm. On a racetrack, the Ducati might make short work of the BMW (both have plenty of ground clearance for road use). On the street, it’s usually neck and neck.

There’s really not much in it at all up till past 7000 rpm. On a racetrack, the Ducati might make short work of the BMW (both have plenty of ground clearance for road use). On the street, it’s usually neck and neck.

But enough of this gritty industrial overpopulated seaport angst-ridden sausage-fest already! I think the real reason we brought the Ducati out was because we’ve been looking for a reason to visit Doffo Winery, over the coastal mountains down south of L.A. in Temecula, California. And never mind Marcelo Doffo is Argentinian. His people were from Italy, and his son Damian, who mostly runs the place now, is a big motorhead who races a KTM RC 390 Cup with AHRMA.

I’d dialed out most of the compression and rebound damping from the Duc’s shock, and it handled the 30-mile stretch of I-5 in complete comfort, the 80-mph breeze spilling unmolested over its nose perfect for relieving the small amount of pressure it puts on the wrists, the big V-Twin loping perfectly smoothly along at 5000-or-so rpm, God bless the 90-degree Twin. Quite rakish.

Riding positions on both bikes are ideal for urban use (TR on the BMW is a few inches longer than me), and nearly interchangeable; the BMW is a tiny bit more upright with a bit more legroom, and serves up 5.5 inches of delicious ESA-controlled compliance at each end, nearly on par with the Ducati’s Öhlins pieces. Wheelbases are nearly identical; the BMW steers a smidge slower, with 4.9-in. trail to the Monster’s 3.7 inches – all BMW’s boxers characterized by train-like stability. Part of the BMW’s extra weight is centerstand and luggage mounts.

Riding positions on both bikes are ideal for urban use (TR on the BMW is a few inches longer than me), and nearly interchangeable; the BMW is a tiny bit more upright with a bit more legroom, and serves up 5.5 inches of delicious ESA-controlled compliance at each end, nearly on par with the Ducati’s Öhlins pieces. Wheelbases are nearly identical; the BMW steers a smidge slower, with 4.9-in. trail to the Monster’s 3.7 inches – all BMW’s boxers characterized by train-like stability. Part of the BMW’s extra weight is centerstand and luggage mounts.

Right alongside it, the R1200R rider is experiencing the same crisp climate-change fall day in the 90s as he swoops effortlessly along. Thumb ESA from Dynamic to Road (there’s no Touring), turn on the cruise control and set it easily with your left thumb, and it’s hard to see how life could get much better if you’re a person who likes to ride smooth, comfortable, powerful motorcycles. Our optional Touring Screen is a bit tall for my liking, but BMW offers a shorter Sport one too: also same-key saddlebags and a top box, four different seats, a GPS with optional Garmin Smartphone Link for congestion information in real time, up-to-the-minute weather forecasts, etc., etc. With our test unit’s Comfort Package (heated grips, chrome exhaust pipe and tire pressure monitors) and Touring Package (electronic suspension, cruise control, centerstand, luggage mounts, etc.), along with the keyless ride fob, and Gear Shift Assistant Pro, you’re looking at $17,490 – about $1500 more than the Ducati. If you have to ask…

You’re also looking at a bike you could actually set out for Kathmandu upon (after you pay another however many hundreds for the bags), a thing few would want to do on the Monster.

093015-Culture Clash-BMW-R1200R-Ducati-Monster-1200S-1898

If we’d remembered to stop and stiffen up the Monster’s shock before hopping on the mountain road over to Temecula it would’ve been a little tail-up happier, but it’s still an excellent thing to ride on the fast, flowing Ortega Highway on a light-traffic morning. You’re pulled a bit lower over its front wheel than on the BMW. The faster the curves become, the more you can feel its weight advantage over the Beemer, and the more it feels like it might steer a little more accurately with a 180-series tire on back, like the BMW has, instead of the 190mm wide Pirelli Diablo Rosso II Ducati gives it.

