Ok, I’m old, so what? When I was young, the first Monster M900 (1994) spoke to me. A basic, naked, standard Ducati that was perfect for rumbling round the urban maze back when we all had a downtown office to go to… a svelte Italian Sportster that bounced its mating call off the concrete canyons all the way to 9000 rpm. It really was a radical departure since, before then, Ducati had only built fully-faired assume-the-position sportbikes, and not many of them. They were great on the Futa Pass and Angeles Crest but not so much anywhere else. Later, when we grew power-hungry in the ’oughts, there came the 996-powered S4R, then the Monster 1200s…
Right, it’s that time of year again when all the new bikes are out, and we ask ourselves, which one must I have? Followed by a look at the price tag, and an immediate switching of the Train of Thought onto the Used Bike siding, particularly all the ones that have slipped below the $5,000 threshold ($5k is usually my cut-off point when it comes to buying automobiles – I have my eye on a 2004 Jaguar XJR right now – but in the spirit of the Trump Economic Miracle, let’s pretend like I’d spend that much on a motorcycle).
In the fall of 1992 Ducati introduced its first ever Monster, the M900. It was a bike aimed outside of the company’s typical sportbike targets, a simple roadster that blended the frame from an 851 superbike with the air-cooled 904cc motor from the Super Sport series.
Hemlines and exhausts go up and down, radiators come and go, but the Monster hasn’t really ever gone out of fashion since it hit the runway, dang, has it really been 23 years ago? 1994 brought us Miguel Galluzzi’s original naked bike, and there’s been a veritable plethora of Monsters over the years ever since. Also Monsterinos, as Ducati likes to call the smaller-displacement ones.
Mr. Burns’ diary entry of the Top 10 sportbikes of the 1990s gave me a great idea for this week’s Church entry. If you want a taste of what old MO was all about, then the 1997 Open Bikini Shootout is a perfect example. Silly, irreverent, and filled with fast riding and fast riders, this test between the Buell S1 White Lightning, the Triumph T509 Speed Triple and Ducati’s M900 Monster, has it all: three cult classic motorcycles, one Shawn Higbee – an AMA Pro racer and former Buell test rider – and even a bikini model! Because, you know, a Bikini Shootout wouldn’t be complete without one of those. Check out the story (and the model), and don’t forget to click on the photo gallery for more pics.
Ducati’s Monster is the O.G. of naked sportbikes, first bursting on the moto scene back in 1993 with an air-cooled 904cc V-Twin engine. The liquid-cooled 1200 Monster debuted in 2014, and already it has received several worthy updates to make it more appealing to riders looking for svelter Italian style mixed in with extra power and state-of-the-art technology.
The principality of Monaco is an imbecilic location for a motorcycle ride. After all, the independent microstate on the French Riviera isn’t even twice as big as the Dodger Stadium grounds, and its teeny little streets are crammed almost solid with a cornucopia of vehicles from two-stroke scooters to the apparently riotously amusing Renault Twizys to exotic McLarens to horrifyingly huge Rollers.
Motorcycle.com is on the scene in fabulous Monaco for the media launch of the upgraded Ducati Monster 1200. Key updates include more power, a redesigned fuel tank that looks more like the original Monster, a new headlight, shorter wheelbase, Bosch Cornering ABS, a slimmer tailsection and updated TFT instrumentation. Oh, and new footpegs that don’t force feet into uncomfortable positions like the previous generation.
A newish Monster 1200 was launched at EICMA today, boasting a sleeker fuel tank, a redesigned tail section, and an all-new headlight. Oh, and also revised footpegs that will allow feet to better fit active riding positions. The new 1200 Monster and Monster S feature the latest Testastretta 11° DS engine, and, due to new throttle bodies and exhaust, the base model Monster enjoys 15 ponies more than the previous Monster 1200 (150 hp at 9,250 rpm), while the already more powerful S model enjoys a more modest 5-horsepower bump.
With a pocketful of spy shots as proof, we sleuthy MOrons proudly scooped the news a few months ago that Ducati was planning to produce a new air-cooled Monster ( 2017 Ducati Monster 800 Spy Shots). Today at EICMA, Ducati presented the production version. The 2017 Monster 797 borrows the air-cooled 803cc L-Twin from Ducati’s Scrambler models and repackages it for use in its newest naked.