2003 Ducati Monster 1000 - Motorcycle.com
Hate-hate-hate this guy. Almost every morning as I ride my Guzzi into town and begin my survival war with the dense Milanese traffic, he pulls up from behind, gives two loud throttle blips and begins his little show.A barking downshift and he overtakes me doing 60 (when the traffic and me are crawling at 35), heading straight into the oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, avoiding a head on collision at the last nanosecond. Just two days ago he had a real close call with a car that innocently pulled out from the line. I swear I was almost sorry he didn't crash. What an idiot. Yet, every time this macho Italian passes me I can't avoid shouting inside my helmet: Shiite! That Monster looks cool! My morning nemesis rides a satin black Monster 900 with aftermarket high level Termignonis that endow his Duc's tail with an extra sexy look.
The big growth in displacement, the deeply massaged head with enlarged valves, and above all the extra spark plug per pot are enough to justify an "all-new" heading. Like all Monsters for model year `03, the DS1000 also gets a strengthened frame, and a new swingarm and suspension linkage lifted from the 916-powered Monster S4. Ducati claims a 30-percent increase in overall stiffness for this frame and a comfier riding position--claims which felt justified when I tested the S4 a year and a half ago.
The cycle side of the equation leaves good early impressions too. A frame as stiff as a small steel bridge, sticky Pirellis, wide handlebars and a Ducati road tester on a Multistrada exiting the factory gate at the same time as me means I immediately go into attack mode. Seemingly inspired by my morning-ride idiot, the Ducati tester dives into a fast roundabout just outside the factory, all guns blazing, without giving much thought to the cold tires. Whatever. These guys know a thing or two `bout frames too. The M1000 is so confidence-inspiring from the word go, responds so sincerely to my inputs, that all thoughts of slowly learning its responses feel superfluous. Just ride the wheels off the thing. Soon enough we join the thick Bologna traffic--a good occasion to check the Monster's table manners.