On the BMW, there’s no need to stop for anything: Swap Road for Dynamic damping on the fly and again, the Ducati’s not getting away. If anything, the BMW feels a little more planted and accurate in the corners on its Metzelers, with the calming influence of that big longitudinal crankshaft keeping its hand on the rudder. It’s an easy bike to ride quickly.

093015-Culture Clash-BMW-R1200R-Ducati-Monster-1200S-9026

Ducati Monster 1200S
+ Highs

  • La Scala on Pirellis
  • Who knew a Monster would ever be this comfy?
  • Easy to change coolant hoses since they hang out all over the place
– Sighs

  • TFT display is invisible half the time when the sun’s out
  • A bit lacking in creature comforts for $16k
  • Not nearly as docile as the BMW in town

Out there at Doffo in the wine country, what can we tell you? The living is easy. Actually we’re told winemaking is a hard, agricultural business, but given the setting – grapevines as far as the eye can see and tons of elbow room for all, great roads all over and not so many people or cars – it’s hard to believe life could be anything but a breeze. It could be Tuscany (not that I’ve ever been). With a little room to spread out, plenty of nice covered parking, great curvy roads right outside your door and yes, the need to perform a little self-promotion – we’re in Monster country. So what if Ducati doesn’t offer luggage for it or cruise control? Take the pickup to town if you need something that won’t fit in your Gucci backpack.

When I told Damian Doffo I liked the BMW better because you could ride it to San Francisco, he said, “But why would you?” Good point. The winemaker’s current ride is a KTM RC390 Cup.

When I told Damian Doffo I liked the BMW better because you could ride it to San Francisco, he said, “But why would you?” Good point. The winemaker’s current ride is a KTM RC390 Cup.

BMW R1200R
+ Highs

  • ESA is wunderbar
  • Truly a Standard to do everything including cross-country
  • Do all maintenance your damn self
– Sighs

  • Numbers on the LCD panel are too tight-packed, hard to read
  • Doesn’t make you suffer at all, no possibility for atonement
  • Could be the last bike you’ll ever buy

Luckily, we don’t know much about wine other than we like it. Sadly, since we were riding and working, we barely got the chance to taste anything and had to spit when we did… but we were impressed. Try the Mistura, Doffo’s own excellent red blend, if you make it out that way. Which you should. Temecula’s turning into its own little Napa Valley. Damian pointed us to a couple of excellent roads we’d never heard of just a few miles away. And so we rode…

When push really does come to shove, you probably want the lighter, more powerful Ducati. I’d take this one over a Panigale any day. You?

When push really does come to shove, you probably want the lighter, more powerful Ducati. I’d take this one over a Panigale any day. You?

But even on the tight, twisty little backroads Damian Doffo pointed us to, the stoic German bike still seemed to have no problem keeping right up with the extroverted Italian one – the Ducati might gap the BMW a tad if there’s a straight, but the BMW’s excellent balance lets it close back up on the brakes, and its superior low-rpm torque has it right up the Duc’s tailpipe after the next corner. You’d have to ride faster than TR and myself on the street to exploit the Ducati’s horsepower advantage, and that would be unadvisable.

At the end of the day and the bottom of the famed MO ScoreCard, there’s almost nothing in it. The Monster wins on the strength of its Objective Score, since it’s a bit cheaper than the BMW, lighter and more powerful. Our ScoreCard, however, doesn’t account for the fact that the BMW’s greater weight and price consists of more stuff, including electronic suspension, cruise control, centerstand, autoshifter, mounts already in place for luggage…

093015-Culture Clash-BMW-R1200R-Ducati-Monster-1200S-1940

Subjectively, Tom picked the Monster because he’s younger, easily impressionable, attracted to shiny objects and needs to keep hot-mama Maria amused. As for me, I’m older, more practical, may never again see a female interior, and therefore am all over the Boxer. One word: cruisecontrol. Okay, two: Heated grips. TR even agrees with me: “With a more comfortable seating position, nicely padded seat and cruise control the BMW is the better all-around motorcycle. Outfitted with shaft drive and a centerstand it’s also the more practical choice.”

