First Impression: The 1998 Ducati M900S - Motorcycle.com
BARCELONA, SPAIN, July 1998
After the separation of Ducati from the Cagiva group, Ducati fans all over the world had high expectations. Then, after a few difficult years, the American investment banking firm Texas Pacific Group provided a much-needed cash infusion.
Once more Ducati fans held their breath. In the States, the most noticeable difference was the presence of the M750, Ducati's "entry-level" motorcycle in the North American. So far, so good. Next, Ducati unveiled their new logo. Oops. Traditional, old-school Ducatisti were less than thrilled.
The M900, dubbed Il Monstro by a Ducati employee, debuted in 1993. Five years later, the M900S (the 'S' stands for 'Special') is, basically, the same motorcycle but with improvements. Already a very attractive bike, carbon fiber pieces and a new color scheme heighten its sex appeal. The front and rear mudguards, the side panels and the muffler-protectors are carbon fiber. Also, the M900S is blacked-out: The bikini fairing, the multi-tubular trellis frame, the fuel tank, the three-spoked alloy Brembo rims are all dressed in black. Unfortunately, the instrument panel remains the same. A plain, white-faced speedometer greets the rider along with the standard assortment of indicators: neutral, lights, fuel, highbeam, turn signals, sidestand light and oil pressure. There is still no standard tach.
The handling of the M900S is identical to the standard Monster: Excellent in city traffic, decent in the twisties, and poor at high speeds. As it has been since its inception, it is easy to wheelie. When you are cornering above 80 mph, the stock suspension settings are a touch mumshy, but, as apposed to previous models which tended to wallow, you can tighten the front end on the M900S. The ergonomics are good in spite of a hard seat and the poor aerodynamics. The
More improvements for the M900 line-up? For starters, how about a centerstand for maintenance, a tach, and an authentic, comfortable passenger seat. Oh yeah, lose the chinsy, spring-loaded sidestand. It's interesting that all the Italian marques equip their beautiful and expensive motorcycles with cheap, flimsy spring-loaded sidestands. Bikes as nice as these deserve better than the afterthoughts with which they are offered.
Manufacturer: DucatiModel: 1998 Monster 900 S.Engine: Air-and-liquid cooled, 2-valve, 90 degree V-twin, 4-strokeBore x stroke: 92 x 68 mmDisplacement: 904 ccCarburetion: 2 Mikuni BDST 38 mmTransmission: 6-speedClaimed power: 70 bhp @ 8000 rpm)Claimed torque: 57 ft-lbs (7.9 kgm @ 5000 rpm)Wheelbase: 56.3 in. (1430 mm)Rear Tire: 170/60 - 17 Tubeless RadialFront Tire: 120/70 - 17 Tubeless RadialFuel Capacity: 4.3 gal (16.5 L)Claimed Dry Weight: 403 lbs (183 kg)Max. Speed (as indicated): 130 mph (210 km/h)Color Schemes: Black