Once again it all makes perfect sense: If you’re a bucks-up swarthy sort based in Paradise with progeny on your mind and another more practical bike or twenty in the warehouse, you need a Monster to maintain discipline. If you’re the more practical, pale, pasty and balding type, concerned with keeping your bloodline pure and trying to be motogamous (new word!), the R1200R is one amazing do-it-all machine.

Pommes frites may be a French word, but fried potatoes are all German far as I’m concerned. Spuntino’s in Temecula puts them on pizza, Germany and Italy bury the hatchet and everybody lives happily ever after.

Pommes frites may be a French word, but fried potatoes are all German far as I’m concerned. Spuntino’s in Temecula puts them on pizza, Germany and Italy bury the hatchet and everybody lives happily ever after.

Kulture Klash Shootout Scorecard
Category BMW R1200R Ducati Monster 1200S
Price 91.9% 100%
Weight 88.5% 100%
lb/hp 70% 100%
lb/lb-ft 85.1% 100%
Total Objective Scores 90.7% 100%
Engine 91.9% 91.9%
Transmission/Clutch 93.8% 90.0%
Handling 87.5% 91.3%
Brakes 83.8% 85.0%
Suspension 92.5% 88.8%
Technologies 92.5% 81.3%
Instruments 75.0% 81.3%
Ergonomics/Comfort 88.8% 83.8%
Quality, Fit & Finish 90.0% 90.0%
Cool Factor 82.5% 91.3%
Grin Factor 87.5% 93.8%
Burns’ Subjective Scores 90.0% 88.3%
Roderick’s Subjective Scores 86.3% 88.3%
Overall Score 87.7% 90.7%
Kulture Klash Shootout Spec Sheet
BMW R1200 R Ducati Monster 1200S
MSRP $13,950 base; $17,490 as tested $15,995
Engine Type Air/liquid-cooled four-stroke boxer-twin, double overhead camshafts, one balance shaft Liquid-cooled Testastretta 11° L-Twin, double-overhead camshafts; desmodromic
Engine Displacement 1,170cc 1198cc
Bore x Stroke 101.0 x 73.0mm 106.0 x 67.9mm
Compression Ratio 12.5:1 12.5:1
Fuel System Electronic intake pipe injection Electronic fuel injection system, 53mm throttle bodies with full Ride by Wire
Valve Train 4 valves/ cylinder, DOHC 4 valves/ cylinder; desmodromic; DOHC
Horsepower (MotoGPWerks dyno) 105.3 hp at 7,900 rpm 132.5 hp at 9,600 rpm
Torque (MotoGPWerks dyno) 78.7 lb-ft at 5,400 rpm 83.0 lb-ft at 7,600 rpm
Transmission 6-speed, Gear Assist Pro, BMW Motorrad Paralever shaft drive 6-speed w slipper clutch; chain final drive
Front Suspension 45mm inverted fork; Dynamic ESA (optional); 5.5 in. travel 48mm Ohlins inverted fork, fully adjustable; 5.1 in. travel
Rear Suspension Cast aluminum single-sided swing arm with BMW Motorrad Paralever; WAD strut (travel-related damping), spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable (continuously variable) at handwheel, rebound damping adjustable; 5.5 in. travel; Dynamic ESA option Ohlins monoshock, fully adjustable; progressive linkage; 5.9 in. travel
Front Brake Dual 320mm floating discs, 4-piston calipers; ABS Dual 330mm semi-floating discs, Brembo evo M50 4-piston callipers; ABS
Rear Brake 276mm disc, 2-piston caliper; ABS 245mm disc, 2-piston caliper; ABS
Front Tire 120/70 ZR 17 120/70 ZR 17
Rear Tire 180/55 ZR17 190/55 ZR17
Wheelbase 59.7 in. 59.5 in.
Seat Height 31.1 in. (29.9, 32.3 in options) 30.9 – 31.9 in.
Curb Weight as Tested (MotoGPWerks scales) 531 lb. 470 lb.
Fuel Capacity 4.7 gal. 4.6 gal.
Tested Fuel Economy 44 mpg 40 mpg
Available Colors Gray, Blue, White Red, Red w White Stripe!
Warranty 3 years/ 36,000 miles limited warranty 24 months, unlimited miles limited warranty

 

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  • Old MOron

    Oh, what a little gem of a comparo. These allrounders are my favorite kind of bike.

    “More practical, pale, pasty and balding type, concerned with keeping your bloodline pure and trying to be motogamous,” yup, that’s me. I went to Ducati’s demo ride in Westlake not long ago. (Found out about it right here on MO.) Really liked the Streetfighter. But there’s just something about that boxer engine. Now if I could just find a very highly motivated seller.

    PS: You MOrons chose some nice venues. Thanks for throwing in sort of a travel story. I used to go swing dancing at Alpine Village. They had a big band every Monday night. Never been to Doffo, but that looks like a cool wino-moto place. Maybe I’ll take a ride out there.

    • Goose

      Yeah, “More practical, pale, pasty and balding type” close but resent the balding part. Sadly, I have to admit the practical, pale, pasty words are dead accurate.

      The R1200R (and R1200RS) have actually made me consider going back on the vow to never own another BMW. 12 is more than enough… maybe.

      • Old MOron

        Ha ha, well stated. But like Born to Ride’s post says, those discounted Ducati’s sure are tempting. I’ve owned only three BMW’s, so if I could find a heavily discounted roadster, I think I’d go for it.

        • Goose

          I’m not saying or implying there is anything wrong with Ducatis except for me, I just didn’t enjoy the ownership experience. The last straw was the owner of the closest Ducati shop, essentially, saying F*uk You after I spent $800 on a minor tune up. He dumped my bike in the middle of a street less than a block from the parking lot of my work place. It was “too much trouble” take the bike to the parking lot. I had no helmet, no gloves, dress shoes and had to ride the bike to get it to the parking lot. I’ll never own another Ducati but if it some how happened I will never under any circumstances spend another penny at Ducati of Santa Barbara.

          • Old MOron

            Wow, no kidding? Wasn’t Ducati Santa Barbara associated with Pry It Outya when it first opened? Pry It Outya generally gets good reviews, right?

            Well, if you’re near Camarillo, you might take your bike to motorcycleservicecenters.com. I learned about them while reading Trizzles “Building a Grom” story: “Kenefick’s background in motorcycle tuning could fill the pages of MO, but a short history includes wrenching in World Superbike, as well as creating the motorcycles used in the Transformers movies.”

          • DickRuble

            Ahem… based on the way the Grom performed during the race, I’d reconsider…

          • Old MOron

            We don’t really know what happened in the race because TROY IS DRAGGING HIS ASS in writing the story.

          • DickRuble

            One of the modified forks broke stranding them for about 40 mins, later in the race they had to replace the aftermarket shock. To put it kindly, they didn’t win :) . That’s what happened. Add this to the loss of torque through “fine tuning” and you get the picture.. Now they’re probably waiting for editorial comments from the company that provided the parts and the guy that did the mods, who are in no hurry to see the story published.

          • Old MOron

            Hmm, you sure seem to be well-informed. It’s almost like you were there. Well, thanks for the info!

          • Kevin Duke

            You’ve got part of the story, Dick, but not quite. The fork needed attention but never broke. The rebuild required 85 minutes, not 40. One part I can’t dispute is that we certainly didn’t win!

          • DickRuble

            Mea culpa.. not broke..needed 85 minutes not 40…. in most people’s dictionary a fork that needs rebuilding is.. broke, but we’ll go with “needed attention”. Did you need to replace the shock, or did I get that wrong too and there’s a soft spin for that too?

          • Kevin Duke

            The story isn’t quite that simple. Stay tuned!

          • Kevin Duke

            I gotta defend Trizzle. His story has been completed. We just have so much stuff to publish that we have to wait until next week to find a good spot!

  • john phyyt

    “As for me, I’m older, more practical, may never again see a female interior”

    Whoa there cowboy,
    seems there may be a bit of depressive pathology slipping into your
    life.

    If you have adopted lonesomeness as a lifestyle choice ; Good for you :

    However , before you
    descend into a twilight of Quilting ; celibacy ; Smiths songs ( I am
    human and I need to be loved , just like everybody else does) ,
    Consider that along with BMW twins there are the four cylinder bikes
    ; Which will not only improve your psychological outlook ; but also
    enhance your sex life.

    • Alexander Pityuk

      Oh cmon, dude. It’s just a joke and a subtle pun. The main accent here is literally a home interior.

    • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

      That comment began with so much potential goodness, but was let down by its four cylinder closing.

    • Born to Ride

      Don’t mean to bash your opinion, but nothing is sexier than the bass roar of a ducati on the pipe. Except perhaps MotoGP V4s in person.

    • http://batman-news.com Gary

      If you wanna get laid, get a Harley. Everyone knows that.

      • DickRuble

        Given the size and shape of HD pillions … we’d rather pass.

      • aircraftmech

        Still buying into that cliche’? JK! There’s some pretty good HD models these days..

  • Auphliam

    Wow, what a great and perfectly timed comparo. These just happen to be two of the bikes I am currently comparison shopping. Really leaning towards the Beemer R, in this guise, or the RS. Not sure yet.
    BTW, can you tell me the brand of jacket you’re wearing in the photos J.B.?

    • john burns

      it’s a Dainese and I keep trying to find time to write it up. I first saw it on Guy Martin on the cover of Bike and had to have one. Soft brown suede, zero break-in, mine’s perforated and great when it’s hot…

      • Auphliam

        Thank you, sir. It certainly does look a good jacket.

      • Buzz

        JB has always been a fashionista.

        • john burns

          if the shoei fits…

    • gjw1992

      So am I – towards the 1200r or rs. I like my s1000r but want something more everyday. But on the comfort thing – I’ve read criticism of the RS that it can be a little uncomfortable. I realise hi speed cruising is bound to be better on the RS, but is that R seating position actually better most of the time?

      • john burns

        probably depends on how tall you are/how long your arms are. Where it’s dry and warm most of the time, I love the R. If you live where it rains, probably RS. Both great bikes.

        • Ducati Kid

          JB,

          Love BMW’S latest R1200R!

          Appreciated it so much revised this product, not shown, creating a ‘Gentleman’s Cruiser’ for solo or duo operation.

          Berlin has passed on the ‘Cruiser’ market since their R1200C.

          Odd as Milwaukee surpasses their production annually!

          Suggest an R1200GC would represent a perennial best seller for Berlin, it R1200R based.

  • JMDonald

    I love the Monster but the BMW gets my vote here. When it comes to motorcycles or fine wine, all you need to know is what you like. All that and shaft drive too.

  • Born to Ride

    Man this review is right up my alley, Literally! I live in Temecula wine country and these are my absolute favorite kinds of bikes. I’ve ridden the 1200s but not the r1200r. When I first read into the comparison of the SDR and 1200s (amongst their peers), I couldnt help but thinking that the monster was a little out of its demographic. It is definitely more of a standard bike with a TON of power. When the boys here at MO politely described the monster as underpowered compared to the SDR, I remember thinking to myself “Damn, and I thought the monster was too powerful to be realistic as an everyday bike.” I’m glad to see my sentiment somewhat echoed here rather than lost on adrenaline junkies. While I love big power, I felt that with the stock throttle programming that Sport mode was nearly unusable as the bike gives you a huge jolt of torque right when opening the throttle at pretty much any RPMs. Otherwise, I think the monster is a perfect balance between comfort and performance. Moto Forza had a leftover model on sale for 13k a few months back and my wallet nearly jumped out of my pants.

  • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

    One thing reviews in general don’t touch on is long term maintenance and reliability. With the BMW, it’s a new model, but we’ve had the GS and RT with the new LC engine and have some idea of what to expect, although I was surprised that the R is down about 6HP from the RT. That said, I might rather own the BMW vs the Duc because it’s easier to live with as I do all my own maintenance and that’s a factor when considering a bike. If I paid someone else to do it, it wouldn’t matter. It might be interesting to see long term tests over a couple years to see how “owning” a bike holds up. It could be that the initial impressions wear off.

  • http://batman-news.com Gary

    Gi’me the Beemer. I perfectly fit the profile. Damnit.

  • Michael Mccormick

    Almost felt like I was riding the test bikes! Well done, guys. Can’t go wrong with either bike and the hare doesn’t always beat the tortoise

  • Buzz

    I’ve been to Doffo a few times myself. Quite a collection of oddball bikes hung on the walls in the barrel room. They have some nice wines but $70 for a Malbec is beyond my comfort zone. There are some great wineries in the hills that beat most of the Temecula Wedding joints.

    I really like that Monster. Is there also a Rain mode? That’s usually the ticket when you’re just puttering stoplight to stoplight. I use it frequently on my K1600 when the wife is on the back to prevent helmet clunk.

    I wish Ducati had done a better job with the hoses and wires but that’s the way it goes with water-cooled nakeds.

    • Old MOron

      Uh, $70? Well yes, ahem, maybe I’ll just do another lap of of the Santa Monicas and stop by Trader Joe’s on the way home.

    • 12er

      Wife?

      • Buzz

        Dude! The 1 year anniversary is in three weeks.

        Where have you been?

        • 12er

          I think I posted the same thing a year ago… When your memory goes, forgetaboutit…

    • Born to Ride

      They have an “Urban” mode map that jacks the TC up to max and electronically castrates about 50 horsepower. I couldn’t bring myself to push the button to try it out on my all too short 20 minute test ride.

      • Randy Pancetalk

        allegedly the urban mode moves the torque curve lower in the rpm range, too though.

  • Max Wellian

    The top picture was all I needed to see. The Monster rider all hunched over while the Beermer guy’s back is perfectly straight and won’t be needing to stop at the chiropartor’s office on the way home.

    I think all these kinds of articles would do well to show riders on these bikes in their normal riding position. The action shots are great, but there’s usually a lot of riding to do between episodes of playing Rossi.

    • john burns

      well, not exactly because Tom is like 5’10 or 11 and I’m 5’8 (on the Ducati) with bad posture.

    • Born to Ride

      I’m 5’9″ and I sit pretty much bolt upright in perfect comfort on the M1200s. If it wasn’t for the fact I already have 2 monsters and very little desire to divest myself of one of them, I would have bought it.

  • Ron Austin

    It’s nice to see Ducati and BMW following the lead their own sport/naked bikes. That’s something Yamaha learned back in 2001 with it’s first generation FZ1. I proudly ride a 2005 model, the last of the ones sporting the 37mm Mikuni carbs. Mine has the faster black motor and checkered flag graphics. Heheheh!

    I have been drooling over the 1200 Monster since it was introduced but sadly, with two motorcycles in the stable, there is no more room just yet.

    I will admit that the riding position on the BMW looks much more to my liking since I am nearing age 62 in about 2 weeks. Things hurt and aren’t nearly as flexible as in years past. Either way, these are two bikes that really “do it” for me! Nice write-up!

    A pic of my FZ1 on my way to Deal’s Gap to spend a weekend with friends, July 2011.

    • Craig Hoffman

      Hi Ron, if you have not checked it out, head over to http://www.yamahafz1oa.com/forum where a bunch of old farts talk about FZ1s. By the way, with an Ivan’s jet kit, full exhaust and some other easy mods, old silver there can make around 140 at the rear wheel. One member has over 200K miles on hers. Doable on the BMW, but just try accomplishing that with any Duc. That is a great bike you have there.

      • Ron Austin

        I had thought long and hard about riding down to Rockland County and having the ’05 Ivanized, but never did so. I have a mechanic, Dave Anderson out of Bennington, VT, that is top notch. Dave did a Dynojet kit in the four 37mm Mikuni’s and we threw a K&N filter in the stock air box. I was riding along a nice sweeper in the fall shortly after that and in 3rd gear just giving it a little throttle on the exit side of the sweeper when I noticed the front wheel was not in contact with the road. That was awesome. The power is so linear now it might seem like it has less when indeed it just has more from bottom to top. One might miss the 7k power hit it used to have but I like the fact that it pulls like a freight train from a stop. I have since added a stainless MIVV slip-on I picked up from Mike Pijanka at PJ’s Parts. Mike is good people and I love doing business and riding with he and his lovely wife Paige (The First Lady of Motorcycling!)

      • Ron Austin

        Almost forgot Craig… I have been a member of FZ1OA since 2007 when I bought the leftover 2005 at my local dealer. We’ve done some great riding with a few of the guys. Been quiet the last couple years but that’s OK too.

      • Ron Austin

        I’ve been a member there since 2007!

  • Steve

    Gawds dernit Burns, in the original review of the 2015 R1200R you stated you wanted to try a non-ESA bike. I want you to try an non-ESA bike, too, and tell us about it. Here again, we get ESA. Is ESA with a mediocre shock better than a manual premium shock?

    • Kevin Duke

      We’ve been asking BMW for base models without ESA, but there are none available. Even dealers order up their bikes loaded. We’ll keep trying.

      • Steve

        Thanks for the heads up. In this test, ignoring the huge “adjust it at the handle bars” convenience factor of the ESA, was the manual Ohlins shock a better performer overall than the dynamic adjuster on the Beemer?

        • Kevin Duke

          To be clear, there is a difference between ESA and Dynamic ESA. So, having the Dynamic version brings not only being able to adjust the suspension at the push of a button, it’s that the suspension adjusts itself while riding. So, as good as the Ohlins stuff on the Monster is (and it’s very good!), it simply isn’t able to do all the BMW’s suspension can. That said, I had no complaints with the Duc’s suspension and wouldn’t feel like it was generally inferior.

          • Steve

            Great. Thank you much.

  • Zundap

    French Fries on a Pizza. Only in America. ..Z

    • DickRuble

      They told them it’s French pizza.

  • Heywood Jahbleauxmi

    If you moved to Utah, I hear it’s legal to be a polymotorgamist. You see what I did there?

  • http://www.petescycle.com John Petes

    You need to ride the new RS before you comment. Neither of the 2 BMW’s you noted above compare remotely to the performance of the RS. Not even close.

  • aircraftmech

    Both bikes look pretty sharp. I looked at a Duc Monster EVO but, couldn’t get a demo ride on it. Then I looked at the 2012 BMW R1200R and was able to do a demo ride. I bought the BMW a day later. I’ve had the BMW for three years and am pretty happy with it. It only has 24K miles on it. About three months after the purchase, I took it across country to California from Florida, by way of Route 66. Back to Florida by way of Vegas then US 90 to Jax Beach, FL. The first 1000 miles were the toughest: getting used to the bike, breaking the seat in, etc…but it was a great three week trip. I’ve been a fan of my bike ever since.
    To be truthful, all manufacturers make a good product, I think it comes down to personal preferences and what people want to use it for. I wanted something sporty but something I could take on a long trip. I’m glad my bike can do both.

  • Denis Dean Panferov

    BMW is easier to go fast, Ducati always asks to go very fast. Beemer is closer to real life, Duc is too sporty.